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Michelangelo was at the ripe old age of 87 when he said, “I’m still learning.” From Michelangelo to Eleanor Roosevelt to Gandhi, they have all spoken of the need to foster a love of learning that never ends. Learning is the foundation for continuous self-improvement, excellence and innovation. In this constantly changing world, where globalization and rapidly moving technological advances can be seen almost every day, we need to be aware that we are constantly being called to learn new technologies and skills to keep up with the changes.

Only 50 years ago, it was possible to finish your college degree, move into a job, and work out the rest of your days within the same company. These days, it has been said that the average person changes their job between ten to fifteen times during the course of their career. This is partly due to technological advances over the years; so many jobs have become obsolete, taken over by robotics or automated in some form. Technology continues to make jobs obsolete, giving us even more reason to continue learning well after our formal schooling, to ensure we stay competitive in today’s job market. With a flexible and adaptive attitude towards learning, you can now create your own job through learning a new skill; by teaching yourself everything you need to know and using this as a gateway to self-employment and starting your own business.

There is also research that has shown that keeping your mind healthy is one of the best ways to stay healthy well into your later years. An active mind throughout life has been proven to keep you living longer and healthier. It can also help keep certain conditions at bay, with research showing that older people who stay cognitively active are 2.6 times less likely to develop conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Consider, too, that life itself is an education. We are always learning, throughout everything we do in our daily lives. Learning does not start at formal education in schools – it starts much earlier, when we are born, when we begin to understand the world around us through our interactions with our parents and caregivers. Formal education follows, with school and college, but there are many other types of learning we undertake during life.

Self-directed learning gives students the opportunity to control the pace and style of learning – this might be through online courses that allow students to undertake them at their own pace. Professional learning takes place in one’s career, through professional development on the job, often funded by the company. Informal learning takes place through watching YouTube videos, or television documentaries, or even through reading books at the library and conversations with friends. New relationships, travel and the world around you will also expose you to new ideas and opportunities to learn.

In truth, we can’t escape a life filled with learning. Instead, let us embrace the world around us and the opportunities it presents to learn and grow. As the world turns, technology advances and the future draws near, we can stay alert and prepared by embracing a love of lifelong learning.

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Using modern technology in the classroom can be a contentious subject. Are we becoming enslaved to technology? Will technology end up replacing our teachers? The debate has raged on for years. On the one hand, technological advances have brought about such innovations as educational technology apps that can be used by students and teachers in the classroom. These apps make it easy for teachers to assess how students are performing through automatic reports generated by the apps, and this information may also help teachers gauge where students may need extra help.

Modern technology also allows students to progress at their own pace, because lessons can be tailored to students’ needs. Technology also makes learning fun for children; they have been seen to show curiosity and interest in learning when it involves technology. It also allows for differentiated learning, which caters to specific ways students prefer to learn; for example, visual learning through YouTube tutorials, aural learning through the use of audio books and logical learning through apps and programs.

With technology, teachers can concentrate on the important aspects of teaching rather than wasting all their time making and printing material for children. They can receive and access assignments through online portals, so it’s paperless and better for the environment as well. Consider, too, their access to the global education highway. Students can easily connect with the world, broaden their mind and become introduced to cultural influences they may never have known otherwise.

 

 

On the other hand, it must be noted that technology and its devices can be distracting to children; they may spend more time on social media or playing games than learning lessons. There is also the possibility that they may accidentally come across inappropriate content, or fall victim to cyber bullying. However, there are plenty of programs and software to restrict that use by students.

When using technology, there may be some students that are far more advanced in working with technology than others, creating an unfair advantage in the classroom. This can be remedied with catch up tutorials and collaboration between students. Students might also find it a lot easier to cheat. In this case, assignments and exams would need to be structured in a way that makes it harder to cheat or exams could be open-book and the results could focus on students’ ability to solve problems rather than retain information.

Finally, there is the question of equal access. While students may each have a laptop available to them at school, it may be a different story at home and this inequality may cause issues for some students.

There certainly are a number of concerns around modern technology in the classroom, though when it comes down to it, the positives surely outweigh the negatives. This modern, ever-changing world requires us to be able to change and adapt our teaching methods with it, and as technology moves forward into the future, so too do we need to further incorporate it into our classrooms. Technology may never replace our teachers outright, but it will certainly help us prepare our children for the future.

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