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Educational Technology: A Friend or A Foe?

With the advent of technology today, I cannot help but wonder what will happen to me if these technologies did not exist. Whether it may be mobile devices or the internet, it has made our lives easier, faster, and more convenient. We can easily communicate with our loved ones no matter where they are located in the globe. We can now do errands quicker and cheaper.

In the general sense, technology has given us more free time than our ancestors. The time that they used in handwriting their letters, we can spend it to more worthwhile activities as we did not devote most of our time on this tedious task thanks to computer's word processing software. We can now quickly look for information on the internet in just a snap of a finger. Unlike our grandparents, they need to stay in the library for hours just to watch for the information that they need. To state the obvious, we are just so goddamn lucky.

As a teacher, I really thank the invention of computers and the internet. We can now quickly check our students' works if these are plagiarized or not. We can now quickly browse for information (or powerpoint presentations) that we can use for our lectures and classes. We can now promptly look for educational materials needed in our classes. The list goes on. In fact, as a millennial teacher, I am really dependent on my phone and laptop. If my student asks me a random question, I can always go to Google and tell him the answer to his question.

The best thing that happened to education is the invention of online or virtual classrooms. It was UVLe, University of the Philippines' equivalent to Google Classroom. It was not perfect during that time, but we knew that it did wonders. I remember the time when my Soc Sci 1 teacher incorporated this technology in her class. She announced class suspensions in the medium. She encouraged us to submit our assignments in that platform, too, lessening not just personal interaction but also an economic expansion on our part as students. She was also able to post our grades in the platform, too. It had a built-in plagiarism checker and grade calculator, making her life as a teacher more convenient. It was a gift from our popular technology to us scholars of education. We are no longer confined in the four walls of the classrooms. Our horizons have expanded. Our reach has become endless. Even though I cannot require my students to use Google classroom, at least I have experienced it myself and will be able to share my learnings with my teacher education students.

Another thing that is worth noting for is the invention of instant messaging apps. Messenger, Facebook's take on this instant messaging craze, helped me a lot in my classes. In the time when people can access the internet for free, Messenger has been a vital platform for my students and me. I was able to post class suspensions, share some announcements, and share some lecture notes to my students. Because of this, they will no longer spend tens of pesos just for photocopies. They can always have a document reader in their phones and efficiently study for the upcoming exams anytime and anywhere. It may not be as sophisticated as our UVLe or Google classroom, its presence has played a vital role in the teaching-learning process in my class.

Despite all its positive contributions in the aspect of education, it also promoted some negative qualities to my students. Because of technology, my students have a short attention span. Since I am competing with a learning material that is within their reach, I need to step up my game and make sure that classes are more interesting than ever. I need to integrate teaching strategies that could make them listen to me for at least an hour. That is indeed a challenging task. They can always look for materials in their phones, and they will no longer listen to me after. How can I compete with this device that offers limitless possibilities? I do not know the answer.

Aside from this, I am now also battling with misinformation caused by this technology. We are somehow experiencing a paradox now. We do have tons of information available at our disposal, yet our students (and sometimes us teachers) no longer have enough time to filter data. The internet is feeding us with lots of information. Most of these are relevant and accurate information that we need in our lives. Yet some of the false ones infiltrate the minds of our students. We need to work double time in transforming our students to become media and information literate. It is not enough for them to know stuff. They need to be critical in digesting information. As the builders of the future, they need to be ready. As teachers, it is our job to make the world ready.

All of these is thoroughly discussed in a Professional Education subject called Education Technology. We learned that these technologies, whether traditional or modern, have its advantages and flaws. As teachers, we need to utilize this to its maximum limits. We need to ensure that its flaws will be limited. As teachers, we need to use technology wisely.


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