Technology has changed the way we do everything in our lives including the way we educate our children and ourselves. Compare education without technology to the medical profession without technology. 40 years ago if you had shoulder surgery you would end up with a huge scar, however, today with the advent of technology if you have shoulder surgery you end up with a couple of little dots on your shoulder. Technology has improved the way we are able to do many things from surgeries to educating ourselves. Technology today is so powerful that people can be learning from the comfort of their homes at any time of the day in their pajamas and be getting the same education as someone going to a brick and mortar school in the cold of winter. “Technology is helping teachers to expand beyond linear, text-based learning and to engage students who learn best in other ways. Its role in schools has evolved from a contained “computer class” into a versatile learning tool that could change how we demonstrate concepts, assign projects and assess progress” (Kessler, 2010). I can remember being in elementary school and having to go to computer class where we worked on what at the time where high tech computers learning and playing games that today kids and probably even myself would laugh at. We had floppy disks when I started using computers and then moved to three and a quarter hard disks for our programs. Loading times were incredibly long and the interactivity was limited. Today in most places we have computers in every classroom, iPads with every student, and all sorts of other technologies in the classrooms helping to advance education. Faster loading times, programs on DVD, downloadable programs, live streaming instruction, and interactivity on every level enhancing our learning and promoting the transfer of training.
The transfer of training has had help from Apple over these past few years with the introduction of iPod touch and iPads as these devices are allowing our students to be on the go and still take their education with them wherever they go. “The iPod touch provides students with an opportunity to access a wide variety of online materials, including lecture recordings, readings, materials, and videos from the university’s learning management system, as well as download high-quality images” (Noe, 2010, p.296). We now have education in our pockets or in our bags with these technologies. My daughter at 15 months old began using an iPad and programs designed to teach the alphabet and phonics to children, programs like Starfall on the iPad helped her learn to speak clearly and learn the alphabet as well as all of the sounds of the letters before she was one and a half. By the time she was two she was spelling words. Now that she is three she is writing and in the early stages of reading. These interactive programs have helped to advance technology beyond what we thought was possible even five years ago before the introduction of such technologies. I see the future of technology with these portable devices only getting stronger and adding to education. I see the programs becoming more interactive and the possibility of new programs that really take advantage of the senses with more interactivity and really making use of the touch and motion technology so that our entire bodies are becoming involved with the technology.
As we move further into this century and technology completely envelops education multimedia training and advancements continue to advance and provide interactivity and instruction to students worldwide. Multimedia training combines the use of audiovisual training methods with computer-computer based training methods and gives students an opportunity to watch and interact with the instruction. These multimedia training environments allow students to interact with instruction and learn from where every they are. “Multimedia training methods include computer-based training, CD-ROM, e-interactive video, the internet, video, virtual reality, and simulations” (Noe, 2010, p.301). Multimedia has the potential to allow teachers to explain things that are too big or two small to demonstrate in the classroom. They can also allow teachers or trainers to demonstrate things that happen to quickly or too slowly in a physical classroom with simulations. There are so many possibilities for simulations and multimedia presentations that the only limit would be the limit of creativity behind the designers making the programs and multimedia presentations. “Asking children to learn through multimedia projects is not only an excellent form of project-based learning that teaches teamwork, but it’s also a good way to motivate students who are excited to create something that their peers will see. In addition, it makes sense to incorporate a component of technology that has become so integral to the world outside of the classroom.” (Kessler, 2010). The future of multimedia training will probably see the use of more multimedia projects as a way for students to demonstrate their ability to utilize multimedia and education together and as we move forward I see the learners getting younger and younger utilizing multimedia and creating their own multimedia projects.
