Over the last three decades, technology has made its way into the classroom at a rapid rate.  From early Macintosh computers to personal devices provided on a one-to-one basis for students, tech initiatives are becoming a regular project for school districts across the country.  For many millennials, early memories of technology in the classroom involved a single community computer. Today, students are introduced to complete computer labs, or personal devices as early as grade school.  Here are a few major ways technology has changed education over the years:

Improved Engagement and Communication

One of the most important ways tech has altered education is providing major improvements to the engagement and communication between teachers, students, and in some aspects, parents.  Not too long ago, communication between students and teachers was limited to the classroom during school time, or a scheduled after school meeting; and for parents, phone calls, or after school parent-teacher conferences.  Delivering instructions, answering questions, or providing feedback to students and their parents had a time and place, and was limited. However, technological advancements have now provided a way for instructors and students to easily communicate via e-mail, file sharing and cloud technology.  From a parental perspective, parents can oversee all communication and directly reach out to a teacher with any questions or concerns.

Easy Accessibility & Flexibility

The days of having to physically attend a school or university are coming to an end.  Today, many schools offer students online materials or full courses for easy access and flexibility purposes.  Additionally, fully-accredited online universities are on the rise, providing adults with the ability to attend a higher education institution and obtain their degree while keeping a full-time job.  This has improved the way students can access education platforms and reach their goals.

Student Collaboration

With the rise of online courses and universities, the need for student collaboration hasn’t gone unnoticed.  To maintain the effectiveness of students collaborating as they would in a physical classroom, technology has made it possible to keep students engaged with one another by way of interactive group assignments, cloud and file sharing, and group video and instant messaging.  Additionally, it provides students with the ability to get involved in classroom discussions and debates in a collaborative setting. Online simulation tools have also provided students with a way to interactively collaborate with one another while experiencing real-life simulations that they would not be able to experience without technology.

Technology has changed the way we function in society in many different ways.  Education specifically, has seen major changes that will surely continue as time goes on.