There is a rapid rise in the number of digital learners today showing us how the delivery of education has evolved. This is hardly surprising when we look at how mobile devices and applications have taken over businesses and consumers alike and it was only a matter of time before educational institutions adopted technology to engage students.
First there was e-learning, which used smart boards, PCs and CD ROMs. This extended to web conferencing and Web 2.0 when the Internet got popular. Learning can be enhanced and supported with different kinds of technology like video content, digital movies, laptop computing, hand-held technologies and podcasting.
Today, e-learning has evolved into m-learning or mobile learning with wireless internet connectivity making it easier for technology to be leveraged in education. What was once confined to a class room now knows no geographic boundaries and the latest upon the scene, mobile devices, are being viewed as a natural addition to e-learning.
The benefits of using technology in education
Here is a quick overview of how technology can be leveraged for education:
- Quick access to information leading to better performance .
- Ability to manage a variety of learning requirements, enabling students learn at their own pace, personalising the learning experience.
- Promotes two way interaction.
- Caters to special education needs for students with learning disabilities.
- Wider reach, taking learning to students who do not have the advantage of a regular education.
- Easy access to experts in a cost effective way.
One school plans to use the iPad to support its curriculum and is moving away from expensive printed text books that get outdated quickly. It plans to use mobile applications to keep its students interested and enhance their learning. They intend to use apps to simulate biology dissections, doing away with the need to buy related equipment for these. Using mobile technology will save them thousands of dollars in investment. Another school plans to use a one-to-one computing program pilot where each child will have a personal learning device that will enable them to have instant access to a huge database of information, web based resources and peers – regardless of geographic location.
The fall 2010 Campus Computing Survey indicates that more than 70 % of the participants concur that mobile apps will play a vital role in enhancing instructional resources. There is a strong market for mobile apps in higher education with students expecting educational institutions to make app-based resources and services available to them. The fact remains that even though many schools have not yet adopted it, technology is critical in education because it brings so many benefits. Schools may not allow cellphones for good reason, but it is possible to take advantage of its uses. Certain apps such as voice memos enable students to record notes for later review. The notes app on the iPhone allows students to email notes to themselves.
Different types of technologies bring different types of content and add value in the classroom, both conceptually and in terms of practice. Technology empowers both the student and the tutor, making the learning experience enjoyable and meaningful.
Technology makes learning dynamic. What are your experiences and views about using technology in education?