They say that "Change is the only constant thing in this universe." However, when you look at the current education system, you may feel that the people at administration have never heard of that phrase. The last time a major change was made to the system, Pluto was still considered a planet.
A lot has happened since then, technology-wise. However, we are yet to see any significant reform in the learning system that offers a way to incorporate the available technology with education. Yes, now we are using tablets and laptops in the classroom, but the available technology is way more sophisticated than that.
We talk about smart classrooms and personalised education, but we are yet to witness a complete execution of those ideas. As you may realize, the innovations in technology are unlocking a new world of opportunities in the education sector. And perhaps it is time we focus on upgrading the education system for the digital age to offer a better learning experience.
How can we do that? Well, here are a few suggestions to consider:
1. Peer-to-peer learning:
Since getting connected to the people across the globe has become a lot easier with the advancement in technology, students can now collaborate with others without having to worry about their geographical locations.
As the online learning materials become readily available for students all over the world, things become a lot easier for the students to team up, share and discuss with other students from other schools from different parts of the world.
As you may have realised, various online forums can be created where students from different countries can come together and assist each other with their studies. It can work as an alternative option for the classroom interactions. They can definitely share insights into their assignments alongside the online material through such portals.
Furthermore, students can share their innovative ideas and maintain a seamless system of communication through these programs, which the academic institutes can initiate.
It is not that such programs have not been introduced. The peer-to-peer learning is slowly making its way into the learning system, and soon enough we may be able to see a better implementation of such ideas.
2. Access to online programmes:
When we talk about the digital education, we usually think about the online classrooms. Even though they aren’t as popular as they were supposed to, they are still pretty much available in major parts of the world.
One of the biggest challenges regarding these online classrooms is the affordability. Since the online classrooms require an advanced setup, they often cost a little higher than the regular courses, which is one of the reasons why students are not enrolled in such programs as much as the regular programmes.
However, things are changing pretty fast. The cost-effective classes, better known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are receiving a decent amount of exposure today. The more accessible such programs become, the number of students can enroll for these classes, and enjoy learning from the comfort of their home.
3. Altering the curriculum in compliance with technology:
With all the digital innovations in the education sector, it has come to a point where it has become necessary to modify the teaching methods in compliance with the available resources. Technology plays a crucial role in that.
Apparently, the curriculum that is set by the schools and colleges needs to be modified to incorporate interactive, multimedia-rich lessons. As you may have guessed, technology can be quite effective in making that happen.
It is not just the students who will get benefited from this. Even the teachers can improve their assessment process with the help of customisable software. There are several potential technologies that can perfect the assessment procedure.
4. Digital content for learning:
Textbooks have served as the source of information to the students for centuries. However, in the digital age, students have stopped bothering about what is there in the textbooks. They have a better option for themselves – the internet.
Unlike the conventional textbooks, the internet offers the students a massive amount of information on every topic that is taught in the academic institutes.
With the rapid development of the online media, e-book libraries and e-learning programs, the textbooks are losing their relevance in the market. However, the still is being pursued in the education sector, because the concerning authorities haven't found any particular way to separate the genuine sources of information from the fake ones on the internet.
5. More interactive way to disseminate information:
While the availability of information is one of the major reasons behind the popularity of the online media, it is also their presentation which adds value to their functions. Students have already started to use their laptops and tablets in their classrooms to access study materials, and it is only going to get bigger from here.
As you may have noticed, the searching experience on the online media has become way more sophisticated than the last decade. While the students have already found an alternative to the conventional learning materials, it is high time that the education institutes start promoting these alternative methods more in the open.
If you look at all the education apps and software that are available nowadays, you can clearly see the reason why students are more into e-reading than the conventional form of learning. E-learning, e-books and online courses offer the students the same thing and more – in a more interesting way. Not to forget, students can now ask the online experts “write my essay” anytime they want, using the internet.
6. An individual-specific approach in teaching and learning:
The recent advancements in technology have provided us with the opportunity to personalise the education system. As you can already tell, the online courses, where the students get individualistic treatment from the tutors do have the edge over the conventional way of education.
If such student-specific approach can be introduced on a broad scale, this can benefit not just the students, but also the teachers as well. One of the major reasons that students need to go to the online experts to ask "do my homework” is because they don’t have the option to consult with their teachers without being intimidated.
On the flipside, the online course, where the teachers curate lessons as per the individual requirements of the students, there’s no such issue of intimidation. In fact, the students who are availing the online courses already feel free to interact with the tutors because of the interpersonal relation, owing to the brilliance of e-learning.
The institutes which have already adopted the e-learning courses, are already enjoying the benefits of this amazing feature. The teachers are also benefitting from the program as they can now receive direct feedback from the students, assess the papers more accurately and interact with individual students in one-on-one sessions.
7. Smartphones will play a crucial role:
The Massive Open Online Courses or the MOOCs, which we have discussed earlier, allow the students to collect and share course materials on their smartphones. Is not that great? Well, students are already using their smartphones to access information in the conventional classrooms. It will be a great move if the education institutes all over the world can use the effectiveness of smartphones to their advantage.
Whether it’s online tuition or the materials, the smartphone allows you to access all sorts of amazing things that are available online. Now that devices have become smarter and the connectivity has got a faster speed, it is more convenient for the students to attend their classes on the go with the help of their smartphones.
When we talk about the interactive format of digital learning, it will be wrong if we do not mention smartphones. Google has already revealed the fact that more than 50 per cent of the internet users access the online materials on their smartphones. So it will be appropriate to introduce the mobile-ready materials and courses for the students on a larger scale.
Besides, learning on a smartphone can unlock a world of opportunities for the students, as they can now attend their part-time jobs and attend the classes at the same time on-the-go.
8. More stress on online research:
Nowadays, students rarely visit the library or the archives to conduct research for their dissertations and thesis papers. Most of the students rely on the internet for the necessary information. And why won't they? It is easier, more convenient and offers more sources of information in a less amount of time.
Even though there are some disadvantages of online research, it is still practiced quite widely by the students, researchers and even the teachers. The good thing about the online sources is that they also include the digital versions of all the major books as well, which means everything that you can get at the library, you can get that online.
As you may have already noticed, some of these suggestions are already in practice. Though they are practiced by a limited number of institutes, they are already making a significant impact in the education sector. Unless there is significant reform in the education system, it is not possible to upgrade the learning process for the digital age.
Even though a complete implementation of digital technology has not been carried out yet, it is still making its way to the education sector slowly, but steadily. So that is a good step in the right direction.
Ammie Jackson is a secondary school teacher who has been a part of several NGOs in the past. She has recently joined MyAssignmenthelp.com, where she offers essay typer services to the students.