The Importance of Education

The importance of education cannot be stated enough. It is a self-enlightening process. It is crucial to the overall development of an individual and the society at large. Read on to find more about why education is so important.

The first time we are introduced to formal education is in school. The school years are the grounding years of one’s education. Schools are institutions that lay the foundation of a child’s development. They play a key role in developing children into responsible citizens and good human beings. It’s a school where young talent is recognized and nurtured. On leaving school, we are all set to soar high in life, and enter the real world in pursuit of our dreams.
Education provides us with knowledge about the world. It paves the way for a good career. It helps build character. It leads to enlightenment. It lays the foundation of a stronger nation. Education makes a man complete. Kautilya, an Indian philosopher, royal adviser, and professor of economics and political science very rightly underlined the importance of education, some 2000 years ago. He has highlighted the fact that education enriches people’s understanding of themselves. He has said that education is an investment in human capital, and it can have a great impact on a nation’s growth and development.

So, Why is Education Important?
It Gives Knowledge
A direct effect of education is knowledge gain. Education gives us knowledge of the world around. It develops in us a perspective of looking at life. It helps us form opinions and develop a point of view. The information we are constantly bombarded with, cannot be converted into knowledge without the catalyst called education. Education makes us capable of interpreting things rightly and applying the gathered information in real-life scenarios. Education is not limited to lessons from textbooks. Real education is obtained from the lessons taught by life.

It Leads to Career Progression
Education is important because it equips us with the expertise that is needed in helping us realize our career goals. Expertise is an in-depth knowledge about a specific field and it’s ought to open doors to brilliant career opportunities. Education fetches better prospects of career growth. Good education is an eligibility criterion for employment in any sector of the industry. Be it any field, education always proves to be rewarding. We are weighed in the market on the basis of our educational skills and on how well we can apply them.

It Builds Character
The words ‘cultivate’ and ‘civilize’ are synonymous with ‘educate’. That says it all. Education is important as it teaches us the right behavior and good manners, thus making us civilized. It is the basis of culture and civilization. It is instrumental in the development of our values and virtues. Education cultivates us into mature individuals; individuals capable of planning for the future, and taking the right decisions in life. It gives us an insight into living, and teaches us to learn from experience. It makes us self-confident, and develops our abilities to think, analyze, and judge. It fosters principles of equality and socialism. It forms a support system for one to excel in life. It is the backbone of society. It won’t be wrong to say that good education makes us more human.

It Leads to Enlightenment
Education paves the path to disillusionment. It wipes out the wrong beliefs from our minds. It helps create a clear picture of things around, and erases all the confusion. It kindles the flame of curiosity and helps awaken the abilities to question, and to reason. The more we learn, the more questions we have, and without questions, there are no answers. Education teaches us to find answers. It makes us more self-aware. It leads us to enlightenment.

It Helps a Nation Progress
Though not enlisted as one of the three basic human needs, education is equally important. For the progress of a nation, for the enrichment of society in general, education is important. A country’s literate population is its asset. In today’s competitive world, it won’t be wise to neglect the importance of education for the development of society as a whole. Most countries have realized this. It has led to the development of many government-aided educational programs and government grants to schools and colleges. The motive behind this is fostering education in society. The future of a nation is safe in the hands of the educated. Education is important for the social development and economic growth of a nation.

Schools and other educational institutes define the basic framework of education. Schooling gives us the fundamentals. We specialize in fields of our interest during degree courses. The number of institutes offering vocational courses and those offering online education is increasing by the day. Vocational courses help earn specialized education. Online degree programs help the working class and adults pursue education even while continuing work. Distance education has proven to be of great help for many. But education is not limited to that obtained from educational institutes. Learning is a lifelong process. Rather, self-learning begins at a point where institutional education ends. The process of self-learning continues throughout one’s life.

The importance of education is well-supported by a speech made by US President Barack Obama. In his national address to students across the nation, he said: “… Every single one of you has something that you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide”.

