The benefits of technology for education

Image courtesy of AiLab

The digital age has changed the face of nearly every sector. From construction to retail, transport to the arts, it seems like technology has transformed our whole world.
It has left its mark in the classroom too. With tablets and interactive whiteboards all commonplace now, not only are kids learning how to use technology in lessons, the lessons themselves are a frequent interaction with it. Is it a benefit or a hinderance though? Providers of print management software, United Carlton, investigates…
Educational technology
It’s been a long time since blackboards and chalk have been used in the classroom. Universities, colleges, high schools, primary schools and even nurseries have adopted technology into their classrooms to deliver a better learning experience for all – not only does this provide young people with a better education, it gives them the preparation they need for what has now become a tech-savvy working world.
Tablet devices such as iPads are a common sight in 68% of UK primary schools, according to data from the Family, Kids and Youth research group. 9% of these schools said that there was a tablet device for every pupil studying at their establishment. For the remaining schools that do not have tablet devices in place, 45% of them said that it was something they were looking at introducing in the future. In 2014, it was reported that there were 430,000 tablets in education establishments and this figure was expected to rise to over 900,000 by 2016 – however, no confirmation result has been released.
In what ways does technology help a lesson? Tablets and other gadgets are making lessons more interactive regardless of the subject, encouraging more pupil participation. It can also improve the retention rate of learners. By catering to different types of learners, pupils are more likely to retain the information over a teacher simply reading from a textbook. Lessons can also be personalised to the learners needs, whether this is teaching through the use of games, music and even e-books. Another benefit is that teachers now have the ability to search for materials they need online, allowing them to access additional resources where required.
Online lessons called ‘webinars’ have also been made possible by technology. Teachers are able to connect with a group of students remotely. This is most prominent in university and colleges, although it can also be used for younger children to teach them a specific subject or module. Exams can also be taken online which has shown a huge shift in the traditional methods.
The digital path for education
Will we see technology move from mere assistance to full control of the lesson? Sir Anthony Seldon from the University of Buckingham claims that within the next 10 years, artificial intelligence (AI) will cause a shift in how we teach students. Although teachers will still have a job in the classroom, they will act as assistants only while letting the AI device teach the lesson. Essentially, teachers will control classroom behaviour rather than actually teach.
Seldon observed “It will open up the possibility of an Eton or Wellington education for all.”
The technology will help students with personalised lessons, adapting to the methods each student learns best by. It will be able to work with the pace of the students, setting tasks accordingly.
It will certainly be exciting to see just how far technology can go to improve the classroom!