Technology is put at the service of society as the sum of the activities that convert educational environments. Scientific knowledge is systematically applied to the process of acquiring and using information, achieving the improvement of education in all its sectors.
Thanks to technology, what changes is not the learning content but the way it is used, the ease of access to that content and the speed at which it can be consulted. For example, something as old as the Socratic method is still used, but with different content. You can go from the whiteboard to a multimedia book, to a CD, to a web page, etc.
In recent times, for example, terms such as e-learning have appeared, which refer to learning with electronic methods, thanks mainly to the advancement of the Internet and m-learning, which adds the use of mobile devices to the concept. These types of concepts are already part of the daily vocabulary of those who get fully involved in the use of new technologies to learn new things, expand knowledge and, above all, contribute to the evolution of the quality of education based, above all, on , in the new realities and needs of those interested: the students.
Let’s see some of the types of application of technology to education:
They are part of the idea of collaboration as a learning method and have turned out to be a great focus of attraction for users. Also called “newsgroups”, forums allow discussion between different people on a topic that arises.
The term forum reminds us of the Roman assemblies and all those present can participate in it to debate a specific topic. Its operation is based on the free expression of opinions in a climate that is normally informal and with few limitations. For this reason, it requires some precautions, such as not allowing the discussion to stray from the central topic, respect objectivity as much as possible and avoid personal references.
Forums have the benefit of allowing general conclusions to be reached based on the opinions offered about a fact, an activity or a problem. They make the participants increase their level of information and help to develop in them a spirit of collaboration and participation.
Currently, electronic forums are developed on the Internet and usually have a moderator who is, in turn, the web administrator or, for example, in education, the teacher of the subject. In the forum, problems can be solved collaboratively without the need to physically appear at a meeting point and in an asynchronous manner. They work perfectly in study groups and are widely used in virtual classrooms.
Higher education systems are currently undergoing a situation of change, this situation is characterized by new forms of organization (more flexible than before). In the post-industrial era, distance education projects arise that are based on didactic models where the computer network and the Virtual Campus become learning and exchange spaces from which the student is taught and trained. The pedagogical model of these centers has some clear axes that we can name:
Didactic materials: The study instruments are progressively distributed following a pre-established order and technological means are used for this and also for their creation. For example, if a paper book is sent, a CD with complementary videos is added to it.
Student support is provided through personal but remote contact and private spaces are created for this. Technology is also involved in this, the teacher can be contacted through chats, telephone, emails, etc. The creation of links is very important despite the almost non-existent physical presence in the relationship between student and teacher. Tutors and teachers offer personalized attention and follow-up.
In the Virtual Campus, the student can interact with other students and teachers in order to keep up with the learning tasks. The information is updated appropriately and doubts can be clarified at any time. In addition, there are also virtual tutoring rooms, spaces to post ads and direct access to job offers. Some Virtual Campuses even have “virtual bars” where it is possible to share more personal moments with other students and teachers. There is a virtual library and the database is made available to the student from the campus itself.
Students can be very varied unlike the university education that we usually imagine. Thanks to technology, students from anywhere in the world, workers or not, and of any age, can access a virtual university. Flexibility is one of the main values that technology has brought to education.
Another of the basic points in current education is collaboration, which transforms students into active managers of their training project. These stop having a role of passive listening and become curious about knowledge. This can be seen not only in the Virtual Campuses or in the forums, but also in the creation of blogs.
Currently it is easy to create a blog, we could all do it for free, but its maintenance requires time and dedication. We see how more and more young people, passionate about a particular topic, decide to start a blog. Many students use this technology to share with their classmates interesting data about the sector of interest and the creation of these is increasingly requested by teachers as a final project.
Other ways to learn thanks to the Internet
There are many more forms of education thanks to technology, among which we would like to highlight the role of the well-known TED talks. Although they were born in the eighties, they have become known over time. These are virtual conferences that are recorded and shared on the web and on YouTube so that we can all consume them.
TED Talks have been watched by 500 million people and given its success, TEDx was created in 2009 so that independent organizers from around the world could hold events locally to spread ideas. TED has also reached the classroom where it works very well as a trigger for ideas and a growth method for students under the motto that we all have something interesting to tell others. Classroom talks are also often shared on the Internet.
Another inescapable of education thanks to technology are the online summer courses, which offer a wide variety of topics to learn something new in a short period of time or improve knowledge on any subject. Summer programs are also a great help to improve language learning or for personal growth issues.
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