We are now entering the year 2021. In this new year, humanity has created the most profound impact in the technological world. We are entering a new age where technology surpasses everything else. COVID-19 has not just affected human beings’ physical bodies; it has influenced our eating habits, cleaning manners, socialization, communication, modes of entertainment, traveling, in short, almost every walk of life. Things have changed, and education is no exception.
Technology: A substitute or a supplement?
Technology is not here to replace the respected teachers or traditional teaching. It is here to facilitate, improve, and to supplement learning. Everything is improving since the advent of technology, then why not education? Technology itself is a product of education, and it is spread and preserved via education. Hence, digital or e-learning is never going to be a substitute for traditional face-to-face teaching methodology. It is always going to support it.
Technology has always been trying to supplement education, from designing curriculum to the standardization of educational materials, from facilitating classroom designing communication. Still, it has never been as essential for the very survival of the educational systems, globally, as it has become in the present times.
How technology aids in education:
Technology has come up with various tools and techniques to aid education. Such tools save human effort in various forms of teaching and learning.
- In the classroom: Technology improves learning in the classrooms through online and offline media. Multimedia display of pictures, videos, and movies increases audio-visual grasp in students. Besides, taking students to field trips using Virtual Reality technology can further enhance their exposure through a virtual environment.
- Being social with distance: Students can better socialize with teachers, guest speakers, including other students who are actively participating in the classroom from different parts of the world. Technologies like virtual classrooms can allow students to interact with each other in a culturally diverse environment.
- Fun learning: Using audio-visuals, interactive apps, and other multimedia sources, learning can turn into a fun-filled activity. The use of technology can promote better learning for students and, at the same time, keep the fun-filled learning aspect alive.
- Interactivity: The best thing about modern technology is that it enables interactivity. Students learn in a better way when they learn through a two-way communication process. Teachers encourage students to present their inputs, and at the same time, they feel that they are participating more in classrooms.
- Easy to remember: Education can become much memorable with the right audio-visuals. Watching a video on YouTube or Daily-motion tends to stay in our visual memory for a relatively greater period than something learned from a textbook. A concept that reaches the brain through different methods involving more sensory organs has a better impact.
- Assessment: Teachers can now assess the students through various technological tools and techniques that save their time and effort while minimizing human error.
- Record keeping: The assessments thus made or the observations regarding respective students can be saved and retrieved later with handy software and tools that the teachers can carry around in their phones, tablets, or laptops. Easy to make, easy to store, and easy to retrieve.
- There are many other ways how technology holds hands with education and takes it far ahead.
Everything “literally” at your fingertips:
Education and learning stem from knowledge and information. Whether you are a teacher, a student, a potential student, or a researcher, you need information. All kinds of information are now only a click away. Nowadays, many students seek the best career paths for their professional development, and through smartphones, they can now explore thousands of different options. Such delicacies weren’t available to most students just a decade back.
A student does not have to face the challenge of visiting multiple universities in person to see which education or career path is best suited for his academic & professional development. Instead, he accesses the Internet and avails the information online. If a student is looking for scholarship opportunities, he has to browse it, and he gets the desired information on the program.
A researcher builds the foundation for his research instead of spending days and nights sifting through the books. In that case, he can access giant research directories like Google Scholar or Jstor and improve his research quality, spending an incredibly less amount of time and effort. The students can also find valuable insight and knowledge over the Internet while selecting their career paths.
The importance of Edtech:
Educational technology or Edtech includes all digital learning methods, including technological devices, platforms, applications, software, and learning environment. Edtech has been serving to enhance communication, learning, interest, interactivity, and creativity. The tools and techniques help tremendously save time and effort at both ends, and it has become nearly impossible to part technology with education. Why reinvent the wheel? if we go back to the old school teaching methods and learning, which is futile.
Education during Covid-19 times:
Living through 2020, the COVID-19 era, it looks that the entire educational system would have collapsed if not held and supported by technology. The whole world has been badly affected by the microscopic virus. However, for good or bad education has fully or partially become online. When social distancing has become the norm to save ourselves from the pandemic, the only way to keep the education up to and going is through digital classrooms.
Online platforms like Google classroom, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and the like to stay connected and keep learning. Such platforms provide ease of communication. The flexibility of time and space, easy accessibility, and assembling opportunities without having to be present in one place physically.
We have come to an era where virtual education has become a growing trend for universities’ degree completion. There is a need to understand, develop, and improve the knowledge, tools, techniques, and methodologies in virtual education. Instead of resisting to adopt, we must start learning and improving with the new trend of virtual learning. The earlier we understand that education and technology go hand in hand, the easier it would be for us to evolve with the modern educational systems. “Virtual” is the new “real,” and the future is digital.