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2015-04-14

Transforming education with technology

Technology, slowly but surely is transforming education in a manner that dynamically involves students by replacing a teacher-centered model.

Technology, slowly but surely, is transforming education and making teaching more than just a one-to-many session by improving engagement between the teacher and the students. Whiteboards and computers have replaced the conventional blackboards in many schools and universities today.

Despite the high cost, many experts agree that technology driven education is gaining popularity. It has even proven to be better at student engagement and retention when it comes to concepts, understanding, etc.

Technology is transforming education in a manner that dynamically involves students by replacing a teacher-centered model with a student-centered one. The role technology is playing in making education a motivating business is noteworthy.

Making learning fun & interactive

The usage of equipment like a camera or the digital overhead in classrooms aids in visual learning. Teachers are able to effectively organize and present lessons enabling students to understand concepts better. Videos, tutorials and pictures help the students learn for the long term rather than just mugging up words from a text book like a parrot and reproducing it in the exam paper.

Moreover, the underperforming students are likely to participate in lessons projected on their whiteboards by providing input, as technology based education makes it easier for group participation and discussions. Such interactive lessons can be coupled with the student response systems that make it instinctive for students to answer questions and take part in lessons.

Furthermore, the time spent in photo copying notes and circulation of study material is reduced. Students are able to produce more data through internet research where a myriad of information could be found that helps them multiply their knowledge.
The equipment has transformed classrooms; it has developed commitment and reduced student discipline.

The tools encourage both teachers and students to participate, thus making education an interesting and an interactive course. The equipment is surely rekindling the passion in most educators. The aim of the teacher to develop a student’s knowledge is accomplished through such improved engagement where the gap between information and student is bridged by technology.

Integration technology with learning

Innovative educators are finding out that they can’t live without technology. Many have started to incorporate several apps and tools as well. Schools are installing wireless hotspots in order to make schools wireless and give the power of information. Teachers and students are starting to bring their own devices, and we can see Tablets are popping up everywhere.

We are in the 21st century; 21st century learning is student-centered and engaging. And teachers today are using different classroom technologies like smart boards, tablet computers, smartphones, projectors, digital videos, and games which are great tools for helping students learn in the 21st century. 21st century teaching includes lessons with student response systems so that students who, in the past, weren’t being heard—are now giving their input.

Teachers are using devices such as iPad and moving around the room, knowing that through smart TVs students can interact with their learning in a whole new way. Technology is not just for traditional teaching it is to create a completely new environment.

A great aid to learning

Technology is a great aid to learning for students to not memorize the facts that they will remember all through their life, but know how to find information, how to validate it, how to synthesize it, how to leverage it, how to communicate it, how to collaborate with it, and how problem solve with it.

Post 2015, technology is a tool which can be used to fundamentally transform what a classroom is. Integration of technology with learning as a tool provides you with a scope to explore what you can do with knowledge, what you can make of it and what you will allow your students to make of it.

Recognizing the increasing importance of technology in education and employment, the Indian government has a scheme that grants every public school district, regardless of the number of schools it contains, of Rs 5 million/- every year to invest in educational technology.

Districts have to submit a proposal in order to be granted the funds. The government estimates that 22 per cent of primary schools have a computer, but the reality is that many schools aren't using the equipment they have. In India's booming private education sector, technology is being adopted much more quickly. As many as 400 educational technology firms have launched in the past 10 years, yet the quality and longevity of their products is far from uniform. We must work towards this.

Some ways in which technology can transform education are as follows:

Go beyond PowerPoint presentations: Videos, Social Networking, Interviews and Documentaries also can be used.

Do not be afraid to learn from your students. They are the richest source of technology knowledge: This will encourage students not only to use technology but to learn more about the subject.

Start experimenting with new tools: Teachers should regularly use and experiment with lots of tools for various projects like Skype, Edmodo and all the Google Apps for Education (YouTube, Picasa, Docs, Drive, Sites, Maps etc.) and Aurasma. These help students to not only learn limited syllabus from a prescribed text book, but learn about concepts from a 360 degree view.

Technology can never replace a strong lesson plan and a great teacher: Ensure that the technology you use supports a strong plan and content is related to what you teach.

• Find creative and customized ways to use technology

The writer of this article is Dr Hari Krishna Maram, Chairman & Founder, CEO – Imperial College, Bangalore. The views expressed here are personal.

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