“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” – David Warlick
Education is going through a bit of a revolutionary phase. Students no longer consult thick books of encyclopedias or spend hours in the library for assignments. With the power of the internet, we have every resource available at our fingertips. Chalk and Talk lessons are slowly transforming into digitally assisted learning experiences. The focus has shifted from memorizing facts and figures to developing critical thinking, learning to collaborate, and enhancing digital skills.
The technology wave has hit education, shaping a new future for education. Exciting recent changes are on the way, and as technology continues to make further strides, a well-rounded, enriching system of education may be well around the corner. Schools will begin investing in smart learning tools for their students. Global expenditure in technology for education is estimated to hit 342 billion USD by 2025.
Let us take a look at how technology can mold the future of education.
Ease of Access
Inaccessible regions that suffer due to a lack of schools and teachers can be remotely accessed through the internet. Granted that initially, they will require capital to set up, it could bridge the gap between students and academic resources. They can be very helpful to students in the next step of their careers as well, as there are numerous websites and institutions online that offer courses on subjects that are in high demand in the job market. Everyone may not be privileged enough to attend premier schools or colleges; online education provides those elusive choices, now affordable for them.
On the flipside, to those who have access to education but do not have the time or energy for it, concepts like MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses have come in as a godsend. Students do not need to fear being left behind as videos and online classes can be viewed later or repeatedly viewed as per their need. Students from any part of the world can access the courses of their choice and learn on their schedule based on their learning speed. Learning can genuinely become accessible to all through the use of technology.
Blended learning uses a mix of physical or online classes and other online educational materials. This is an ideal structure for many, as it uses various tools both in and out of the classroom to facilitate interactive learning experiences. A teacher remains available during the class to resolve doubts or offer guidance, while the students learn at home at their own pace and according to their comfort. The traditional education system is rigidly routine, which may not be ideal for all students. A blended learning course offers a much more interactive, comprehensive, and student-friendly alternative to the students. In fact, the Education Minister of India, Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal has asserted that the ‘Blended Learning’ approach is where the future of education lies!
While the teacher-student ratios remain a cause for concern, technologies like AIS and chatbots could be one step towards bridging the gap between students and personalized learning. It can make recommendations based on individual learning history and help the students assess their interest and skills in various subjects. It can also help teachers recognize the capabilities, pace of learning, and problem areas of individual students, enabling them to provide help and guidance accordingly.
“Tech gives the quietest student a voice.” – Jerry Blumengarten
Assessment methods can also improve a great deal, as students will be able to track their progress, understanding, and thinking abilities over time, rather than receive a test score that only reflects how well they could memorize concepts.
Education Technology is revolutionizing the way classrooms function. With concepts like flipped learning, the classroom has become more student-centric. Students become active learners as opposed to merely observing passively as lectures take place. The truth is that memorizing and repeating information no longer serves a purpose, as data can be accessed through the internet anytime. What the world needs are critical thinkers, problem solvers, and creative leaders. If not already done, Teachers’ role needs to undergo a shift from ‘teachers’ to ‘facilitators of learning’ for the new realities.
Students will be able to showcase their understanding of concepts in a multitude of creative ways. The need for written reports and thick project files for student assessments would become a thing of the past, with the onset of technology. Students will be able to unleash their creativity and create new applications of concepts learned in school through education technology in the future.
To sum it up
It is quite clear that education technology and online learning are here to stay. Even during the pandemic, these tools helped ensure that education goes on uninterrupted despite a global crisis. With more investment & government policies in this direction, these tools will become widely available for students worldwide to access, regardless of their social or economic backgrounds.
Finally, it will pave the way towards a much-needed change in the education system. The National Education Policy (NEP 2020) is a brilliant step by the Government of India, in this direction. Schools can & should change from the places students dread to go, towards becoming a place where they are excited to go to. Perspectives regarding what constitutes a wholesome education are slowly changing for the good, and education technology can be that catalyst that brings about lasting positive change in the field of education.
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important” – Bill Gates