Technology, of course, is a double-edged sword but yet neutral; its outcome is dependent on how it is used. The positive intent of technology is to improve life and increase the ease at which our daily operations are carried out; thus yielding increased productivity. In our current world, it is no news that the tentacles of technology has spread across all spheres of life- health, commerce, food production among others. Although arguable, technology seems to have offered more benefits than detriments to humanity.
The adoption of technological tools in education is, and should be targeted at aiding the achievement of the curriculum goals and milestones, not replacing them. Since the whole essence of education is to groom competent individuals, the curriculum should consequently accommodate, manage and monitor current trends of global relevance, in which technology is a core one. Fairly, there is an extensive use of technology in post-secondary education in Nigeria, but the irony is the case in educational levels below tertiary. Some students do not even have access to the use of a computer or the basic knowledge of its operations, until they are faced with the unavoidable hurdle of writing JAMB. We can only imagine the percentage of failure in JAMB spawned by insubstantial knowledge of the use of a computer. Some students on the other hand literally grew up with technological gadgets in their hands but are solely exposed to their use for extracurricular activities. Hence, it is important that these students are nurtured up-to-date with basic technological tools and how to use them responsibly.
The importance of technology integration in education can be evaluated for both students and teachers:
- Fulfilling students’ needs: from writing online tests to sourcing for educational materials, the average student needs technology. The pace of assimilation and mental stimulation differs per generation. It is therefore very important to pay attention to what sparks the interest of this generation (digital age) to enhance educational success. This generation is more interested in multimedia than written texts, in interactive learning than the mundane passive learning.
Teaching styles in the educational industry have transformed from the ‘confined’ learning (where learning is limited to the walls of the school) through e-learning (additional learning materials are provided or sourced for on the internet/electronic devices) to m-learning (where learning is flexible and can be acquired anytime and anywhere through mobile devices). M-learning introduces online classes, social networks and flexibility to learn from any school operating these programs. You can be in your room in Nigeria and earn a degree from John Hopkins in the US; all you need is internet and a smart mobile device. Technology encourages versatility in knowledge acquisition among students. Students can easily compare contents of subjects learnt with other resource materials available on the subject on online educational hubs. They can participate in online quizzes with students from diverse backgrounds and areas, to boost competence and competitiveness. Educational mobile applications also serve as learning platforms for students. The multitude of resources on these platforms keeps students engaged and tends to bridge the gap in learning differences. A student can easily download different textbooks from the internet and utilize them without a financial burden of buying books or a physical stress of carrying them. Ultimately, the constant advancement of technology and how it is intertwined to every aspect of life corroborates the need for students’ familiarity right from early learning stages.
- Boost teacher’s efficiency: technology integration in education presents the teacher with the following benefits:
- It is a major tool for self-development – Online trainings, networking and collaborations are interesting features and opportunities that can be explored through technology.
- Provides access to more and current resource materials for teaching – It also helps the teacher to expose the students to different ways of learning a particular concept. For instance, assimilation of a particular topic taught by the teacher may be aided by checking other contributions available on online educational hubs.
- Ease of storage of teaching materials – the stress and untidiness of piling textbooks/ lecture notes is averted through the use of storage packages such as flash drives, Google drive among others. It also encourages preservation and transferability of information over a long period of time.
- Ease of instruction dissemination – engaging the students become easier when it is done through a means that appeal to their interest. This, in turn, improves the relationship between teacher and students.
- Provides flexibility – with technology, teaching can be done anywhere, anytime. For example, the class does not have to be cancelled because the teacher is not physically present. Lectures can be recorded or be delivered through online audio-visual apps.
Although there are criticisms/ constraints on cost-effectiveness in setting up technological tools in schools and also, that laptops, tablets and other smart mobile devices are sources of distractions to students. The fact however remains that there are huge benefits in the responsible use of technology for learning. Technology is necessary to succeed outside primary and secondary education; its integration into pre-tertiary levels is therefore crucial.