The characteristics of new technologies offer the possibility of developing new ways of teaching and learning, transforming the traditional educational model. Currently, traditional teaching transmitted from teacher to student is losing relevance as a consequence of the digital transformation of education.
In this context, digital tools have become a fundamental support for education professionals, as they allow them to store, process and share all teaching material through multiple electronic devices, and even create new content in a much more attractive way.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the arrival of ICT in education has provided unlimited access to resources and information and is defined as a great support for teachers and improves the quality of student learning.
What educational resources does ICT bring to the classroom?
The drive towards digitalisation has transformed teaching resources, giving greater emphasis to dynamism and student interaction with the subject matter. The use of simultaneous presentations, videos, applications and didactic images facilitates teaching, as it increases the involvement of students in the teaching process, as they are the protagonists and not the teacher, as stipulated by the traditional expository methodology.
Thanks to information and communication technologies, schools have new sources of information and resources at their disposal, allowing both pupils and teachers to make immediate enquiries. At the same time, they can access communication channels and interactive applications, such as chats and forums, which complement other tools such as e-mail, word processors, image editors, etc.
Advantages of ICT in education
New technological tools not only bring innovation to academic centres, but also speed up the transfer of information, increase student interest, and allow processes to be automated, among other aspects to be taken into account.
- It improves concentration and comprehension. The activities carried out through digital and interactive tools increase student concentration and, therefore, they assimilate concepts more quickly, enhancing learning. This type of tool involves students in more practical learning, with the aim of reinforcing what they have learnt.
- It promotes student flexibility and autonomy. New technologies promote autonomous learning for students. With the incorporation of digital alternatives such as online courses, each student can learn at their own pace, optimising time and resources thanks to the flexibility provided by digitalisation and connectivity.
- It encourages critical thinking. The diverse sources of information that technologies provide bring new points of view to students. In this way, information and communication technologies encourage debate and the acceptance of other people’s opinions. In addition, the exchange of thoughts allows students to learn about different cultures.
- It facilitates communication between teachers and students. The whole educational community has quick access to the same resources. In this way, digital tools allow direct and immediate interaction, without the need to be physically present. This was especially important during the confinement experienced during the 2020 health crisis.
- Increased classroom productivity and collaborative work. New technologies in the classroom, specifically those that allow access to online content, improve learning productivity by optimising instruction time, and thanks to connectivity, it feeds collaborative work, thanks to new teaching formulas.
- It stimulates motivation. The incorporation of technologies in the classroom improves the motivation of students, it is a quick and practical technique to stimulate the study of new concepts. Digital tools are the daily communicative support of the new generations, therefore, they are easily handled in this environment.
- It incorporates new learning methods. Another of the advantages of ICT in education is that teaching professionals can incorporate new teaching methodologies, thus improving academic results and encouraging dynamism in the classroom. Moreover, their use implies the development of the digital skills needed to avoid the digital divide.
Disadvantages of ICT in education
Technologies are not perfect; just as they bring many benefits to education, they also have some disadvantages to be taken into account.
- Distractions and lack of attention. Digitalisation means opening up unlimited access to multiple resources and sources of information, such as web pages, social networks or chats, and therefore, they take attention away from the subject matter.
- Excessive impact. Excessive and inappropriate use can lead students to a compulsive relationship with technology, which can lead to an inability to control consumption and, consequently, have adverse effects on the student’s health, social, family and academic life.
- It reduces the development of other skills. Practices such as writing, public speaking and reasoning may be nullified by the widespread adoption of digitisation in academic institutions. This has been demonstrated in a recent study conducted by the University of California. The report details that the social skills of the new generations are based on the digital environment, therefore, direct personal communication can be affected.
- Consumption of false information. Much of the information available on the internet is false or incomplete. This fact has a direct influence on the media literacy of students, especially in the ESO educational stage, since half of them do not know how to detect false news, according to a study by the Carlos III University of Madrid.
- Theft of personal data. A lack of knowledge about the dangers of cybercrime can unintentionally expose pupils’ data, especially if they are minors, for example, by sharing photos with strangers.
- It reduces human contact. With the incorporation of new technologies, the learning process becomes more distant and the physical relationship with teachers and classmates decreases. As a consequence, by reducing human contact, isolation can appear and become an obstacle to students’ personal development.
- It amplifies bullying. A complex subject to deal with and one of the biggest risks is bullying. The lack of physical contact can lead to a loss of assertiveness and misuse of online tools and platforms, which can lead to digital bullying situations.