If we need an appointment, we use an app on our mobile phones. If we need any house repairs, we book an electrician, a carpenter, a plumber, online. If we are hungry, we call for food using an app-based food delivery service.
Technology has truly transformed the way we live our lives. Unsurprisingly then, the impact of technology then is immense in the sphere of education too, where, be it at home, or at school and educational institution, the integration of digital and other technologies has diametrically changed the learning experience.
At the most basic level, technology has permeated education through the presence and patronage of the internet. The world wide web seems to have ALL the answers to students’ quests for knowledge and information. Gone are the stacks of encyclopaedias that our generation used to covet, and store and refer to with much care and regularity; now, have a question, simply search for the answer, online! Be it teachers at schools or parents at home, anyone who is interacting with students is now readily asking the students to “look it up”, meaning, get online, and search for things on the internet, be it on a phone, a laptop, or on a computer.
The proliferation of smart-class technologies, where a classroom becomes a ‘connected’ entity, has also dramatically altered the learning experience. Not only does this connected classroom, with access to the internet, a projector and sound capability, allow learners to learn through more immersive and entertaining ways; it has been particularly potent when used in relatively remote/underdeveloped regions where, for instance, students wouldn’t have access to say, a great museum, or good libraries. The smart class and the internet have virtually torn down boundary-limitations by giving access to scores of students, who can now watch videos on their subjects, of their favourite speakers, take virtual tours of places-of-interest, watch lessons & demonstrations on key academic concepts. Until some years back, this would have seemed like fiction, and it is today, in regular practice, increasing the footprint at an alarmingly rapid rate.
The other big development through tech in education is currently underway. A number of app-based learning platforms have come into being. These apps use high quality, curated, academic curriculum-based modules that students can use for self-learning through animation-heavy tutorials. The best part is that these apps are mostly free, at least their basic versions are. They offer a host of learning solutions and modules for learners across the entire school-spectrum. And once a learner has used what they have to offer, most apps can be upgraded to their ‘paid’ premium versions which then even call on renowned educators to hold group, or even one-on-one web-video-call lessons, webinars, where students and educators are united across their platforms for an even more enhanced learning experience and greater exposure. Once again, this works for both the learners, who benefit from access to experts who would have otherwise eluded them; for the educators, it exponentially increases their reach!
APTITUDE TESTING & GUIDANCE
With the mass proliferation of various eLearning services, aptitude testing is thorough, scientific, well-researched, and exhaustive.
Today, there are companies that have developed detailed algorithms and software based on which they test learners, identifying not only their core scholastic strengths and weaknesses, but also providing accurate insights and suggestions into categoric career choices, based on their academic as well as co-curricular, and personality parameters.
Matching a holistic assessment of their overall aptitude with real world job options is the precise addition that eLearning platforms have brought to aptitude-testing, which has made it possible for onward generations to make infinitely more informed and robust decisions regarding subject and career choices going forward. This will only increase further in the years to come.
Another huge contribution of technology in education has been giving learners access to courses that aren’t necessarily considered mainstream or one would potentially find hard to get instruction for, from a skill such as a Calligraphy to a Korean cuisine cooking course. While one might have had to be in a cosmopolitan, big urban centre to find instruction on these arguably esoteric fields of learning, thereby denying many learners an education in them; with eLearning now optioning an unimaginable array of online courses, learners can gain an education in pretty much anything they desire. However rare the skill they wish to develop, no matter how niche the program or the subject, chances are that there is an eLearning program for it. This has democratised learning and brought hitherto unapproachable subjects to the doorstep of any learner. In the years to come, this roster of ‘alternative’ courses available online will only increase.
The influx of technology in education is simply undeniable. While there are some who might contend that so much technology has diluted the ‘human’ aspect of learning; I’d tend to think that for all its many advantages, society is better for the presence and increase of technology in education. Of course, as with most anything in life, one has to tread cautiously, and not overuse. The huge strides that have been made in education because of technology though, is simply remarkable.