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Technology in Education: What is the Limit and How to Hit a Balance?

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Technology in Education

The prominence of technology in educational institutes have been highly romanticized. In fact, most parents and students view the very presence of new-age devices in school premises as the indication of enhanced scope of student learning and education. On the contrary, several eminent educational leaders of yesteryear have claimed that money and time spent on educational technology is an unnecessary wastage. Several other groups like Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt and the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology have revised the influence of technology on education. They mentioned that technology can hugely benefit education by augmenting student achievement and by lessening the limitations of learning – but the positive results can be obtained only if technology is used aptly in education.

Let’s see how we can try to reach that right spot where technology can truly add value to education without the negative side-effects.

Implement blended learning: After reading through several journals and research reports on the rising impact of EdTech on students’ lives, I personally think that just having all the latest technical equipment and digital teaching and learning methodologies in a school doesn’t promise an enhanced student academic performance. And at the same time, multiple studies have indicated that education technology used at par with a student’s individual learning-pace can show great results.

To put it more simply, the idea of blended learning goes a long way in getting maximum positive output. Blended learning strategically combines the best of both worlds: in-person interaction between teachers and students with personalized instruction and online learning opportunities using digital and mobile technologies. It is important to introduce students to multiple ways imparting education, especially the ways in which technology plays a great role in complementing and scaling the instructional practices shared by the teachers. Online learning when blended with conventional instructions can improve students’ performance and ability to learn faster.

Apply multiple ways to communicate: It is obvious that students are more driven to digital and mobile devices as they find their curiosity at its height when come in contact with new-age technological tools. However, it should not be forgotten that consistent human communication is what keeps them emotionally intelligent. Teachers and knowledge providers must understand the importance of hitting that sweet spot where technology can drive multiple ways of communication, cognitive improvement as well as emotional well-being.

So, instead of just engaging students with mobile devices allow them to communicate their ideas, answers and findings through multiple visual, audio or spatial ways. It’s interesting to impart education via gamification, but keep other options open like creating videos, writing e-books, web pages, images, blogs, animations and so on. Encouraging students to express their thoughts through multimodal designs or through poetry is a fantastic way of combining education with technology wherein they can make use of available tools and techniques.

Find a way to channel their creativity: Technology in education would have no meaning if it cannot imbibe creative expressions in students and encourage them to leverage digitalization to channel their creativity and imagination in a logical way. One easy way of obtaining this is to create opportunities for them to produce more than consume, while being interactive and creative. Playing educational games are surely engaging but let students make them or even share their gamification ideas.

Use digital and mobile tools and devices that trigger students to think, contemplate, solve a tricky or a complex challenge through storytelling or designing; don’t just let them sit quietly looking at the mobile screens or listening through the lectures while watching the slides flip through. Motivate them to express their opinions, ideas and expressions via multiple creative ways – be it writing, talking, enacting, drawing or designing. Choose technologies in the classroom that drive interaction (try The King’s Request), critical thinking (try Stencyl), write basic code (try Hour of Code), creative imagination, problem solving (try Scratch), build something new (Roblox for education) and so on.

Monitor their usage of mobile devices: Students are now familiar with the trend of using mobile devices at schools and colleges, that are either school-owned or student-owned. Nevertheless, the usage of handheld devices like iPads, laptops and smartphones contribute towards a quick and engaging learning process, wherein students are free to do their own research, make use of eBooks, college notes and other knowledge materials that they can access and read anytime on-the-go, direct from the mobile devices.

But there’s no way schools and colleges should allow students to have unchecked and unlimited access to the internet. Sometimes, the internet and its illegitimate websites and malicious apps do more harm than good to students and on top of that unrestricted access can accidentally expose the devices and the data stored in them to malicious apps and cyber-threats, leading to a greater danger to deal with. Whereas, mobility in schools aims to foster an atmosphere of agile knowledge-sharing, it is crucial to manage these devices using a powerful Mobile Device Management to ensure that the students don’t compromise the data security and the device integrity.

Promote collaboration activities: It’s imperative to engage students with technology as much as with each other. Learning together is a healthy way to impart not only the theoretical lessons but also the basic sense of community-building. Educational institutes should make efforts to create opportunities where students can work, study or complete an assignment together while using and engaging with digital media and devices.

Encouraging group activities fosters a sense of productive collaboration, teamwork, leadership, effective communication, interpersonal skills and soft skills, which add to the holistic development of the students’. Collaborative digital activities enable students to enhance their out-of-the-box thinking-skills and allow them to understand the usage of multi-user learning devices and software and encourage them to learn the aspects of healthy interaction. Often schools encourage students to learn in a collaborative environment using interactive discussion boards or apps like “Minecraft for education”.

Conclusion

The role and importance of technology in modern education is unquestionable; the kind of engagement and exposure technology provides to students is imperative for them to grow up into forward-thinking individuals. Early introduction to digital media and mobile devices develops their cognitive intelligence as well as their ability to explore and understand technology better. However, at the same time, it is no less essential to keep the human-touch and emotional bonding intact in students, after all, we don’t want them to grow into robots! Schools and colleges should create an atmosphere where knowledge can blend with wisdom and intelligence can combine positive emotions – to help them grow holistically.

Author Bio:

Sonali Datta

Lead Market Analyst

Sonali brings over 10 years of practical experience in analyzing, exploring and writing for information technology, enterprise software, business strategy, technological innovations, enterprise mobility, digital technologies, and business sustainability. With an extensive background of working with global IT and software companies, she maintains a customer-centric, value-driven and problem-solving approach in her write-ups. Sonali is currently working for Scalefusion.

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