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Better or worse: Has education improved with time?

Newlywed, new mom and first-time home buyer, Sarah is currently playing out her exciting life in Phoenix, Arizona. She recently gave up her job in finance to stay at home with her baby girl, who between bath time and feeding time, keeps ...

Education over the years

Ever wondered what effect technology is having on our kids? What about education in general — is it improving over time or are we relying too much on technology to do the work?

Kids using tablet computers in classroom

Education is an incredibly debatable topic amongst parents (and society). Some believe school systems don’t even compare to what they used to be and are choosing to homeschool their kids; some feel school systems are more advanced than ever; some are totally against public schools for reasons other than education; and some feel that education has taken on a whole new meaning over the past few decades. There’s no arguing that our educational system has been transformed, and much of that credit goes to ever-advancing technology. Regardless of where you stand, technology has made a difference.

How technology has improved education

Teachers, students and parents have thousands of different learning tools at their fingertips each day thanks to technology. There are programs that help toddlers learn to read, grade school kids with math and high school students prepare for college entrance exams. If your child is struggling in an area, it's guaranteed there is some program out there that can help them excel. Other ways technology has improved education over time include:

  • Teachers can share ideas, lesson plans and teaching methods via the internet. They can communicate what works and doesn’t work for them with others across the nation in a matter of minutes.
  • Students learn valuable research skills at a young age. Technology gives students immediate access to an abundance of information — and are therefore learning at much quicker rates than before.
  • Students and teachers have access to diverse material. Though sites on the internet aren't always reliable, there are plenty of resourceful, credible websites both teachers and students can utilize. The internet also provides a variety of knowledge and doesn’t limit students to one person’s opinion.
  • Online learning is now an option. Face-to-face interaction is huge, especially in the younger years, but some students work better when they can go at their own pace. Online schools are now accredited and have changed the way we view education.

How technology is hindering education

A The New York Times article reviewed studies conducted by Pew Research Center and Common Sense Media. CSM surveyed 685 teachers and found that 71 percent think technology is hurting students’ attention spans. Over half of the teachers believe technology is hindering writing abilities and face-to-face communication. The studies also show that students are no longer thinking to their full potential — instead, they simply look up the answer online as fast as possible versus coming to their own conclusions. The students most affected by technology in a negative way seem to be the ones who have access to it whenever they want at home, not just at school.

Just like anything, moderation seems to be key — and technology used for educational purposes is no different. Technology seems to have helped students learn at their own pace and with their own learning style. It’s allowed teachers to accommodate the needs of a variety of students instead of only being able to teach one way. Parents can also help their children at home with programs designed to meet their child’s individual needs. Remember, though, that relying solely on one form of educational tool won’t allow your child to grow into a well-rounded adult. Children need time away from the computer screens at home now more than ever since it is so prominent in the classroom.

Tell us

We’d love to hear from you and get a discussion going on this topic. Do you believe technology has improved our educational system? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages you’ve noticed by having technology in the classroom?

More on education

Most creative uses of technology in schools
Are electronics really educational?
Tablets for tots: Lazy parenting?

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