May 15, 2020

The Rise of Technology in Education


When I think back to when I was in the early years of secondary school, just over 17 years ago not only was technology hardly embraced, it was in fact confiscated. As a boarder you were only given your phone for a few hours each evening, and as a day pupil it was to be handed in when you arrived, and collected 11 hours later when you left. The computer rooms were mainly used for Information Technology lessons, and rarely in conjunction with other subjects, and if you did have to use the computer for another subject you dreaded it as there were often problems with the computers, or the printer wouldn’t work or it was just in general a hindrance rather than a help. Teachers showed you their notes by writing on transparent pieces of plastic which were then projected onto a large screen using a light projector, and the only laptop I ever remember using was a large clunky one in the Science building that weighed a tonne and was so slow it made everything twice as long.

However, over the last decade that has all dramatically changed. First of all laptops have become much more common in schools with pupils having them in classroom lessons, not just the computer room, carrying the thin light devices around with them at all times, connecting to the school WIFI anywhere in the building, using them for various projects, research and a number of other uses. Then with the rise of the internet phone, mobiles have become so much more than a means to text your friends and play games, they became a learning tool, so it is no longer necessarily something that must be confiscated from pupils during lesson hours. Also it is now completely normal to expect children as young as 7 to get home from school, open up an app on their ipad, download or view their homework, complete it and submit it all through the app.

Of course as with all things that progress so quickly, there are often drawbacks. A worry I often have heard voiced from the older generation about this new young tech-savvy generation is that soon they won’t be able to write using a pen and paper, as they are used only to tapping away on a screen or keyboard, with predictive text and spell-check doing the majority of the work for them. Hand-written invitations, thank you letters and postcards would become a thing of a past being replaced by emails, tweets and instagram stories, and with the use of all these tools such as spell-check and predictive text those in education won’t see the need to learn how to spell or to learn punctuation and grammar rules.

However, with this recent change that is affecting the entire world with the majority of its children having to work from home due to coronavirus, it has shown that this amazing grasp of technology by the generation currently in education is a huge benefit to them and their parents or whoever they are living with and who is now partly responsible for their education. Many schools in the UK are now offering teaching through online classrooms using group video software such as Zoom or Google hangouts. Online teaching platforms such as BBC Bitesize, The Parents Hub and Classroom Secrets all provide resources to  help parents continue their children’s education through this difficult time.