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Technology is The Key to Education Reform

Image: Joshua Lott for The New York Times

There is no question that the education system in America needs to be reformed. Proposals have been made by individuals, groups, and both sides of the aisle, but no significant progress has been made. Nothing has been done to stem the slide that our education system has been on for the past 15 years. We’ve all heard about the statistics. The question now is, what can we do to fix it? I believe technology is the key.

This generation is vastly different from previous ones. Those of us in our 20’s and 30’s grew up with technology, but we weren’t born with it. We didn’t have cell phones and iPads in elementary school. Our desire, like generations before us, was to go outside and play, not sit inside and play video games, or get on Facebook. Sure, our interests migrated to these tasks, but the change didn’t happen until we were older. That change happened after we had to go the library to study, after we had learned the same basic curriculum that our parents had completed during their time in school.

The world completely changed during our years in the education system, but that system did not. The American education system has become the “house between two skyscrapers.”

Photo by NYScout

We as a society have to change the way we learn. Sure, we have seen some advances — especially in universities — where technology is commonly utilized in class and to study, but the change has to be at the root.

We grew up without technology — and in our early years — learned without it. When we shifted, we moved to something more advanced. The current generation is moving backwards. This current generation grew up with technology from birth, and is still using the same teaching styles and mechanisms that we grew up with.

The most obvious indication that we need reform our teaching methods are the unbelievable statistics. The dropout rate had been on as steady decline for over 20 years – until 2008 when the recession hit. But even with the increase, we still have less than half of the dropouts that we had in 1985.

The truly baffling number is 3.4 million.

3.4 million is the number of jobs that are available — but cannot be filled — due to the lack of qualified workers.

Teachers are teaching and students are graduating, but they are not learning. For years, the technology students had at home was matched by the schools. But times have changed, and technology has evolved — but our education system has not.

A dramatic change needs to be enacted, for we are on the precipice of not having a capable workforce in the very near future. The next generation is supposed to move forward, not backwards. To achieve that forward movement, our curriculums — our system — has to shift forwards as well, and to achieve this, an emphasis on technology has to play a key role.

We can come out of this recession tomorrow. But if we don’t teach the next generation properly, if we do not restore our archaic education system to the pinnacle that it once stood upon, this recession will feel like a bump in the road.

This article was originally published on Black Web 2.0.