For a long time we have been criticising our education system for lacking effective learning techniques or skill based learning. Technology based education seems one step towards revolutionising education for the better. Technology and education is a great combination if used together with a right reason and vision. Toddlers these days have an early introduction to technology when they start using their parents smart phones, tablets, laptops even before they learn to speak. Therefore, imparting technology based education from their early stage is definitely a positive idea.
A typical classroom was once characterised by students sitting through hour-long teacher lectures. Now it is changing gradually. Recently more than 12000 schools across 560 districts in India have adopted smartclasses. This means that classrooms are adopting technology by having digital learning tools, such as computers, printers, projectors etc. ‘Eyes work more than ears’ is the mantra behind the widespread usage of these tools. The digital learning is user- friendly, self explanatory and makes the process more interesting. Use of graphics simplify the concepts of difficult subjects like Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics. It increases the student’s engagement and motivation and accelerates learning.
Even for toddlers, digital learning/technology involves the use of all their senses while learning in a very playful manner.
With technology, educators, students and parents have a variety of learning tools at their fingertips. Here are some ways in which technology has improved education over a span of time. Technology supports learning 24 x 7 and builds 21st century skills. It expands course offerings and learning materials. Teachers can now communicate with others across the world, meet the shortcomings of their work, thus providing their students with the best. Technology gives students immediate access to abundance of quality information which leads to learning at a much quicker rate than before.
The internet provides a variety of knowledge and doesn’t limit students to one person’s opinion. Explaining a lesson with the help of audio or visual aids helps in deeper understanding and better clarification.
Online education is now accredited and has changed the way we view education. Students, even professionals can take it as a part-time, or full time course for their progress from anywhere and at anytime. Popular in such education is a practice, in which students watch videos of already recorded teaching and creates extended classroom communities for discussions or virtual classrooms etc. It eliminates the travel time and travel costs of students.
In India more and more companies are coming forward to provide technology based education with customised settings. To name a few are like NIIT, HCL Infosystems, Tata Interactive Systems etc. Even parents want the best for their wards and are not averse to paying a little extra. They see value in these initiatives by schools to modernise the way teaching is imparted today. Technology in education is preparing the students for the future or more precisely ‘next generation’. Indian government is not ignorant to the development and so has come up with a National Mission on Education through information and communication technology.
It aims to eliminate digital illiteracy by distributing the Aakash tablets to students across India at very low rates. In India, illiteracy is one of the biggest problems. Lack of easy access, lack of teachers, poverty, lack of infrastructure are the common reasons which are holding back the progress in rural education.
However, with the use of technology, mass education can be provided and the prevailing situation can be changed. Classroom courses at one place, can be recorded in real time and can be used for teaching the students who cannot attend these classes. This could be a good option as rural people are more attracted to technology and drop-out rate could be reduced.
Some non-profit organisations, like Aziz Premji Foundation, run by Wipro group has been actively working towards this issue. This foundation works by assisting computer aided learning. In another examples, schools in the states like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, etc have received computer-assisted education through collective efforts by NIIT and government. These have given positive results. In this super fast jet age, it is required that the notebooks and textbooks be replaced by laptops and presentations. The world is changing, so should the education system. Although there has been a tremendous improvement in the quality, yet it still needs to cater to a wider audience to keep pace with the developed world.