Technology can be rightly said to have impacted every occupation. Technology application and the changes it brings are in fact intended and necessitated, as it is a part of the larger development of the society. Technology has been introduced in all fields and occupations, either directly or indirectly, and its benefits are evident in terms of time, quality, process etc. As technology has been broadly introduced in all walks of life, no occupation can claim to be independent of either direct or indirect use of technology, since it is integrated to the society.
It is therefore obvious that the fields of education and learning have also incorporated technology, resulting in unprecedented possibilities and results. The advantages of technology cannot be disputed, particularly given the recent trends in e-learning, however despite this; its disadvantages shouldn’t be ignored. The need and maintenance of the associated infrastructure for technology introduction may itself look challenging for many. New technologies may require special wiring and any breakdowns would be disruptive and need repair by experts.
Also when high costs on software, hardware and connection costs are borne, the equipment might soon be outdated. The teacher has now become more of a learning facilitator rather than an instructor or information provider. The teacher’s methodology has changed from traditional, teacher-centered teaching to learner-centered, interactive teaching. The teacher has moved away from being a fact teller and an expert to being a collaborator and occasionally an expert, with learning emphasis being on relationships and inquiry rather than facts and reproduction.
Students are moving away from passive learning, given the lesser lecturing; towards cooperative learning. Focusing more on information literacy, the teacher helps in guiding students to identify and access required information. With students being capable of resourcing all relevant information, the teacher now needs to help them to analyze, evaluate and judge the suitability of the information; they have required. With the involvement of technology, the traditional skills and exercises of students are being increasingly abandoned.
The use of calculator by students avoids them the benefits of manual calculations. Manual calculations involve deeper analysis of the problems which develop brain activity and mental capability. Introduction of technologies, while helping students, are in fact doing away with the crucial mental exercises and reasoning efforts of the students, depriving them of the associated valuable benefits. With most schools accepting electronic submission of answers or essays, students no longer need to be concerned of spelling and grammar usage.
These are automatically highlighted or corrected, saving them the effort to do it by themselves. In the long run, they do not develop the skills necessary for identifying and correcting these. The use of internet in education not only exposes students to wrong or misleading information but also to engage in plagiarism. Assignments and tests are quickly completed by reproducing available information rather than producing it by themselves. The use of technology in education is definitely doing away with the skill sets that have been acquired by individuals with much effort and pain, traditionally.
Music education is also an area where technological changes have done away with traditional requirements. Today, the sounds of drum, piano or other instruments can be electronically created without learning the fundamentals of that instrument. Thus experts only need to manipulate these sounds effectively, which would otherwise have required the performance of so many musicians. Although there are several advantages of a computer, the use of computers in language learning has its own restrictions. One of its main disadvantages is that it would lead to an increase in education costs (Gips, DiMattia & Gips).
Low budget schools and poor students would not be able to buy a computer, when computer become a basic necessity for students. This would cause unjust conditions on the part of poor schools and students, with regard to education. Even when computers are bought, the need for expensive software or hardware would again be another financial strain on the part of the schools and students. For computer-assisted second language learning, it becomes necessary that both the teacher and student be proficient in the basics of computer use.
Students cannot use computers in language learning when they lack training in computer technology. Most teachers unfortunately do not have the technological training to guide their students through computer assisted language learning programs (Lai & Kritsonis). Another problem with regard to computers in language learning is that the software for language learning if far from perfect. Many language learning programs are recent and its functions are highly limited. The computers need to be capable of not just evaluating the correctness of a spoken word, but also the appropriateness of the said word.
It should also be capable of evaluating student’s response with respect to pronunciation, syntax and context of usage. Second language learners face several situations in the course of their language learning and computers cannot handle such unexpected situations. As the artificial intelligence of the computers is limited, it cannot handle unexpected learning problems and queries of learners’. It should be noted that there is a fundamental difference in the way humans and computers analyze information. Computers with such a level of intelligence cannot be expected for at least quite sometime (Blin, 1994).
With the emergence of newer technologies, the fact that it is indeed beneficial cannot be disputed. However, these new technologies are doing away with the requirement for development of personal skill sets that have been traditionally followed. Our education is moving away from a totally technology independent field to highly technology dependent. Education is our basics to understanding of the world, survival and success tactics. With much of this education being technology backed, we step into the harsh world, largely backed with technology use. The change here is irreversible like that in other technology aided fields.
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