• COMMENTARY

    Learning with the help of technology

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    Technological advances had greatly changed the education landscape in that teaching is no longer confined to the traditional face-to-face delivery of lessons.

    Now, students can also learn outside the classroom via the Internet. Through the convergence of traditional and modern methods, students get to experience the best of both worlds – they can be tutored in school and get additional lessons through the Web.

    The convenience and effectiveness of e-learning had long been recognized by educational institutions and education officials. A number of schools in the country have embraced with enthusiasm emerging education technology in that lectures are boosted by computer-based, or gadget-based, learning. Today, in some schools, netbooks have replaced notebooks and some lessons are delivered electronically.

    A survey conducted by Pearson Foundation in the United States found that more than six in 10 college students and high school seniors agree that they study more efficiently by using tablets. A study conducted by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in California also showed that students using iPads performed better in math compared to students using traditional textbooks. Another study at Oklahoma State University found that 75 percent of students said the use of gadgets enhanced their learning experience.

    Despite the fears of parents and some teachers that gadgets may distract students, surveys and studies have shown that generally, these technological tools are a big help in learning. The United States had invested heavily by providing computers for students in public schools. Reports say the federal government spends more than $3 billion a year on digital content alone. The US has also launched a massive program to make high-speed Internet and free online teaching resources available to remote schools. This year, more states administered tests for the elementary and middle grades through the Internet, discarding the use of pen and paper.

    The Philippines should not be left behind when it comes to applying education technology. The ethical and responsible use of computers, tablets, cellphones and other devices can greatly enhance the learning capability of students, for it has been shown through studies that children (and adults for that matter) can better grasp and understand their lessons in a more relaxed environment, without the prying (and sometimes mocking) eyes of classmates or teachers.

    Emerging technologies can be powerful tools in education. The Philippines can copy the US and slowly, as the budget of the Department of Education allows, provide schools computers, fast Internet service, digital devices and software for the use of students. Investing on e-learning will benefit both teachers and students. Teachers can disseminate their lessons and assignments with ease, and students can work on their lessons at home. Little by little, the country can introduce changes to the system by adopting a wider array of learning platforms with the use of technology.

    Thanks to technology, schools (and teachers) can tap a number of “partners” in carrying out their mission to educate students. Audio and video lessons can be delivered to students through social networks and webcams. Students can attend classes in e-classrooms. Teachers can send lectures through email and, schools can issue communications the same way. And perhaps, in the near future, tests can be administered online.

    As the world continues its march to progress, there’s no escaping online education. To keep up, the country will have to study and develop its own model of computer-based learning that will be effective for Filipino students.

    (The author is Teacher 3 of Tokitok Elementary School in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan)

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