By Maria Lazar
In the year 2023, technology is all around us. Now more than ever, computers, phones and other electronics are a core part of our daily lives. The advancement of technology has greatly impacted other areas of life such as the automobile industry, the medical field and even education. But is this to be celebrated?
When it comes to education, the jury is still out. While there are certain advantages to the incorporation of modern technology in the classroom, the disadvantages are more prominent. Many studies have observed how students who use technology more in the classroom perform worse in their exams than students who do not.
According to McKinsey&Company “in every subject, students who use tablets in the classroom perform a half-grade level worse than those who do not”. The study goes on to contrast the use of technology in light of its user. In cases where only the student is using
Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries electronics, the results are overtly
negative, whereas if the teacher is
the only one using technology, the results are mostly positive.
McKinsey&Company have extended their observations to a global level. As per their findings, the inverse relationship between the presence of technology in school and the level of performance in students is maintained. Students from Asia and Europe alike perform better in their studies if technology is not used in education. The study concludes that “students who make no use of devices in the classrooms perform the best in every region, except North America”.
The negative effects of blending technology and education are especially felt in the latter years. During the COVID 19 pandemic, many schools adopted an online learning method in order to prevent the virus from spreading further. For pupils, online learning meant using their laptop or tablet to connect to a conference software (such as Zoom or Teams) and listen in to their teacher present their lesson. This transition made education not only inclusive of, but factually dependent on
modern technology. Rephrasing this within the terminology of the study mentioned above, the entire school system became a classroom with student-only use of technology.
Students ranging from primary school all the way to higher education have complained about the remote learning imposed on them. The ripple effects of remote education have been observed by the Office for National Statistics, which states,
“Remote learning was, at best, a partial substitute for in-class teaching during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as pupils covered substantially less material when working from home”. Their study goes on to observe that primary school children were the most affected, as they covered the least amount of traditional school curriculum compared to their peers. This overt dissatisfaction with online only learning creates a connection between primary school pupils to higher education students. So many university students felt negatively impacted by the remote only approach that class action lawsuit has been launched. Student Group Claim seeks compensation for university students who were affected by the COVID-19 measures.
All in all, while the advancement of technology has improved many areas of daily live in a significantly positive manner, education may not be one of them. From the observable data, the integration of modern technology in education has not led student performance and overall learning outcomes on an upwards trajectory; quite the opposite. However, technology is still advancing every day, and its blend with education has only just begun. Is technology helpful in the learning process?
We must look to the future to find out for sure.