Only in recent decades has technology been taught in the classroom as a separate subject. Now, one has to understand technology to learn basic topics. For the most part, classes have always been attended at a school and it was only for major institutions and universities that distance and blended learning options became available. With the COVID-19 pandemic, all schools and universities had to scramble to find a solution to make sure that students were not missing out on valuable education. It was even more important for teachers and parents that students were not forced to repeat a year because of this global life-altering event. Technology has been the saving grace during this time, but it has also changed life and education as we know it in the following ways.
Human Interaction has Become Cloud-Based
Emotional contact and human interaction with others are major building blocks to develop a child’s social skills for later life. As the world was forced to stay indoors at an unexpected time and with limited notice, students were unable to communicate and have fun with their friends. Many teachers and parents still fear that this loss of contact can be harmful to a student’s emotional well-being. Nevertheless, humans have found ways in which to continue this collaboration and it has even prompted a joint effort by students to help others with classwork and assignments. It has become necessary to utilize platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams so that there is still a visual element to communication. Many will argue that the learning experience has become more genuine for many students because more effort has to be made to build social relationships.
Education has Become More Student-Centered
A dynamic shift can be seen where students are more in control of their education and now have a bigger responsibility to learn, rather than taking notes while listening to a teacher. Teachers have been using large blackboards in the physical classroom, but now they have to make use of software such as electronic whiteboards. Additional software like this can get in the way of the reading material as everything is displayed on one screen. Students have to be more involved and active in class while focusing on more than one aspect at a time. This has prompted the use of the internet during online classes to research, learn and communicate, and students have started to more actively contribute to their education.
Information is Processed Rapidly
There is an interesting theory that younger generations have a lower attention span than older people because they have been too engrossed in technology from a young age, and some from birth. This is only fostering a negative stereotype that generations like Gen Zers are stupid. In reality, these individuals have learned how to filter out the information most relevant to them and to ignore the rest. If you think about it, this is quite an advanced level of information gathering. Previously you would have to go to a library, pull out multiple books and start reading to write an essay or produce a thesis. Now, every bit of information that is available is at our fingertips and Gen Zers have just adapted to this very well.
This isn’t to say that older people can’t learn new things or process information just as fast; more so that the resource to be able to answer any question you can think of is accessible to the whole world. Technology has changed the way the world works, and how we view this is based on how we process the new information.
A New Generation of Intellectuals Is Born
As the world is evolving to be more technological, accessible, and collaborative, online education specifically will develop a generation of advanced individuals. People will have far more opportunities to gain multiple skills and knowledge purely because the data is more available. Take an aspiring teacher who can’t afford university let alone teaching college tuition, but has a passion to educate others. Learning the theory behind the same level of degree or diploma can be done at minimal cost, with immediate access to thousands of sources of knowledge. Struggling students now have the means to improve their future without having to take out massive student loans and purchase expensive textbooks. Online publications supply e-books at reduced prices and some people will be willing to lend their books to assist other students. Many institutions offer lower tuition fees for online studies, and as it becomes more mainstream, the textbooks and resources needed for learning will become cheaper. Click here for more info on online study options.
Learning Strategies are More Flexible
In every school, there will be a student that is perceived to be unable to focus in class and needs extra support, or possibly remedial education. In a lot of situations, these students are just unable to learn in the manner that is being used in the classroom. As online learning is becoming popular, many people are finding alternative methods that help them learn more effectively. In a physical classroom, everyone is taught by the same teacher, in the same room, and under the same conditions. Some students learn better by self-studying, and some need constant interaction with groups or their teachers. There are also instances where a student will perform better in an exam because they chose to study in an environment that was conducive to their learning and specific to their personality.
Technology has changed the world. The very means by which a person can further their education will never be the same. Even if COVID-19 was no longer a threat, there is little research to suggest that traditional learning will be adopted, at least not in the same large-scale manner. The future is far more positive for students and the opportunities are almost endless, given that we now have every book, article, and research study immediately accessible. It is the responsibility of all humanity to take their prospects and make them a reality because the technology is there and waiting to be used.