Issues and Trends on the Use of Computers in Education

 The evolution of technology these past decades have been staggeringly fast. The earliest form of the computer in the 1940’s used to fill the entirety of a building yet now we have a thousand more powerful ones in our very pockets. Fortunately, education itself is riding this technological evolution, and its benefits – and complications – are right on our desks.

There is no doubt that technology has benefited the teaching profession tremendously. With the sheer volumeEdmodo of resources at reach and new ones being developed every day, we have certainly reached the tipping point where it is already impractical to cast them outside the classroom wall. This past year, I have officially started practicing my teaching profession at the Quezon Science High School. As a student before, I have been gladly using emails and the social media for communication with teachers and students alike. As a teacher now, I find that technology has outlived its purpose in education as merely a telecommunication tool but has become the best classroom management system I could wish for in the form of Edmodo. To those unfamiliar, Edmodo is an online collaboration space for students and teachers, literally an extension of the classroom into the virtual world. Edmodo boasts of 41million teachers and students using its benefits, and its only one of the many tools available for classroom management. With tools like these that blur the line between work and social media fun, it is not hard to see that platforms like these will be how the future of education will be.

My Speech Lab class in Quezon Science High School

With the skills and knowledge constantly growing and being catered to younger minds, it comes to no surprise that our methods and tools must follow this change as well. This is especially true when dealing with younger generations, whom of which I often find a challenge to handle in terms of motivation and attention; the latter of which some argue have been hindered by technology itself.Concord Consortium simulations

Strangely though, technology does not seem to have a problem connecting with kids today, with some labeling them the “digital generation” due to their adept attachment and skill in handling digital devices. This has been well documented by Todd Oppenheimer on his article The Computer Delusion where he observed that every single child will do more work for you and do better work with a computer. “Just because it’s on a monitor, kids pay more attention,” according to Oppenheimer. This is something I myself have proven in my English Speech class in Quezon Science School, in which we were fortunate enough to be given a speech laboratory equipped with audio components that can cater every student in class. Not to my surprise, the students definitely feel more engaged and excited when we use our audio equipment; further proven every time they ask me when is the next time we can use them again. This bond with technology is definitely something we can and we have been taking advantage of. Although still considered a ripe concept, the use of virtual games and simulation in education is something we must look forward to. True enough, organizations like the Concord Consortium gives us a glimpse of digital learning where concepts are brought to life in the form of engaging models and simulations.

There is definitely a ton of ways technology can further improve the educational methods. However, we must not shy away that as for any tool, there is always the back-edge that may bump us if we allow it. According to Clifford Stoll, the author of Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway, “we loved them (computers) because we didn’t have to think for an hour, teachers loved them because they didn’t have to teach, and parents loved them because it showed their schools were high-tech. But no learning happened.” New things can be intimidating, especially while we are trying to learn them. We sometimes get so hung up on the tools that we overlook what they were for in the first place. This is especially true on the advent of the information highway. The information out there is too great, too vast that it overwhelms us. To the extreme, we fear the birth of the “copy-paste” generation where we present one information after another without seeing/analyzing the connections.  I believe the most important and sometimes overlooked part of this evolution is that we educators ourselves must adapt accordingly in our roles, not get lost in the change as it happens. We must instill that schooling is not about information. It’s getting learners to think about  the information they have. These technological tools are amplifiers, not the source themselves.

What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology – Steve Jobs

 

References:

The Computer Delusion by Todd Oppenheimer. The Atlantic Monthly; July 1997; The Computer Delusion; Volume 280, No. 1; pages 45-62. http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/97jul/computer.htm

Technology in Education: Current Trends. Encyclopedia of Education. The Gale Group, Inc, 2002. Answers.com 13 Sep. 2014. http://www.answers.com/topic/technology-in-education-current-trends

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