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4 Innovative Ways Technology Has Changed K-12 Education (192 hits)

One of the areas where technology has always held great promise is in education. Teachers and parents have always been enthusiastic about the potential for fast-moving progress among students interested in math and science, but technology is more than just numbers. People are making great advancements across the educational spectrum, and those advances are not just limited to standard technologies like the web and mobile devices.


The most powerful feature of educational technology is its ability to build upon itself. The more students learn about the tools made available to them, the more likely they are to improve and expand upon those tools and then make their progress available to the next class. This is the primary means by which education works in the first place, and it is an exciting way for both teachers and students to participate in the gradual march of knowledge.


Here are some ways technology is having a practical effect in the K-12 classroom.


Search

It goes without saying that any child who has started school in the last 15-20 years knows how to use a search engine. This technology alone is likely responsible for a massive surge in general knowledge among students who otherwise simply wouldn’t have access to the information they can find in a web search.


Granted, students should still learn how to use and learn from standard reference sources, but instant access to generalized and specialized information through an easy-to-use interface does more than just provide citations for book reports. Information inspires curiosity, which is one of the pillars of a quality education. A student who is not curious will more often than not view “book learning” as a chore rather than an opportunity.


If it is nothing else, search technology is a curiosity engine, especially for younger students.


Wikipedia

The world’s largest encyclopedia is a click away from any classroom on Earth. While having such voluminous information available in a form that can be freely used for nearly any academic purpose is an accomplishment worthy of Alexandria’s legacy, one of the key features of any wiki is the ability for individuals to contribute to its completion.


Wikipedia is available to both home school and public school students, and is often used as a staple source for organizations like Connections Academy that provide remote educational opportunities for traditional K-12 and homeschool students.


This kind of participatory involvement is another of the major pillars of the classic liberal arts education that gave rise to nearly all human advancement after the Renaissance. Combined with a healthy curiosity for specialized subject matter, participatory learning gradually conveys the authority to teach to a student, and there can be no doubt any teacher would wish nothing else than for his or her students to become so proficient at their subject they could pass on their knowledge to others.


Open Source Software

Alongside Wikipedia sits GNU and the Linux operating system, which is yet another of humanity’s greatest accomplishments. Any scientifically or mathematically minded teacher should avail themselves of what is available to them and their entire school at no cost.


The GNU project and the Linux operating system combine to form a publicly-licensed, community-developed set of PC, mobile and microprocessor technologies that contain the El Dorado of educational resources for any classroom that teaches math, science, computers, radio communications, digital art, digital audio, 3D design and modeling, robotics, programming, web development, network technologies or digital publishing.


There are already classrooms making use of the some 20,000 applications contained in the GNU and Linux projects, and their students are getting an opportunity to learn from the very same developers that helped build Bell Labs, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Oracle and dozens of other technology enterprises. They do so by simply studying and using the software those men and women developed. The number of students interested in technology and programming in particular speaks for itself.


The Electronic Book

The digital publishing revolution is still in its infancy, but its promise has already found its way to the classroom. There is no longer any reason for students to carry enormous printed books from place to place.


For the cost of dinner for four, a student can be equipped with a device that can not only carry thousands of books, but also provide them with Internet access, the ability to play music, play audio lectures and video lectures and store huge amounts of notes and classroom materials.


The more one examines the educational world, the more one realizes we haven’t begun to tap the true potential of technology. There are numerous other examples of the rapid advance of technology in schools. The future is likely to bring even more exciting examples.

Posted By: Anica Oaks
Tuesday, December 5th 2017 at 5:08PM
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