By Dr Amrita Vohra
Technology has been at the forefront of education, pushing the boundaries of what human beings are capable of, and empowering them to do more. The leaps and bounds made in technology have not only redefined education, but also the manner in which it is imparted. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that with the massive advancements made in modern technology, the latter has today become an essential part of classrooms, for carrying out daily learning activities.
Until recently, conventional education methods largely revolved around the practice of learning by rote. Recitation was also common, where students were made to take turns to read out the lessons and expected to study and memorise assignments, which was followed by periodic examinations. This method of education was majorly focused on training a student for clearing set parameters. As such, it was found to be restrictive and disengaging, failing to inculcate and develop in students the skill sets required for life outside the classroom.
We must take into account the specific needs and requirements of today’s students in the constantly changing world, along with their individual strengths and weaknesses. By acknowledging that students are already interested and engaged in using technology, teachers can provide them with the much-needed experience of using a varied range of tools and technology-driven applications. Information technology can be integrated effectively in the curriculum right from Nursery to Class XII at various levels that gives the students ample opportunities to learn and explore. For children, computer technology has provided an indescribable wealth of resources, information and knowledge. Research has suggested that computer technology has helped students to improve their grades in other subjects, most notably science.
The 3D printers in school give wings to the imagination of students, enabling them to define it with shape and form. Integrating technology helps create countless enriching opportunities for students, while schools and teachers can also reap the rewards of integrating diverse forms of technology in classrooms, in order to make teaching and learning easier and more effective.
Today, countless forms of technology have found application in classroom education, some of which are:
Google Classrooms can be implemented in early classes to allow children to get their hands on technology. Students are oriented towards using this platform where they do assignments, research, read articles and take assessments. I have personally seen a class with the topic The Solar System, where children were taken through a video and the concepts learnt were way better than through a traditional class.
Desktops and Laptops: Easy to wheel in laptop carts
By using computers, students can gain access to an almost infinite source of information to obtain a different perspective on what one is taught, while also abolishing the need for bulky encyclopaedias and dictionaries. Students can quickly and easily look up information on the internet, besides being able to record and document their thoughts, ideas, and concerns, to be re-evaluated or addressed at a later time.
3D Printing and Lego Robotics
Lego robotics and 3D printing are some apparatus to not only integrate technology but also work towards STEM intelligence. Using this actively in day-to-day teaching makes the concepts easier to learn and understand. When the students feel engaged with a subject and the interest is high, the learning curve sees a substantial improvement.
By using the power of video conferencing, students living far away, in different geographical locations, can still attend important lectures, workshops, and training modules, at the click of a button. This, in turn, becomes a benefit for the school as well, since it helps reduce travel costs and the time spent in addressing students at different locations. Students can take part in various webinars and competitions that allow them to present ideas and thoughts to an audience that is sitting miles away from them.
Virtual Field Trips
Yet another field of technology which has immense potential for educational use is Virtual Reality (VR) as well as Augmented Reality (AR). With the help of the internet and VR, students can virtually travel anywhere in the world, and gain real world experience about the location, thereby better understanding its educational significance. Google Classroom, on this note, is a revolutionary technology that can facilitate field trips to locations around the world or even outer space. AR, on the other hand, can be used extensively to create trial scenarios for several scientific experiments, conduct workshops, and more.
As a result, not only does technology help make the process of learning, as well as teaching, easier, but it also improves engagement and knowledge retention, besides encouraging individual learning and collaboration.
Having highlighted the benefits of technology, it is imperative that teachers and parents take cognisance of the cons of overuse of technology. Use of technology should be moderated for students so that their creativity is kept intact and they do not rely solely on machines for any inputs. Giving access to powerful tools comes with equal responsibility of fair usage.
(The writer is Principal, GIIS Chinchwad.)