Talking about old slow computers that were the top of the line at the time really got me thinking about how far we have come with the advancement of our computers and the technology that many of us use on a daily basis to educate ourselves, interact and connect with community members, connect with family, and explore the whole world around us. Education has become increasingly faster with the faster processors and computers we are using nowadays to learn on. Computer-based training (CBT) is a way for people to educate themselves with just a computer. “CBT is an interactive training experience in which the computer provides the learning stimulus, the trainee must respond, and the computer analyzes the responses and provides feedback to the trainee” (Noe, 2010, p.303). Many learners lack the time or resources to go to a brick and mortar school daily or even a few days a week with the busy lives that we live today. Children, jobs, family, errands, paying bills, and living life prevent many of us from attending a regular standard learning environment. CBT helps to fill that gap by providing courses that learners can complete on their own and at their own pace and receive feedback from the program as they progress through it. Organizations in the future will begin to utilize CBTs to help them train employees and transfer training to them. Schools will use CBTs to help students who do not have the ability to attend regularly scheduled classes so they can advance themselves in their pursuit of knowledge. CBTs will become a mainstay in education and in the future will include more interactivity like voice recognition and voice commands. We are already seeing this type of technology hitting the market with talk to type programs and programs that can respond to questions like Apple’s Siri. Your voice is your command and I see CBT programs taking this technology and utilizing it to make learning more interactive as we move further into the future.
The virtual world has really given way to advancements in technology and education. Virtual reality and virtual worlds have allowed learners to enter into new dimensions and new possibilities of learning that a few years ago we wouldn’t have thought possible. Virtual reality gives learners the sense that they are really within a different environment with three-dimensional learning experiences that allow the learner to experience any environment that is programed into the computer system. Devices attached to the learners allow the computer to pick up information about the learners movements and transfer it into the computer giving real-time representation of the learner’s movements and actions. Virtual worlds on the other hand allow users at computers to visit entire worlds where they can interact with people all over the world or attend lectures on the far side of the planet with people they have never met before. Virtual worlds rely on avatars that can look like anything the user wants them to look like. So learners can take on new personas in these virtual environments. “Second life is a computer-based, simulated online virtual world that includes a three dimensional representation of the real world and a place to host learning programs or experiences” (Noe, 2010, p.321). These virtual worlds and virtual reality advancements have allowed learners to be someone they are not, experience life as someone else, learn across the globe, interact with people in virtual environments, and learn through virtual classrooms, webinars, simulations, and role play exercises. The future of the virtual worlds and virtual environments see the reality of them becoming more real and more lifelike making the learners experience learning through them closer to real life and advancing the possibility of increasing the transfer of training.
As technology moves into this new millennium and we move further away from paper magazines, newspapers, and textbooks, we move into a new era of digital books for learners to learn with. We can all remember lugging around four or five textbooks from class to class and having heavy big backpacks to carry around all of our textbooks. Although it may have been good exercise technology has introduced advancements here too. We now have e-books that we can download onto our mobile devices like our smartphones, iPods, and iPads. We could be carrying around an entire library of books on one of these tablets instead of carrying around a heavy load of textbooks. “E-books hold an unimaginable potential for innovating education, though as some schools have already discovered, not all of that potential has been realized yet” (Kessler, 2010). E-books not only lighten the load of what we are carrying but the PDF files make searching for topics easier and quicker. The future potential for e-books is limitless in their potential for adding simulations and interactive features in the textbooks. There could also be stimulating visualizations that are built into the e-books that add another level of cognitive sensory utilization into the books for the learners.
Just as the medical profession has made huge advancements with the advent of technology removing huge scars from our bodies from surgery and becoming less invasive, technology has just as equally advanced the advent of education making education more accessible, more interactive, and more appealing to more senses making the learning more attractive and helping to increase the transfer of training to the learners. “Most new technology training methods are superior to traditional methods because a positive learning environment can be built into the method” (Noe, 2010, p.337). Education and technology are now linked together at a level where they cannot be pulled apart and the future will show how these two work together to advance learning and increase the transfer of training as we are using more senses and have a greater cognitive sense over how we receive our education moving forward.
Apple Inc. (2012). iOS: Siri. Retrieved from http://www.apple.com/ios/siri/
Kessler, S. (2010). 8 Way technology is improving education. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/11/22/technology-in-education/
Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Starfall Education. (2012). Starfall ABCs. Retrieved from http://www.starfall.com/n/level-k/index/play.htm?f
Stolovitch, H. D., & Keeps, E. J. (2011). Telling ain’t training. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.