THIS WEEK WE EXPLORE THE IMPACT THAT TECHNOLOGY HAS ON LEARNING AND CONSIDER HOW IT WILL INFLUENCE EDUCATION IN THE FUTURE.
When I think back to the technology used when I was at school in the 90s, I recall clunky desktops with Matrix-like screens and punching in data to create graphs, as if Maths wasn’t tedious enough. I remember my frustration with the computer. It took longer to create a graph digitally than it did for me to draw it. Thus, during these formative years, I viewed time spent in the computer lab as a hindrance rather than an enhancement.
It goes without saying that my attitude towards technology, and how I interact with it has vastly changed. This is after all, a blog, which I paid for using something called a “payment app”.
My changed attitude cannot simply be attributed to the user-friendly developments in computers and programming that enable me to type, edit and check this post as I type, but also to the advancement of the internet. My research time is halved by the efficiency of search engines and the ease of access to a vast well of information. Social media also allows me to share what I find at the click of a button.
The most telling way in which technology has changed the way we work, learn and play is reflected in the language we use to talk about it. Words such as hyperlinked, hashtag, and smartwatch have entered our vocabulary in the last year, with new words being added every month to describe developing trends in our online habits.
These developments in technology have altered the way I facilitate face to face training in using different tools to engage and increase interaction between teachers. In addition, technology is utilised to create a community learning environment, empowering trainees to contribute towards a shared goal. This is best demonstrated in brainstorming sessions, where trainees mind-mapped ideas for winter-themed activities in groups and pooled their ideas through sharing photos on the social media site WeChat.
With social media sites like Facebook having over a billion users, we cannot ignore the influence that such technology has on our lives and the implications for education. In the coming years, I expect this trend for using social media to create, share and connect with learners inside and outside the classroom will continue to expand. The challenge we face as educators is how we can integrate these changes into our practice.