Technology has changed the way that we live so it only makes sense that it would also change the way that our education system works. We see it constantly both in the classroom and even from the way that we are able to collect knowledge from the comfort of our home. To help further highlight this impact, below we will be examining five of the ways that technology is advancing education.
1. Bridging the Gender Gap
In the world of STEM fields, there is, unfortunately, a prominent gender gap. Fortunately, the inclusion of technology in the classroom could potentially offer an opportunity to begin to bridge that gap.
It should first be noted that educators are going to be the most dominant aspect of this process. School-aged girls will require exposure to STEM materials, enthusiastic instruction, and examples of female role models from the world of STEM-related career paths.
However, technology does give instructors the tools to make these steps towards bridging the gender gap accessible. We already know that technology in a classroom leads to more intensive student engagement. Instructors will also find that it is easier than ever before to use a combination of videos, audio, and reading material to expose their students to the exciting aspects of STEM-related studies.
In short, what technology provides young women is access. It is then up to their instructors to make the most of it.
2. Opportunities for a Free Education
Unfortunately, one of the most common hurdles associated with the pursuit of education is cost. Schooling is expensive but thanks to the internet we are now living in an age of free information.
Elite universities like Yale have complied information on a wide range of topics including literature, history, foreign language studies, and other core subjects. There are also a number of non-university sites like Free-Ed that provide free educational resources for individuals of any age.
Naturally, the learning materials are hit and miss with these sites. Sometimes (as is the case with the above-listed pages) there is plenty of high-quality work material that you will be able to sift through, while other times the resources may leave the scholar wanting more.
Depending on what sites you use, resources include, but are not limited to, video, audio, tests, and other reading materials. Unfortunately, programs of this nature do not currently have the same pedigree that is enjoyed by Universities (or even more formal online colleges) but their existence is nevertheless a step towards affordable secondary education.
3. Expanding Educational Services
The advent of rapidly advancing technology is also being felt in traditional classrooms of every grade level. Tech helps teachers create well-rounded curriculums that are designed around the specific needs of their students.
This is particularly useful in the education of children that do not speak English as their first language–a situation that is very common in the United States.
In the United States, there are approximately 12 million school-aged students that speak a different language at school than they do at home. Unfortunately, most of the time teachers are just unable to accommodate the specific needs of those students, with only 2.5% of teachers being able to communicate with their students in their native tongues.
Technology helps to help provide educational opportunities that English language learner students are often deprived of. It helps increase student engagement, facilitate collaboration between classmates, teach online skills that are useful, if not essential to modern living, and provide a safe space for ELL students to learn English.
For these reasons, technology is now empowering teachers to create curriculums that suit the needs of students that are otherwise often neglected.
We are all well-aware of the way that the internet opens the world up to us. In the case of the classroom, online connections allow students to go beyond the pages of their books and see new places and things in a way that was never before possible. They can even meet students from the classrooms of other countries to learn about different cultures in a more interactive way than ever before.
In this capacity, technology is able to take concepts (such as the culture of a European country) and transform the way that students understand them by illustrating the ways in which they affect the lives of real people.
5. Augmented & Virtual Reality
Augmented and virtual reality are newer technologies that are only just starting to pick up steam. Innovation is quick, however, and it has been projected that by 2020, VR and AR are expected to be worth $150 billion.
The way in which these technologies can affect classroom learning still have not been fully fleshed out, but even today instructors are using virtual reality to provide a concrete understanding of history, literature, and even the sciences.
As this technology continues to grow there is no doubt that it will play a very prominent role in the future of education.