As students head back to school this week, they will enter classrooms that are more digital and tech-oriented than ever. The fierce debates of just a decade ago about whether technology should play a role in learning have largely dissipated, leaving more specific questions about how it should be used in its wake.
According to a new McGraw-Hill Education study, nine in 10 parents think digital learning can “enhance classroom-learning experiences,” and nearly three-quarters think tech is a primary solution to many of today’s educational challenges, such as outdated textbooks. Historically a textbook publisher, the company has reinvented itself as a digital learning entity in recent years. It clearly has a lot invested in parents buying into the idea that education should involve tech, and is pleased with the results of the study.
Peter Cohen, U.S. Education Group President of McGraw-Hill Education, points out that tech allows teachers to get immediate feedback on what a student is or is not learning and to offer tailored assistance. A mini assessment built into a computer program can pinpoint where a kid is having trouble in real time, without having to develop, give and grade a quiz.
“That, from a learning standpoint, is actually huge,” Cohen told Next America ahead of the survey’s release. He noted that the earlier a teacher can intervene, the less time a student will spend having to “unlearn” erroneous information. He also acknowledges that there are hurdles.