Currently, the education industry is one of the most important industries in the world where lots of research, experimentation, trial and error are being practiced. Most of these practices are more popular in the Western world and slowly filtering into other parts of the world.
The media and market giants create a hype and demand in the education sector in such a way that educationist are tempted to experiment and explore these modern day gadgets and software. Of course, there is no doubt that the new trends in technology and education will definitely ‘enhance’ a teacher and are not meant to enhance teaching.
Teaching Is Still About ‘Telling’
Since time immemorial from cave inscriptions to modern smart boards, the basic requirement of what it takes to learn is fundamentally unchanging (i.e. learning through attention). Interestingly, the radical shift in thinking about learning was not matched by a change in technologies, the idea still remains that ‘teaching is telling’.
A shift in thinking began at the end of the 19th century and continued through 20th century. Instead of focusing on ‘teaching’ people began to develop methods like inquiring based education, problem based learning, collaborative learning etc. where the ‘learner’ has become an active agent in the learning process.
A Shift In Focus
The focus of education has shifted to ‘how to learn’ rather than ‘what to learn’ and the focus of learning has shifted to teach children ‘how to think’ rather than ‘what to think’. The latest trend in education shows adoption of modern technology as a tool in teaching and learning.
A digital teacher has more instructional time because all the notes/problems that were written or worked during class, can be saved, emailed, or posted online. Digital learning uses less paper as students can submit their assignments to digital drop-boxes before class even begins, and teachers can carry them anywhere with their tablets. It provides a more customized approach to curricular development and delivery than is possible with a “one-size-fits-all” textbook driven curriculum. It promotes Inquiry, Project, & Problem-Based Learning. It helps in publishing students work for a wider audience: Students might also have an occasional opportunity to communicate in some form with experts in the field.
Less iPad, More Web-Based Tools
Despite the popularity of the Apple devices like iPads, the demand for tools that can be used at home and at school, regardless of device, will lead to more web-bound education applications. Mathbuddy Online is one of such tools we are practicing in our school which is very interactive and student friendly.
It can be customized to child requirement. Smart sheets and assignments can be assigned, tested, evaluated and reports can be generated by the parents/ administrator on the usage.
Social & Game-Based Learning
Game-based learning could be another trend that will knock on our school doors sooner or later. There could be an explosion of educational gaming apps in the coming years.
Social learning, group discussion, peer to peer learning has gained a lot of momentum nowadays. The classroom design also demands change. The classroom furniture should be such that it can be moved depending on the type of class room activity planned for the day. In primary classes a good front space and carpeted sitting arrangements for children will help during story time and other demonstrations. Specific lab and learning centers may replace standard class rooms.
The Current Concerns
Some of the learning concerns educationists have are the short attention span of children (many a time they choose not to pay attention), lack reflection and text literacy. Misuse/abuse of the information is another challenging task the educationists have to face.
With all the above concerns I as an educationist strongly advocate use of online technology as it provides ample opportunity to be creative and constructive. It also helps them to explore and discover on their own giving a sense of satisfaction and eventually better learning.