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Effects of Technology on Education
Education has changed considerably over the past twenty years. Technological evolution is one of the main reasons why education has undergone so many changes. In 1990, computers and other forms of technology played a minimal role in the classroom. Many, if not most, students today attend class with a laptop. I write about some of the greatest benefits that technology has given to education.
Technology has made research much easier. Before online encyclopedias, Google Scholar, JSTOR and other online research tools were available, students were forced to spend many hours in the library. With new tools, students can research faster from the comfort of their own home. With Google and other search engines, students can find relevant information faster and more efficiently. Also, it is no longer necessary to memorize intensively because the information is more readily available.
The new technology also allows for a faster, more efficient and more interactive classroom experience. Powerpoint presentations and projectors eliminate the need for blackboards and whiteboards. With clickers, students can answer quizzes during class.
These developments also contribute to improving tutoring services. Online tutoring programs are becoming available. Individual home tutoring programs also benefit from these developments. Tutors can bring laptops to sessions, making it easier for them to research information and show examples to the student.
Wi-Fi technology allows students to study in greater comfort and in a more ergonomic setting.
New mathematical software such as Maple and Mathematica make it easier for students to do computer algebra calculations. Software like Matlab and Scilab allow students to do numerical calculations more easily. There is no longer any need for a line ruler. Advanced Texas Instrument and Casio calculators allow students to solve equations and produce graphs. Online software such as Webassign allows students to submit math assignments online with instant feedback.
The Internet allows students to read books and educational supplements at home. There is no need to go to a bookstore or library. Since many of these sources are open source or ad-supported, students can access these materials for free. Wikipedia, Wikibooks are good examples. Students can learn more without leaving home.
College applications and job applications can now be completed online. Students can deliver important documents to universities and employers at a much faster rate.
Online education allows more students to get an education. Students with disabilities, students who have to travel a lot, and students who are employed can now complete their studies wherever they go with a flexible schedule and often at their own pace. Due to its lower costs, online education also benefits low-income students.
Technological development has allowed the creation of new computer jobs and the improvement of economic development in general.
The effects of technology on education are not all positive. Technology also makes it easier for students to cheat. However, new technologies allow instructors to detect plagiarism. Technological developments can also discourage critical thinking since answers are more readily available. The technology also encourages students to spend their time doing other activities like playing video games and participating in social networks.
Overall, the technological development of the 1990s and 2000s seems to be beneficial for education. Currently, technology improvement follows Moore’s Law which states that computers become twice as efficient approximately every two years. Today, a high-performance personal computer (without a monitor, software and other accessories) can be purchased for as little as $123.99. Recently I haven’t spent more than $250 on a desktop computer and it allowed me to do very advanced calculations like large sample Monte Carlo algorithms. If the trend continues, students around the world will be able to afford desktops and laptops contributing to better global education.
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