Yes, even if it’s not too evident yet, digital and technology smart classrooms are creeping into and taking a hold of the education system and it’s good that they are. The technology today offers a gazillion tools to enhance the learning process and the teaching process.
Blackboard tools, presentations softwares, recordkeeping softwares like Excel and more, podcasts, interesting learning activities, and games to make learning more fun, and visualization tools, are just a start.
Although the implementation of all these tools requires capital, in the long run it is much cheaper and cost effective than the traditional tools for teaching.
Textbooks are obsolete.
Calling textbooks obsolete is still an understatement. They are so out of context, that they are not only not-promoting efficient-learning, but are, in a way, deteriorating it.
Here are a few disadvantages:
- They weigh a ton – unhealthy burden to students.
- They are expensive.
- They are easily perishable (imagine you accidentally knock your water bottle)
- They cannot be accessed whenever (remotely or otherwise)
- And finally, there is only so much info you can stuff into the textbook, unlike the vast wide world of internet.
Online events and competitions.
There is no better way to promote interactive learning for the students, than by giving them access to the very many events and competitions that happen at a global level.
Not only is it a great learning platform, but also a great way to showcase their talent. Also, this way the students get a taste of what’s happening outside their school, their city and their country even.
Most major universities are swearing by the effect of diversity on the whole learning experience, helping students interact over a geographic range through competitions and events, is one indirect way to experience diversity.
Gamification – happy and active learning.
Gamification. The modern day solution to turn productive, to learn effectively and efficiently and mix fun with work. Through digital, the studying process can be made interesting. For example, the students can be given hurdles to cross and can be given a knowledge byte every time they cross a hurdle, and of course other rewards too. This can make the classroom very engaging.
Also interactive studying, can help better with the memory retention for the students, then rote learning from the textbook, or the blackboard.
Access to a sea of books and information for teachers and students.
The digital world has so much content, content and information you wouldn’t even think off looking up.
It can not only educate students, but also teachers, helping them keep themselves up to date with changing world, it’s technology, it’s politics and just about everything else.
There are many good teacher training programs as well for this purpose, and let’s not forget about the MOOCs(on this note, here is an interesting article on the benefits of MOOCs). They students will have access to recorded lectures from universities like Stanford and the likes. The can, not only learn the fundamentals, but can build on those by diving into case studies and other practical applications of the theory.
Significant decrease in manual work for the teachers.
Every semester and every exam, the teachers work hours together in gathering performance assessments, attendance details, preparing the questions, correcting the papers and lugging all the weight around. Again, the use of technology can undercut all this unnecessary manual slogging on the teacher’s part.
One of our clients is a university that uses shared contacts for Gmail (it allows you to share, and sync your Gmail contacts with other users in real time) feature extensively. Every research area involves a unique list of sponsors, suppliers and other research experts – which is maintained as Gmail contact groups by professors. Now, every time a new student is assigned a project in a particular research area, the professor shares the contact group via shared contacts and the student automatically has access to all the contacts and any changes made, in real time.
This is just one example of how technology apps and softwares can simplify the work.
The time saved here can be used for more meaningful pursuits like research and development, which can further not only the student’s learning process, but also the teacher’s career.
Remote access to the top-notch faculty.
If you are living in cities like New york and the likes, it is very easy to arrange drop in guest lectures from top-notch professors or industry experts, but what do you do if your in a not-so happening part of the world? This is where technology comes to rescue.
With technology, it is possible to arrange such lectures through webinars or online training platforms, or remote live sessions.
Another interesting idea would be sharing the faculty across different educational institutions. I mean, an industry expert professor in one subject in a university can offer lectures to another university and vice versa. This way, we can bridge the educational differences to some extent.
There is nothing like technology to promote practical and experiential learning, because who wants people who can quote facts? who wants people who can recite the 12 table in under 30 seconds? we want people who can apply the facts they learn and turn out incredible wonders, and technology will help you convert facts into practical lessons.
Here at the end, I can’t help but quote this cliched yet powerful line.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Niraj is the founder of Hiver (formerly GrexIt), an app the lets you share Gmail labels with other Gmail users. Niraj works on programming, customer support and sales, and also contributes to design and UI.