Embracing Educational Technology: A New Way to Propel Learning

​Many educators worry about the ease with which students cheat by using different technologies, but... Is education cheating students of crucial learning?

Marisol Marcin, Ph.D.

3/1/20233 min read

a boy sitting at a desk with a book and a cell phone
a boy sitting at a desk with a book and a cell phone

Many educators spend a considerable amount of time designing tasks that can be completed through technology without engaging students in the learning process. ​It is undeniable that the younger generations are tech-savvy. When you put technology in the hands of the average young learner, they are able to figure it out if they are interested. But somehow, many of those students struggle to complete classroom assignments or understand the content that is part of their curriculum.

Meanwhile, students spend hours interacting with technology and learning skills, often without any adult to assist them or to help them understand what they are doing.

Innovative educators have long recognized the potential of technology to revolutionize education. However, many instructors remain apprehensive about incorporating technology into their teaching practices, fearing that it will enable cheating or dumb down the learning experience.​

​The challenges of the beginning of this decade brought to our attention the potential of virtual tools in education. Due to the pandemic, schools and homes had to adapt quickly, and while not everything was successful, we did learn that it was possible to teach using different tools and in very untraditional ways. During this time, every industry had to change; from supermarkets offering grocery delivery services to doctors providing virtual consultations, the world has been forced to adapt to technological advancements.

A few years into the technological revolution, we see the way that many industries took advantage of those learnings and developed new ways to work, while others were unable to adapt and disappeared. As an industry, is education going in the right direction?

It seems to me that we are too afraid of the dangers of technology to see its potential. While we struggle to find ways to ensure students are not using Chat GPT or other AI to write their papers or translators in the language classroom, we are missing how these tools could bring students' learning to a whole new level.​

​Online translators, for example, have become increasingly accurate, which means that learners will sometimes use them to translate their assignments. It also means that students can use them to connect their two languages. Imagine telling your students to use their translator to describe their home and then asking them to notice the way adjectives work as a starting place to understand gender and number.

They could then go on a fact-checking quest and finally discuss of their findings. This activity would bring to the forefront important skills that students need to master when interacting with online knowledge.

​Chat GPT and other similar technologies allow people to generate written content that is often human-like, but requires no expertise or knowledge on the part of the “creator”. What if we used these technologies in the earlier stages of writing so students can explore their ideas by asking questions, categorizing topics and finding threads.

Integrating new and disruptive technologies into the curriculum is challenging, but if we approach them with curiosity and let our students join us on the learning journey, we will also teach them the power of a learning community, which will help them become better learners. Of course, there are many other considerations in this pursuit, and I will address them in upcoming posts.

For now, I want to close by emphasizing that while it's natural to be concerned about the potential risks of technology in the classroom, it's important to remember that these tools also have enormous potential to enhance learning and engage students in new and innovative ways. By embracing technology and using it to create more personalized and engaging learning experiences, we can better prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.