The worldwide use of today’s modern technology is overwhelming- it’s literally everywhere. I think it’s safe to say that, at least in the U.S., the average Joe can’t walk more than the length of three iPad minis before seeing both a 2-year-old and his 72-year-old grandfather with their hands both clenched around a smartphone, iPhone, iPad, iPod, laptop, or the like. But, just in the U.S.? I digress. More realistically, it’s safe to say the average Eduardo, Franz, Priya, Giuseppe, Wang, Veronika, and everybody in between (and their mothers) are all doing the same thing in every nation. No matter what nook or cranny of the globe you’re in, whether it’s a remote jungle, a land of ice, or a metropolis, technology is utilized, and at a ridiculous frequency for that matter. I think you get the picture.
But, what is it that fascinates the billions of daily, or should I say “secondly,” users that can’t get their hands and eyes off their little gold mines of treasured technology? Is it the adorable little animals of “Angry Birds” flying through a space of corny, animated graphics on a 2×4 in. cell-phone screen? Or is it the fun and exhilarating novelty of using twitter to let all your homies know, “Hey, I’m watching the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother. So clutch!!” Or maybe, it’s all of the millions of flashy, colorful apps for your phone and computer that make you all giddy inside? As appealing and fun as all of these gifts are (and might I add, addicting), they’re not what actually draw the attention of the astronomical sum of users of today’s technology.
What’s really revolutionizing planet Earth are the technologies that advance our world and make the lives of so many that much easier. Technologies like laptops (with of course, internet access!) allow people access to research literally anything imaginable at the click of a button. Communication devices as simple as the classic email or as unique as Facebook or Skype allow people to connect with others anywhere globally in seconds. As for the millions of apps I mentioned earlier- yes, those too make life that much easier, allowing people the opportunity to learn about and discover anything they can think of. Might I add that these are only a few of thousands of advancements that have been created just recently, with thousands more to be developed in the near future. Unfortunately, many or all of these technologies are rendered useless if the user has no idea on how he or she will operate the technology, which closes the opportunities for so many people worldwide (including my mother, who thinks making an attachment in an email is an impressive and incredible feat). However, if modern technology can be incorporated into every school, in every classroom, in every grade, the sky is the limit, creating avenues to new jobs, greater educational experiences, and an overall easier lifestyle. That being said, I believe it’s imperative that every teacher must incorporate modern technology into his or her class instruction.
Now, I’m not saying every teacher has to be a gung-ho technology guru using technology every minute of every class of every week, but I do believe teachers need to have the ability and know-how to successfully teach their students the basics of technology. In today’s world, if one can’t even create a PowerPoint presentation, utilize all components of an email, or effectively perform online research, they’re behind the 8-ball. To catch a glimpse of the true importance of technology, take a quick glance at the follow video, describing how difficult it is to “keep up” with other nations that use technology regularly in schools:
On top of that, if those skills aren’t honed, it’s only going to get worse when considering new technologies are being created by the minute. When I reflect back upon my own experience in high school, I’m extremely appreciative of the fact that I had access to computer labs where I was professionally taught how to create a PowerPoint presentation, how to use my email account, how to research scholarly articles, and much more. These skills are ones that I utilize everyday and don’t take for granted because I know for fact they aren’t taught to nearly as many K-12 students as necessary, which is saddening and unfair. It’s no wonder that nations like Finland produce brilliant, well informed, and successful high school graduates at a near 100% annual rate faster than Wile E. Coyote chases the Road Runner on ice. Besides the countless other reasons the Finnish flourish academically (smaller classrooms, greater attention towards struggling students, mandatory Master’s degrees for teachers, more student liberty, etc.), there’s one key component they stress that the U.S. is lagging in- technology. They use smart boards, highly updated math and science equipment technology, and laptops for nearly all students, among numerous other technologies, and the students absolutely love school. To them, it’s not a chore or a bore- it’s strictly fun! If all teachers, regardless of nation, were required to incorporate modern technology in their classrooms and were provided proper training to ensure they can effectively and efficiently teach their students to do the same, education as we know it could be completely reformed, making nearly every nation a Finnish success. This reformation could lead to greater attention, excitement, fun, learning, opportunity, expertise, and anything in between for all students. Take a look at what it can mean to be part of an educational community as strong and sound as Finland’s, which places technology in the classroom as one of its top priorities: