With the advancement in technology today, teachers can help students develop the necessary skills to build their future career paths. Many of today’s high-demand jobs were created in the last decade, according to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
The real importance of technology in education has been demonstrated at present with the current COVID-19 pandemic where most educational institutions have been forced to switch to online teaching. Teaching through online platforms have made technology as a powerful tool and set the tone for future technological innovations.
However, prior to COVID-19, there was already a very high growth in education technology, with global investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019. By 2025, the overall market for online education is projected to reach $350 billion according to the World Economic Forum .
The effective use of digital platforms, augmented reality, and video conferencing to create virtual classrooms are used to ensure more inclusive learning environments. These environments increase teamwork, curiosity among students as well as helping the teachers to gather data on students’ performances. Teachers are also able to improve their lesson plans and develop personalized learning sessions.
Challenges in Educational Technology
According to a report from Built in, 92% of teachers have a thorough understanding of the impact of technology in education. According to Project Tomorrow, 59 % of middle school students say digital educational tools have helped them with their grades and test scores .
On the other hand, educational technology has many challenges during implementation and usage. Less than 10% of schools have tools for the use of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies although the interest in these technologies have been growing., according to Project Tomorrow .
There has also been growing concerns about the excessive screen time, the effectiveness of teachers using the technology, and worries about technology equity.
While some students succeed in understanding the online education settings, others are left behind for various factors, including support resources. Since some students who struggled in face-to-face environments may struggle even more in the current situation. These students may have relied on resources that they no longer have in their homes. Teachers are also faced with challenged especially in areas where online education was not the norm.
The Benefits of Technology in Education
The World Economic Forum reports that while technology can help young students learn and acquire knowledge through play, for example, evidence suggests that learning is more effective through guidance from an adult, such as a teacher. The incorporation of technology in the classrooms has helped students to improve their performance. Teachers’ jobs have become easier, and this has led to little, or no overtime hours being worked.
Increased Collaboration and Communication
Educational technology has built stronger relationship between teachers and students. Teachers can engage with students during online lessons and communicate with them effectively. Through interactive learning games, students get to work together to solve problems. Students can share their thoughts and ideas and give support to each other.
Technology enables one-on-one interaction between teachers and students. Students can ask classroom-related questions and seek additional help on difficult-to-understand subject matters. There is also ease of accessing students’ homework since they can be easily uploaded by students from their homes. There is less need for paper and printing which is better for the environment.
Personalized Learning Opportunities
Technology allows 24/7 access to educational resources; therefore, students can be more relaxed and develop better study schedules. Hybrid sessions of learning combine the use of technology from anywhere with regular in-person classroom sessions. For both teaching methods, the use of technology has resulted in tailor made learning plans for each student. Teachers can create lessons based on student interests and strengths and they can learn at their own pace. Students can also review class material such as videos and infographics to get a better understanding of essential concepts.
Curiosity Driven by Engaging Content
Research has shown that academic success is tied to teachers having the ability to develop curiosity among students. Creating engaging content using Augmented Reality, videos, or podcasts. For example, when submitting assignments, students can include videos or interact with students from across the globe.
Improved Teacher Productivity and Efficiency
Teachers can control technology to achieve new levels of productivity, implement useful digital tools to expand learning opportunities for students, and increase student support and engagement. Technology enables teachers to improve their instruction methods and personalize learning. Schools can benefit from technology by reducing the costs of physical instructional materials, enhancing educational program efficiency, and making the best use of teacher time.
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Written by Bhoomattee Surujdin for Semlex For Education.
Sources Friedman, Sara, How Teachers Use Technology to Enrich Learning Experiences – Published by Ed Tech trends-October 2019.
 World Economic Forum – Learning through play: how schools can educate students through technology – Published in 2020. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/technology-education-edtech-play-learning/.
 Li Cathy (2020) The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. World Economic Forum