In today's data-driven world, it seems that everything is connected to technology: We socialize through smartphones, tablets and personal computers; we work long hours peering at monitors and spreadsheets.
Small wonder, then, that education is also changing the way we educate ourselves, from the time a child starts preschool, to the time that, as adults, we need to take continuing education classes to keep current in our chosen profession.
In fact, a recent panel was convened by the U.S. Department of Education on the subject. Here are 10 ways that technology is changing the classroom:
1. More E-Readers
Books are expensive, take up space, and are instantly out of date. More schools are offering everything from the basic black and white e-readers to top of the line Apple (News - Alert) products in order to lower costs and make changes to books so they remain relevant.
2. More Data, More Personalized Teaching
With electronics, data on learners can be quickly connected and tracked, even over a period of time, measuring everything from grades to teaching efficiency. The more data that teachers and parents have available, the better they can track positive and negative trends inside and outside the classroom.
3. Social Media Integration
With smartphones and tablets being offered to children at a younger and younger age, it makes sense that social media be deployed to keep everyone involved, from educators to students and parents. Twitter (News - Alert), Facebook and even internal social media programs can help keep everyone motivated and up to date.
4. Lower Carbon Footprints
With fewer campuses required because of distance learning and less driving required, carbon emissions commonly associated with such acts will likewise be reduced. This will affect all ages, from those that attend elementary school to those who have chosen an online college.
5. More Educational Choices
From home schooling to online business schools, learners will have greater flexibility to where and when they want their education. Since curricula are moving online at a greater pace, it’s easier for parents to home school, and adults to further their education and take full time college courses.
6. Personalized Curriculum
Greater specialization and data analytics will help students and teachers alike and allow for a tailored curriculum based on individual needs. No child will be left behind, as teachers will know a student's areas of opportunity, and children will no longer be held back if they grasp the material and are ready to move on.
7. Less Waste
Along with lower carbon emissions, less paper means less waste, and since many people utilize smartphones and tablets, many already have the means to attend class without the purchase of new technology, or 100 percent tablet distribution.
8. Go to School How You Want, When You Want
More connectivity means students can attend school when they want and how they want. Biometrics (fingerprinting and retina scan) software and hardware can verify students are who they say they are, and provide digital signature that the work is their own. A whole new dimension in distance learning can allow video chat to attend classes, and homework can be turned in 24 hours a day.
9. Lower Cost
As more classrooms move to virtual locations, most of the costs associated with education simply will disappear. Buildings and the utilities associated with them along with maintenance costs cease to exist in the virtual world.
10. Greater Perspective
With access to the internet, technology broadens the horizon allowing students to more closely identify the global results of history, not only from a single point of view, but from many different points of view. As a result, students can get a global perspective and can better understand the effects of world events.
Technology is on its way to becoming as common in the classrooms as desks for many students. But we should not count on seeing it every classroom anytime soon; the benefits of technology are great, but the expenses of implementing it can be high, especially in low-income urban areas.
Edited by Braden Becker