Tag Archives: future

Moving Forward With or Without Technology

In our previous discussions, we have talked about technology and its implications on education.  Educational systems, new robotic technologies, and the use of iPads are just some of the vast technological feats that can positively impact education – and such awesome new avenues for advancing education should excite all of us! But unfortunately, the reality is many of these advancements are being neglected, regulated, or are just inaccessible both worldwide and in the United Sates. Across the globe, only CNN reports that only 38% of the population has access to such technologies and many Americans simply don’t have proper resources to keep up with the technological boom.

How does this affect education – from the elementary to collegiate level? 

Regulation of Technology

Credit: http://mbsform6esl.blogspot.com Click for the pros and cons of allowing cell phones in schools!

First off, how is education impacted in school systems where teachers are disallowed from using certain technologies? On a high school level, New York City has banned students from having cell phones on campus because of concerns about distraction; the same schools have limited technology resources (like lap tops) to share throughout the entire building, so teachers are stifled in their abilities to incorporate interactive multimedia aspects to their lesson plans. Similar school, city, and county regulations disallow the use of other technologies that possess educational capabilities, not allowing educators to implement them as they would like.

In addition,a report from The Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings explains that government budget cuts to education systems have had a large impact on limiting the amount of money that can go towards upgrading the technologies used in schools. According to the report’s authors, these budgetary limitations haven’t allowed educators to take advantage of upgraded assessment technology, leaving schools unable to accurately and effectively monitor their students’ performance and leading to a missed opportunity to cut costs on testing. Because of these regulations that do not utilize upgraded technology systems, the outdated scannable scantron has become the pinnacle of assessment technology, potentially causing students to be left behind because of the extremely limited number of ways in which tests can currently be administered.

Inaccessibility of Technology

Like I said earlier, only 38% of the world has access to technology, which leaves 62% “in the dark.” While such a large technological divide has many implications, a large one is that it currently leaves many students without essential learning tools (including access to multiple viewpoints and the latest information!). However, the light is at the end of the tunnel according to a Google Executive who optimistically predicts that by 2020, the entire world will have access to these technologies. Currently, Africa is striving toward that goal, according to BBC – in 2011, Africa was the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world! This increase in cellular technology may provide the ability for these countries, cities, and villages with the resources they need to adequately educate their students, creating a brighter picture for tomorrow. Check out the following video for some insight into how quickly this technology has been growing!

But when considering the inaccessibility of technology and its impact on education, you even have to look overseas. An article posted on Slate.com tells us that 22% of families in the United States don’t have broadband capabilities in their home, meaning that even as advancements in technology keep coming, the ability to access them will remain stagnant. Many students (especially at a primary education level) may struggle to keep up in class if a majority of their work is done online and they don’t have access to broadband at home. To help prevent this gap, teachers should be conscientious of the technological limitations their students may face at home and ensure that ample time and resources can be accessed by the student.

As the digital age continues, what does the future hold? Will the digital divide be eliminated? How can technology become more accessible? Does a lack in technology use mean a lack in the educational experience? Do education and technology go hand-in-hand?

These are questions that as educators, you need to ask yourselves. It seems that many educators strive to bring the newest learning experience to the student. Is that the best learning experience?

The conversation may be two-sided. Dr. Mark Harvey teaches history at North Dakota State University, and although he does occasionally use powerpoint, he strictly enforces a no lap top or cellphone policy in his class and requires all assignments to be turned in as a paper copy. He sees this as more effective and less distracting. Is he just old-fashioned, stubborn, or is he effective?

Credit: Karenjlloyd.com

Educators, how do you incorporate technology? What are current limitations you face, and how do you overcome them?

Comment and let us know!

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The Future of Language Education

Credit: WorldNomads.com

Do you believe that the future of higher education will look completely different 20 years from now? How about 7 years from now? In a blog found on Mashable, experts are predicting that technology will facilitate distance learning outside of the traditional classrooms that we have today. These experts are predicting that students will be able to travel wherever their hearts desire and attend a school halfway around the world! But how can these students be taking classes half way around the world if they don’t speak the language?

