The Role of Technology in Modern Education

Technology has completely changed the landscape of our entire lives, and this is especially true for students currently attending school. Read on to learn more about the role of technology in modern education!

Tech in education: an umbrella term

When it comes to technology’s impact on education, it is important to examine these effects from multiple perspectives: from a parent’s point of view, a teacher’s perspective, and most importantly – how technology impacts individual students.

In addition, we must define what “technology” itself really means in today’s context. Three decades ago, “new technology in the classroom” referred to students learning to type on computers using word processing software (Microsoft Word) and saving their assignments to a floppy diskette. By contrast, students in today’s classrooms have grown up in a world with screens and keyboards. So, how is technology affecting these students today?

Student impact

There are countless perks technology has brought to students in the classroom, but most do not actively think about these benefits. As a broad descriptor, much of what technology provides for students can be categorized as “convenience and ease of access” – both of which are integral to the learning process.

Here’s a very practical example that many parents will relate to: carrying around heavy textbooks. Over the years textbooks became more specialized, often requiring students to bring multiple books to each class. In our experience, this issue reached its “peak” about two decades ago when a 2004 study determined that the amount of weight students were carrying on a daily basis exceeded the “recommended maximum at nearly all grade levels from 1-12, presenting a health hazard for students.” Incredibly, some high school students were found to be carrying over 20 pounds of textbooks on a daily basis.

Digital textbooks, or eTextbooks, solve this problem completely (and a few others to boot). Not only are digital textbooks less expensive, they’re also far better for the environment. Digital textbooks also offer interactive features allowing students to watch videos, participate in activities, and take notes in real-time. Not surprisingly, students and teachers seem to be in universal agreement about the convenience of digital textbooks, with over three-quarters of teachers now offering classroom materials in a digital format.

The changing format of textbooks is only one example of how technology has affected modern education, but serves as an example of how seemingly “background” changes can have a huge impact on a student’s life – even if they aren’t aware of it! To learn more about how tech has impacted modern education, check out How Technology Enhances Teaching and Learning.

Technology’s impact on parents and teachers

When it comes to how technology affects parents and teachers, a good description would be “improved communication.” Consider that in today’s world, parents have the option of sending their child’s teacher an email (or even messaging them through the school’s online portal) whenever they have comments or concerns. Again, just a few decades ago, many parents would only have the opportunity to speak to teachers during parent-teacher nights or pre-arranged conference meetings.

In addition, technology now allows parents to better track their student’s academic progress. Consider that in the past, students were sent home with physical report cards and progress reports (or they were mailed directly). In many cases, the only requirement for students was to obtain a signature on their report card, verifying it had been received by their parents. Naturally, many students found “alternative” ways of obtaining these signatures.

Today, this is essentially a non-issue. Long gone are the days of intercepting the mail carrier’s delivery! Parents now receive detailed report cards sent digitally, often with detailed breakdowns of each category (including academic performance, participation, and classroom behavior). To learn more about how technology has changed the modern report card, check out Understanding Your Child’s Report Card: Advice for Parents.

Technology has changed the landscape of education in countless ways, but many parents are concerned their students are now too reliant on technology. Click here to learn more about setting healthy limits on your child’s screen time!