Types of Education

Education plays a key role in providing the knowledge and skill sets that prepare a child for his future in the world. This knowledge should be imparted in a dynamic way to ensure that it accommodates all the changes happening in our society on a regular basis. But, effective education is a two-way process. This means that, along with the students understanding what is being taught to them, the instructor should also know the issues faced by the students, so as to enhance his teaching strategy. This is where the concept of ‘educational assessment’ comes into play.

Assessment is simply the collection of information that indicates the learning progress of the students. This is followed by the process of evaluation, which judges if the collected data is up to the mark, or not. Both these stages are used to decide if the decision-making process needs to be altered to address the weaknesses in the education program. But, there are different types of assessment techniques, which have their uses at various stages of an academic program. Let us understand what these types of assessments are, along with some examples of each.

Assessment Types

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment is carried out on a day-to-day basis, and is more important towards the beginning of a course, topic, semester, or other educational units. The purpose of this method is to give feedback to an instructor about the teaching and learning process. Based on the results of this assessment, he/she can either retain, modify, or discontinue the teaching method.
As such, formative assessment helps educational authorities enhance their teaching strategy so that it is more effective. It is a low-stakes test, where the results are not used for grading students.

Examples of such an assessment include group discussions, observations, oral questions, and journals.

Interim Assessment

Interim assessment is carried out after some time has lapsed since the beginning of a course, topic, or unit. It helps the instructor evaluate the effectiveness of a teaching method by this stage. Interim assessment can also help authorities decide if students, the class, or the school district is on its way to achieving its performance goals. This helps identify students who may not perform successfully at the end of the course.
This technique forms a middle ground between the day-to-day monitoring of formative assessment and the formal testing of summative assessment.

Examples of this technique are some formal testing methods like assignments, chapter tests, and essays.

Summative Assessment

An assessment performed at the end of a course, unit, or year, is known as a summative assessment. Its purpose is to find out how much a student has learned, how effective the teaching methods have been, and make the required improvements in the next course. Summative assessments can also help the district authorities decide the effectiveness of their education programs.
Basically, this method is used to give a measure of the student’s success, reward his performance, and provide criteria for passing the student to the next stage. Therefore, it is a high-stakes test, which decides the final marking of students.

End-of-course tests, portfolios, project submissions, quizzes, final exams, and research reports, all come under this type of technique.

Diagnostic Assessment

Diagnostic assessment helps instructors find out how much a student already knows before the beginning of a course, unit, semester, or academic year. This allows them to decide on an appropriate teaching method or strategy, which can target the student’s problems. While usually this assessment is carried out at the beginning of a course, in some cases, it may be performed midway for those students whose performance is not satisfactory, so that they can be brought on par.
Examples of diagnostic tests include interviews, pretests, self assessments, and checklists.

Standard-based Assessment

Standard-based assessment compares the performance of a student with well-defined goals, standards, or criteria. While such benchmarks may be decided at the local, state, or national levels, schools may also set their own criteria for performance evaluation. It’s important to note that such tests do not compare the performance of students with each other.

An example of such an assessment is a driving test, where all applicants have to satisfy a benchmark of not endangering public safety. Other examples are chapter tests, DIBELS tests for early childhood literacy, and FCAT tests in Florida schools.
Norm-based Assessment

Norm-based assessment compares the performance of a student with all the other students who have taken the test, and not with predefined standards. This technique judges how the student has fared compared to a ‘norm’, or sample group of the same age or grade. Such assessments usually measure common school concepts taught around the country. The performance of the students is measured in terms of percentile ranks, scaled scores, or normal curve equivalents (NCE).

Examples of this assessment method are IQ tests, SAT and ACT tests for US college admissions, and Iowa tests for schoolchildren progress.

These basic types of educational assessments have their own advantages and disadvantages. Most researchers agree that formative testing is far superior than the other methods, because it allows the continuous improvement of teaching standards. Despite the importance of summative assessments in deciding whether students have passed or failed, these tests occur too late in the curriculum to help students pull up their socks in time.
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Activities for High School Students

Leadership activities not only build character but also encourage team work. This is an integral part of the whole high school experience.

