Can Tech Save Education? 5 Ways It Could Be Done

Author: This is a guest blogger post by Nelson Lafever.

Byline: Nelson graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2002 with a BA in journalism and now focuses his talents on the technology sector.

NOTE: There are several links in this posting that will take you to other sites that offer services for a fee. I do not ever plan for this blog to become a covert sales machine for anyone or any entity; however, if the theme is related to and promotes learning, I will pass along the option to investigate if the craving to do so is flung upon you, and if I am ever “selling”, you’ll know it up front. Just sayin’…

Article: Two-thirds of all new job in the U.S. require post-high school education. With the rise in high school and college drop outs, the United States is scrambling to keep the attention of its students and develop a positive way to keep them involved. Experts agree that technology can save education if it is used by prepared teachers who can provide guidance to their students. The Internet is the driving force for all technological innovations. Some specific examples of technology saving education include the following.

Online Learning

Online classes are becoming more common and more classes are available each semester. They can work on their own schedule and at their own rate. Professors can use their time effectively by publishing FAQ and open the class for peer-to-peer teaching and grading. Communication devices such as instant messaging and email are used. Using a webcam to chat live in real time with teachers and other students is effective. Online learning gives students more freedom and time to work on projects and balance work with studying.

Use of the Internet in the Classroom

For all ages, involvement in global learning opens up tremendous learning opportunities in all subjects. Students can virtually walk on the Great Wall of China and see the great works of art at the Louvre and climb the Eiffel Tower in Paris. They can learn foreign languages from native speakers in real time by way of a video chat.

Video-conferencing allows guest lecturers that could never be possible before this media. For example, a class studying about the holocaust may actually “meet” a survivor through video conferencing and after hearing that person speak, they can chat live with the speaker and ask questions in real time. Teachers can easily access material from a previous lesson to refresh learning or to emphasize a point. Homework can be submitted by way of email. YouTube can be used to reach visual learners who have trouble learning from material presented only in textbook formats.

Development of Educational Games

Educational video-games that mimic popular games easily engage students. A good use of games is to present students with real life problems by way of virtual situations.

An example of this is in New York City where an after school program has used video game concepts to teach students math skills at the same time it teaches them about poverty in other countries. Students/players are “taken” to Haiti where they assume responsibility for a fictional family. Students make decisions about how to spend the little bit of money the family has and decide whether the children go to school or work.

Getting Physic-al

The use of online probes and sensors are proving effective for teaching physics. Chad Dorsey, physics teacher and CEO of Concord Consortium, reports a greater understanding of physics when an ultrasonic motion detector is hooked up to a graph. According to Dorsey, “It gives you a specific real-time feel for what it means to move at faster rates or slower rates or increasing in speed or decreasing in speed and a much more foundational understanding of the topic than you could ever get by just drawing the graph by hand.”

Out of Print

Digital books are delivered in seconds instead of days and are generally less expensive. Teachers can write their own materials and easily make them available. Instead of carrying around a lot of textbooks, students carry all their learning materials in their laptops or iPods. This provides greater access to encyclopedias, libraries, books and magazines.