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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Technology and its Affect on Education

Technology is quickly developing and becoming a normal component of daily lives around the world. These advancements have made their way into the classroom, starting back in the 1960’s with Skinner teaching machines. Since then, laptops to tablets and other tools are now easily accessible for students.

The impact it has on grades, performance, and schools in general is heavily debated. Technology has been proven to both positively and negatively effect education. Though with the right steps, the downsides can be minimized while maximizing the benefits.

Younger generations of students are much more tech savvy than their preceding peer groups. They were born into an era in which computers, cell phones and similar devices are standard parts of their daily activities. This has made them much more skilled and comfortable with technology.

A study performed by the Pew Research Centre found that 94% of U.S adults aged from 18-29 owned a smartphone. These give students the ability to contact professors, check their school email, record lectures, and complete work while mobile.

Students enrolled in certain colleges and universities can gain access to databases of resources, papers, and reports that they normally wouldn’t. This can aid in improving grades, test results, and study habits. IBISWorld is a leading market research company that offers special access to their extensive database for students. Otherwise, some of their reports would cost thousands of dollars.

Having computers or portals for students to use also improves how they can collaborate with peers. Group assignments or projects can be completed more conveniently with a device they are comfortable with.

Pearson Education surveyed 4,854 students across four years on how they believe technology would affect their learning. 83% agreed that tablets would transform their college education experience. 79% said they would find learning more fun with a tablet 68% agreed it would improve their performance. Needless to say, a large amount of students could experience noticeable results by more technology being implemented into schools.

The same survey found that 87% of students use a laptop every week in order to do school work. Smart phones and tablets also make up a sizable percentage of devices used by students.

Technology is also very common in another area, the workplace. College students prepare themselves for the workforce by not only studying but by using the aforementioned devices. Being familiar with computers, applications, and software will be beneficial once they begin working. They will perform better and won’t require as much training as less tech savvy employees.

While a great addition to the classroom, both students and teachers should not solely rely on technology for learning, such as an essay writing service. Durham University found that technology is best used a few times per week for periods of 5 to 10 weeks. Sustained use does not appear to have a further effect on learning but it does positively in shorter bursts.

With the availability of the internet at home, schools, and other regular locations, technology can become very distracting. Many students are active on social media which is known to be a common distraction and habit forming. Without the proper supervision or discipline, this has the potential to take away from study and completing work.

Unless devices and tools are given to students, they will have to spend more money to purchasing them. Along with tuition, textbooks, and other essentials, this can become very costly for young adults. If the colleges are to supply it, they will have to allocate more expenditure towards purchasing and installation..

As well, teachers and professors will need to be trained to become familiar with new technology. Otherwise, it could negatively impact how well they are able to teach their students. This also requires further resources to train faculty. As software and alike develops, it can be come an ongoing process to become sufficient using it too.

Clearly there are both advantages and disadvantages to having technology so commonplace in modern education. As the world consistently moves towards more tech focused societies, it only makes sense that electronics and software become more integrated into schools.

To avoid drawbacks, educators will need to use technology as a supplement to their existing teaching methods. This way, students experience both traditional learning but also develop valuable computer skills. Higher levels of supervision should be used to assure that students don’t misuse tools or get distracted as often.

Institutions should consider if adding more tech will improve productivity and support the learning process. If current structures are yielding positive results, the need isn’t drastic and can be integrated slowly. Surveying students would be a constructive way to begin gathering data to make decisions.

Colleges, universities, and high schools all need to bring their attention to how technology is changing the classroom landscape. Doing so, they can plan ahead on how to spend resources, train faculty, and mange expenditure.

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