Whether you have a preschooler or a college student at home, odds are that they are very reliant on their smartphones and laptops. Adults also cannot help themselves as the world demands us to be increasingly more reliant on digital technologies. The same can be said for education, both formal and informal.
According to published data, 53% of teachers agree that digital devices make learning easier, with 65% of faculties in open support of digital technologies. However, how helpful or harmful is technology in day-to-day education? Let’s tackle several objective arguments to determine the role of technology in classrooms going forward.
1.Argument For: A Plethora of Available Resources
One of the strongest arguments that proponents of technology in education use to justify its use in classrooms relates to available online resources. There is a wide range of platforms dedicated to learning, featuring both traditional curriculums and specialized courses for specific professions. Likewise, many SaaS tools such as Canva, Gimp, and Google Docs offer an array of features that students can use to express their creativity.
Platforms such as Khan Academy, Lynda, and Udemy are only some of the quality resources which students can use to learn on a daily. Teachers can easily direct students to various courses on said platforms and collaborate in group environments via Google Classroom or Zoom. These are only some resources available today, and with more platforms sprouting each day, technology certainly has a valuable place in life-long learning (LLL).
2.Argument Against: Drop-in Personal Human Interactivity
Human interaction is essential for the proper mental development of K-12 and university students, especially in the post-COVID world. According to UNICEF, over 150 countries worldwide closed down schools in 2020 as a preventive measure, shifting toward online learning.
As a result, many students felt isolated, stressed, and demotivated to keep up with lectures and school obligations online. And while the best website for essay writing can help students write papers and check their proofreading and citations, human interaction still matters. No amount of digital work or video calls will replace spending time in classrooms, having lunch with classmates, or going on a road trip. This is where technology in education is limited, as it should be applied in moderation and not as a de facto replacement for traditional education.
3.Argument For: Preparing Students for Future Job Markets
You would be hard-pressed to find an industry or a profession that doesn’t rely on technology in some manner in 2021. Enabling students to familiarize themselves with technology, software and practical applications thereof can be extremely helpful for their career development. Allowing students to do research on their smartphones and laptops in class. to collaborate with classmates on solving problems or tests can help them.
Tomorrow, they will be able to independently search for solutions online, look for courses to learn from, and stay in touch with one another. Likewise, industries such as content marketing, copywriting, graphic and web design heavily rely on technology. Teaching students to deal with it early will improve their odds at applying for tech-based university courses and give them an upper hand during job interviews. Long-term, this means creating an entire generation of graduates fully prepared to embrace new technologies to improve the world we live in with.
4.Argument Against: Inequality in Terms of Tech Accessibility
It’s easy to discuss the practical advantages of using technology in education from the perspective of the Western World. However, students around the world still struggle with basic access to digital technologies, which would enable them to participate in class curriculums. This is especially noticeable in the African and South American continents due to their socio-economic standing compared to North America, Europe, and Asia.
According to published statistics, the latest 2020 internet penetration worldwide is 60%, meaning that over 1/3 of the world’s population doesn’t have fundamental internet access. This makes talking about how technology can help every student in the world somewhat trivial until better equality in tech access is achieved. Governments, NGOs, and investors are contributing to that goal on a daily. However, it will take years until proper technology is available to students worldwide.
Moving Forward with Technology in Mind (Conclusion)
When it comes to the health-related side effects of being exposed to technology, parents are somewhat apprehensive. Extended periods spent learning online and working on school projects detract from actual socialization with classmates and other people.
From a social aspect, there is a concern to be had about technology. However, with proper limitations and adult supervision in place, the harmful side effects of tech exposure can be drastically mitigated. Once that happens, students will be able to make full use of technology as a helpful tool, not as something that owns them instead.
Bio: Michael Carr is a content writing professional with experience in copywriting, digital publishing, and SEO optimization. Michael’s career started in print marketing, and he slowly moved on to online content writing as his passion. In his spare time, Michael also enjoys blogging, reading, and hiking whenever the opportunity shows itself.