As we step into another landmark in human history, technology has and still continues to play a pivotal role in everyday activities. Its pervasive influence has spread to almost every facet of our individual lives and our society. Advances in technology have birthed cutting-edge innovations in various domains ranging from 5G propelled seamless communication, artificial Intelligence, robotics and more down to our educational sector.
That the world is transformed into a digital space is no news. As such, the onus is on society to work at engaging the younger and the unborn generation with technology in order to prepare them for what lies ahead in the digital future. Why is this crucial?
Robotic drivers are fast replacing humans across the globe, caregiver jobs are now being done by robots. According to researchers’ prediction, by 2030, 1.5 million jobs will be taken over by robots. Though a scary notion, however, this should serve as a wake-up call for us to help the future generation internalise and imbibe the ideals of technological advancement to remain relevant in the global scheme of things.
Why is there so much emphasis on education in connection with technology?
The answer becomes crystal clear upon a reflection on the fact that education is the foundation of a solid beginning. It is an intrinsic part of every human society. It is a lifelong process of learning new things. Little wonder why deliberate, planned, and concerted efforts are directed towards the mental development of every child.
A man is described as “a product of his environment and circumstances surrounding his birth”. This implies that every element around the ‘man’ is what determines his life course, ambition, and growth. To this end, then, technology should have a more than usual impact on any woman or man who hopes to be relevant by striving to keep pace with this fast-paced, evolving world of technology.
In as much as many people still prefer the conventional style of teaching and learning, the ‘classroom experience’ and its attendant protocols, there are inquantifiable possibilities leveraging technology can bring. One such possibility is the transformation and expansion of the global landscape of education.
For professional educators, leveraging technology will equip them with special abilities to efficiently monitor the progress of each student and develop an innovative lesson plan to suit the needs of such students. For students, too, exposure to a technologically-oriented tutoring system will build in them a set of skills pertinent to their future careers. A quick look into the behavioral patterns of children in their formative years, in this digital era, reveals their great dependence on technology. They are mostly glued to e-gaming, online movie streaming, and other fun stuff.
They frequently use their smartphones and tablets outside of school hours and should be trusted with their devices as long as they use them responsibly. It is also possible for parents and guardians to monitor their ward’s use of these gadgets through various technological controls.
The exposure of the younger generation to technology is becoming the norm rather than an exception. This fact reinforces the opinion they will learn faster and better when teachers leverage technology in teaching them.
African students, especially those from this side of the continent face a number of challenges that have led to erroneous conclusions about them. Some have been labelled unfit for classroom education. It is heartbreaking that such assumptions have dashed to pieces academically challenged students’ chances of succeeding in so-called conventional education. To change this narrative, there is an increasing need for all- teachers, learners- to embrace educational technology. What does this mean?
Educational technology is a systematic approach to the processes and resources of teaching. It makes use of technology to improve students’ performance. It identifies the needs of individuals, adapting technology to classroom instruction, and also tracks students’ development.
More so, it enables teachers to accurately discern the needs of students to determine relevant teaching tools to apply and to track results so as to measure the effectiveness of deployed tools. Although educational technology is a fairly new field in the sector, and not all teachers are ready to start implementing such a technologically-driven platform; however, its application will increase both teachers’ and learners’ productivity.
From the foregoing, we can agree that innovative technology is rapidly changing the face of education as we know it. Here are a few of the areas it impacts education.
Redefining the teaching and learning experience
The use of modern technology like artificial intelligence, for instance, has enabled teachers to conceptualise more creative and innovative ideas in developing academic plans for their classes.
Technology enables online education, distance learning, and provides access to updated information. It has opened the eyes of many teachers to the reality that every student interprets information differently.
In addition, students too can learn at their own pace since technology has been proven to enhance individual learning, removing educational boundaries that they may face. Tech-savvy students can easily research subjects that originally seem difficult to learn. This will boost their confidence in their ability to learn new things and may even empower them to help fellow classmates learn.
Preparing students for future careers
As we all know, technology is widely used by professionals across a wide range of fields and industries. Its inclusion in the classroom may help students feel more at ease and familiar with technological tools in their chosen careers.
It can also enhance class interaction by encouraging collaboration of differing learning styles.
Eliminating economic barriers in education
The cost of education has significantly reduced with options like online degrees; physical textbooks are already getting replaced by e-books, and learning can take place in a more relaxed and emotionally conducive atmosphere. Since people are increasingly getting attached to their devices, they have access to a global library at their fingertips. This has increased study commitments and greater educational achievements.
With this development, students do not need to enroll in a full degree program to learn from the best universities in the world since most academic journals offer full digital versions of books originally produced in print.
This has led to the popularity of online and mobile learning, physical boundaries have been removed. Interestingly too, many SMEs and blue-chip companies have also embraced technology for training and retraining their employees through regular webinars and other online classes.
ICT Clinic by CFA is published weekly in the Sunday Punch