With the 21st century well underway, it is evident that we are living in a digital age. Information is readily accessible at our fingertips and the avenues for the acquisition of knowledge is more open-ended than ever before. Therefore, it should come as little surprise that an ever-evolving field like education would also be subject to a digital and technological renaissance.
Incorporating technology into a classroom setting is only as easy or as difficult as the subjects for which they are required. A blackboard, for example, is a technological device that has been used in classrooms for generations now regardless of the subject being taught, while a centrifuge is a specific piece of scientific apparatus used in certain medical and chemical studies. In the modern day, however, there now exists an entire field of study known as Information Technology which is categorised as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (Richey, 2008). Therefore, we can say that Information Technology seeks to positively integrate technology into education in the hopes of promoting a more holistic learning experience.
Digital media and the proper use of the same is a powerful tool in today’s world of knowledge and information sharing. In a classroom setting, this can easily translate to something as simple as a power-point presentation on the laptop, to say an elaborate virtual reality device to simulate experiences not generally found in a classroom environment. Usage should be based on application and serve a function tied directly to what message it wants to convey. For example, if an educator wished to teach students about Renaissance architecture in the 15th and 16th century, they could use a copy of the video game Assassin’s Creed II to simulate a virtual facsimile of that period. This will allow students to experience the historical setting from a more immersive perspective, as well as to engage themselves with the study material in a more meaningful and invested manner.
Similarly, with regards to practical assignments in science classes or other application-based fields of study, there is a need to use computing devices to measure the possible outcomes and anomalies of ongoing experiments. The coordinated use of such technology helps researchers to narrow down variables and other factors necessary for productive results. The premise of these computing systems is that they will be more readily able to create simulations and extrapolate results out of them, which can then be accurately utilised in real-world applications.
Technology can be a gift when used responsibly and effectively to benefit society. Teachers are already warming up to the idea of tech-based education transforming the student-teacher experience. Professor Tom Harris, who is the chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Vanderbilt University, states the following, “I think we’re going to see a revolution in the interaction between students and teachers. I think the relationship to undergraduates is going to become more like the relationship to graduate students in the sense of more direct personal interaction. By using technology we’re going to be able to use the power of the person, who they are and what they are. The teacher’s inspirational role is going to become much greater” (Granberg, 2000). An optimistic prospect like this should motivate teachers and students to create more integrated learning environments for a more helpful educational experience.
Richey, R.C. (2008). Reflections on the 2008 AECT Definitions of the Field. TechTrends
Granberg, Ellen.M (2000). How Technology Enhances Teaching and Learning. Teaching Forum, Center for Teaching (CFT), Vanderbilt University
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