Technology is pervading nearly every facet of life as we speak. Be it the construction industry or the clothing industry, everything has a touch of tech in it.
It is the way of the future, after all. But, one sphere which was hitherto untouched has been recently seeing some form of technological inculcation that is changing its very makeup and for the better.
It is the sphere of education. Up till a few decades ago, education was envisioned in a traditional box-roomed setting where an instructor gives out information upon information in a static format and the students silently absorb. This passive form of learning seems to be outdated in today’s increasingly interactive and digitally engaged setup. Thus, a subtle technological shift in the tectonic plates of education has begun.
Why though? What can technology possibly contribute to the world of pedagogy? And do these benefits come without any sort of backfires? We’re not sure yet. But, what we do know is that the revolutionary transition has begun, and so far, it is proving to be quite worthwhile. It is up to us to acknowledge it and foster it in places where our traditional modalities fail, so a holistic advantage could be gleaned. In the same sense, check out the following technological upgrades making their way in the field of education and see for yourself whether they’re a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
Personalization with AI:
It is a truth universally known by teachers worldwide that not all students are similar. A classroom is filled with a wide array of minds, having their respective blend of thoughts, ideas, perceptive styles, and interests. You cannot possibly treat all of them from a singular yardstick. Relativity rules here, which brings in the exigency of personalized teaching and learning. A human teacher can only cater to each and every student’s unique needs to a certain extent, which leaves space for neglect.
However, technology comes here as a knight in shining armor to aid the teachers. Artificial Intelligence software analyses the intellectual levels of the pupils, drafting individualized courses and assessment techniques for them. Education Dominance is one such AI-based tutoring system, applied in a Florida IT school, by the U.S. Navy. The students who went through this program tested higher than those who didn’t. AI also lays the groundwork for skill-based, high-standard testing, which is hoped to raise the overall intellectual level of the next generation of students.
With the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptographic currencies, came the blockchain technology, which has made tracking financial transactions super easy in the form of secure, connected ledgers. This technology can be implemented in the education system too. Proxeus is a blockchain company, which does precisely this. It allows educators to create assessment-based applications, issue completion certificates, and manage academic records in a blockchain format. This is a new approach, which spells nothing but convenience and anti-fraud security for the teachers. All you need is a high-speed internet connection and your trusty computer. You can check out AT&T Internet packages for a connection that will never let you down. It is advisable to have a designated desktop computer for your work, however, if you’re looking for portability a laptop computer would be just fine. Just ensure whichever device you use is well protected from malicious attacks.
Simulation in VR:
How much can you learn by staring at a group of words printed down on paper? Not much. It’s a purely theoretical approach, which needs to be accompanied by practical experience. This practical experience is made possible by technology in a remarkable way. You don’t even have to leave the physical aegis of a classroom if you’re so intent on maintaining that tradition. Just bring a VR system into play and use that to accompany your lesson. In virtual reality, students can experience planetary movements, historical events, climatic whimsicalities, and even chemical combustions first hand, simulated and all. Such impressions don’t leave their young minds, usually for life.
The technological software allows a wonderful expansion of ‘vision’ on the students’ part. By looking at a map, how far do you think an average student can visualize and understand a particular country’s geography? Not far. But, by virtually visiting any place on the world map via Google Maps or Google Earth, pupils can see the cultural and topographical technicalities of it all. Enhanced geography, rocks!
Real World’s Real Problems:
Stand-alone concepts work to a certain extent only, if they are not realized in conjunction with a corresponding reality. For instance, politics as a concept can be gleaned from this book or that. But to see it in motion is a lesson learned for life. In this, technology can help a lot. Students can be made aware of the real world’s problems, like the sudden climate change, by interacting with the concerned individuals digitally, while staying within the walls of a classroom. Interviews can be held via Skype or some other virtual platform, questionnaires filled via email, or a people’s behavior observed by its social media presence. The possibilities are endless.
Note-taking is an integral part of every classroom. And naturally, some studious pupils are better at this activity than others. Technology allows these smart ones to virtually share, and not only that, sell their elaborate notes online to those who need them. StudySoup is one such note-sharing marketplace, made especially for students. These notes are actually an exam-passing staple for some students, who don’t pay attention in the classes. Thus, the importance of such a marketplace. Availability of information to all.
Today’s young generation is more active on social media than they are in the classes. This behavior can be taken advantage of education-wise. Students can be urged to take part in virtual communities, class discussion boards, communication forums by which they can connect with other students worldwide and get an opportunity for healthy debate and peer review. Problems can be posted and discussed online, anytime, and anywhere. Thus, technology introduces remarkable flexibility in student-to-student and student-to-teacher communication.
Project Management and Assessment:
‘Learning by doing’ is a principle that is becoming increasingly popular these days. It renders the old textbook-based education outdated. Now, teachers prefer to assign all-around projects to their students, ranging from field missions to investigative journalism, which promises to hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Technology takes this up a notch by making the whole project manageable virtually. There are online dashboards, on which the students can collaborate, upload their work, and be assessed plus coached by the teacher too. Cool, right?
More than one Media:
Let me ask you a question: Can you learn better by reading a 1200 page book or by watching a 12-minute video on the same concepts? The video. Why? Because it saves time, energy, and resources. It’s virtual, so it’s widely shareable too. It’s colorful and animated, so it catches a young one’s interests like nothing else. It’s mobile-friendly, so it can be viewed on smartphones as well, which is like a staple for today’s generation. Printed paper, which is costly and limited in scope, has truly lost its value in the technological age. Now, the education sphere can incorporate other instructional media, like podcasts, videos, infographics, and whatnot, in their syllabi to replace the wholly-text based curriculum. The greater the diversity of instructional media, the better the learning.
Technology has changed the role of the teacher too. Instead of a strict “sage on the stage”, they have become a kind “guide on the side”. With the increasingly personalized mode of learning and the inculcation of digital paraphernalia in the educational setup, the power has shifted from the teacher to the students now. They are the center of attention now. The teacher is no longer in the limelight, but in the shade, as a facilitator, not as a dictator.
So, do you see the wide-ranging impacts of technological immersion in the field of education? Are they for better or for worse? That’s for you to decide.