Professional test takers
Education is not an exception to the influence of technology on every aspect of our lives. But is it? Education seems to be the same today as it was many years ago. Laurentius de Voltolina, 14th-century illustration depicts a medieval university lecture. Because of the similarities to modern times, it is easy to recognize this scene. While the teacher speaks from the podium in front of the class, students sit in rows to listen. Some students open books in front of themselves and seem to be following the teacher’s instructions. Some look bored. Others are talking to neighbors. One seems to be asleep. Although classrooms look the same today, you may find students using their smart phones, tablets, laptops or computers to read instead of in books. Technology has not made education better, even if you are a cynic.
Technology has changed education in many ways. One is that technology has made education more accessible. Books were scarce in medieval times and only a few people had access to education opportunities. To receive an education, individuals had to travel to learning centers. The Internet makes it possible to access huge amounts of information, including audio and images as well as videos, online. There are also opportunities for formal learning online through Khan Academy, MOOCs and podcasts. Technology has made it possible to have unprecedented access to learning opportunities.
Professional test takers consider that technology has opened up new opportunities for collaboration and communication. Technology has opened up new possibilities for collaboration and communication. Classrooms were traditionally isolated. Technology has enabled collaboration and communication that was not possible in the past. For example, students in rural America can follow the expedition of scientists to the Arctic, see photos and e-mail questions. They can also talk live via videoconference with scientists. Students can also share their learning with other students from other states, who are following the same expedition. Technology-based tools like Google Docs and Wikis allow students to collaborate on group projects. Technology has opened up new possibilities for learning, communication, and collaboration.
The roles of learners and teachers have also been altered by technology. The traditional classroom, as we see in de Voltolina’s illustration, is dominated by the teacher. However, the learner passively receives the information. The teacher is the “sage on stage”, a model that has been used in education for many years. The technology that has made it possible to access information and education more accessible means that the teacher’s role is now being replaced by the “guide on side”. Students are taking greater responsibility for their learning through technology. In order to facilitate this model of education, schools and universities across the nation are redesigning learning spaces. They encourage more interaction, small group work, and utilize technology as an enabler.
Technology can transform education in many ways. It can make it easier for teachers and students to share their learning materials, and even allow them to collaborate on new projects. The internet’s global reach and ubiquitous availability of smart devices that can connect it to it means that a new age in education is emerging. Instructional designers and educational technology will need to take advantage of the technological opportunities to transform education so that everyone can access effective and efficient education.