Not so long ago, we entered the information age. It was around the 1970s and people were intrigued, scared, and ecstatic about the wave of change that they were yet to develop. It has been half of the century, and it revolutionized everything we knew, yet we seem to still be stagnating in education. With all the technology available out there, our scholars don’t seem to catch up with the rapid changes.
Could technology in the classroom really make a significant difference? Yes, but it hasn’t reached the potential to do so. The reports of the recent study, that Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conducted, have shown that the skeptics were right. The results have revealed that the schools where technology in the classroom was used more often by the students (Australia, Spain, and Sweden) were no more sufficient than the schools where students spent only a few minutes on their computers. Furthermore, they performed worse in several tests than their peers from Hong Kong and South Korea.
However, this does not mean that technology in the classroom is useless in education. It simply shows that the education system has yet to adapt and connect with students both online and offline.
The most obvious problem is that the amount of information is exactly what makes us stagnate. In fact, we use Google to ask whatever we want, and we get an answer without having to think about it. What that does is ensure that you hardly ever learn the things you Google. In a classroom, when a teacher asks, “Who were the Aborigines?” who gets an A: a student who knew the answer, or the student who Googled the fastest and forgot who they were in a minute? We are getting lazy because we took what we own for granted. That way, our brains do not think it is necessary to learn and develop. However, sometimes people can just struggle with some written assignments or the way to find a correct answer when being curious about some issue, and in such case, the technology innovations really come in handy. For example, there are a lot of educational supportive platforms on the Internet like Pro-Papers, which helps students all over the world to fix their writing and check the written assignments.
The other problem is that we use our little gadgets for fun rather than for knowledge. We would be more motivated and creative if our curiosity has led us to further learnings. The most severe problem in education is that children of that age are not supposed to be on computers all the time.
Another concern that has been circling for a while both in and out of classrooms is false or, in any way, manipulated information. With the Internet being that much accessible, it is easier than ever to launch fake news. We have all fallen victims to this type of fraud and we are never sure what is true and what is not. There isn’t really anyone to check everything that is uploaded online. Therefore, it comes to no surprise that students can as well learn something that is wrong. Now, it is not about what we know is completely true, but children are vulnerable and it takes no more than an appealing story to believe.
With all the problems there are, the most prominent one is no other than the school system itself, the teachers, and the teaching. Change is never bad because it always leads to better things, it powers evolution, we simply have to adapt to it. Nothing will ever change the good old attention and conversation between the teacher and the students. Children need patience and dedication in order to learn, they need to be fully engaged in thinking and conversation. No technology should and could ever replace that. However, technology is an amazing tool to help both students and teachers reach progress. The most definite problem of all is the fact that we have lost the compass. The only right way for a child to learn is to have someone who can speak his language, and his language is IT. Teachers may or may not like it, but they should adapt to the IT because they teach a generation that has yet to grow for the world that is yet to come. They need to step up and be in the future.
Therefore, to conclude, technology doesn’t make students smarter, what makes them smarter is the motivation and dedication to learn. After all, they are the next generation of leaders, they will provoke change, and they are the future. It is our duty to lead them and teach them.
“In the end, technology can amplify great teaching, but great technology cannot replace poor teaching.” – Andreas Schleicher; OECD’s education director