Gone were the days when things were mostly done manually by hand. Technology has made things so much simpler for us and at the same time quite complex too considering the number of gadgets and contrivances we must familiarize ourselves with over time. Now, we are not even including in the equation the amount of money we have to spend in acquiring all these so-called tech necessities (yes, they’re no longer considered as mere luxuries) that are supposed to make our lives easier and more convenient but do they really do that?
Children these days learn about technology at a young age. Most toddlers right now actually know how to navigate an iPad or any Android tablet to pass the time. Hence, it is no longer surprising to see curriculums being updated or revised entirely to ensure technology is included in just about everything because that is definitely the direction we are heading. Think about the future and you’d likely have something highly digital in your mind. That future has already started now and kids are taught everything they need to know about tech use and the web to ensure they will thrive in the future world we are carving right now.
The most amazing thing that technology in education does is that it allows for learning to become self-paced, personalised. Education that truly makes the individual the focus of the learning system. After having spent my Tuesday at the Sandton Convention Centre, during day one of the EduTech Africa Conference, I am completely blown away. The number of applications and platforms, both online and offline, that are available to assist the future of this country in conquering their everyday academic challenges, is staggering. Yes we ought to invest a whole lot more in this and move beyond thinking about tech in education as the mini-PCs that we buy for children.
One of the buzzwords that were thrown around at the conference which would easily make one think that this was a private school event, was personalized learning. This phenomenon that every child actually could benefit from, is actually available to a lot more people than one would think.
Not only is the planet changing, the way the youth is educated changes as well to keep up with all the changes that are likewise taking place in our surroundings. Only change is constant, keep that in mind. Technology has its pros and cons but when used properly and in moderation, technology is a powerful medium whatever your industry may be. Students can optimize their learning through the help of technology, something most adults did not have the luxury of having while they were growing up.
Of the propaganda that generally swirls around public education, none is more prominent than the claim that technological “personalized learning” can transform learning. Ed-tech companies trumpet how “innovative” and “engaging” their products are, perfect for efficiently training the 21st-century drones needed by the global economy. Buy our digital devices for your students, they urge, and we’ll throw in the apps for free! Act now! Don’t be left behind!
Not so fast. University of Colorado researchers recently released a report analyzing the myriad problems with “personalized learning” schemes. Every legislator, education professional, and parent should read this report and slam on the brakes.
Innovation is a big word often used when talks about tech use in education are brought up. We must learn to innovate as the world progresses. It’s supposedly a given. The concept of personalized learning has become our reality although some are still doubtful whether it is as effective as teaching done the old way. Yet we can’t revert back to the past that is devoid of tech advancements. Whether some people like it or not, technology is a major part of our lives right now and the only way for us to succeed in the future is if the youth of today can master the tools in place right now.