The question of technology in education is no longer about how technology distracts leaners from education but how the two complement each other. This article outlines the role of technology in education.
Technically, technology and education are two separate and different concepts. But the past few decades have seen rise in the use of the term, technology in education, showing the growing relationship between the two. In fact, they are often intertwined and united to complement each other. Technology involves different innovations to make lives better. Education is accumulation of knowledge and skills to make a difference in one’s life. Technology would not be easily assimilated without education, and vice versa. These days, education systems are particularly more reliant on technology.
Uses of technology in education
Technology has become an influential factor of education. These days, it is even regarded as highly important when it comes to facilitating learning. This is not very surprising. In the past, teaching methods for students who could not attend classes in person involved overhead projectors, recording videos and sending those videos over to students.
Another popular method was sending notes and course modules to students. These days, the advent of computers and smartphones makes possible lecturing with the aid of PowerPoint presentations or live lessons using streaming platforms like Zoom, Moodle and other platforms that allow for on-demand video lessons.
Computers and smartphones are also becoming important tools that make possible every learning task in and out of the classroom. Most students and teachers know how to operate computers and smartphones. This makes online education more possible. Now, technology has put up virtual learning environments that aim to engage and educate students through distance learning. In Zambia, SkillRipe is online platform where technology in education has taken lead. It provides on-demand video lessons to learners from different walks of life.
In fact, it is the only platform offering online extra classes to pupils who want to study online and prepare for exams. Anyone who intends to learn can register and still remain a pupil at their own school or institution.
Computers and smartphones also aid teaching and learning methods. Aside from the online capability, computers make learning more enjoyable. It has been observed that more students enjoy learning sessions when they are using computers. The class need not be online. There are formal classes that make use of computers collectively. The multimedia is becoming very popular among students and teachers alike.
Assessment of most students could also be facilitated by technology, specifically computers. A classic example is the ARS or Audience Response System that enables immediate and quick feedback tests aside from interactive classroom discussions. Surveys and evaluations could also be made online for more convenience, accuracy, and confidentiality.
ICT in education
ICTs or information and communication technologies make more things happen. In definition, ICTs make up diverse tools and sets of resources that are principally aimed at communicating, creating, storing, disseminating, and managing information. Such technologies may include of course computers, broadcast technologies, telephony, and the Internet. Through the years, there has been a rising interest at how online media could bolster condition of education at all existing levels, in formal and even non-formal settings.
In the past ICTs have already been in use in aiding education. Older types of ICTs include television and radio. For more than 40 years, those media have effectively been used for distance and open learning. Special TV programs are even aimed at helping students learn more like those classic children’s shows like Sesame Street.
Limitation of technology in education
It should be noted that the use of different computer systems and the online media is still in its infancy stage especially in most developing countries. In Zambia, there is a group of people calling itself the BBC age or Born Before Computer age and a group in the .com age, those who are born in the computer age. In most cases, use of new technologies among the BBC age in aiding education is hindered and limited due to limited digital literacy levels.
However, there are factors that apply to both the BBC and .com ages. These include limited digital infrastructure and availability issues. Another factor is non-availability or erratic internet among users. Many governments are starting to allocate significant budgets for integration of technology into education.
Technology is an effective aid to education. It is amusing how students these days could not imagine school without the use of the Internet. Back in the days, learning was only facilitated through manual materials like pens, papers, and blackboards. It is just overwhelming how times have changed. The future holds more promises. It is expected that education would further grow with the advent and introduction of more technologies.