by Jann Julia M. Dadivas
Modernization continues to evolve through technology. And while education, the vital social process by which the traditional aspects of a culture are transmitted to the emergent generation, copes up with modernization, it vies to evolve with it as well. But up to what extent has education been affected by technology and modernization? When formal education started to occur in classrooms, the first tools used to record lessons were sticks on sands and stylus on palm leaves. Later, slates were introduced to replace the former writing materials that did not aid learning. Slates were thin-plated, fine-grained rock, enclosed in a wood frame, designed for students to write on to and practice script. Then, in 1909, Mr. W. N. Ager proposed the abolition of slates for the reason that it did not preserve any of the students’ works. After the American Civil War, schools started to use pencils and papers instead of slates; which allowed students to record and retrieve their works. In the mid-20th century (1940-1945), the first digital computers were developed that made students see the world beyond the classroom; and in early 1980’s, the world witnessed the bringing forth of the now ubiquitous Personal Computers. In 1984, there was one computer for every 92 students. In 2009, computers led on to greater advancements. With the internet easily obtainable, PC’s became as common as the television in the household (Wikipedia). Today, there is computer for every student in American public school. With the IPAD’s and Tablet PC’s emerging in the digital market, there’s no stopping when it comes to the evolution of technology. And now that even students resort on to using these carry-on gadgets, such that general information can be easily accessed, schools have found a way to contend with these advancements in which education is concerned. With PDF (Portable Document Format) files that work with assistive technology to help make information accessible to people, some schools implemented to use IPAD‘s or Tablet PC’s on classrooms rather than the traditional by-the-book teaching. Lesson plans and subject syllabus can now be downloaded, while assignments, reports and other school works can now be sent electronically. Teacher-student relationship needs not to be enhanced anymore due to the virtual communication technology deployment has brought forth. Soon, textbooks in classes will no longer be needed as educational applications are made available through the internet. In an article written by Craig Granell, The School that Gives Every Student an IPAD, he quoted his interview with Fraser Speirs of Cedar School of Excellence in Scotland talking about how his school had transformed its classroom into integrated technological environment; Fraser said, “Anyone against such IPAD use should bear in mind that society itself is in the process of replacing everything with electronic content – it's happened with CDs; and Amazon and Apple are doing the same with books." From slates, to pencils and papers, to computers, and to IPAD’s and Tablets, education has acquired so much of the modernization through technology. While schools focus on advancing learning tools, the set back on students had remained hidden behind the walls of digital invasion. Before the computers, school works were meticulously written on paper. Books and journals were diligently collected and read to serve as reference for research. Writing what you understood is not only what’s important; but how you legibly write your penmanship is vital. With everything in the internet ready for “copy-pasting”, research comprehension is seldom practiced. Before, instructors were strict on spelling and grammar; hence, students back then were a lot careful in editing their works. Today, students tend to become dependent of the spell-and-grammar-checker automatically programmed in the computer system. There, their and they’re: automatic spell-checkers wouldn’t recognize grammatical error of these commonly misused words. Social-networking sites have been long raised as one of the problems technology brought; and they still are. Research shows that about 82 per cent of the total time some students spend in the internet is mainly consumed by social-networking sites; the remaining hours are spent for other purposes, including research (Solis, 2010). With the social-networking site in the other tab, the focus given to school works is lesser than what should have been. Books are one of the great sources of knowledge; for one, it is unabridged compared to internet journals. Books, however, these days are becoming obsolete, now that its contents are converted to PDF’s. Soon, books will no longer be a part of classroom teaching. Even for a thought of it, it is frightening that some people move to replace textbooks as part of the educational system. Education has, by far, met almost of what is expected of it as it copes up with modernization. Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said, “Education should be close to nature; and the child should be free to grow as a healthy human being during the hardening process.” But with these gadgets slowly tearing away vital educational tool-values such as diligence, self-reliance, discipline and accountability; can students value the real essence of what education was designed for? And are these gadgets being used to aid the learning process of students, or are being used to become the basis of status quo? Educational tools before has taught students the knowledge and understanding that was beyond what the classrooms should teach. Today, education advances with technology; but can these advancements retrieve the lost tools of education?