The standard classroom format mostly remained unchanged for centuries before the arrival of digital technologies in our classrooms over the last few decades. When our parents and grandparents attended schools and colleges, the instructors usually relied upon a blackboard, chalks, and textbooks to conduct daily class sessions. While these ancient pieces of technology still remain in the classrooms, their relative importance has declined significantly. But not everyone has welcomed the arrival of digital technologies in the classrooms because they also pose certain challenges despite offering tremendous benefits. However, the digital technologies should be embraced because their cumulative benefits far surpass the potential problems.
New technologies should be embraced because they enable the instructors to improve the quality of classroom instruction. The instructors can use digital technologies such as animated graphics to communicate their points in more effective manner. It is easier to explain complex concepts that might have been a challenge before due to the limitations of pictures or still diagrams. The digital technologies make it possible to relay information in more formats than before. The instructors are not limited to written texts or still pictures and diagrams only but can also utilize animation, videos, digital slides, audios, and customized charts.
Digital technologies are a welcome trend because they make it possible to allocate more time to more productive tasks in the classroom. The students used to take notes in the classroom in the past to ensure they have captured the important points from the lectures. But new technologies make it possible for students to focus more on other productive activities such as engaging in class discussions and paying attention to the lecture. The need for taking notes can be avoided as the instructors often post lectures slides, notes, and even lecture recordings online that can be accessed by anyone, anytime. This is not to say that one cannot pay attention and take notes at the same time. But it is important to realize human limitations because it is more efficient to focus on one task as compared to multiple tasks. Someone who is taking notes may not understand the lecture as well as someone who is simply focused on the lecture.
Technology is better for education because it is putting education within the reach of more people due to a variety of reasons. One of the constraints faced by some who would like to go to college is geographical restraint. New technologies mean one can still get education without being present in the class as long as he has access to internet and an internet-enabled device such as a computer, tablet, or even smart phone. Technology is also putting education within the reach of more people by lowering costs. Online education is cheaper to provide because it does not require expensive investments in physical infrastructure such as buildings and classrooms in order to expand capacity. Moreover, the cost of adding another student is next to nothing in online education. Many students are able to afford education now because the fees of online education are usually lower than traditional educational formats.
New technologies might have created their own sets of problems but many of these problems are manageable. Moreover, the benefits of new technologies far surpass any potential problems so the new technologies should be embraced. New technologies enable the instructors to provide more engaging and enriching classroom instruction. New technologies also enable the students to allocate more time to productive activities as compared to tasks with lower value. In addition, new technologies have enabled many people to get education who would not have been able to do so otherwise.