From positive technological disruption to pandemic-induced shifts in environments and protocols, educational experiences for students have gone through many changes in recent years. The pandemic was a one-time event that educators and students alike have put behind them.
However, technology continues to be an ever-present factor in the 21st-century classroom (whatever physical or digital form that “space” may take). Computers, tablets, and similar devices serve up a buffet of digital tools and resources that are invaluable to modern educators and their pupils. Students can access information and receive support in ways that were impossible to imagine just a few short decades ago.
Here are a few examples of the ways that technology can and already is revolutionizing the student experience within post-pandemic academia.
1. Information Is Available at the Click of a Button
It doesn’t matter if a person is a homeowner preparing to make a major purchase, a remote worker looking up local coffee shop ratings, or a student learning more about a character from their history class. The information age has made every answer a click away.
Of course, it’s important for students to learn how to research online. They must grasp concepts like misinformation and learn to separate crowdsourced or low-quality sources like Wikipedia from established .gov or .edu sites.
All the same, the information age has revolutionized what students must do to research. Once they can safely navigate the internet and input queries, they can discover endless data and cross-reference their discoveries in a fraction of the time it used to take — without heading to the school library …or even leaving their desk.
2. Tech Is Creating Learning Lifelines
Proactive research is one thing. Addressing an educational shortcoming is another. When a student is genuinely struggling to learn, they often need more than information. They require third-party support — and technology is changing how they can access that critical learning lifeline.
Online tutoring has become an easily accessible way for students to receive professional, experienced support. This is different from the remote classrooms of the pandemic, too. Online tutors are able to provide focused, detailed, and personalized advice, even if it comes through a Zoom link instead of across a desk.
Teachers on Call is a good example of this shift in action. The company has offered tutoring to Canadians in the greater Ontario region for three decades. Over time, the brand has remained hyper-relevant by shifting many of its services into the online realm. By utilizing technology, the company is pairing experienced tutors with the students that need them most — no matter where they are.
3. Personalization and Flexibility Are Powerful New Options
Tech has changed the pace and timing at which students must learn. American University’s School of Education Online Programs highlights the way in which this newfound flexibility personalizes the learning experience.
Students are now able to access the information they need 24/7, in multimedia formats, and nearly instantaneously — all thanks to technology. Tech has also made the student experience easier by allowing them to attend classes during times of the day when they learn best. It even allows them to split their learning experience between in-person and remote sessions through hybrid classroom environments.
The flexibility makes it easier to personalize the learning experience, too. The ability to interact with a dedicated educational counselor or tutor online is another great example here. (See the previous point on the list for more on tech in tutoring.)
Digital instruction makes it easier to pair students with the right kinds of educators. They can match teaching and learning styles and ensure that each tutor’s primary areas of expertise align with their virtual students’ needs.
4. Reduced Costs Make School More Affordable
Technology is also driving certain education-related costs down. Schools have the option to avoid printing entire sets of textbooks every few years just because of a few minor updates to a curriculum. Both existing and future digital copies can be updated in an instant.
The efficiency of online classrooms also cuts costs. Smaller educational spaces are required, which translates to fewer overhead costs and lower tuition — without the need to compromise on the quality of the instruction offered by professors.
Apart from these obvious, trickle-down financial effects, tech is also changing how individuals pay for college. For instance, DonorsChoose.org allows educators to post fundraising requests for anything from pencils to hydrogen fuel cells for their students.
5. The Focus Can Shift From Rote Memorization
The word education comes from the Latin word for “lead out.” Learning is supposed to be an activity that engages and draws out the best in students. In the past, the need to spend so much time repeating and using things like rote memorization often crippled the desire to truly invest in one’s education.
In the technological era, the focus can shift from a heavy bent toward things like rote memorization back to the learning process itself. Educators should still help their students learn basic skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic. But the emphasis does not need to lie in those areas anymore. Technology can equip every caliber student with the knowledge and skills required to stretch their desires and truly “lead out,” no matter where in the learning process they currently are.
6. Tech Is Keeping Students Connected
Finally, education should never happen in a vacuum. Nor should it take place in isolation. Technology is helping to overcome that issue by keeping students connected.
This may, at first glance, seem hypercritical. After all, remote learning is creating virtual classrooms where no one is physically in the same room.
However, Maryville University makes the case that students are more connected today than ever before. They remain plugged into conversations, online forums, and other interactive elements through their laptops, tablets, and smartphones. They remain part of the conversation and are constantly exchanging information with like-minded individuals.
Technology is changing every part of life as we know it — including the student experience. From information availability to accessibility, personalization to communication, technology is revolutionizing the learning process for the better, and students are taking advantage of that fact.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Julia M Cameron; Pexels; Thank you.