Supporting the Learners

Digital education can be effective only if teachers can ensure that students pay attention to what is being taught

By Vandana Lulla, Director, Podar International School, Mumbai |

It is a fact that by the time they are 21, most students have been exposed to educational content that is more digital and less textual. The digitisation of the educational content has had a seminal impact on the learning preferences of the students. Why do students go to the web? It is difficult for people like us to find an answer to that question. It seems as if the teens are connected to everyone, yet they are isolated. They prefer to send emails to friends rather than talk face to face.

Students versus faculty
Most of present day students are multi-taskers. Recently I was at a digital exhibition where I noticed a youngster, 11th standard student, who was using to the internet to create her own blog. She was editing, taking pictures, creating a movie and at the same time she was chatting. Most teens are like her. They are doing so many things at the same time. They prefer to have the internet on and at the same time read.

The faculty is not prone to multi-tasking. They too are comfortable with modern digital technology, but they prefer to do one thing at a time. We are moving towards digital classroom, where there is striving for honour online. When students are multi-tasking, they often make mistake in their online conduct. Perhaps teachers can control how students behave when they are online. As there is over-abundance of material in the online space, students can develop short attention spans. Teachers can help them in overcoming these issues.

Rise of digital tools
Teachers using the digital medium have more instruction time, as all the notes and other material created during a class lecture can be saved and emailed. We have all kinds of digital tools for providing education. For instance, there is Virtual Lab, through which students can observe chemical reactions. The tool called Cyber Science is now being used by many teachers for bringing about an improvement in the quality of their teaching.

A large number of tools are available online to bring about an improvement in the quality of teaching that happens in our schools. Children use YouTube videos to interact with educational material. At times, they also upload projects that they have created. I believe that students should be encouraged to upload more of their stuff, as this will allow them to become more creative. Their thought process will become more streamlined. Also, there is no dearth of websites that offer free content for teaching.

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