The school is a place where a child can learn much more than the structured courses included in the curriculum, provided the right training is given. There are many leadership ideas for high school students which can help develop their confidence and make them assertive. As self-awareness is the key to development, leadership activities help in self assessment and personality development. Developing these skills in children from the high school days is very important.

Various leadership activities for students can inculcate personal assessment, and help develop potential leadership skills along with a sense of responsibility and identifying their leadership style.

Defining the term leadership is a difficult thing to do. However, it could be described as the process by which one influences people in order to get them enlisted in an activity for achieving a particular objective.

The participants for this activity could be from a minimum of 4 to 20 at the most. It takes around 1 hour to complete this activity. The objective of conducting this leadership activity is to help the participants identify their development needs and work towards the path of personal development. The activity is started with a group discussion on self assessment followed by a questionnaire to be completed by the participants. The questions included in the questionnaire could be such that they test a person’s behavior. One can prepare his own list of questions for the test (for example, which thing holds more importance to you, self-esteem or power). The questions may or may not be provided with multiple-choice options. The participants should be asked to work in pairs and carry out the assessment of their peers. This leadership activity enables the participants to identify their strengths and weaknesses. It is necessary for a leader to understand his strengths and weaknesses before thinking about leading a group or a team. The ‘Learning to Lead’ activity thus, proves to be the first step in the development of leadership in students.

The students are divided into groups of three in this activity. Objective of the activity is to enable the students to share their experiences and build rapport. A list of situations is provided to the students and they have to think of an experience similar to these situations. Here is a list of some of the situations provided to the participants:

  • Something that generated a great deal of excitement.
  • A pleasant surprise.
  • A creative twist on a situation or issue.
  • An ‘Aha’ moment.
  • A clever improvisation.
  • A really tough situation.
  • A breakthrough insight or solution.
  • A conflict resolved.
  • An emotional situation.
  • A blindside experience.

In this activity, the students are divided in teams and the same activity is assigned to each of these groups. The activities should be such that the success could be measurable. Selling a product like lemonade, car wash, etc., could be assigned to the groups. Once the tasks assigned to the teams are over, the successes and failures of these teams are discussed. The team leader thus, understands the right as well as wrong moves made by his team. Such assessments help the teams improve their performance during the next round of activities. To make the activity interesting, the best team leader could be chosen.

In this activity, students are provided with a list of commonly observed behavior in people. On the basis of this information, students have to interpret the expression conveyed by means of the behavior. Here is the list of commonly observed behavior.

  • A person rolls his eyes after saying or hearing something.
  • A person plays with the change in his pocket while communicating.
  • A person refuses to make eye contact while he is speaking.
  • A person stands with folded arms while speaking.
  • A person talks to others while invading their personal space.
  • A person squirms or rocks while he is speaking.
  • A person whispers to another person while in a group setting.
  • A person turns his back on someone as the other person is entering the group.
  • A person looks towards the ground or slumps his shoulders while speaking.
  • A person shakes his fist or points finger at another person.

It is important to actively participate in leadership activities in order to realize one’s potential towards becoming a good leader.

Impact of Technology on Education

Technology plays a vital role in every sphere of life, and education is no exception. The advent of technology has deeply impacted the educational scene. It has made learning easy and interesting.

Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God’s gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences. – Freeman Dyson
Technology has certainly changed the way we live. It has impacted different facets of life and redefined living. Undoubtedly, technology plays an important role in every sphere of life. Several mundane manual tasks can be automated, thanks to technology. Also, many complex and critical processes can be carried out with ease and greater efficiency with the help of modern technology. Thanks to the application of technology, living has changed and it has changed for better.

Technology’s Impact on Education

  • Easy access to information
  • Greater interest in learning
  • Increased retention of information
  • Robust information storage
  • Better presentation of information
  • Teaching made interactive
  • Knowledge sharing made easy

Technology has revolutionized the field of education. The importance of technology in schools cannot be ignored. In fact, with the onset of computers in education, it has become easier for teachers to impart knowledge and for students to acquire it. The use of technology has made the process of teaching and learning all the more enjoyable.

