Technology continues to play a role in furthering the reach of education in the modern day. Today, teachers don’t have to stand at the front of the room and give a lecture, and students don’t have to sit quietly at their desks taking notes. Even though both groups are taking advantage of technology to improve education, it’s unlikely that teachers will be replaced by computers anytime soon.

In fact, U.S. News & World Report explains that many education tasks aren’t amenable to automation. So if computers and online learning aren’t taking over teachers’ jobs, how is technology changing education?

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Independent Learning

Many lessons still require teachers to stand at the front of the class and present a lecture to their students. They may use PowerPoint presentations or SMART Boards to do so, but the overall idea hasn’t changed much. However, technology has presented new ways for students to learn in the classroom through independent learning.

Nowadays, teachers can give their students a topic (or they can pick something they’re interested in) that they can delve into online through educational databases. With a laptop or tablet, students can:

  • Crawl the Web to find facts and figures
  • Cultivate new sources of information
  • Uncover different perspectives on a subject
  • Practice a variety of ways to solve a problem

As such, they no longer have to rely on teachers and textbooks to tell them what to think, but rather can use the enormous amount of information out there to think critically and form their own opinions. With this type of learning, teachers act more as a facilitator that students can turn to for help, rather than as a dispenser of a repeated lesson plan.

Personalized Learning

Technology also is enabling personalized learning in the classroom. Within the classroom, teachers can assign lessons for students to complete at their own pace. Teachers can then walk around the classroom and work with small groups of students to make sure they understand the assignment and answer questions as they come up.

This gives teachers the chance to spend one-on-one time with students who may be struggling as well as time with students who are excelling and need to be challenged.

Online classes and assignments also give teachers and students access to lesson plans at all times and from any location. If students didn’t finish an assignment during class, they can continue to work on it at home. Teachers can respond to comments and questions in a classroom forum or discussion board as well.

Shy students may have a hard time raising their hand in class or feel embarrassed if they don’t understand a lesson, so online discussions give them an opportunity to ask questions without feeling embarrassed.

Collaborative Learning

While it may seem like computers and mobile devices separate people, they actually can be used as collaborative devices in the classroom. Students can have modern-day pen pals in other countries and use their devices to have video chats or chat room conversations to help them learn another language or about another culture.

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They can also start a blog about a topic they’re passionate about and be tasked with responding to comments from other students. Additionally, students can brainstorm ideas and work together on presentations and projects more easily by storing their information in the cloud. With secure backups and privacy updates, students can easily interact and work together.

While technology isn’t taking over the classroom, it is helping education adapt and improve in the modern era.

What do you think of the role tech is playing in the classroom these days? Let us know in the comments.

~ Jiro