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HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING EDUCATION

It is not surprising that technology is having a big impact on education. Think about everyday life: carrying a device with us is so natural that we simply would not go anywhere without. Our students were born into this cybernetic world, raised using devices to entertain them, and obey their commands. They grew up believing that it is not necessary to know or remember too much information, because they can easily access it anytime, anywhere, with a touch. As the majority of people living in the developed world have access to all factual information at their fingertips, does is still make sense to expect students to memorize anything? Our constant connection with the online world indicates that we are more and more becoming reliant on the Internet for factual information. But what are the effects of the Internet on human cognition? A research published on May 2019 in the World Psychiatry Journal, The “online brain”: how the Internet may be changing our cognition, suggests that “Prior to the Internet, a large body of research had convincingly demonstrated that the brain is somewhat malleable to environmental demands and stimuli, particularly with regards to learning new processes, due to its capacity for neuroplasticity”. And what about after the Internet? “Overall, the available evidence strongly indicates that engaging in multi‐tasking via digital media does not improve our multi‐tasking performance in other settings – and in fact seems to decrease this cognitive capacity through reducing our ability to ignore incoming distractions.” However, the same research also suggests that “The findings seem to support the emergent hypotheses that relying on the Internet for factual memory storage may actually produce cognitive benefit in other areas, perhaps by “freeing up” cognitive resources, and thus enabling us to use our newly available cognitive capacities for more ambitious undertakings than previously possible”. Instead of worrying about the impact of technology, teachers can help students benefit from it, by allowing them to save time that used to be spent on learning content, and focus on transferring and applying it.