The other day, I and my friends completed our school assignment only by using the technology provided to us and not once did we have to physically meet; it was all virtual. The project turned out to be a great success, and I didn’t even have to leave the comforts of my house. In earlier times, this wouldn’t have been that easier. However, as a matter of fact, technology had always been an integral part of education, even in the 1970s.
In India, around 1975 (which was 20 years before the first laptop came to India), an educational programme (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE)) was conducted using American’s Application Technology Satellite (ATS-6). This program had two segments and was broadcasted for four hours every day. The first one and a half hour was dedicated to school children, thus, contributing to education since 1975 (“Space Applications Centre Celebrates Ruby Year of SITE”). The programme was a great initiative, considering the era and the level of technology.
Technology, as we all know, still continues to be a part of education. It has changed education in many ways, “for one, it has greatly expanded access to education” (“How Has Technology Changed Education”). Thanks to technology, one can now have access to vast sources of information. When in doubt, students, adults or practically anyone, can access the Internet for doubt-clearing videos or online notes (“How Has Technology Changed Education”). Whereas, in earlier times, people had to spend hours in the library,rummage through tons and tons of pages in an uncomfortable position and painstakingly take notes. Now, it’s just one click for notes on any topic.
Sure, one would say that technology only acts as a distraction for students and they shouldn’t be exposed to the Internet, for reasons like cheating, but according to the author of an online article by EdTech Review, “Technology and education are a great combination if used together with a right reason and vision” (Saxena, “How Important is use of Technology in Education”).
Classes will be engaging for students only when there is a use of technology because, “the students of this generation are considered technological learners” (Wantulok, “How Important is Technology in Education? Pine Cove’s Top 10 Reasons”). Students tend to be excited by something bright and engaging, so when teachers introduce new topics to them by using educational videos on YouTube, those topics tend to stay for a longer time in a student’s mind. According to the author of National Education Association, YouTube has around “500,000 educational videos” (Nast, “YouTube for Educators”) and some of these videos are being provided by top educational schools, like Stanford University. There are also options for schools where “students can watch and search only YouTube EDU videos and videos their school adds” (Nast, “YouTube for Educators”). This is a great way of learning for students, and an easier way for teachers to teach. Even Conlan from EdTech Magazine says that “according to statistics gathered for a recent NUITEQ infographic”, the use of technology can “increase the student’s retention” and not only that, but “95% of students [with connectivity] use the Internet for research” ( “6 Ways Students Benefit from Technology Integration [#Infographic]”).
The best example we can talk about at this moment is the global pandemic. Xiao and Fan, the authors of an article by World Economic Forum, say that “as of mid-April. around 191 countries implemented school or university closure, impacting 1.57 billion students” and many such educational institutes provided “online distance learning”, thus not disrupting education (“10 technology trends to watch in the COVID-19 pandemic”). So, it could be said that both, technology and education, have never been more useful than the present challenging times.
In conclusion, referring to the title of this essay, I would like to say that, indeed, technology has been an integral part of education. It has been a part of it since the 1970s and continues, as technology develops, to be a part of it. It has even helped us during the pandemic.
Technology has given education a new meaning, made it more engaging and will continue to do so because education is now available to all with connectivity.