News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Mar. 25, 2021: Technology is constantly changing so many different aspects of our lives, including in the Caribbean and Latin America.

For example, if 10 years ago you wanted to watch a film, you would have probably gone out and rented or bought a DVD instead of streaming it on the internet. If you needed some groceries, you would have also had to go to the store, whereas these days you can choose to order food and drink online and get them delivered straight to your home.

Even some of the most mundane tasks like organising your banking, changing your energy provider and even booking a taxi have all now been made so much simpler and quicker thanks to apps on smartphones and tablets.

While you may have not noticed all of these changes because they seem to sneak into and adapt our lives with very little fanfare, all of these small advancements have made a big difference to our lives.

One place where you definitely might not have noticed a difference is somewhere where you spent years when you were younger, but probably have not stepped into for a very long time. That is of course, unless you have children yourself or work in the profession. When it comes to schools, all of us have different memories of the level of technology on offer depending on what era you went to school. For example, some will remember the first typewriter, or the first television set being bought by their school, younger people may remember when their school bought their first computers that pupils were forced to take turns using. Even younger pupils may remember when blackboards were replaced by whiteboard, or even when whiteboards were replaced with smart whiteboards.

Even if you only recently graduated from school, college or university, it is highly likely that the technology has changed a lot the last few years since you stepped foot on campus. Here is a look at some of the ways technology is constantly changing education around America and around the globe.

Moving Whole Degrees Online

Throughout this article, you will hear a lot about the technology that you would find in a classroom that has revolutionised the way students learn. One of the most incredible developments when it comes to technology is the fact that students actually no longer need to travel to a certain building to get an education. A university is no longer a word describing a campus where people travel to study to get a degree. It can now mean any institution which provides training to help people complete their degrees, whether that be in a traditional lecture hall or over the internet to someone sitting at home, at their work or even at their local café.

There are so many different advantages to studying at an online university. For instance, they can be a lot more affordable than a traditional course. For most students, the most expensive part of being a student is not the tuition. It is paying for the accommodation you need to stay in as the university campus you are studying at is so far away from your home. It is also the food, utility bills, travel and the other expenses that you need to pay for while you are living away from home. As well as the expense, moving away from home can also have a huge impact on your social life. Traditionally to study the exact course you want a degree in, you would probably have to travel to a different state or even to the other side of the world, leaving your friends and family behind. If you are married, in a serious relationship, or have children, you might even decide not to go to university as you would not either want to force them to move location with you or leave them behind. If you choose to study online, you can choose exactly where you study and avoid some of the emotional and financial stress university has traditionally caused.

You might think by choosing to study at home, you would be restricted by the number of courses you could choose from. You might think that you would be forced to study a less complicated degree in a less complicated field. Luckily, that is not the case. Restricting where you study should not limit your choice of career or your ambition. No matter what you would like to study, there is probably an online course available in that field. For example, Marymount University offer a number of medical qualifications that you can study for online. They offer everything from an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree to a Doctor of Education or even a Master’s degree. You might think that studying remotely might put you at a disadvantage compared to other students; in fact, these degrees have extremely high pass rates in comparison to more traditional courses.  

Bringing Classrooms Together

When we were children, you may have been asked to write a letter to a pen pal. Often these were children that were picked at random from another school across the country or even the world. Although it is a great exercise in learning how to write letters, it is highly unlikely that the letter writing would develop into a lasting friendship. It is highly likely that you would have never met these people in real life, spoken to them over the phone or even seen a photo of them. In some instances, you might have not even got a letter back if the assignment ended abruptly or even if the letter got lost in the post.

Luckily in 2021, there are much more effective ways to communicate with classrooms around the country or the world. Instead of writing a letter, schools can now speak to other schools around the world in real time thanks to the internet. Many teachers now set up webcams and microphones to speak to other classrooms instead of sending letters. If the aim of the topic is to learn about different cultures, then pupils can learn a lot more from these video calls than any letter. They can see the faces, hear the accents and different languages of the pupils, and even ask questions which are answered instantly.

