Technology serves to connect the world by reducing time and geographical barriers, improving our quality of life by expanding our knowledge and availability of resources. The movement towards using technology in education is inevitable as evidenced by technology-enabled schools being the norm; whereby it is becoming mandatory for students to either have their own laptop or tablet, or schools providing one for each student. Clearly, technology now plays a significant role in education; enabling an extension and availability of information never known before, and creating student-centered learning with new teaching methodologies such as Project Based Learning. Below is listed the benefits of technology in the classroom:
1. Integrating Social Media into School Curriculum
As the younger generation is already very familiar with social media, its integration into broader school curricular as a platform for facilitating educational communication among peers and between students and teachers is a natural choice. A 2011 clinical report found that 22% of teenage respondents reported that they logged in to their favourite social media like Facebook and Twitter more than 10 times a day, reflecting concern of drawbacks of putting adolescents or students at risk of cyberbullying and sexual harassment – one can imagine that these statistics are much higher now, and involve an even younger demography, some 10 years after this study was undertaken. Integrating social media into the school curriculum would undoubtedly promote a healthy use of the media, by involving students in group chats to discuss school projects or teaching children how to protect themselves online.
2. Improves the Learning Environment
Technology helps to create and maintain a better learning environment through enhancing interactivity within the classroom. Teachers can modify and enrich the teaching plan by incorporating virtual elements such as music and video. This helps teachers to more effectively deliver content by increasing student interest and improving concentration during class. Diverse learning materials can consolidate students’ learning through an experiential and engaging way. Classes become project-based, which may promote a more relaxed learning environment to alleviate academic stress. Technology-enabled classes may nurture independent and active learning and encourage students to explore their own potential.
3. Incorporates Different Learning Styles
Every individual has their own specific needs and that universal teaching syllabus may not be applicable to all students. Taking Eastern and Western learning style as an example, the former one emphasizes diligence, discipline, and often rigid rote learning, in which children have to study hard for better career prospects while the later regards personal and extracurricular development are more crucial to achieve wellbeing. Assigning a single teaching approach does not guarantee better academic results if students find it stressful and hard to manage – or the simple fact that one approach is not suitable for all students, many who have different ways of learning. Moreover, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities clearly states that students with special educational needs (SEN) require a tailored syllabus to ensure they can learn under protected and appropriate conditions. Technology offers different learning approaches such as virtual videos and mind-mapping to stimulate students to work out their own effective way to understand and accumulate knowledge.
4. Encourages Individual Learning
Technology in the classroom also encourages individual learning as it encourages a high level of student participation. Online platforms provide worldwide resources for students to gain insight and reach out for guidance, develop their research skills, and follow their curiosity without the rigidity of traditional teaching practices. Electronic devices and the internet provides the fundamental connection for students who wish to discover new things beyond the classroom. Learning without limitation promotes students to search for answers as a lifelong independent learner.
5. Encourages Collaboration
Apart from virtual demonstrations, technology has some functions that allows students to engage in learning such as online polling, quiz and commentating. This goes some way to bridging diversity in the classroom, including gender and cultural divides by engaging all students in interactive activities and group collaborative projects. Encouraging students to work with each other is the first step in implementing exchanges that may trigger more reflection and greater concept-building extending beyond the students’ normal experiences. Peers have a massive influence on each other as students emulate observable characteristics while enhancing and building relationships. The connection between peers further sustain collaborations, since the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs suggests that affiliation is one of the most significant elements in life for self-actualization. Technology makes it easier to learn with peers, which plays an important role in developing teamwork in the school context
6. Creates a System for Managing Learning
Technology also brings benefits to class as in creating a system for students to self-manage their learning process. It is common that schools establish an internal system for students where they can review learning objectives, materials and feedback from teachers. This gives students an opportunity to gain an accurate and clear understanding about personal strengths and weaknesses so as to improve strategically in addition to grades and overall performance indicators, which also encourages students to attain better standards of achievement.
7. Helps Teachers Reach Students
With the advantage mentioned in point 5, technology also allows teachers to reach students more effectively. Teachers have the responsibility to address students’ difficulties as soon as they become evident, providing assistance, and making regular evaluations for modifications to the teaching syllabus for either the whole class and/or individual learning plans. Therefore, technology provides a place for teachers collate information, give feedback to students and, in turn, communicate better to develop a friendly and trustful teacher-student relationship. For instance, teachers may set up public forums to obtain students’ opinion while offering suggestions in an open-minded manner.
8. Enables Evaluation on Student Performance
Technology also allows schools to formulate broader pictures of students’ performance. Detailed and consistent reporting contributes to better analyses, thereby facilitating improvements in the educational process and school functioning as a whole; identifying barriers or unbalanced distribution of resources with the aim of promoting fair learning opportunities. Moreover, there is a wide range of software applications that may help the school examine and present this information in a more organized way such as charts, graphs, and tables.
9. Promotes Innovation and Creativity
The new virtual world that is now generated is constantly moving toward greater innovation and improvement. The enthusiasm and effort in optimizing our living standards demonstrates to students that there are areas of unknown – problems yet to be solved – which can be discovered if we allow our imagination to guide us, be creative, take a risk and experiment; become inventors and entrepreneurs, and not be imprisoned by a ‘fear of failure’. Technology not only opens up another world for students to live an easier life, but also engages them to look at the details of life and find ways to make the impossible possible.
This age of technology is of great significance in human history as it demonstrates the intelligence and creativity of the human race. The above-mentioned benefits of technology in the classroom need to be enhanced and taken advantage of, while potential drawbacks also need to be identified and, if possible, avoided if not eradicated. Technology gives us a broad and endless path into the future, and we need to ensure it is a way to positive growth.