Credit: DMUSD.org

That’s where educational technology becomes necessary. Sure, you could learn another language the old-fashioned way in school (flashcards, anyone?), or by listening to a CD on your way to work, or even buying the spendy Rosetta Stone program, but why do that when there are so many options available on the Internet today? Especially options that are completely FREE. Sources you already know how to use like YouTube and iTunes offer free language-learning videos, audios, and podcasts to help individuals learn new languages on their own time at their own pace.

In addition to taking your own initiative in learning new languages, those primary school languages classes that seem to teach you just enough to know random vocab words but not enough to be conversational are about to get a revamp. Current teachers can utilize the same sources we provided above to reconstruct lesson plans to be more involved, as well as utilizing video programs like Skype to create a modern day pen-pal system. Forget writing letters! Skype your friend and actually use the language you’ve been learning.

Credit: Bishophaywood.com

 In addition, an article in the Huffington Post discusses a company called Edtech that has the potential to transform learning from inside of a classroom. Edtech would give each student a much more personalized experience by using broadband-powered “textbooks” capable of streaming video, audio, and even moving graphics. Utilizing this technology, students can be taught languages through an instructor whose second language is English, providing students with more natural, conversational, useful language experience. Experts believe that this new broadband-powered textbook will become incredibly successful because of the amount of engagement it provides, allowing students access to video, music, and games to reinforce their learning.

By learning different languages inside and outside of the classroom, we can increase the diversity in the world. By increasing diversity, we are also increasing the globalization of languages throughout different cultures. The importance of learning different languages becomes more imperative as new Americans keep moving into our country as well as Americans moving out. Learning a new language takes time and commitment, but without a reliable source, can be a very difficult task.

Here are some links to help you get started!

Credit: Cte.umd.edu

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E-books!

When you think e-books, does your mind automatically jump to purchasing a novel for an Amazon Kindle or a Barnes & Noble Nook? Mine too. But in case you haven’t noticed, there are so many other uses for e-books (electronic books), which include essentially any book available in an electronic format.

In a collegiate setting, e-books also offer a variety of unique opportunities to today’s technology-savvy students. E-books allow for college students to transport multiple textbooks in one portable device, cutting down on the number of heavy textbooks that students are expected to carry and store. The electronic format enables students to highlight or make comments in the book without marks being permanent, and the ability of e-books to be “searched” allows for students to quickly locate desired information. In addition, e-books offer interactive graphics, charts, diagrams, and internet links to students, enabling them to cater to a variety of learning styles. Some e-books also offer quizzes, flashcards, and other study aids that are typically not included with traditional textbooks. While these benefits have not yet caused a sweeping reform of the textbook industry, The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that their popularity is slowly, but steadily, increasing.

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So why haven’t students demanded an influx of e-book options? Critics of the e-book argue though that most e-books aren’t actually cheaper than buying a regular textbook, because there is also the cost of purchasing a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or similar tablet without the ability to sell the book back at the end of the semester. In actuality, it all depends on where you purchase your books. In fact, Amazon has issued a patent to allow users to sell back a “used” e-book, which could help college students save some more money. In another effort to make e-books an affordable alternative to traditional textbooks, a new company, TotalBooX, is allowing e-book users to only pay per page, meaning students wouldn’t have purchase an entire book.

Many people (including students!) are also unaware that if you have an e-reader, you can often borrow books from a library for free. However, libraries are often required to pay a lot of money for e-books and are then restricted on how many times they can lend each e-book out before having to purchase it again. To combat this trend and work towards greater affordability and utilization of e-books, lobbyists and a few publishers are fighting to change the way libraries can lend, working to enable some libraries to purchase e-books at reduced costs with more lends-per-book.

With efforts like this working to make e-books more and more popular, will there be a day when regular books simply become “a thing of the past”? I remember a few years ago, when the last few Harry Potter books were coming out, when fans would eagerly wait in line to be among the first to own such an iconic books. Maybe we are now living in a society were waiting in lines for books won’t be a priority. But with the new technology that has emerged in e-books, there are so many good things that can outweigh the aspect of not having a “real book” in front of you.

What do you think? Are e-books the future? What are some other ways e-textbooks are used?

(Mind not made up? Check out Success ConsciousnessTexas A&M, Gold Leaf, the Free Press, the Epoch Times, and the LA Times for more information!)

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