The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that in primary and secondary education, teachers are using the Internet and digital technology in education at an astounding level. For example, it states, “92% of these teachers say the Internet has a ‘major impact’ on their ability to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching, 69% say the Internet has a ‘major impact’ on their ability to share ideas with other teachers, 67% say the Internet has a ‘major impact’ on their ability to interact with parents, and 57% say it has had such an impact on enabling their interaction with students.”
These stats are amazing, however, teachers are worried about keeping pace with their students’ digital capabilities. The study also showed that 64% of teachers under 35 describe themselves as “very confident” when using technology in education. With teachers 55 and older, “very confident” was at 44%. Worst of all, 42% of teachers say their students know more than they do when it comes to digital tools.
So is there a dividing line of when technology in education should and shouldn’t be used? On one side, students now have more access to information, timelines, other students, teachers, and countless tools to help them learn. On the other side, students can cheat, text, find distractions, and outsmart the professor (at least sometimes).
Universities offering online courses have one good answer, and that is to let students choose how they want to use the Internet. It becomes the student’s choice how he or she will use technology in education. And maybe this method is best for primary and secondary schools as well – to let time be the judge. There will always be a student who looks for a shortcut, but as time, and other articles, have shown, many kids want to put in the work, research topics, and learn the materials.