As the world transitions from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, this fairly young era of information technology brings with it new innovative opportunities, particularly for young adults who are far more tech savvy than generations prior.
Today, kids are learning at a rapid pace how to access information at their fingertips. While much of it is for gaming, marketers have certainly taken advantage of electronic devices to advertise to younger generations. While not all used for good, this new era has rapidly changed the way we communicate and the speed in which we have access to resources, tools, and information.
In my generation, the encyclopedia was our internet. Research for a simple high school term paper involved a trip to the library, review of several books or resources, and hours of compiling data to justify the content of our paper. Today, almost all of that information is readily accessed on small, hand-held mini-computers through applications and internet browsers.
Even taking simple photographs has changed with this new era of technology. Standard camera film has been replaced with instant digital images that can be discarded or edited immediately rather than waiting form the film to be processed and returned days later to the photographer.
With the rapidly changing technology, schools are falling behind as they try to keep up with the changes!
Instructors are harder to find because the changes have been so rapid, most certified teachers with degrees are not educated in technology information. Curriculum remains outdated, and due to lack of funding, schools are struggling to purchase updated, advanced technological equipment so they can remain relevant in the digital age.
Microsoft has already released its Windows 10 version of its operating software, while most schools and companies are just now upgrading their systems to the prior versions due to cost. This places students at a disadvantage.
However, with the transition to the digital or information age, comes many advantages for schools to incorporate the use of information technology and electronic devices in their curriculum. Teaching real-world applications, mixed with core curriculum, is innovative, and prepares students for the future.
Students are not using technology to their advantage, and we need to teach them how their electronic devices can be used for information gathering, education, and a wealth of resources that can benefit them long-term. Aside from playing games, texting, or social media, students are more and more addicted to their devices as a tool for communication and entertainment, but have little clue how to use it for valuable knowledge and educational advancement.
We need more educators with the skills to teach students in effectively using these tools, while, at the same time, raising funds to help schools afford the latest and greatest technology so students stay current with relevant resources.