Since its inception, technology has made major strides concerning technological advancement. This is evident due to its use for many purposes, such as communication, leisure, and education. Critics argue that technology is a “blessing in disguise” while discussing its application to the educational system. The logic behind such arguments is that there are merits and demerits of its use in the education at all levels. One of the major concerns is that technology has reduced contact hours between teachers and their students. How can technology obstruct or destruct the quality of education? This is the question that this paper explores by discovering the advantages and disadvantages of education.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology in Education
To begin with, the main advantage of using technology in education is that it provides practice and drill for the students. Teachers’ instructions may become tedious over time unlike using technology which provides motivation to the students to continue learning. Technology-based education provides an alternative for students who may be discouraged from learning by making abstract concepts more practical, they can find more at the web and use it as an example.
The other advantage is that technology, such as the internet, avails monumental information to the students since it allows them to interact with different cultures and provides information on any imaginable thing. GLOBE is an example of a program which allows students to participate actively.
Exploration is also another merit of technology in the educational process. The act of researching papers and searching for information on the Internet with extensive resource keeps the students interested and engaged in learning longer than the sets of encyclopedias they may use in their study. In addition, lesson integration is another advantage of technology in education. Students tend to be more excited and engaged in the subject “at hand”. Tedious lessons such as social studies become more interesting with streaming videos and virtual trips. People with special needs get the required attention, as computers allow them to learn at their own pace. It allows teachers to achieve more and to feel less stressed since students receive direct instructions from the computer. Handicapped students are also aided and can communicate through the use of assistive technology.
The cost of acquiring the necessary equipment is also cheap since schools are able to access grants from external sources. The training required by the students and teachers operating in technology classrooms is also helpful, as they can use it in part-time jobs and future occupations. Another advantage is that the use of technology, computers, has made record keeping easy. Schools do not require stores anymore to keep files, as this is easily achieved by creating database systems in computers. This makes retrieving and managing information required by the students easy and relatively fast.
In addition, technology helps teachers to combat cheating among students when they are given assignments. This is achieved through the use of programs that detect plagiarism in any piece of work. It obliges students to do their assignments diligently even under minimum supervision.
Video games and music can also enhance the performance of students, unlike the prior belief. The research has shown that music alleviates depression and anxiety. Music increases cognitive functioning and enhances mood as spatial awareness.
Online education is another field that has undoubtedly proven the advantages of technology in education. Self-motivated students who are self-disciplined, mature and have high degrees of managing time are able to access high education via online lectures. This makes it possible for learners to study and at the same time undertake other economic activities.
However, technology has some pitfalls on education. The first demerit of technology use in education concerns exploration. Some students may explore beyond the set parameters which makes them more confused. The consequence of such venture is that it degrades the students’ ability to distinguish between what to take and what to ignore.
Secondly, special needs education has proved to be very expensive. This can lead to drainage of massive resources that could have been used for more integrative purposes. In addition, acquiring computers and laptops for individual students may be very expensive also due to the fact of their necessary replacement after two or three years of consecutive use. Teachers are also required to meet the needs of students using technology. In addition, many teachers still remain skeptical about taking extra classes that enable them to acquire the necessary skills, since it is a time-consuming activity. All these factors may consume a lot of resources.
Owing to the presence of junk information, finding the right information online may be tedious. It means that the teachers may spend more time preparing for the lessons than they do conventionally. This has proved to be a setback for the use of technology in education. Moreover, it is strengthened by the fact that the failure of effective use of computers may affect the good educational experience of the students.
Generally, it is known that technology has negative impact on the minds of individuals. With the emergence of social networking sites, such as Facebook, video calling and instant messaging, the learners tend to spend more time on them instead of constructive learning. These sites also have an addictive effect on the users and they have difficulties to refrain from this dependence.
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In addition, the Internet has made students lazier than ever before. This results from the fact that the students always use it when they have difficult assignments. It is through the Internet that students get exposed to pornographic material. This erodes morals of many teenage students and leads to short concentration spans. Another setback of using technology is that traditional instructors find it difficult to adopt the new systems, especially when they used to receive “handouts and one on one lectures”. This makes them ineffective instructors in the modern world.
The prolonged use of computers is known to have negative impact on the user’s health. The harmful electronic rays produced by the computer screens affect the eyes of the users. This causes real problems, and many users are obliged to spend a lot of money on purchasing visual aids, such as spectacles.
In conclusion, the advantages of technology in education outweigh the disadvantages. Certainly, the 21st century relies completely on technology and its aspects. It means that everybody has to meet the standards if it is necessary to get some gainful results. The education sector is not an exception to this phenomenon; it has to produce students who are well trained and possess basic technological skills. Teachers should also be responsible for educating the students about how to use the technology properly. They should prepare guidelines which will ensure that students know what to search for while using the Internet. The curriculum developers must create the methods of ensuring proper use of technology in education. It is a long process to guarantee the benefit of the students and teachers from the use of technology in the educational process.