How Does Technology Impact The Way We Learn?

It may have been awhile since you’ve been in a classroom … so trust me when I tell you that a lot has changed!

A recent post on Forbes interviewed a teacher that proclaims that he “avoids turning a computer on during class time,” and that “face-to-face is key”. This absolutely blew my mind. I agree that being face-to-face has its benefits, but I cannot believe that technology is not part of his curriculum! How can he not take advantage of technology in the classroom to make life easier on himself and his students?

Here are four examples of how technology makes life easier for both teachers and students.

No More Heavy Textbooks

Fact: e-books and PDFs are cheaper than the hardback versions of the same texts (and lighter, too). It takes more energy to carry multiple textbooks than to login and access digital versions of these materials (stored in your SmartFile account) on a laptop, smartphone, e-Reader, or tablet. Searching in the digital version is easier, too.

  • Groups like LSE Digital Library and World Digital Library are growing and expanding rapidly.
  • E-books started outselling hardback editions on Amazon in 2010 … imagine what digital textbook sale numbers will look like at the end of 2013 when compared to soft and hardcover editions!
  • Publishing powerhouse HarperCollins recently discussed revealed that they “intend to continue to move toward a more eBook-focused strategy in the future.”

Digital Exams

Analog (pencil/pen and paper) testing still exists but it is quickly being replaced by digital testing. Grading takes less time, which means students also learn their grade faster. Educators also enjoy the convenience of storing test results digitally (using a SmartFile account, of course).

The online exam-based services industry is booming and online education continues to rise. Many universities are moving toward a digital classroom model; you can even enroll in online courses for high school! A recent Babson Survey Research Group study shows that over 6.7 million students learn online. “The rate of growth in online enrollments remains extremely robust, even as overall higher education enrollments have shown a decline,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group.

Interactive Learning

You may remember the sounds of the A/V cart wheeling into your classroom, complete with a small television and a VHS/DVD player. I know I always got excited when I learned that today was a movie day; how about you?

I’m sad to report that the days of the A/V cart are long gone. Educators can now stream documentaries and movies from their laptop to a monitor or screen using a cord or two. Think about how many educational programs there are on YouTube, Netflix, and HuluPlus!

Set Your Own Learning Pace

Am I the only one who has had trouble reading handwritten notes when studying for a test or quiz? My handwriting was often almost illegible … and don’t even get me started on my half-complete charts and drawings from the whiteboard! This certainly added to my pre-testing anxiety!

Digital classrooms have the potential to change all of this. Educators can now record their lessons (either live or beforehand) so that students can pause, re-wind, and fast forward as often as they need to in order to learn the subject! Teachers can also upload any images, charts, graphs, and videos used during their lecture.

How has technology impacted the way you learn? Share in the comments below.

Image Credit: G A R N E T, Flickr

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