Technology is a teaching aid
Computers offer an interactive audio-visual medium. PowerPoint presentations and animation software can be used to present information in an interactive way. Owing to the audio-visual effects, this way of teaching invites greater interest from students. The method is equally helpful for teachers. Projectors and screens facilitate simultaneous viewing of information by a large number of students. Addressing systems using microphones and speakers make it possible for teachers to reach a larger number of students simultaneously. These teaching aids have led to improvements in student attendance and their attentiveness in class. Interactive media have proven to be useful in increasing students’ concentration levels.

Technology has made student life easy
Technology aids student expression. Students can use much more than just pen and paper to express themselves or present what they have learned. They can use software to make presentations and projects. This makes them more interested in the subject and leads to better retention of information. With technological aids, they can make easy-to-remember notes and a creative presentation of the information they have acquired. It won’t be wrong to say that application of technology has made a student’s life easy. It’s easier for students to carry a PDA than carrying big fat books to school. An iPad is less bulkier than a pile of notebooks or an ebook reader much lighter than a book.
Owing to technology, student life is easy and learning is much more fun!

It’s easier to store information
Computers enable better and more robust storage of information. If you weigh chalk, board, books, and notebooks against technology, you find that technology can substitute for any and all of these. Computers have replaced chalk and board; they can even do the talking sometimes while the teacher takes a step back and lets the presentations ‘speak’. Digital libraries require no physical space and students and teachers sitting in different parts of the world can access the same library at the same time. Compact memory devices have replaced notebooks and a keyboard and computer mouse are the new writing devices. What would have required hundred pages of a book can be compacted into a tiny memory chip. It can take hours to write, but it takes only seconds to type. Storing data has become much easier, owing to technology.
The use of technology in education enables robust storage of information and easy access to it.

Information is easily accessible
The Internet is a huge information base. It can be used as an effective tool for acquiring knowledge. All a web user needs to do is to key in queries to search engines. Users are presented with thousands of search results. There are several websites and web directories that offer information on literally everything in the world. And all this is just a few clicks away. Both teachers and students can benefit from this.

Technology has eliminated space and time constraints
Online education and distance learning have given a new dimension to education and higher learning. Even if students are geographically far away from each other, they can be a part of one classroom. Many educational institutes offer online courses, which eliminates time and space constraints in acquiring education. Universities offer online educational programs wherein students can interact with their teachers over the Internet, access reference material from the University website, and earn degrees online.
Thanks to technology, geographical distance and time difference is no longer a barrier in communication. Students and teachers located miles apart can interact online.

Teaching is sharing
Thanks to the application of technology, education has become more collaborative. With plethora of information so easily available to students, they can be a part of the process; they don’t need to remain at the receiving end. Owing to the use of technology, subject experts can come together to formulate courses, design assessments, and better the process of teaching. The day isn’t far, when students located in different parts of the world will be able to seek advice from experts spread across the globe. Education will be customized then. It will cater to different learning needs and varying grasping abilities and interests of students.

Mutual impact
Today, computer education is a part of school and college curricula. Considering the wide range of applications of computer technology, it is necessary for each one of us to be computer-friendly. Considering the advantages of the Internet technology, it is important for each of us to gain basic knowledge of Internet access and web research. We live in a technology-age and hence, it is important for us to be abreast with the latest inventions in the field. With education, we acquire knowledge of the functioning and use of different pieces of technology. And with the application of technology, we can educate ourselves better. This is the impact that technology and education have on each other. Education boosts the use of technology and technology aids education.

The importance of technology in education cannot be stressed enough. The introduction of technology in the educational field has made the process of learning and knowledge-sharing, a more interactive and pleasurable experience. Perhaps, the greatest impact of technology on education is the change in perspective. The paradigm shift in thinking from local to global can be attributed to technology. Indeed technology is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind.