Shishir is an average student of class 9 th. Sitting in the physics lecture, he looks, befuddled, at the black board displaying a sketch of a magnetic field created by an electric current. The teacher is explaining the ‘right-hand rule’, and Shishir looks at his own right thumb, trying hard to understand where his compass needle will tilt, while his head slowly tilts lower to his right, and he almost dozes off.
Whether I hold the poor chap responsible for falling asleep is a separate question altogether, but do I believe that something went wrong in the way learning was imparted? Yes, absolutely!
Imagine a virtual 3-D model of the working of magnetic fields displayed on a projector screen in the classroom. By changing any variable in the simulation, the effect is immediately and easily visible for the students to observe and study. Moreover, it is much more interesting to study practically than just by text. I’m sure Shishir would have stayed awake a bit longer, if this approach was followed.
The scope of technology in the field of education is full of possibilities. The above is just one example of the implications of interactive learning. Today education is not just about knowledge. Knowledge is anyhow accessible at our fingertips through the internet. Students are quite savvy with technology and value applicability over theory. Hence there is a rising need to revolutionize education via newer methods of teaching-learning.
Some areas where I find technology can play a major role are:
- As a teaching aid: It is easier to explain certain concepts through multimedia aids rather than textbooks or blackboards. For example, students will learn geography and maps much better via applications like google maps and google earth.
- Interactive learning through simulations: To understand complicated concepts, simulation-software and apps can be extremely useful. For example, understanding an electrical circuit diagram and functioning will be much easier by using technical drawing applications where you can add, delete, or move elements around on the page and everything adjusts and realigns for you, automatically.
- Bridging the geographical gaps: By means of video calling and online classrooms, students are not restricted to access education from anywhere in the world. Many experts use online infrastructure to deliver lectures where anyone can participate. Websites like Udemy and Coursera offer courses much cheaper than actual classroom courses.
- Efficient, application-based education: Today, most vocational learning involves teaching relevant applications and software that students can use practically when they start working. This makes them efficient and employable.
- Helping slow/disability learners: One of the biggest advantages of technology is that it can be used to harness any type of intelligence for learning, whether visual, auditory or others. Slow reader/writers can be taught by other means like interactive visual/auditory aids, assistive technology for students with disabilities like speech-to-text options and sensory enhancers play a major role in making learning for them easier.
The winds of change have already arrived. Its time for us to bend or break!