Does technology enhance or get in the way of learning?

In an age where technology is constantly advancing, it has become thoroughly interwoven into our daily lives. Therefore, it can have a significant effect on our lives and specifically, have a great effect on the way that we learn.

In many instances, technology makes learning more convenient with regard to accessing information. Search engines make it possible to have virtually everything at our fingertips. This can be beneficial in both professional and casual settings whether it encompasses doing research for an assignment or looking certain topics up because they sparked your interest in a conversation with a friend.

In addition, technology allows us to have many different forms of sources that we acquire this readily available information from. Sources include scholarly journals, dictionaries, articles, encyclopedias, and other media that can be accessed without even leaving the comfort of your home. In the past, people would have to go to their nearest library to find less than a fraction of the information that is now available 24/7.

Furthermore, many people learn in different ways and technology is adaptable to any of these different learning techniques. Prior to the internet and all of the technological advancements, there was truly only one way to learn and that was in the solitary logical style: finding information on your own via mere logic, reasoning, and systems.

For some people, it is simply unnatural to learn that way. People can be visual learners, aural learners, and even hands-on learners. There are also people who learn better in when they collaborate; or when there is one on one attention as opposed to learning from a lecture.

With technology, people can learn no matter the particular learning style they are accumstomed to. Visual learners can use Prezi and Powerpoint to develop notes and presentations that incorporate pictures and graphs into a particular concept that they are trying to learn. Aural learners can listen to educational podcasts or online lectures to help reiterate lessons they may have learned in a class.

The options are endless, however, technology cannot only enhance learning. It is also equally as capable of getting in the way of learning.

While all of this technology can be very beneficial in the learning environment, having so many options can also take away from our ability to think critically. With all of this information that is presented right at our fingertips, we do not necessarily have to figure everything out for ourselves.

In addition, although there are many different types of sources to get information, they begin to become less and less accurate as more become available. With sites like Wikipedia that allow any user to create an account and update information that is displayed on the website, it becomes unclear whether the information on the internet is credible or not.

All of the available media technology can also act as a significant distraction while trying to complete tasks. Unlike a library might be used, the internet is not just used for research and information. The internet is used for entertainment, escapism, and other forms self gratification. Thus, when tasks need to be completed, it is very easy to lose focus and be drawn into an endless black hole of content instead of completing your obligations.