Today everything around us is rapidly changing.
Surely we can understand that this has to do with the increasing pace in which technology is progressing and with new inventions and discoveries in science. Being a teacher myself with over 20 years of experience in education, I have really seen things changing dramatically in our area over the last two decades.
The most significant changes one can spot at once have to do mainly with the advancement of technology. Even though technology did not play a significant role until relatively recently, nowadays there is even the study of use of new systems for storing and sending information, what we call information technology.
The consequence of all this is a change in the way in which people think and act. Therefore, people now act with greater autonomy, faster and they can be more efficient in their work than in the past. Furthermore, all areas of life are influenced by this spirit of change.
The influence of New Technologies in education is becoming more evident. Personal computers, the rapid development of the Internet (World Wide Web) did not leave the sector of education unaffected. Teachers therefore must be aware about these unique pedagogical and educational advantages offered by new technologies today, before deciding to use them.
Nowadays, technology really has a lot to offer for the benefit of students, teachers and the society we all leave in. Average students will have many benefits, while geniuses will not be limited only to specific and limited content, nor will they have to follow other students in a slow pace for the sake of the class. There are also many advantages for people with disabilities, either mental of physical, who did not have the means and opportunities to study as other students.
Using computers and new technology in education
When I started teaching 20 years ago, our resources were far too limited. I’m talking both about the equipment we could use and the educational material we had access to and was asked to teach our students. Then eventually came computers. They were used very little in the beginning since they weren’t powerful enough to do a lot of things, nor was there proper educational or training software available to be used with them.
This is why at first children were taught only how to use computers and some basic skills regarding computers, but very soon, in less than a decade, computers became extremely powerful tools for students and teachers. Of course computers did not come to make books obsolete as some people think. They are essential for the success of this new kind of teaching that even today scares off some.
But it’s a fact that when computers are used properly in education, teachers do not need to perform time consuming and pointless tasks like organizing the lesson for the next day or prepare and correct tests. These are all handled by computers and the progress of students in each area, eg mathematics, history, literature etc. is tracked easily. Teachers have not some rather new tasks, like analyzing the weaknesses and capabilities of each student and working on them and try to make children develop their critical thinking more.
What new technology in class has to offer
With the use of new technologies in class, our mission as teachers regarding training is guaranteed. This is mainly because we have more time to prepare activities and the ideal conditions to make students assimilate them. In the past our only resource was an old chalkboard and the books that were given by the school, or at most some few more books and printed photos we could find as teachers and that I can tell you was not an easy task, especially for finding photos.
Then projectors arrived and digitized pictures from the internet, that could be easily found by the ton with a few searches. Then, every kid could see the material including all the photos in his or her computer or tablet and did not have to write everything in the notebook by hand, because me and all the other teacher provided them with a text document that including theory and homework.
This process has personally allowed me and my colleagues at school to discuss twice as many topics as in the past and also it has made us show our own individual skills in class, something that was not really possible a few years ago, since our resources and given schedule made us act like copies of each other.
Information communication technologies in Education
As I mentioned before information communications technologies in education is a rather new field of study that can certainly be very beneficial for teacher. A few years ago I attended an International conference of communication technologies in education, that was held in the Institute of East Aegean in the beautiful island of Samos in Greece.
The topics included interesting new aspects in education like video-conferencing that enables people to communicate remotely with each other through special applications. I had to video chat my family and friends to let them know my liposuction surgeon did this procedure, that helped me lose pounds. Scientists also promise that artificial intelligence in the form of expert systems with speech capabilities will soon become a reality in education, assisting teachers more in class.
There are also many other interesting aspects of new technologies in education that will be introduced in the following years that really amazing. The thing is that the role of teachers in education is changing. Until now teacher were dominating in learning. They were the ones who “knew” and students were simply those who had to “learn”. But this concept has begun to decline in the last few years with the entry of computers and new technology in schools, that are replacing books which were considered to be the only source of knowledge for centuries.
This is not a bad thing if you ask me. The point is not whether the teacher maintains his leading role in education but rather how we can make education more efficient and new generations smarter and well educated. New technologies in education really help in this effort.