A leap in learning

A marriage of technology and education is vital for better transfer of knowledge. Gauri Rane analyses why

A marriage of technology and education is vital for better transfer of knowledge. Gauri Rane analyses why
Use of technology in our everyday lives has become inevitable. Right from waking to the alarm on your Smartphone to working on presentations and marking future appointments, we are living in a wired world. The technology revolution has hugely impacted the education arena too. “Information is available the minute you key in the topic and in our fast paced life, inculcating technology into our education system has become a must,” says BK Chakravarthy, head of department, Industrial Design Centre, IIT-Bombay.

The pedagogy has undergone a massive overhaul. Not only do teachers have to simplify lessons to ensure everyone understand but also make them interesting. “The role of a teacher is not limited to the usual lecture period,” says Chakravarthy. Chakravarthy has about 230 students in his class. Thanks in large measure to video recording of his lectures, his students can revisit the class any time they want.

Avnita Bir, principal, RN Podar School, has another perspective to this high tech form of learning. “Technology is a great tool for empowerment, but it is not a substitute to a teacher,” she says. Rohit Pandey, CEO, Classteacher Learning Systems, an online platform for teachers, agrees, “Quality teachers are far more important than any learning device.” With the advent of better technology there is definite expectation that learning programmes become more interactive and engaging. Classteacher has been developing ‘Classpad’, a tablet that can be used by any students. “Each tablet comes with pre-loaded educational apps suitable for a particular level,” informs Pandey.
So how does technology help in learning better? Information and Computer Technology (ICT) enhanced white boards have become a norm in schools. Teachers use tablets, net books, laptops and audio-visual equipment to impart knowledge. Apparently, Google Apps which provides a customized version of various Google products is the teaching community’s best bet. They share notes and study material on different topics, and create discussion groups for better interaction and learning. Students too showcase their project work through a Google Hangout, which can be accessed by others student. “Since it is an online process, we could send a link of the project to parents to keep them abreast with their ward’s progress,” explains Bir.

Teachers opine that such activities broaden a child’s thought process and ignite their curiosity. Such a multifaceted approach while conducting lectures is seen even at the postgraduate level. AT IIT-B, a lecture is available online for those students who may have missed it or may need to revisit it for a better understanding. “Portion taught over six months to a year are packed in a 20 minute video. It is surprising to note that students come back with queries as they are now more focused,” says Chakravarthy.

The Union Government has tried its level best to incorporate technology in the education system through various well-meaning legislations. “These measures may help in taking literacy and learning to every nook and corner of our country, but if teachers are not equipped to make best use of technology then it’s a waste,” concludes Pandey.