It is undeniable that technology has changed our world, but one of the biggest areas it has impacted is education. Both in and out of the classroom, education has been made easier and more accessible than ever thanks to technology. Whether you are a current student, looking to go back to school, an educator or a parent looking into your child’s education options, it’s important to understand the impact technology has had on education, both in and out of the classroom. By learning about it, you might be able to find some useful programs, apps and technology that will help you or your child.
The amount and quality of online education options is simply exploding. At first, online degree options were run by shady for-profit institutions and degrees issued by them did not carry a lot of weight among employers. Now, that is changing, and an online degree is a perfectly acceptable alternative to attending a traditional program. Many traditional and acclaimed universities are now offering degree programs entirely online or consisting of both online and on-campus learning.
There are also a handful of free online universities that offer a variety of courses to embellish your skill set. Even for middle and high school students, kids now have access to classes online that can help them graduate high school. For home schooled children, online resources like this home school curriculum have brought additional resources for them to explore. Online, you can find everything from educational games to homeschooling advice to helpful apps.
Even for people who don’t want a formal education but just want to learn something new, the amount of information at the tips of our fingers is tremendous. Of course, this is a double-edged sword, as it is incredibly easy to spread misinformation through the Internet as well. While sites like Wikipedia do a pretty good job of removing incorrect content quickly, it is always important to get information from a reliable source and verify it elsewhere before assuming it to be true. Official sites of a number of reputable institutions, from art museums to zoos to NASA, have virtual tours.
There is also plenty of information and images for anyone to examine and learn from. There are also nearly countless news sources from every discipline imaginable that publish new findings and have archives that can be accessed. Another huge improvement has been in access to quality tutors. There are plenty of reputable sites that connect students and parents to tutors to set up meetings in person or online. This can be particularly helpful for children who are nervous or embarrassed going to someone in person but would be more comfortable asking questions online.
Electronic devices assist heavily in education both in and out of the classroom. For example, students with disabilities can use a number of technological advancements, such as text-to-speech and graphic organizers, or even just access to digital versions of textbooks so anyone with vision difficulties can zoom in to read. Schools are even required by the Individuals with Disabilities Act to provide necessary assistive technology for students who receive special education services.
At a more basic level, tablets and laptops allow students to take notes digitally while in class. Smartphones can even let student’s record lectures, and students can even retrieve a teacher’s lecture notes that have been uploaded to the cloud.
As technology continues to evolve and change, so will education. Students, parents and educators alike need to have some understanding of their changing options so technology can be better used to meet everyone’s needs. Try out different things and see what works best for you. Look up lists and information online to see what is available. You might just find a new learning option that will be the solution to your problems.