The Increasing Role of Digital Software in Education | Recent Results.
Increasing Role of Digital Software in Education: Some of us who are old enough may still recall the days when the slide rule and chalkboard were the primary forms of learning.
While the methods decades ago were cutting-edge solutions for their era, times have certainly changed. We now live within a society that is constantly being redefined by the role of digital technology.
Advanced calculators and even the smartphone are dramatically present within the educational industry and their impact has yet to be fully seen. Many teachers and students alike are wondering what the future might have in store. Let us take a look at some dominant trends as well as why the entire concept of distance learning at a university level may be set for a massive change.
Digital Education 101: The Possible Benefits and Possible Drawbacks
Many experts have touted the benefits associated with digital education techniques. There is indeed a great deal of truth to this observation, as such a method provides more flexibility and intuitive applications than would have ever been possible with traditional techniques. Some of the primary advantages often attributed to this approach include:
- The ability to personalize teaching methods.
- A greater appeal to the average student.
- The addition of digital media to aid in the learning process.
- Teachers can now more accurately track the progress of individual students through centralized software packages.
We should also point out that the growing prevalence of smartphone applications signifies that learning can take place outside of the classroom; an ideal situation for students with slight disabilities or conditions such as ADHD. However, the digital age is not without its potential pitfalls.
Some feel that the inclusion of such advanced technology detracts from the “hands-on” approach which has been seen in the educational environment for centuries. There is also the very real concern that these very same methods could be used by students to surreptitiously obtain examination answers or to plagiarize online documents (such as a term paper). These incidents have already occurred in the past and they could very well increase into the future.
The primary issue therefore revolves around the type of proactive stance embraced by educators and parents. They need to monitor the activities of students and they should also be aware of how digital technology is affecting the overall learning curve. Should a student feel that he or she has been left in “anonymity” due to the less-than-human nature of some software applications, the entire appeal of education could be dampened. Teachers must therefore constantly reevaluate their methods to make certain that digital software applications are not falling upon deaf ears.
The Future of Distance Learning
Distance learning has also evolved in leaps and bounds thanks to the presence of the online community. Many universities now offer online courses which are the equivalent to those provided within traditional classroom settings. Some of options which are at the immediate disposal of the average student include:
- A full- or part-time curriculum.
- Flexible study hours.
- Student forums to communicate with others.
- A tighter teacher-to-student ration than in the past.
It is also to point out that the sheer variety of intuitive e-books on the marketplace is continuing to expand. From basic marketing courses to advanced business planning, the choices are nearly endless. The fact that these electronic books can be downloaded in a matter of minutes is another benefit. On a final note, this type of virtual literature is much cheaper than physical reading material; sometimes by hundreds of dollars. This advantage will certainly appeal to students who are on a budget.
Much like the classroom-based learning mentioned in the last section, it is important to monitor the impact of distance learning. There are some pitfalls which both students and educators should try to avoid. It can be argued that the main hurdle involves instilling the proper amount of discipline and creating strict study hours. Other issues such as personal online privacy and providing a host of enrolment methods represent logistical challenges and yet, they also need to be addressed in a timely fashion.
Digital software solutions could very well transform the ways in which students progress throughout the educational system. However, this technology is still relatively new. There are few longitudinal studies in relation to how such methods are set to impact children and adolescents later in life. This is why teachers should always strive to achieve a balance between traditional educational values and innovative digital solutions. This type of synergy is arguably the best way to promote the overall learning process.
If we consider the momentum exhibited by digital technology over the past decade, it is nearly impossible to imagine what is in store. Still, the future of the entire educational system looks quite bright if approached in the correct manner.
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