Using Modern Technology As a Reliable Tool In Education:
Importance of Technology in Education :Bringing the products of science and engineering into the classroom
I was a kid born in the mid 80s. Back when I was in school, we were lucky to see presentations on a projector, or a VHS tape played on a TV set in the classroom. But that was as much “multimedia” (it wasn’t even called that way back then) as we ever got. Now kids get Powerpoint presentations, video-on-demand, some of them even send their homework via e-mail to their teachers. And each of their cell-phones could do calculations, which in my day were done by bulky and expensive college calculators. But what’s more fascinating – there’s room for even more improvement!
What more can we do ? Well for starters, we can at least try to bring the technology that already helps children in developed countries reach those children which weren’t so fortunate. That’s why inventors all around the world are competing over finding a way to produce a laptop which is so cheap , that even children in poorer countries can afford them. Why a laptop ? Because obviously, it’s the best choice – it’s movable , it’s personal and it’s a computer. Computers these days open so many opportunities for students, that their impact is unimaginable. We’ll try to list some of them below.
Teaching Technology in Education :Lectures and Materials Available on The Internet
Imagine the following situation. The teacher has noticed that the kids are showing enormous interest in a particular subject. However, the program of the classes doesn’t allow the teacher to expand upon that material. So, if the teacher cannot show the materials in class , what are the options ? He can copy 30 pages of color pictures and text for each student, which will be slow, expensive and unreasonable, or he can send a link to a page where he has the materials prepared. Moreover, materials need not be only still images – there can be video, or even interactive applications. Which leads us to our next point.
Educational games :
I can almost bet that you’ve watched at least one nature documentary about lions or other feline species. And a line they almost always say in these documentaries is “the little ones learn the lessons of survival through play”. This cannot be more true for our own children. That’s why governments from all over the world are subsidizing companies to create games which might serve the curiosity of the little ones. They can be targeted at any age, any level of knowledge and nearly any subject. From spelling bee programs , language learning software, to entire programing environments made to introduce children to the idea of coding.
Information Technology in Education : Graphs, simulations and other tools to make life easier
Of course it’s still important to teach kids how to do things “by hand”, but imagine they need to chart an entire graph, given only the values/coordinates. This is not fun at all, and for youngsters “not fun” translates to “I’m sick of this and I’ll go waste my time”. Instead, why not teach them how to insert the data in a program, and let it make the charts ?
Taking this to the next level, universities use ready-made Matlab scripts to let their students try out different scenarios , instead of doing calculus by hand. Obviously, in the past that was only economically feasible for serious research, instead of educational purposes, but nowadays a common desktop PC can do the job of calculating and plotting out the results.
Communication, homework submission and personal development :
No more waiting for the teacher after class, no more “the dog ate my paper” – if you have a question for your teacher outside the curriculum, you throw an email their way. You have a paper to submit , you send it electronically. Not only that, the text editor will “be happy” to count the words for you.
Those are the things we should focus on, when thinking about how to improve classrooms with technology – what we have now, and how to make it more useable, more accessible and better working. These will ensure better education , and in turn – better future for our children.