School IT Blog

Is Technology Becoming Essential for Learning?

Fri 25 January, 2019

In previous blogs, we’re always asking which technology is important for your school, or what form this technology will take in the future. To paraphrase a certain sci-fi film, we’ve been so busy asking what we could do, we haven’t stopped to think if we should. This blog will address this should and answer the questions, ‘what is the importance of technology in education?’, and ‘is technology essential for learning?’

If the job of education is to prepare students for future careers, the immediate answer is ‘yes!’. A passing knowledge of technology may not even be a vital element for certain academic subjects, but it is a necessity for when students come to enter the workplace. In a 2010 report, the CEO of the International Center for Leadership in Education, Willard R. Daggett clearly stated: ‘If the American education system is to prepare its students to meet the demands of an increasingly technological world, indeed if it is to be effective at all, it must integrate technology into the academic curriculum’. Technology is essential for learning, because it is an essential part of how we navigate the modern world, with Daggett continuing on to note ‘society demands a higher level and different set of skills than schools were ever designed to teach’.

how to use the technology they will be expected to understand in the workplace. Daggett goes as far to claim that ‘students need [technology] to be fully capable citizens,’ as well as workers. Technology is the most useful tool for education because it can provide more up-to-date information than a 20-year-old textbook ever could. But in the age of fake news, it is important for students to learn how to recognise fact from fiction, for their general life as well as their careers. Many initiatives are already in place for just this, from the BBC to National Geographic and beyond. Not only is technology essential for learning, but learning is essential in order to use technology effectively. 

These points reveal how the widespread use of technology means it is important for students to learn about it. Equally, this widespread use helps student participation, as students understand the technology. Studies by Pearson indicate that there is increased student engagement when technology is used in the classroom, while SecureEdge highlights how technology allows students to engage actively in the learning process. Students can take control of their own learning by independently researching topics that interest them with ease. They even have brand new creative forms available to them in order to present information, such as blogs, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, and so on.  

Technology allows learning to become more accessible, as students are given more options on how best to present their work. As academia debates the value of audio-visual essays, with some higher education institutions offering these submissions, education is finally beginning to measure and encourage those who are failed by traditional essay-writing methods. 

In addition, through technology such as the cloud, collaborative projects are also easier than ever. The internet opens up the possibility of remote team-work that never would have been practical before, as students can pool their files together. Tools such as Google Docs allows students to edit one piece of work, each adding their own contributions to one cohesive whole. 

So, what is the importance of technology in education? By encouraging increased engagement and independent learning, as well as collaboration, preparing for future careers, increasing accessibility and opening up new creative ways of learning, it is impossible to see how technology is not crucial to education. However, as we have seen, it is also education that must be used to guide this technological use. Through this combination, a whole new generation of intelligent and critically-thinking individuals can be nurtured.