Parents and educators tend to believe that the classroom is a hallowed space set apart from the outside world. To those nostalgic minds, schools should always be a place of dusty chalkboards, pencils and industriously scribbling students. Legislators would prefer this scenario as well, because it remains the cheapest way for the states to teach millions of children every year.
By adhering to this model, however, the modern educational system will leave those children behind. The truth is that computers now play a major role in nearly every job or career, and that introducing educational technology at a young age improves mastery and learning. Although they have the potential to do just as much harm as good, computers are likely to be integrated into every school in America in the coming decade.
Electronics as a Distraction
There’s a reason why most college and high school syllabi now expressly ban the use of laptops, cell phones, tablets and all other electronic gadgets during class. Teenagers and young adults are notorious for their technology addiction and constant need to fiddle with something or text a friend. Watching a room full of students staring down at their cell phones is enough to infuriate any professor.
Technology is, for this reason, a double-edged sword. The youth of today have grown up with it constantly surrounding them, and to go without it for several hours can make them antsy. Rather than place a flat ban on all computers, however, schools should utilize that familiarity and exploit it to improve the learning environment. To learn more about how to utilize these tools to an educational advantage visit Dell.
Educational Technology as a Learning Tool
Even if they had no other value, electronic educational tools engage students and increase their satisfaction with a course. Rather than taking notes, listening to a teacher or writing down exercises, students are able to interact with their work, go back to reread a critical bit of information and receive immediate feedback on their performance. This also gives them a chance to work at their own pace, which is a relief for both the above-average and those who need a bit more time.
Classes are taught using specialized programs designed around a specific curriculum and geared toward certain age groups. Younger children, for example, do well with programs that are easy to navigate and structured similarly to a video game. As they grow older, those same children are able to adjust to more structured online coursework. At present, most classes use these tools strictly to supplement traditional teaching methods, but the popularity of completely digital classes and universities are, perhaps, a sign of things to come.
The Future of Education
There is an old trope in science fiction novels and movies that children will one day attend school in isolated pods, possibly at home, learning everything from a computer. Thankfully, it is unlikely that human interaction will ever be removed from education, particularly for young children. No computer can account for every situation, but an experienced professional can offer guidance no matter what.
The connection between electronic education and higher test scores is undeniable, however, and a digital classroom also promotes faster learning. The key to shaping an education plan for the future will be finding the right balance between computers and everything else a child must learn: how to interact with others, handwriting and physical education, to name just a few. Even if children know what sort of curriculum works best for them, how public schools move forward is up to their parents and grandparents. With most evidence pointing to the efficacy of electronic education, how quickly courses enter the digital era will largely depend on budgets and public perception.
David Malmborg works with Dell. When he isn’t working he enjoys hiking, spending time with family and researching new technology. He is currently learning more about HPC and how it has benefited higher education today and recommends visiting dell.com for more information.