Holding Massive Conferences In Tiny Classrooms

Another one of the big events you might remember from your school or college days are those big inter-school meetings that you went to. These would be large events that would see hundreds if not thousands of pupils from different schools gather. They would normally be held in large buildings, such as theatres or even stadiums. These events are held for many reasons, whether it is to get large groups of children working together or even get lots of people together to hear the same inspirational guest speaker talk.

While there are lots of advantages to these trips, they can also cause a lot of problems. For example, the hire of the venue and even hiring the transport to take so many pupils to the event can cost a lot of money. If you are also required to get permission from the parent of each child to take them on this trip, it can cause a lot of extra admin and paperwork for teachers to complete on top of their very busy schedules. This is before you even consider the health and safety assessments they would be required to complete before taking so many children to an outside venue.

Thanks to the internet, these same events can happen from the comfort of the classroom. These same inspirational talkers can be broadcast into classrooms around the world at the same time. Just like a live event where the pupils attend in person, they can still ask any questions they may have to the guest over webcam. As these children are all gathering in a virtual venue, there is no limit to how many pupils can attend. There are also no limitations to how many of these events teachers can take their children to. As they do not have to pay for things like transport and do not have to do much planning before the event, they can choose to accept invites to these online events at very short notice and as often as they want.

Making Resources More Readily Available

Back when you were at school, you were probably handed a lot of worksheets to complete. Depending on when you went to school, it is highly likely that these would either be handwritten by the teacher or scanned from a textbook and then copied and printed out several times. As these worksheets take a lot of time to build from scratch, it is highly likely that teachers would use the same resources every year. The same goes for if they were copying them out of a textbook, as they would probably scan the same pages year in year out.

These days, many teachers are able to search lots of different websites to find different resources. As well as giving teachers a lot more choice, it also allows teachers to change their lesson plans quickly. Teachers can even react to news stories in the press as soon as they happen. For example, if there is a big news story that a lot of pupils are scared or concerned about, the teacher could find a worksheet on that topic, print it out and include it in their lessons the same day.

Teaching Completely New Skills For The Modern Job Market

Just like the classroom, workplaces have changed a lot around the world over the last few years. Some careers have almost become obsolete due to technology reducing the need for certain roles. On the other end of the scale, there are a lot of different career roles that would not have even existed just a few years ago. It is a lot more likely that pupils in these classrooms would be interested in a career involving technology, whether that be a web developer, a robotic engineer or a designer. You might think that because all of these jobs need specialist training and specialist equipment, it would be impossible to teach young children these skills. Luckily as the popularity of these careers increase, the cost of the equipment is decreasing.

More and more companies are creating very basic versions of the devices and software needed in these industries which pupils can actually learn how to use within a normal classroom environment. Students can now code software and even robots to complete very basic tasks. As well as being very exciting and entertaining, these are great ways to get children to engage in different lessons and learn new skills that they are increasingly likely to need in later life.

Making Lessons More Fun

As well as all the opportunities that this technology opens up for students and teachers, they can also make any lesson a lot more fun for the class. For years, teachers have tried to come up with fun ways of getting children to learn. That is because they know that if the children enjoy what they are doing, they are a lot more likely to be engaged and learn something from that lesson. If a teacher simply tried to get pupils to listen to them talk at the front of the class and complete exercises from textbooks all day, they will simply get bored. This is when pupils start to mess around and cause discipline problems and ultimately not get the most out of their education.

Instead of creating games using basic household equipment and lots of pieces of paper, teachers can now create exciting lessons using more modern technology. For example, if a teacher wanted to hold a pop quiz a few years ago, they would have had to sit them all down and get them to write down their answers. If a teacher has access to tablet devices, they could instead get the children to all answer the questions on their tablets using a specialist quiz app. As well as being able to see all of the children’s answers instantly to check all of the pupils are on track, this technology makes it feel like the children are taking part in their own gameshow.