You must be wondering why I suddenly moved towards writing about technology and education. Actually two incidents prodded me to write on this topic. First was, when I saw my little six year old niece opening up my laptop to play some game. When I went to have a look at what she was playing I saw her solving a mathematics exercise through a game. During this process I instantly realized that technology has become an inseparable part of education today and has come a great way from the methodology through we learnt in our school days. It was a kind of gut instinct to know why and how?
The second was when one of our educational clients gave us the project to create simulations for small kids. While working on those simulations and illustrations I realized technology has made education actually interesting. The games and simulations are actually making the concepts clear rather just mugging up the lesson for the exam. Here are the reasons mentioned about the use of technology in education.
Breaking boundaries of Time and Space – It has been observed that on an average, in a high school a student has access to a teacher 40 minutes per day. That means he/she has access to that teacher 5% of her entire day, and even that time is shared with 25 or 30 other classmates or sometimes even more. On the other hand, with the advancement of technology, a student has access to Internet 100% of the time which makes it 20 times better. Although technology is not a substitute for a teacher but online study materials are available in abundance. In other words we can very well say that Information technology allows learning anywhere, anytime; not just in one particular classroom for forty minutes a day.
Clearer Concept and Deeper Understanding – With the use of simulations and illustrations educational scenario today has witnessed a paradigm shift. Interactive simulations and illustrations can produce a much clearer understanding of a concept. These virtual manipulatives make education go beyond chalk and talk in a classroom. Hand gestures and lectures of a teacher have been replaced by projectors and presentations which are more easily understood by the students. Now-a-days students have access to the same tools on internet which reinforces their idea by experimenting with these simulations themselves anytime.
Learning vs Teaching – Unlike classroom study, technology has enabled the tables to be turned. Students are now given projects and assignments to learn the necessary matter themselves instead of teaching everything by the traditional method. With the advancement of technology, all the necessary information is readily available to them all the time without the physical presence of a teacher. This has made learning interesting and exciting for students who now wait to go to schools.
Newer medium for Self Expression – Technology has changed the scenario so much that students, who only wrote in notebooks in classrooms, can now work on laptops in classrooms. They can make PowerPoint presentations, videos, create a blog, make a website etc.
Global Reach – Students in this hi-tech world have the worldwide view which spreads because of the no cost mode of communication today. Free video conferencing or online chat options make it easier for the students to have a deeper understanding of a subject as well as different cultures.
Learning at your Pace – The advent of online education has made it easier for students to learn a subject at their own pace. Students are all different and Information technologies can permit them to break step with the class and go at a pace that suits their understanding. Without disrupting or interrupting in the class, they can revise difficult lessons and explore what they find interesting. Internet has become more like having a private tutor rather than making a student lost in a large class.
To conclude the blog, I can say, if education is about knowledge and intellectual skills, then information technology lies at the heart of it all. We are just at the beginning of this transition. Education is going to get some more changes in the coming times.