The discussions about the benefits and drawbacks of technology in the process of learning seem to last forever. Still, we must agree that, despite its incredible distracting potential, technology helps us study a lot. Let’s see in which way!
1. Online learning
We all have read the tear-jerking stories about people who left their families and even countries to study in the universities of their dreams. Now, this sacrifice is almost needless – the Internet technology allows students to enroll in any university all over the globe without ever leaving home. There are already lots of brilliant specialists who graduated after online learning and they show the same scientific and professional results as those who have studied in a traditional way.
If the biggest universities in the world can do that, the smaller courses can do that also! Now you can get any diploma that doesn’t require physical practice (like medical or craft disciplines). They are no less valid than those you get after offline education and you may use them for starting a career as well.
Online learning is, possibly, the biggest technology achievement, after the invention of writing, the educational process has ever experienced. Just imagine the boost of productivity when you don’t have to spend lots of time traveling to your university and back and study from the comfort of your homeland, without struggling to accommodate in a foreign country.
Once upon a time, people used to go to the library and write down the paragraphs they needed to finish their projects. Now there is also almost no need to do that: almost all the libraries are now available in digital format. It is a two-way benefit: now the librarians can present their most precious books without fear that they would be spoiled by countless readers and the readers can use the books right from their homes.
Now lots of scientific studies can be conducted faster because of systems like Google Scholar. You may easily reach the work of your colleague from the other side of the globe and create a much more objective paper, quoting people from different countries. It is also much easier to contact the scientists directly, without long searches for their phone numbers or waiting for the mail (yep, the paper one) to be received. Moreover, you can find free essay examples on needed topics, like cultural diversity research paper topics, to inspire yourself on writing a great paper.
3. Task managers and project apps
Almost all of us have already completed several group projects. Before Trello, Slack, Jira, and other project managing apps, it took too much effort to manage everything manually. It was either a heavy load for the head of the team or a separate position that didn’t have much in common with actually doing the project. Now people can easily set tasks, report on their completion, and see each other’s progress without all the mess of manual management.
The roles of the project members now become more transparent and immediate updates are available any time, without giving extra headache to the manager (who had to write them down for you before).
Of course, task management isn’t a piece of cake yet. The manager has still to be a skilled person, with lots of soft skills, great time management, and ability to gently push the others toward the working stream. Still, now the proportion of management and actually doing stuff is much more tolerable. Good for us and good for group projects too!
The most controversial technical benefit of all, Wikipedia is a self-correcting encyclopedia that is used as an information source #1 all over the world. The most awesome trait of it is that Wiki articles are constantly improved and cross-checked by the community, so, theoretically, they should present the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. Very often they really do. But sometimes the Wiki articles become a tool of the advertisement or political instrument to gain influence or even spread propaganda. This causes a lengthy so-called “Wiki Wars” that can last for months and decrease the quality of the besieged article dramatically.
Another problem that is connected with Wikipedia is much more the problem of the people. Nowadays students tend to believe Wikipedia fully, without asking any questions and checking the credibility of the sources quoted in it. Sometimes they even try to copy and paste the Wiki materials into their essays without much reading. But despite all its usability, Wikipedia can’t be a credible source per se, it consists of the links to the other sources that still should be checked thoroughly.
Wikipedia is much more a road sign that can lead you to lots of the wonderful scientific works you can really read and use as sources. If you remember it, Wiki will become your best friend!
Productivity isn’t always about the new and cool apps that should boost it (or so they boast). Sometimes it is about the essential benefits we take for granted – but they are still gifts of the technology. And the best way to appreciate them is to use them by their fullest to increase our own ability to create something new and awesome.