Does Technology Enhance or Hinder Education?
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Nowadays our daily life is greatly influenced by technology. It has become an imprescriptible part of people’s daily lives. Technology affects every aspect of human being’s life, including medicine, communication, entertainment, convenience, and more. We are minutely connected with our laptops, iPhones, Facebook. We get our news via a number of websites and digital newspapers. We e-mail, go shopping, enter a library, buy airline tickets, book a room at the hotel, travel around the world and do even more things without leaving our homes with a help of the Internet. And it is not a surprise, because technology is a medium of the future, and it is hard to argue this statement. We are so absorbed in technology, that even our children have become greedy users.
It is impossible to underestimate the role of technology in our life, but there is another question which concerns not only the problem of interrelation between computers and people, but the problem of computers in education. Is it really a good way of study? Does it enhance the educational process or hinder our ability to focus on educational fulfillment? There are a lot of arguments referring to this issue.
As far as I know, there are a variety of arguments accentuating that computer technology deeply influences the education sector. So, according to the book Cross National Policies and Practices on Computers in Education by Tj Plomp and E. Ronald (1996), the use of technology as a tool for teaching and learning can contribute much to educational practice. It may improve the educational achievements and effectiveness of education. Moreover, such educational goals as the teaching of problem-solving and productive (as opposed to reproductive) cognitive skills, can be reached (p10). For example, “mobile phones theoretically enable students to customize the transfer of and access to information in order to build on their skills and knowledge and to meet their own educational” goals (Valk, 2010). As for laptops, according to the article Special Topic: Learning with Laptops by Mike Muir, Bette Manchester, Jim Moulton. (2005), they intensify the use of successful learning strategies and make students able to transmit knowledge through disciplines. Besides, students spend more time doing their homework, interact with each other about their projects, being tend to collaborate, they also constantly find new information and make sense of it.
Speaking about me, I should admit that technology is also an essential part of my life. I cannot even imagine my morning without my smartphone, who wakes me up being my alarm clock, and without checking my e-mail; my afternoons without my laptop with a help of which I can browse the web, play games and listen to music, and my evenings without communication with my friends on Facebook. I have no ability to use the desktop at school, so I am lucky to have a laptop for searching for resources online and for producing electronic presentations which demonstrate my knowledge. I utilize it also for searching some information in encyclopedia, dictionary and thesaurus.
As for an impact of technology on my educational process, I should notice that it helps me greatly. It is well known that the Internet is a huge storage of information. It is much easier and faster for me to find some required information referring to the Internet rather than using fat books for this purpose. There is also no doubt that it is much easier to store retrieved information on computers than to maintain hand-written notes. I should say that I even have better grades using the Internet in my study. The information is more accessible to me, if I learn it via the Internet. Information can be presented in different forms such as audio recordings or video clips. I like it, because it is possible to view pictures as well as watch videos and listen to speeches or lectures, instead of just boring reading from books. It makes my learning process very interesting and absorptive, it greatly enhances my education. It stimulates me to develop my creative thinking and to take on projects independently.
However, there are some people who insist on the negative effect of technology on students’ education. For instance, Angela Young in her article “Internet and its effects on education” (2007), presents some negative effects of using technology for education. She affirms that nowadays technology so widely used in the educational sector and it results in its hindering the educational process. She states that students have become lazy because of being so dependent on technology while learning. She stresses that “in the days of spending time at the library looking for resources, writing info on cards..., you had to work to get information. It may have been tedious, but it certainly caused to information to sink in more deeply” (Young, 2007). As for my opinion, I should admit that I cannot agree with such a view. I think that access to technology is an important key to our success. Moreover I have an idea that those students who really want to study can only benefit from technology, which help them to do it faster and easier. It is impossible to force to study those students, who are far away from it, even by means of separating them from technology and drawing near learning by books.
It is well known fact that education is not limited to classrooms at present. There are a lot of educational online courses which provide students with a convenient way of studying at home. As for me, I think about trying to attend some online courses in the future. I consider it to be very comfortable and effective, because for me it is very pleasant to gain knowledge in home environment. However, I have heard that it is a disputable issue in some extent, and there are some arguments against such a method of study. I have read that the main problem about it is a loss of interaction with fellow students and faculty. Schwarz in his work The Rhetoric of Cyberspace and the Real Curriculum (1996) affirms that:
All want to experience warmth, human interaction, the thrill of discovery, and solid g rounding in essentials: reading, getting along with others, training in civic virtue. Only a t eacher, live in a classroom, can bring about this inspiration ... Yet, everywhere [you can] h ear parents and principals clamoring for interactive computer instruction (p. 76-84).
Perhaps there is a suggestion of truth in this statement, but as for me, I do not consider this issue to be such a big problem.
So, taking into account that fact that we live in an age of great scientific and technological breakthroughs, all should be involved in the use of technology to be successful in our environment, which is so closely connected with it. As for me, educational sector is not an exception. I think it will be very poor without new technologies, and damage much all other spheres of human being, because all the professions nowadays are technology-related. In my opinion, utilizing technology in education cannot hinder it. Quite the contrary – it can just enhance it. It provides a great motivation which results in students’ high grades. It is visible looking at me as an example. I am sure that I score a success in my life having such a great helper – technology.
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