A student’s perspective on the promise of technology

How has technology changed teaching and learning?

Research has proven that there is no “one size fits all” method when it comes to effective teaching and learning. Without the help of technology, it would be nearly impossible for one teacher to cater to multiple styles of learning. Technology affords both parties the opportunity to absorb information in the way that works best for the individual by bringing a variety of teaching styles and methods to learners, especially in a visual way. This can be accomplished by teachers in all types of communities, regardless of whether or not they have access to the latest digital-learning tools. Students can use their cell phones, if permitted, to enable mass communication with their teachers and fellow classmates on assignments, notes, and any other helpful information. Something as simple as constructing a class webpage to house announcements and downloadable materials can also provide a centralized hub for students to stay up-to-date on their studies. Finally, another tool that continues to become more widespread among professors and pupils is the use of podcasts to reinforce the information being taught. All of these methods are allowing students and teachers to achieve a higher understanding of both traditional textbook information and the ever-changing world around them.

Through all this tech-talk and innovative language, it is inevitable that social concerns will arise as well. If the balance between screen time and real time continues to teeter to one side, how will our students fulfill the social obligations that lead them successfully into adulthood? In other words, where do we draw the line? It is equally important that we do not let our future generations’ social skills suffer in the locking grip that technology has on our society. Ironically, while technology may be connecting us online, it can consequently disconnect us from the real world and forfeit the healthy amounts of face-to-face enrichment that humans need. Classes taken entirely online may lack the thought-provoking discussions that result from the students’ collaboration and input inside a classroom. Possible solutions to this problem may include Skype-esque teaching environments and online discussion tools to aid in fulfilling the participation portion of a course.

Every year that spawns new creations and discoveries in innovative technology will yield new results, and this concept is transcribed most accurately through generations of teachers and learners. Some may wonder about possible consequences that could arise from using the newest technology in education, arguing that it could end up harming our children instead of propelling them toward success, while others advocate for a “full speed ahead” state of mind. SXSW EDU works hard to facilitate all perspectives relating to the power of technology within schools and learning spaces across the world with the help of influential leaders, mentors, and organizations.

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