In the past, learning and education simply meant face-to-face lectures, reading books or printed handouts, taking notes and completing assignments generally in the form of answering questions or writing essays. In short; education, learning and teaching were considered impossible without a teacher, books and chalkboards. Today, education and training have taken on a whole new meaning. Computers are an essential part of every classroom and teachers are using DVDs, CD-ROMs and videos to show students how things work and operate. Students can interact with the subject matters through the use of such web based tools and CD-ROMs. Moreover, each student can progress at his/her own pace.
The role of technology in the field of education is four-fold: it is included as a part of the curriculum, as an instructional delivery system, as a means of aiding instructions and also as a tool to enhance the entire learning process. Thanks to technology; education has gone from passive and reactive to interactive and aggressive.
Education is essential in corporate and academic settings. In the former, education or training is used to help workers do things differently than they did before. In the latter; education is geared towards creating curiosity in the minds of students. In either case, the use of technology can help students understand and retain concepts better.
Factors that help students learn better
Research has shown, time and again, that students learn best when they are engaged. Through the use of technology, students can become active participants as opposed to passive ones where they simply receive instructions or information. Trust is another factor that enhances the learning ability of students. With the help of technology, teachers can establish credibility in what they are teaching. Web based tools can be used for providing demonstrations and examples that can help students establish credence in what they are learning.
Technology allows distance learning
Perhaps the greatest impact of technology in the field of learning is its ability to help several people learn simultaneously from different locations. Learners are not required to gather at a predetermined time or place in order to learn and receive instructions and information. All one needs is a computer connected to a modem (or with a CD drive); these tools can literally deliver a ‘classroom’ in the homes and offices of people.
Technology allows group Learning
There are naysayers who argue that distance learning of this sort cannot help students receive the support of traditional group-based learning. For proving this theory wrong, technology has helped provide distance learners with online communities, live chat rooms and bulletin boards. All these allow students to collaborate and communicate even though they are isolated in their own space.
Technology allows individual pacing
Multimedia tools, on-line and CD-ROM based training have helped eliminate the need for an instructor-based lesson plans. Students who grasp concepts faster proceed and move along, without being held back by ones who need more time and help for learning. Such individual pacing is beneficial to all.
Technology helps lower training costs and increases productivity
Another benefit of using technology to reach many students in shorter time is lowering training costs. Corporate and academic Institutions can reduce their costs of delivering lessons to students on a per-student basis. Moreover, technology produces quantifiable results and allows students to put into practice this information quickly and with better results. Through the use of technology, students can considerably save time and increase their productivity. Both these points justify the higher costs of advanced technological tools.
Roadblocks in the use of technology in learning
Naturally, for education technology to have a positive impact on students, it should be designed and prepared well. Tools used for disseminating information must be developed with students in mind. There are also factors like lack of computer/technology literacy to be considered. Schools and businesses must bear in mind that education technology is simply a tool and its success depends largely on the amount of planning that goes into it. Using education technology can be a right choice as long as all such factors are considered.
When used properly, technology in the field of education can be a powerful tool that can help:
Engage and challenge learners
Provide students with practice
Include demos, feedback and avenues that can help students reflect on what they have learned.(source-http://importanceofmoderntechnology.com)