Op-Ed: Technology makes education more accessible than ever

Posted Mar 1, 2015 by James Walker
The advent of the digital era has revolutionized education and learning for millions of children worldwide, enabling greater collaboration between teachers and pupils and bringing education to places where it was never available via virtual classrooms.
An example of online education
An example of online education
Helgi Halldórsson (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Being able to receive access to basic education is still a major problem in many nations worldwide. A UNICEF report published in January 2015 found that 63 million children of school age did not receive education in 2012.
Investments in the usage of technology in education are beginning to change this though. Funding in this area was up from $1.64 billion in 2013 to $2.34 billion in 2014.
Virtual classrooms are increasingly being deployed where webcam and projector systems are used to link pupils in remote areas with teachers. This gives children access to expertly led tuition that they would not otherwise be able to obtain.
It isn't just children who have gained access to heightened education opportunities through technology and the internet. Numerous courses across a myriad of subjects are available to study online. From code to catering or music, everybody can learn a new skill every day.
Professional and business education is available from platforms like Khan Academy, Shaw Academy and Coursera, offering valuable insights into the world of commerce, trade and marketing through specialized solutions like an Academy of Financial Trading.
The way that students submit work to teachers has also been radically transformed by the internet. Platforms like Microsoft's Office 365 allow for collaborative file sharing and editing between every member of a campus, faculty and school. Communication between pupil and tutor is easier than ever via email.
Note taking in classes has seen similar changes. Although many still use pen and paper, stylus-equipped tablets and software designed around the logical organisation of work such as Evernote or OneNote is becoming increasing prevalent. The paper-less nature means that nothing is ever lost and the notes that are created are easy to search, format and crucially edit, leading to more effective revision once exam season begins.
To conclude, the presence of technology in and out of the classroom has transformed education in all areas of the world. Poor, rural zones in developing countries are finding new experiences through the era of virtual classrooms while elsewhere in the world new software is increasing connectivity between students and teachers and creating a more productive environment for all.