In public schools, there is one computer for every five students. Or said a different way, there are five students for every one computer. Technology and education is a vast topic. For that reason, it helps to break it down. So here are our four chosen buckets: the good, the bad, the very good, and the very bad.
1-to-1 computing. If we are able to even the ratio of students to computers, there will be a variety of benefits. For one, teachers, tutors, and administration can ensure that students are on track simply by interpreting data. This also allows for a more comprehensive approach to ensure that schools, regions, and even countries are up to par with educational standards. Another advantage of 1-to1 computing is that students will naturally become more technologically savvy. Over 50% of modern-day jobs require computer usage. If we want our children to succeed in the professional world, it’s best that we get them comfortable using devices as soon as possible.
1-to-1 computing. Another smart device in the hands of an already-distracted student? Risky. Today’s student is bottle-flipping, fidget-spinning, and meme-searching, all while listening to their teacher go into detail about the Pythagorean Theorem. Not so good. Another device could further derail a child’s attention. Fortunately, there are tutors out there to help fill in the gaps from distracted classroom learning.
The Very Good
As student populations become increasingly diverse, personalized learning comes further into the spotlight. This highly customizable teaching method creates an educational ecosystem in which every student can thrive. It recognizes optimal learning pace, strengths, weaknesses, habits, and more to uncover just the right formula to unleash a child’s learning potential.
Poverty-stricken countries are hosts to incredibly untapped potential. A child in rural India may hold the brainpower to unlock a cure for Alzheimer’s. With the recent advances in technology, such as virtual reality, why not bring these bright -but unlit- minds into our classrooms?
The Very Bad
Such customization in a student’s learning curriculum could reduce a child’s resourcefulness in finding ways to fill gaps in his or her knowledge banks. If students rely too heavily on personalized learning and having the direction pointed out for them, they won’t be able to do it themselves as easily in the future. If personalized learning identifies and attempts to strengthen weaknesses, all while keeping strengths strong, then how will a child know when to decide they like or dislike something? They may constantly fall under the cruel assessment of good or bad instead of like or dislike.
With any technology that makes it easier to not be in a physical classroom, there is a risk of abuse. Students may opt for virtual classrooms in waves, therefore rendering in-class learnings a thing of the past despite the obvious utility. Additionally, students that use virtual education methods are potentially more likely to slack off on the other side of the virtual world, leading to less retention from lesson. It’s truly hard to deny that being in a physical classroom helps.
There are pros and cons to all these new, tech-heavy methods of learning and teaching. The answer to whether or not they are better than what we have today is not easily computable just yet.