Technology has changed just about every facet of life, and education is no exception. An influx of technology in the classroom has changed how, where and when students learn. It’s also helped educators keep their students more engaged and involved. Here are just a few of the ways technology has changed higher education.
The cost of printing and distributing textbooks is high, which means so are textbook prices. College students have long bemoaned the cost of books and often buy them used to save money. Virtual libraries and ebooks, however, make it possible for students to access books electronically. This method of book distribution is less expensive and faster than shipping physical books across the country. It also makes carrying your texts around campus much easier.
In a traditional classroom model, a teacher stands in front of the room and lectures the students, hoping they absorb some of what is being said. This leads to fatigue and limits the student’s involvement. Technology allows software programs to make learning more interactive by creating videos, animations and games that the student can access independently, allowing the teacher to work beside students instead of in front of them.
Students who are strong in a subject can advance a bit more quickly while those who are struggling can get more attention. It is also easier for students to upload and share videos and other helpful resources that they find with classmates.
Technology has allowed colleges and universities to create virtual classrooms that can host students from all over the world. Location is no longer a barrier to education as many programs, such as online paralegal degree programs, can now be completed without ever setting foot in a traditional classroom. This allows more students to access education and creates a more diverse classroom where students of different cultures learn from each other.
Textbooks aren’t the only element of higher education that costs a bit less when offered electronically. Although students may not see a noticeable change for a few more years, college costs are expected to decrease as technology use increases. Virtual classrooms can reduce or eliminate the need for brick-and-mortar classrooms and their maintenance costs. Dormitories and dining halls are also unnecessary expenses when the student body is found online rather than on campus.
Though embracing technology has improved higher education in many ways, institutions of higher learning must embrace new opportunities carefully. Technology in the classroom offers many benefits, but it also provides new ways for unethical students to cheat the system. It appears, however, that technology in the classroom is here to stay and offers far more perks than drawbacks.