Technology-a help or hindrance to learning?

James Breakell, UK Managing Director of D-Tech International, who design, develop, and supply high-performance RFID products and library security systems, looks at the use of technology in education and how it affects libraries in the sector.

There is little doubt that technology continues to change the way we learn and teach, and I am often asked if I believe print books and libraries will be around in another ten or twenty years. I genuinely believe they will, and whilst technology has a place in education, and our spare time, we may need to review our reliance on it. It would appear that Tim Cook, Apple CEO, may well agree with me! Talking at Harlow College in Essex, on 19th January 2018, Tim said “I don’t believe in overuse [of technology]. I am not a person that says we’ve achieved success if you’re using it all the time. I don’t subscribe to that at all.”

Tim went on to say that even computer-aided courses shouldn’t let technology be overused and that there are still concepts that you want to talk about and understand. Personally, I would add that you might want to ponder over a reference book for a while, to really understand a topic.

But what about e-books? Surely, they will replace paper books? According to a survey by Nielsen Book Research UK, sales of printed books rose 7%, and E-book sales dropped by 4% in 2016, so it would seem that print books are back in vogue.

There have been numerous studies over the years looking at how much information is retained after reading an e-reader. The general consensus is that it is easier to learn from a paper book; however, those with poor eyesight or reading disorders will most likely learn better from an e-reader. The fact that both options are available, and all students are different suggest that libraries may benefit their users by offering both mediums.

Whilst I think that libraries and books will always have a future, particularly in the education sector, I have seen a great deal of development over the years to modernise the provision, and I think this will continue. Going back to Tim Cook’s comment, about talking about and understanding a concept, students need to be able to do this in the right setting. Break out spaces, where they can sit together and discuss their understanding, bounce ideas off each other and still have easy access to the resources they may need to develop their comprehension, are ideal. Making these spaces comfortable, accessible and not a distraction for students who prefer to study quietly and alone, is a little more challenging. Good library security plays an important role here, enabling you to be more imaginative with your use of space, and potentially allowing you to open your doors 24/7 to meet the needs of today’s students.

Investing in our education libraries is probably one of the most important foundations we can give today’s students, as well as tomorrows.  If you would benefit from some industry advice as to how library technology can improve your establishment’s provision, give us a call on 01394420077 or visit www.d-techinternational.com