Progress is already here, and it will not go anywhere. Computer-based elements are used in all areas of human life, in particular, education. Academics pin hopes on technology and claim that it would positively change the way how people teach and study. At the same time, some experts express quite reasonable concerns, believe that technology hinders learning pathways, accustoms students to using electronic devices rather than their own brains to solve challenging tasks and, therefore, it is worth not deviating from well-tested, old approaches.
In this article, experts from Pro-Papers have outlined the main reasons why technology in education has been underwhelming so far. After reading it, teachers will understand whether they should introduce innovations in their classrooms.
Far not all schools can afford modern infrastructure, buy smart desks, multimedia projectors, interactive whiteboards, laptops, tablets, and virtual reality headsets. All this seem to be fantastic for poorly financed and rural schools accustomed to using a pen and paper. If an educational institution has no generous investors, advanced electronics are bought at the expense of other resources, such as healthcare, extracurricular sections, campus and dorm maintenance, learning trips, teachers’ vocational training, etc.
It is not enough to buy hi-tech devices once. They should be constantly updated, repaired, and replaced with newer models, which means schools should attract constant financial inflows.
Insufficient training methods
Technology usage does not belong to obligatory skills educators develop in the framework of professional growth programs. As a result, there are tech-savvy professors ready to change an educational environment and old-school, conservative specialists having no idea of how to teach young people in the informatization era.
Computer-based elements are used sporadically and not always successfully, act as supplementary details rather than a basis of the educational process. Much time and effort are necessary for technology to penetrate into all areas of academic life and radically transform it.
Professors should be taught to create flexible, inquiry-based learning strategies, move from a teacher-centered model, and ensure more individual freedom. It is crucial to allow young people to choose the most suitable working pace and information channels, study topics of interest single-handedly, and work on projects awakening their interest. This new teaching philosophy fused with technology presupposes that learners should take an active part in academic planning rather than be fully dependent on educators.
Poor learning habits
Several decades ago, it was much more difficult to gain knowledge. With today’s large variety of information channels, young people feel more relaxed and treat their academic responsibilities without due respect. Many of them skip lessons, think that there is no need to listen to a lecturer in a class if dozens of educational videos may be found on YouTube, refuse to do homework single-handedly because there are many online services ready to perform any assignment for an affordable fee.
It is difficult for learners to memorize information if they stop taking notes and simply copy-paste texts from electronic sources. Spellcheckers also may be harmful. Many mistakes are made when a person writes without correcting software which was previously used for long.
Completely relying on technology, students form poor learning habits, seek short cuts instead of addressing academic challenges in traditional ways. Knowledge on subjects becomes weak, and all concepts they come across are quickly forgotten.
Since technology is created by a human, machines make errors just like we do from time to time. Connectivity problems, server failures, and other obstacles may be rather frustrating, disrupt the learning process, lower both teachers’ and students’ enthusiasm. Much time should be spent to troubleshoot them, which is highly undesirable for educational institutions which have tough schedules and cannot spend a single minute on extraneous issues.
Since not all teachers are competent to repair computers, school administrators should hire specialists tracking smooth technology operation.
One of the main advantages of the Internet is freedom of speech. But, at the same time, this feature may be considered a disadvantage. Websites’ owners are mainly focused on attracting new visitors. Authenticity and reliability of information seem to be not as important as high rankings and the first lines in search engines. Some sites simply copy and paste articles from other platforms without checking facts outlined in a text. Nobody is immune from using misleading data. That is why there are so many wrong arguments and figures in students’ academic papers.
Young people are used to relaxing on the web. For them, laptops and tablets are rather toys than educational tools. This pattern persists in a classroom. Even though teachers offer convenient learning programs and interesting course materials, over some time, attention shifts to entertainment.
Bright games and notifications constantly popping up on a screen do not allow learners to focus on professor’s explanations. They check updates on friends’ and relatives’ personal pages, count the number of likes, comment on photos, videos, and other content. As a result, there is no time for education, and an entire lesson may be spent on funny apps and social media.
More opportunities for cheating
Cheating has always been a serious concern for teachers. But thanks to technology, it has become even more accessible and widespread. There is no need to study hard and prepare for exams because several mouse clicks are enough to find any information. Students become more and more lazy, while educators find it difficult to check whether gadgets are used for a good purpose. If learners are allowed to use smartphones at an exam, nobody could be sure that they do not Google questions and chat with classmates or tutors.
Learners are disconnected from the real world
E-learning gains popularity, while the importance of face-to-face communication decreases. With this approach, professors do not have the opportunity to attract students’ attention and determine knowledge gaps. Learners cannot share their problems, get hands-on experience, and form practical skills. A compromise may be reached by implementing blended learning strategies involving both on-campus and web interaction.