Ananya S Guha
Innovative and optimum integration of technology can lead to more effective dissemination of knowledge
As an educational professional my greatest regret is that very little technology is being used for education today. In fact, for a long time it is only the chalk and talk that have dominated our system of education. But most students find it boring, much to the chagrin of their teachers. The teacher had a veritable image of the omniscient author.
When I was a student, there was hardly any attempt to take teaching out of the classroom. Once I remember one of my classmates requesting the teacher to take classes outside, in the lawns. The teacher replied: ‘Let me get used to the idea!’ This shows that teachers did not want any change, nor were they capable of innovation.
It was just plain class room talking, and no multitasking such as using different patterns, like quiz, discussion or debate. One such opportunity to implement these ideas could have been in the boring Moral Science lessons. I never learnt why a moral was a science and how science was a moral! Here I recollect how a teacher, when I was a student in St. Edmund’s School, Shillong, used the tape recorder or the music system by making us listen to recorded versions of a text. He was surely a progenitor of Distance and Open Education. New technologies such as overhead projectors devices were hardly used profitably.
They were used only in seminars where a gloating author would wax eloquent about his masterpiece – the paper that he wrote. All this time, the radio was a repository of not only entertainment, but also of education. But the school broadcasts, that is radio lessons meant for school children were invariably aired at a time when the students were in the class rooms. No one had the gumption to think that these lessons could have been broadcast when the students were in their homes, or not in the class rooms. So the hapless students had to fall back upon the Binaca Geetmala for entertainment. The point that I am trying to make is that creative and innovative use of technology is entertainment, a mix of education and entertainment. It is what we call ‘edutainment’ today.
Then came the UGC lectures, telecast by Doordarshan; more often than not, they were simulations of classroom lectures. They were not creative expressions of out of the box thinking. They were vapid lectures delivered by renowned people. Technology was being wasted. Thanks to the Open University System, however, pedagogy became more filtered and usable. The combination of the radio, the television, and the computer has been of great use for the adult learner, but in conventional education there must be a more systemic use of the same via emails, chat, Skype etc. Even social networking sites can be a worthy method, but unfortunately, both the young and the old tend to use them casually. My plea is that technology can be an important educational tool. The more we use it, the more are we on the path of demystifying education.
Incorporation of latest technological tools in education is the need of the hour. New technology can be used to further the goals of education from school onwards to higher education. There has to be investments in education with the aim of providing best possible resources to the learner. Further, interactive discussion boards, group interaction, giving responses individually make the entire experience of education, exciting and learner centred, as opposed to a teacher centric form of pedagogy.
While technology in the form of the LCD Projector etc is being used in the classroom, there must be more judicious combination of online and offline technologies so that the education being offered in the classroom situation is more pleasurable and holistic. The ramifications are there to see – there is a multiplicity, divergence and convergence of ‘class room’ pedagogy.