Technology and Education
The field of education has adapted new and creative ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. Classes that used to require only textbooks, paper and pencils, now allow gadgets and devices in their place. Being a child of the 90s, I recall the slow but sure revolution of cellular mobile devices. A device that at the age of 8, was only for my parents’ work use, amusing only after stealing it and pretending to be on the phone with my “business associates.” Once I reached high school, they were the “big thing” to own and to bring to school, despite the strict rules against having cell phones outside of your locker. The cell phone’s allure was a combination of the independent feeling of having your own phone line, as well as the rebellious sensation for keeping your phone in your pocket instead of in your locker.
Today, this picture is inconceivable to high schoolers, and even to middle schoolers. Cell phones are not only widely accepted as a means for children to reach their parents and vice versa, but some teachers have even found ways to integrate cell phones and other devices into their teaching plans. Cell phones, laptops and computers have made their way onto teachers’ syllabi in the “Allowed, but silent” section.
How these devices are used in the classroom is another area for teachers to be creative. Mashable’s article The Case for Social Media in Schools offers reasons why teachers should “embrace rather than ban” social media in the classroom. The fact is social networking and media are a part of the young person’s everyday life. Education using the Internet and social media engages students and allows them to learn using tools they already know how to use. Teachers just need to guide their students through the process safely.
Even in the collegiate classroom, many professors have taken the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” route, fusing technology with education, and even offering full blown courses on how to innovatively utilize technology in an educational way. My own experience with this was during a class I took in the fall of 2010, a then-experimental course at the University of Maryland. This turned out to be a fantastic class, through which I found the new realm of technological possibilities. With course content that required me to blog, tweet, and learn about other forms of social media, the class allowed me to become well-versed in the different forms of communication in the ever emerging technological sphere. What were taboo websites (Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc.) to visit during other classes, became my required homework, teaching me how to use these sites to my educational advantage. This was an experience that prompted me to take a second course this past spring to further my technological education.
Now as part of the marketing and communications department at Blue Water Media, I’m continuing to learn more about how businesses, companies, and individuals can benefit from social media marketing and how they can use the web to their advantage. I’m able to draw on the skills I learned in class and apply them to the tasks given to me. I even blog occasionally.
Technology and education? I clearly remain an advocate.