By Priya Shah (“22)
In today’s day and age, technology is a prevalent aspect of our education. We use it to help enhance our learning experience and get help easily. From online graphing software to formulating a research paper, we use technology more than we think. With technology continuing to grow in the world, the question to be asked is “How Does Technology Improve Student Learning? Is it really helping students? This can be answered in many different ways, but let’s explore it through the perspective of students.
Technology provides many benefits to students that use it. One example of this is a learning program, called DreamBox. This math program personalizes lessons based on the individual’s progress. It allows students to get the extra practice they need or move ahead to more challenging concepts. While technology should not replace teachers, software like this is a great addition to in-class instruction. Furthermore, technology makes project-based work more convenient for students. We never stop to think about it, but online collaboration and editing allow work to be accessed and completed very easily. With students’ busy schedules, online collaboration makes group work more efficient for the people involved.
Before online sources were commonly used, it was more difficult for students to find information to use in research papers. While books are still a great source, online databases allow more information to be streamlined, and read in a shorter amount of time, by multiple people. Also, for students with special needs, there are many great features that make learning more accessible to them. One example of this is JAWS, a computer program that has a text-to-speech feature for students that are blind, along with a braille keyboard. Lastly, learning with technology makes students more active in the classroom. Taking something that is used so heavily outside of school, and implementing that to learning, allows students to be more engaged!
Even as students pursue higher education, technology remains an integral part of their experience. Two professors at Vanderbilt University use video conferences to have guest speakers give talks to their students. This opportunity gives students the chance to learn from people with a multitude of perspectives on the topic they are studying. Aside from a traditional lecture-based class, this exposes students to a learning method they are not used to.
While many believe that technology distracts students, and takes away from learning, it also has many benefits that we do not recognize. Technology has made student learning more effective, accessible, and more enjoyable for students today. As John Dewey, a renowned American philosopher once said, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow”.