We know that technology is present in virtually every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s heating up food in the microwave or sending a message to that friend you haven’t seen for years, technology is the way and the solution.
In recent years, with the pandemic, the role that technology plays in society has become more evident. The relationship has become even closer: unable to leave the house, we find ourselves with no other option but to resort to electronic means to perform daily tasks such as shopping, working, chatting with friends and families. What many already did online has become the reality for most – not only that, but it has become the only way to accomplish these tasks.
The change brought up an important point for reflection: what are the positives and negatives of bringing all our lives online? And how can we use the positive side of technology to our advantage?
For example, how can technology be applied to aid education?
From apps to games, various instruments can be introduced to facilitate learning. Making use of technological resources is an opportunity to enrich the way the student engages with what is being studied – it is a way to make the process more fun and interactive.
But what is technology? With a quick Google search, you can find a meaning: according to Wikipedia, “Technology is the set of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services, or in the achievement of goals, such as scientific investigations. So, basically, technology can mean a lot of things. We tend to relate it to computers and hardware, but the concept is much broader.
Technology brings some kind of change. It has an impact on society, on how people live and relate to each other. This is why studying ways to introduce it into such essential areas as education can be very interesting.
However, the same issue is present here as well: is there a downside to using technological tools in the classroom environment? What would be the benefits and do they outweigh the harms?
On the one hand, technology can bring children and young people closer together. It is part of most of their reality, so it helps connect them to study in a more enjoyable and spontaneous way. Learning becomes a natural consequence and not an obligation.
Technological tools stimulate curiosity, collaboration, and communication among students. It encourages them to explore new features and functionality, helping each other through the process.
In addition, there is the possibility of customizing the experience for each individual, taking into account their difficulties and particularities. For example, if a student has problems with math, the teacher can think of alternatives that work better; if he/she is a person who likes games a lot, could he/she understand and assimilate the subject with a game? It is even a way to optimize the teacher’s and student’s time, which increases the productivity and efficiency of the classes.
Even in the face of so many advantages, The problematic side of technology cannot be ignored. One of the concerns is Overexposure to screens, the Internet, and electronic media in general can have negative consequences on a child’s development. The effect may be the opposite of what is intended: instead of focusing on study, they may become distracted for other purposes. Moreover, if they choose to stay submerged in the online world, there is a risk that they will be deprived of socialization, which also hinders their education.
But perhaps the main issue is social inequality: many do not have access to technological resources. It would be a challenge to introduce this methodology without excluding part of the population. Therefore, it is important to analyze who could be harmed and look for ways to make this transition more accessible and feasible.
With this in mind, it is time to look at some examples in practice of how technology can contribute to education:
A board connected to a computer with a touchscreen: besides the convenience it provides, it is a very attractive tool for students, which makes them interested in participating and getting involved in the class. You can save all the content you create, which is not possible in a normal framework. This allows the formation of a collection of the lessons, with what teacher and student have developed, for future reference.
Virtual reality glasses
Imagine being able to visit any place in the world, at any period in history. Seeing dinosaurs, witnessing the building of the pyramids, sailing to the bottom of the ocean… the possibilities are endless! Virtual reality glasses provide experiences that simply would not be accessible or physically possible otherwise. They provoke emotion and make the content more tangible and real; what might once have seemed abstract comes to life, and the students feel that they can actually experience what they are learning.
Cell phones, although seen as a problem in the classroom, can also be useful. Since students often turn their attention so much to these devices, the idea of using them to educate seems like a solution. Therefore, instead of banning them, some teachers and schools prefer to introduce educational applications for students to interact in a personalized way and get even more involved in the lessons.
Who doesn’t like learning with fun? Most young people have access to computers and cell phones, which exposes them to electronic games from an early age. Bringing this to school reality as a learning tool is not only a way to enrich the process, but also to make it even more attractive to its recipient.
And the games can be implemented in several areas: the student can solve mathematical problems, embark on a historical journey, work on logical reasoning and motor skills… all in a fun and didactic format.
3D printers are gaining more and more momentum and usefulness in the world. They can be used for many purposes, including printing human organs! That’s right: there is scientific research studying the possibility of using 3D printers to create artificial organs.
You can see, then, how amazing this tool is! And in the educational environment this would be no different. Students can learn by interacting with all kinds of objects developed by the printer; it is a visual and sensorial activity.
Nowadays, the cloud is one of the best ways to store your photos, documents, and all different kinds of files online. It allows you to access what is being shared on any device, as long as there is internet access.
Thus, the teacher can create a folder with content related to the lessons, and the students can access it at any time. The students themselves can post new materials and post their work.
Podcasts, videos, and e-readers
Podcasts and videos are an interesting way to assimilate subjects. Video lessons are increasingly common in students’ lives and seem to be effective; podcasts, likewise, can serve as channels for discussing class content. The teacher can even encourage students to record podcasts and/or videos as part of an assignment, which would help them develop writing and listening skills.
E-readers are also very nice alternatives, since they do away with the need to carry heavy books, besides concentrating everything in one place: the student has in a single e-reader the books of all the subjects.
These are just a few examples of how technology can be used in the field of education. These are ways to encourage the young person to develop a love of learning.
Paying attention to the problems that may appear along the way, we believe that this interaction between technology and education can generate a lot of cool things. But so what? What do you think? It is worth investing in these teaching methods?!