In the 21st century, we all make a huge bet on technology in literally everything we do. Rapid technological progress has supplied us with a vast number of innovations that have the potential to change our lives for the better. But is technology really as effective in all spheres?
Education is one of the key areas that are hoping for more mass integration of technology. Over the past decades, we've seen schools and colleges equip classrooms with all sorts of gadgets in an attempt to boost student engagement and overall performance.
And what results did it bring? In this article, we are going to tell you about the key impacts education technology has on learning and some significant drawbacks that are still there. Let's dive in!
Impact of Technology on Learning Outcomes
Today, classrooms packed with various gadgets are neither new nor rare to us. These days, most families have multiple devices in their households, which means that young people are well used to using technology in different spheres of their lives. They use technology to communicate, improve grades with the help of professional essay writers and mostly for entertainment.
But what happens when they start using it for learning?
According to numerous surveys and studies, technology has the potential to improve learning. Namely, the most apparent benefits of educational technology include:
- Better access to resources. First and foremost, education technology implies that students have access to a huge pool of information right at their fingertips. This means better accessibility of educational materials.
- Better engagement. Another significant benefit is the possibility of boosting students' engagement. As was already mentioned, modern generations are well used to technology. Thus, when we leverage it in the learning process, they feel more confident and engaged.
- Interactivity and collaboration. Also, technology makes learning more interactive and fosters collaboration. With the help of the Internet and various gadgets, students and teachers can interact more effectively, which also has a positive impact on the outcomes.
- Expanded boundaries. Just a few decades ago, students' learning boundaries were limited by the classroom walls. Now, things have changed. Education technology eliminates boundaries. With its help, teachers can bring industry experts right into the classroom or take the whole class on the field trip to Mars. And these are just a few examples of the use we can make of technology.
- Fostering self-paced learning. Finally, another positive impact technology can have on education is by encouraging self-paced learning for everyone. It has long become clear that a standard one-fits-all educational program is not quite as effective as we see it. Every student is individual and, thus, has unique learning needs that are not considered in the standard program. Education technology, on the other hand, can help us make learning more personalized and, thus, more effective.
Boosting Learning Outcomes With the Help of Technology: What Factors Are Yet to Be Considered?
Now, when students from all over the world are gradually returning to classrooms, the question about the use of educational technology becomes more acute than ever. After the global lockdown that caused millions of students to learn from their own homes, it now makes pretty good sense to reconsider the role of education technology. But, what drawbacks are still there?
According to the 2018 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) by OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), there are a number of factors that define the connection between student outcomes and the use of technology. The findings suggest that technology can have both negative and positive impacts on learning. Here are the main factors that must be considered:
One of the findings suggests that, apparently, not all regions are ready to leverage education technology. So, geography matters in terms of learning outcomes.
Type of Device
The type of device also plays a significant role in the results. According to PISA, the use of data projectors and Internet-connected computers in the classroom can deliver the best results. In contrast, the use of laptops and tablets is associated with poorer outcomes.
Intensity of Use
The number of hours spent on devices both for homework and in the classroom also affect the outcomes. The study shows that students who use technology more intensely show better results. Whereas those who are not used to relying on gadgets a lot show poorer learning outcomes when they start using education technology.
Who Is Using Technology
According to PISA, technology in the hands of teachers provides better results. The study reveals that exclusive use of gadgets by students typically leads to significantly lower learning outcomes.
Overall School System Performance Level
Finally, the findings also suggest that the impact of technology use is directly related to the overall performance of the school system. That is, schools with good and great performance levels get better outcomes from the use of technology. However, schools with initially low performance get worse outcomes.
The Bottom Line
Based on everything discussed earlier, we can conclude that education technology has the potential to make a significant impact on learning and student outcomes. However, there are still many factors that get in the way.
With that being said, it becomes clear that the way we use technology matters the most. If we do it right, it can complement the school program and boost the results. But, employed at the wrong time or in the wrong way, technology in the students' hands can bring the opposite result.