Technology a boon for education
(Author : Ms. Shweta Sastri, Executive Director, Canadian International School, Bangalore)
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
With the advent of technology, the education sector has also benefitted and witnessed a change. Technology has revolutionized the way we impart knowledge. It has blurred boundaries. Today anyone can study or take lessons from an educator who is living at the other end of the globe through online and distant learning courses, thanks to technology. Schools are realizing that education can be best delivered through the various technological advancements the market provides. Classrooms are gradually shifting towards a combination of contemporary teaching via computers/laptops as well as text books. The traditional methods of imparting education based on textbooks and outdated curriculum is being replaced by result-oriented learning cycle where students are encouraged to explore using technologies to understand and learn.
Advantages of technology in the education system
Technology augments the teaching skills and learning abilities of students. Had it not been the integration of information and communication technologies, audio visual education would have been a distant dream. Its growth has reflected developments in learning theories. A study in the psychology suggests that the use of audio-visuals in education enhances the grasping power of the students. It is proved scientifically that talking to a person in colours, motion and sounds are a great source of communicating the message quickly.
Multimedia technologies assist in communicating ideas and describing projects better. In the world where everything is becoming digitized, students are encouraged to use computers and tablets in all aspects of their studies. With this, the pace of imparting knowledge is becoming faster and the access to information ‘anytime’, ‘anywhere’, is redefining the education system in India. Therefore, the largest benefit for schools is to have access to information when technology is integrated in the core learning processes. Schools with limited libraries have the internet world to access. Many educators weave the Open Education Resources (OER) which are freely accessible documents, used for teaching and learning. As a result, information all around the world is available to both teachers and students. Hence, a teacher in India can use the same lesson as a teacher in New York City.
Technology integration in education
The private schools in the Indian education sector are growing at a very fast pace and so is the adoption of technology. Having said that, the Indian Government is implementing various initiatives to boost new education techniques, such as E-learning and M-learning.
There are many devices available in the market with different price points and benefits. As we are witnessing more of one-to-one learning, we see tablets and laptops being used. Chrome books (a laptop running Chrome OS as its operating system) are new and they come with a reasonable price.
As the incorporation of technology is leapfrogging, international schools, in India, are not only augmenting students’ interactive and collaborative learning but also empowering teachers on technical know-hows to deliver better learning experience. In effect, Canadian International School (CIS), Bangalore is using iPads, which offers a 1:1 integrated learning programme for students. The support that is seen in Apple products in the personal development of teachers and students are being utilized well in schools. With any technology, such as Flipped Classroom Model learning on iPads, Chromebooks, or other mobile devices, we need to first train the teachers on how to teach the students with these forms of technologies.
With time, we are also noticing that the technological trends are gradually being adopted amongst schools to stay connected. For example, teachers are looped in on Twitter and are also developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) which allows them to gain ideas and share information outside school communities. For students, it is the Google World! They can find answers to any question here. They need to ensure the right keywords are typed in to narrow down to the most credible answer available online.
With the use of technology and software, more and more students have reported that they have become organized and more engaged; they know what their work is and when it is due. They have calendars and reminders on iPads and other technological tools. They can save their work-sheets electronically without having to worry about misplacing it.
For teachers, students and parents, there is immediate accountability. With technology or software integration, all courses are placed online with an open forum and there’s transparency in the educational processes. They can keep a tab on the learning objectives, tests and exams and they can see the expectations as well.
Openness or preclusion to technology
The open access to technology for students could be a monitoring concern for parents. A matter of disquiet The common unease could be that of children getting distracted with the use of mobile devices like iPads or tablets. However, the students believe that cellular phones, TV and computer games could equally cause interruption.
With technology being a core part of education, teachers have witnessed that children are creating more than just consuming. And fortunately, parents have agreed to this fact. Parents also agree that they do have moderate guidelines for their children on using the devices at home.
Students belong to a tech-savvy generation where information is only a click away. Now, the question is, what should be done in order to use the internet and the abundant information in the right way? The most effective measurement is the responsible use of technology. Afterall, it is our consciousness to teach the younger generations about what is acceptable and what is not.
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Many schools conduct workshops with parents and students together to educate them about the use and ownership of the technological device. It is important for students to understand that these devices need to be used appropriately; when to use it and with balance. If we choose to ignore it, education won’t reform. It is the future and it is now. Therefore, the youth and students being the torch bearers of a brighter future, we, teachers and parents are the guiding forces to enable a path of advancement for them in order to create a world of utility.