February 2022


Technology to complement education

Research has shown that children are more receptive to information from books rather than from screens. A large section of the academia also believes that human interaction is of paramount importance in keeping children engaged while learning.

However, the coronavirus pandemic changed all this. The digital age has well and truly arrived in the education sector too. Since the advent of the pandemic, students and teachers across the globe have become more or less dependent on technology to continue learning and teaching.

It is important to face the question: How important is technology in education? COVID-19 has demonstrated that online education should be a vital part of teaching and learning. Owing to the time spent in the digital world, technology can now be seen as more than just a crisis management tool. Teachers can harness online learning as a powerful educational tool to complement existing curricula.

Digital learning can prove to be an effective tool for student engagement, improving teaching methods, and imparting personalized learning. Tools such as virtual classrooms, videos, augmented reality (AR), and so on can make classes lively. They can also enable better and more inclusive learning environments where teachers can collect data on student performance.

It is also important to acknowledge that one of the most important 21st-century skills is digital literacy. Exposure to digital technology from formative years can help students acquire the necessary skills to succeed in the careers of the future

However, technology is a tool used for education; it cannot be considered an end in itself. What educators and learners do with technology can determine whether, or not, technology can live up to its promise.

Digital technology is disrupting the status quo of traditional learning. It is important to question whether the increasing amount of time children spend in front of screens can be detrimental.

There are other challenges too, but none that cannot be overcome. Implementation and use are among the primary challenges.

Even now, not a very large percentage of schools are using AR, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technology.

The content available on online platforms also needs to be carefully considered while using such platforms. Ideally, if educators were to weigh in, it would ensure that appropriate and relevant content is available. This is something that has been largely missing till now.

Technology equity is and will continue to be a matter of concern; to a large extent, this is linked to socio-economic equity. Access is an added concern — for example, not every school district has resources to provide students with a laptop, and internet connectivity can be unreliable in homes.

Further, it is also important to take into account the individual capacities of each student. A student who was already struggling in the face-to-face environment might find their learning difficulties magnified now.

Despite the challenges and concerns, we need to acknowledge that there are many benefits of adapting technology in education. Increased collaboration and communication, improved quality of education, and more engaging lessons spark the imagination of and a search for knowledge in students.

Teachers need the assistance of administrators to gain the competencies needed to enhance teaching and learning through technology. Using technology in the classroom should make the job of teachers easier and help them manage their time more effectively.

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