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Technology and Education: A Match Made in Heaven?

The education industry has not yet caught up with the daily and continuous changes in technology. Technology has changed and continues to change the way we socialise, work, research, interact and learn.

Classroom based learning, on the other hand, still incorporates note taking from white boards, reading through bulky textbooks and filling-in-the-gaps in hand out after hand out.

Surely this has to change.

In a great number of schools and colleges (from my experience, and from what other tutors and teachers tell me), the education system takes time to evolve and changing the way children learn takes even longer.

I forget how many times I had to leave the classroom to photocopy something, to fetch a students’ homework or to acquire another board pen, ultimately wasting precious teaching time. I do, interesting, also remember during our ten-minute breaks, students would dive into their pockets to get their mobile phones and start Tweeting, ‘Facebooking’ and searching the web.

That is the nature of students now.

We should use this to our advantage in the classroom, in schools, during after school tuition time. We should provide a ‘service’ that is interactive, fun and exiting to use. Reducing the amount of paper-based material and having everything on portable tablets sounds great. Yes this would take time, but in theory once the material is uploaded, it can be accessed and updated in real time, over and over again.

Just think, a webpage or a database entry only has to be updated once to appear on a student’s screen – whereas a textbook would have to be reissued or at best photocopied again.

Education and technology should go hand-in-hand; they should live happily ever after. It’s the only real way that teaching can adapt and grow. But if there is to be a ‘Shrek and Fiona’ marriage, then surely we need to embrace this change right away?

We’re taking an awfully long time to adjust. There is a growing number of education Apps out there now (link to other article here) but there is no unity. All of them are different. I’m not saying they’re poorly structured, some of them are very useful indeed, but there should be a coherent syllabus to follow.

Tablets for schools are a new, interesting venture. Google has just launched Google Play for education, a program that organises apps, books, notes and other educational content. It looks great. Teachers can visit age specific areas and access subject-specific material via app searches in the program.

Cost is an issue, and by the time you’ve set up an entire classroom or student base and bought tablets for all the children, costs rise, sharply.

In short, this would be expensive.

YouTube isn’t though. Nor are other e-learning platforms; they are simple and easy to use, and now very interactive.

Cost is an issue in education, the majority of our clients ask for a package deal or a discount. Some ask for cost-effective Skype lessons, to reduce costs. Take Public (Private) school fees, they start at £17,000 per year, whilst private tuition starts at £40 per hour.

So why not introduce free or ‘pay to view’ online learning?

It makes sense. Almost everyone has access to a computer, a tablet, an iPad, a smart phone, so why not provide a medium for everybody to use? It can be classroom based or ‘out of school hours’ but following a curriculum.

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