Assignments, projects, homework, exams, in my day, I don’t remember having a wizard or a complete encyclopedia that could give me all answers and suggestions in a second, or even correct my mistakes for me
How has technology changed education today? This has me wondering if I can still enroll in a college and study all over again just to get the feel of how easy it is today.
Although I do realize how it isn’t easy per se, but I don’t find the kids today, determined by only what is taught in schools and books, alternative methods of teaching and learning have widened the scope of what is available to learn and what to believe.
Before they ask, they text. If the teacher isn’t available that second, someone else always is. Reaching out to a teacher is much easier than we had ever perceived it to be. Today, the teachers are online on various platforms; WhatsApp. Facebook, anything. A true teacher is always available. Whereas, I would remember being terrified of even raising my hand in class to ask a question.
When I was asked to give a presentation, my teacher was my only audience. Today, when a project or assignment is completed, it is easily shared with the world. Social platforms, file-sharing websites, blogs, tutorials are all accessible for today’s audience. Students today, wish to share their work and help others. The difference of opinion and approach also enables anybody to learn and form their own, without any restrictions of age, location and thought. Platforms such as blogs or “Glogster” enable students to share and upload their understanding of a certain topic and also learn from others as well. A plausible move, I must say.
I think it’s safe to ask the question. What would we do without Google? Every fact, knowledge, definition, spelling is a favor of the mighty internet Gods of Google. And how many parents are guilty of asking their children, encourage rather, of using this search engine and as sad as it is today, Google has made our work easier, and nobody seems to mind it. Children today, know very well how to use Google and make their homework easier. Now-a-day’s school teachers are asking students to use Google search for preparing small school projects and surprisingly, students are excelling in the art of gathering content using online search.
What I mean by this is, education is no more limited to a single class for that matter. There is distance education, communities that extend beyond schools, colleges and classrooms that don’t require physical presence inside lecture halls to be able to learn a topic. Students from around the world can contribute to a topic and add their understanding, write feedback and this is possible everywhere today.
Distance education includes short courses, summer programs, and MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses that students from any college and location can avail and these are mostly recognized worldwide, and look good on the resume. Plus, there is no age-limit for this either.
Google, YouTube and Blogs are transforming the education by imparting the required topics at the touch of a click. Earlier there were tutors and TV programs and books.
Top Ivy League Schools are in the process of developing Google Apps and programs and other schools and colleges are bound to follow suit and this is encouraged since early education days. Laptops and tablets are a common sight in the modern classroom and interactive tools help in accumulating knowledge as opposed to just lectures. Edutainment is an actual practice and our minds work in various ways today and multi-tasking is more or less, effortless.
Primary and pre-primary schools are all equipped with the latest technologies and programs, software that help them keep tabs on student evaluation and this helps give individual attention to each learner. Students with special needs and special learning can all cope easily with tailored program and apps that aid to their requirements, and at their own pace. There is no race and competition to it all today. I realize some countries need to catch on to this trend but we’ll get there.
What I mean by this is, education through internet medium does not necessarily look into your profile, background when you Google about a certain topic. Same goes for sharing information online, feedback is also easier and unbiased with it. You set-up a blog on physics and a professor could well be reading through your wisdom and might even share some insight and again, add more information. Online courses preserve anonymity at the time of evaluation, therefore, honest feedback.
Tailored programs and courses are all a reality. I could be fluent in one field and may know nothing about another, I now know I have the liberty to customize what I need/want to learn and what our future generation will learn about. Homeschool is not a stigma anymore, nor is it an impossible task. It even incorporates practicality and information round the clock, also, when required. Everything can be attained online without a classroom bell. Lectures can all be played back and saved, not to forget what a great job tutorials do. Convenience and availability is the key. A 10-year-old child could well be aware of rocket science and there’s nothing wrong with that today.
Okay okay, I do hear my grandfather complaint about how everything was spoon-fed and how we are only becoming lazy and the mobile device has paralyzed our thought process. True Grandpa, I’ll give you that. Any time a topic is mentioned, naturally we pull out our smartphones and Google the answer. In some way, there is no joy in racking our brains to really think and force our brain to work harder. We don’t bother on finding, remembering anything. Same goes with research, accumulating information and forming our own opinion. We have none of those. As much as we deny it, we are following someone else’s opinion. Not that it’s always the case or that it’s wrong but the internet does not hold back on sentiments and thoughts of others and we are so accustomed to seeing both (or all sides) of matters that we end up “following a trend”. Yesterday, education was only imparted by the educated and the wise, today, there is more learning from a 20-something nerdy genius.
Although our brain is trained to assimilate and embrace technology but it will still amaze me how a toddler, who hardly speaks can maneuver their tiny thumbs and fingers on a tablet or mobile device with such precision, choose a program of their choice and complete tasks including switching off the whole damn thing. I wasn’t even allowed near a giant computer because I might do something wrong. So much for opposable thumbs that help us “grasp” a pen, whereas, here we are tapping away on a device with that same thumb and right next to my tablet and mobile device is a pen and paper that I still go to because the action of writing something down etches it in my brain faster than tapping on a screen. Well, we might just to harmonize the two together. Here’s to more learning and endless knowledge!