Digitalization of education is not a part of some sci-fi book or some article that describes our future. It is a reality, and it has been a reality for more than a decade. And here we don’t mean all those computer science classes — we mean global digitalization of education that gets stronger every day now. Of course, COVID-19 gave this process a proper boost — educational institutions, teachers, professors, parents, students had to adapt to a new reality where education is still vital but cannot be reached offline. This article will speculate on advantages and disadvantages of digitization of education.
Advantages of Digitization in Education
It is not an exhaustive list of advantages that digitization brings to the sphere of education. However, these are advantages most of the students around the globe can actually benefit from.
- Up-to-date data across the board. The world is changing critically fast and to keep up the speed we need to receive up-to-date information. Digitizing education helps to provide students with modern data when it is actual, not ten-twenty years later. It works both for wealthy countries and remote areas with small schools.
- Parental control and engagement. Digitizing allows parents to keep abreast of their kids’ education in almost live mode. This way parents can react to what is going on with their kids in school on time – not when it is too late for any improvement. Of course, parental control should fade in years, but in school critical years it has its meaning.
- Increased student engagement. Students love the digital world, period. It is not possible to take gadgets away from students strategically. That is why the reverse strategy works just fine — being able to study with gadgets, VR/AR technologies, etc., students perform better and show increased engagement rates.
- Easier access from remote areas. Our world doesn’t develop equally — there are rich countries and developing countries, countries where schools are easy to access, and countries with failing education systems. Digitization helps bring balance to the level of education across the globe, bringing modern technologies to the most remote areas.
- Better education gets cheaper. When one good teacher can teach several online classes at once — more kids get better education at almost no cost. When school doesn’t need to buy all the paper versions of needed textbooks, but online versions and gadgets that will serve for years, and that are often donated by big companies — more kids get better education at an affordable price.
- Access to virtual analogues of real-life lab-projects. Dealing with lab and other practical task projects became a real challenge during the pandemics.
- Access to virtual analogues of real-life lab-projects. Dealing with lab and other practical task projects became a real challenge during the pandemics. A group of essay experts working at a professional paper writing service Write My Paper Hub admit that they have never received so many orders related to lab work and STEM. With the development of cloud computing and online educational programs, robotech, chemistry, biology, engineering classes will become much more accessible.
- With the development of cloud computing and online educational programs, robotech, chemistry, biology, engineering classes will become much more accessible.
- Customized content and progress programming. Digitizing comes with customization and individualization of learning plans. Every student soon will follow his individual studying curve programmed according to his abilities, goals, skills and progress. It will help students reach their goals faster and decrease the peer pressure and anxiety, strongly associated with mental problems among students.
Disadvantages of Digitization in Education
Despite all the obvious benefits, many concerns were raised, and we aim to analyze arguments prevented by both pro and con sides.
- Teachers may not be ready. Students and even parents may be more ready for digitization than teachers, especially older teachers. Some techniques teachers tailored for years now become obsolete, professors have to start using technologies that are often less known to them than to their students. It creates tension and not fully efficient usage of new technologies.
- Progress is much faster for wealthier students. It is true that new technologies help bring education to the most remote areas. At the same time children from wealthier, more stable countries gradually receive access to the latest technologies and the chasm between skills needed and used in the first world and skills taught in the third world becomes even bigger. Unfortunately, for now, there are no proven effective mechanisms to deal with this problem fairly.
- Programs are not perfected yet. Programs for digital learning are new, fresh, innovative, but it doesn’t mean they are very quality and better than the previous programs. Students should have access to the best practices, and many digital education programs are just too raw. At the same time governments and boards of education invest time and money in digitization, so, schools have to use new technologies to justify those investments. In most of the cases, gradually, the quality of education becomes as expected, but the exceptions are still concerning.
- Decreasing social adaptation skills. It is as simple as that — the more time students spend with gadgets, the less time they spend with each other, in open communication and group work.
- Risks of dependency on technology. Schools become more and more dependent on technology and digitization. Potential economic or techno crises can through the educational process decades back.
- Software and hardware updates may be expensive. Right now companies and wealthy governments invest millions in digitization of education. But what will happen when they start decreasing those investment flows? How expensive will it be to keep software and hardware up-to-date with new digitized educational programs?
We believe that arguments about both advantages and disadvantages are rather convincing when it comes to digitization of education. Fortunately or unfortunately, though, we cannot change much — computing, cloud, VR/AR technologies will be developing and will be taking over more and more fields in education. It is a logical development of our society and all we can do is analyze risks and disadvantages of this process and work on decreasing their effects. Being a student, you will see how technologies influence your learning more and more every day.
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