The education system has undergone a paradigm shift from where it used to stand years ago. In the olden days, students had to go to the library and open big books to find the information they needed. In the 20th century, one would find thousands of results for the same things they need—in just a fraction of a second. The technology has truly improved, and continues to evolve.
Computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets—these devices have become a necessity in today’s age. These are not merely for fun and leisure anymore. They are now being heavily used by our education sector. The power and importance of technology in education is evident now more than ever, as Filipino students need access to education even during crisis.
The Importance of Technology in Education
Technology is so advanced, so much that it now drives business growth. Hence, companies maximize this to improve their performance, so they hire tech-savvy candidates who can contribute to their businesses. In line with this, school is a good training ground for future professionals. It can help these kids by integrating technology into their system through their materials, facilities, rooms, and even modules. On the other hand, kids nowadays are digital natives. Using tech for their daily studies can help them more than it can drag them down.
With the ongoing pandemic , we can see how important it is in our country. In fact, it has been tagged as the “silver lining of our education system” in a virtual round table called “Education During Trying Times” last October 2020. “We are in an era of technology and digitalization. Let us maximize all of these and continue to help each other and find solutions to the challenges being faced by the education sector,” said Dr. Ethel Agnes P. Valenzuela, SEAMEO secretariat director.
Technology bridges the gap between quarantine and teaching. During the second quarter of 2020, we can recall how our education sector carried out online classes. Many LGUs distributed mobile devices to students, teachers underwent training to maximize digital learning, and learning programs were added to our TV channels. In fact, the DepEd TV team aimed to produce 220 episodes weekly covering all subject areas by January 2021. Zoom has boomed not only here but also worldwide, being used as a primary tool for virtual classes. Smartphones have become essential more than just being a luxury. Digital tech during this time is a need for all.
So, how vital is tech to education? We’ve listed some of the key benefits of tech both to students and teachers.
Benefits of Tech to Students and Teachers
1. Equips students for their future careers
As mentioned earlier, digital tools will surely help students prepare for their future careers. How? Through the internet, mobile devices, and computers, students have the chance to acquire key skills to compete globally for in-demand jobs. Regardless of where these jobs might be—in the IT, agriculture, art, health, research, food industry or elsewhere—workers need computer skills.
Through these advanced tools, technical skills can be exercised. But more than this, it’s instilling learning as a skill for life. Tech must be used to engage students to embrace love of learning new things. It must help them explore things that interest them. Also, it must bring limitless possibilities of learning to fully equip them in the future.
2. Personalizes learning and teaching approaches
Do you know that each person has their own learning style? Some learn better through hearing, and some through great visuals. Some lean more on logical learning, and some more on verbal. Yes, it varies and it’s quite a challenge for teachers to perform all these in the class.
Thanks to technology, teachers can customize learning for students. It enables them to improve their instruction methods and personalize learning, thus increasing their productivity and efficiency as instructors. Through these helpful tools, teachers can provide exciting activities. These include watching videos to further delve into the topic and creating robots to apply their learning. It’s also great content that helps spark and boost curiosity in kids.
3. Drives down costs in the long run, and brings more learning opportunities
True enough, tech tools are expensive. However, in the long run, they’ll cut your costs. For instance, e-book or online modules will drive down your cost in printing your materials. Another one is buying a computer for teachers will save them time in computing the students’ grades and creating tests.
For students, having access to mobile devices such as laptops will help them learn anytime, anywhere. It’ll also give them access to millions of resources that would prove beneficial to their studies. These tools open doors of learning chances for them for unexplored topics in their classes. On the other hand, teachers won’t be limited to the school’s provided modules. They can explore on their own, so they can give the best info to the class.
4. Boosts teamwork and communication
Tech can foster these skills. Teachers and students can remain in touch even outside the school vicinity. Online lessons and games encourage them to work together even apart. Not only does it promote productivity; it also encourages responsibility on both parties. Will you work with your team even if you’re not together? Can you finish a task given by your group leader? Though apart, accountability can be exercised.
Besides, students now have the chance to ask questions related to school. One practical tip: Be mindful of the teacher’s work hours. Only ask them during this time to show them the respect they deserve.
Challenges of Using Tech in Learning
With benefits come the challenges. Tech has its pros and cons, as we can in the challenges we’ve listed below regarding the use of tech in learning.
1. A lot of distractions for students
Using smartphones in learning is helpful. However, students might get easily distracted because of several social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter. An unstable net connection is also a challenge to many and it can hinder them from fully learning online.
Also, online classes these days are a challenge to many students. They are at risk of developing screen fatigue and burnout. Many are also having a hard time separating their school tasks from the personal duties at home.
2. Being free all the time
Online classes might give an impression of being free all the time. Yet this is not the case. It is highly encouraged to set aside time for schoolwork and “me” time. But when the situation calls for it, go and stretch your patience. Students are also facing a hard time adapting to online classes.
3. Not all students have access to digital tools
Many kids, especially street children and out-of-school youth, don’t have access to these tools. What will they do now that school has transitioned online? Will they stop learning, too? True, the government is taking action to provide these children their school needs. But the problem is reaching out to as many children as possible.
Childhope’s Program to Help Children Learn through Technology
Truly, technology is important in learning. Through it, we can reach out to more children and leave them something they can bring to life. For instance, S&P Global Philippines conducted a digital storytelling activity last February 2021. It aimed to help the level of knowledge of street children under our program about their rights as children. It also nurtured street children to act toward respecting, protecting, and fulfilling these rights.
We are hoping that, one day, kids with no access to these tools will be given the chance to learn again. Want to be part of advocacy in bringing hope to street children, one kid at a time? Contact us now and donate today.