Digital Technologies: Drivers of Transformation in Educational Excellence
“At the heart of effective technology integration, technology offers opportunities to be more actively involved in the learning experience” – Vanessa Vega, Research Analyst.
Appropriate use of technological intervention and resources can serve as great means of pedagogy. To build an ecosystem for the educational sector where technology becomes a way of life rather than an enhancement is the only way forward.
Recent advancements in educational technologies have shown us how we can effectively connect with the world and follow the best practices. The digital classrooms and gadgets like laptops, iPads, smartphones, smart digital white boards have expanded course offerings, it has increased student’s engagement and motivation towards learning. It has become essential to create circular educational ecosystem with technology being the centrifugal binder. With increased connectivity, speed and cloud-based storage capabilities, schools and colleges have an enhanced communication network that makes way for improved knowledge sharing. Digital portfolios are becoming quite a rage among high school students who use it to demonstrate their knowledge and achievements and is now being widely used a strong tool for their admission procedure to college. Coming to higher education institutions, most of them provide students with digitalized learning materials managed through online learning/knowledge management systems. Some universities are also experimenting with virtual learning spaces and have been providing free courses and learning material online.
Some important benefits of integrating technology with our education system include:
- Integrating technology into the classroom is an effective way to connect with students of all learning styles. It gives students the opportunity to enhance the interaction with their classmates and instructors by encouraging collaboration. For instance, traditional text books are becoming a thing of the past; the e-books and text books with web-based sites which support animations, videos, assessments to enable quick and comprehensive learning are steadily replacing traditional methods.
- -Technology has been meeting the needs of all types of learners. ‘The theory of multiple intelligences’ as proposed by Howard Gardner postulates different kinds of intelligence including visual-spatial, logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic, inter-intrapersonal, naturalistic etc., and technology can be a great aid to support all types of intelligence enhancement. Technology supports the learning of students even with special needs through various assistive mobile applications. ‘ModMath’ is a math app designed for students with dyslexia or dysgraphia; ‘Stop, Breathe & Think’ is a great app for students with anxiety and stress disorders; ‘Autism Express’ allows autistic students to come out with their emotions. Access to customized learning for the specially-abled is of the most important advancement integrating technology and educations creates.
- Standardizing green is another great advantage of infusing technology into the system. Programs like google docs, AV/Tech product or cloud computing platforms help reduce mindless paper consumption. The environment also creates a secure way of creating, accessing, storing and sharing of the documents and submitting the assignments. Carrying bulky notebooks can be drastically reduced. The web 2.0 tool allows for creating live-binders which help create classroom textbooks, organize and use resources online.
- Blogs serve as a great tool for expanding creativity. It is a great means to help students record their thoughts, opinions and experiences and put it out on the web for other students to read, comment, and connect. Especially for timid students, it is an excellent opportunity to be ‘heard online’. It supports multi-faced learning, sharpens the writing & communication skills, engages the students and keeps them focused. Further, online sites like ‘Glogster’ allow for expressing ideas by combining images, graphics, audio, video and text on the digital canvas and thus create interactive multimedia posters!
- Digital classroom environments like ‘Edmodo’ create an extended classroom facility where teachers and students discuss assignments, projects and students can interact with their peers. It enables discovering of the best educational content from across the world. It also supports intuitive features and unlimited storage, quick creation of groups, assigning homework, scheduling quizzes, managing progress, and more. With everything on one platform, Edmodo is designed to give complete control over a digital classroom.
- As the world develops, every job in the future will require applicants to have some technical skills. So, the use of technology in education prepares our children for tomorrows advanced working conditions.
Technology, thus has the capacity to revolutionize the way we educate. For countries like India where technology is still not an integral part of education system, a mere inclusion of it to the learning environments cannot phenomenally change the process. Empowering teachers and students to use technology to optimize their knowledge and skills is what is required.