Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paper: One of Today's Educational Resources Becoming Obsolete

By Sean Scarpiello

When looking back onto the changes that have occurred in the last decade years in education, it is amazing to see how many of the educational tools used in classes just ten years ago have become completely obsolete. Just thinking back to my elementary education years, we had very basic computer programs like the pixelated Oregon Trail game and the creative software Kid Pix. If you told any student, teacher, or education professional back then that within the next ten to fifteen years that schools would distribute iPads, computers, and individual email addresses to each of their students, no one would believe you. Technology moves at an extremely rapid pace, and while the field of education often struggles to keep up with the latest gadgets, it makes me wonder about many of the today’s different educational resources that will be obsolete in the next fifteen years to come.

It is very difficult to predict what exactly will be outdated in education, simply because technology is moving so fast. However, one of today’s most common educational resources that has been used for decades in the classroom that I see becoming obsolete in the upcoming year is paper. With the today’s heavy integration of technology in education, many educational institutions already have the ability to go completely paperless. In fact, if my college wanted to go completely paperless in classes by tomorrow, it would really not be a problem at all. Reports can all be submitted via email or other online software, while tests and homework can be distributed and completed over the internet. My school even has the ability to send financial and billing information to all of its students and employees through web adviser software. This can even hold true in elementary level education too. Email addresses through companies such as Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, and others are essentially free to everyone. Therefore, essentially every student with a family computer and internet connection can “plug in” to class and complete coursework through technology. There are even schools that give their students their own email addresses for school. Less than four years ago, when I was in high school, we did not even have our own school based emails. Ten years ago, I hardly if ever sent out an email. Now, there are middle school students who send out multiple emails daily.

Looking beyond the idea that only worksheets, homework, and tests in schools will go paperless in the upcoming years, we can also expect textbooks to go paperless as well. Every day, companies are bringing digital memory to us at lower and lower costs. This, along with the increase in technology in education will inevitably lead us to a textbook free classroom. Students will eventually be able to simply log into their iPad or laptop and pull up thousands of pages of textbooks in the form of eBooks. In the long run, this will definitely save schools money, as they can purchase eBooks for lower prices and even rent eBooks for a limited amount of time at even lower costs. Further, schools will not have to pay to replace large sets of worn-out textbooks every few years.

While going paperless in the upcoming years in the field of education is just one of the many major changes we will see, there will definitely be a lot more of today’s educational resources simply becoming obsolete as technology advances. As these changes come about, I am sure that they will come with a lot of benefits for both schools and their students. Schools will be able to save money in many different areas, while students will receive a much more individualized and fun form of education through technology. Overall, this leads us to a field of education where more students can receive a higher quality of education at lower costs, all through the integration of technology.

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