Embracing the digital

October 19, 2019

Oberlo, a research organization, has recently released its findings on penetration of technology affecting the world’s population. According to them, mobile phone users worldwide have been...

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Oberlo, a research organization, has recently released its findings on penetration of technology affecting the world’s population. According to them, mobile phone users worldwide have been recorded as 4.78 billion in 2019, out of which 2.95 billion are active users of social media.

Social media penetration has increased by 39 percent. Internet users worldwide have jumped up by 53 percent in the current year. This figure is almost twice the one recorded in 2009. The combined population of active and non-active social media users has reached 3.5 billion and is multiplying. The study further explores that 90.4 percent of those using social media are millennials, 77.5 percent are Generation X, and 48.2 percent are Baby-Boomers. Like other sectors, education has also been targeted by tech giants to bring about innovation and introduce tools that will make life easier for students and teachers.

Taking away mobile phones or stopping children from using electronic gadgets is not the right solution. Instead, modern-day educationists must adapt to technology by giving a fair chance to younger generation to use these gadgets under certain limits and defined boundaries.

For instance, online discussion boards are an excellent platform where students interact and learn from students and teachers from various backgrounds. The students get an opportunity to debate on topics and gain a different perspective on similar issues under discussion. Such platforms provide a chance to shy students to ask questions and get instant feedback on questions which otherwise are difficult for them to ask in front of the whole class.

For science students, online discussion boards supported with video streaming help in understanding the experiments and scientific procedures in a more practical way. This assists refining their thinking ability and achieving deeper understanding of the experimental activity underway in laboratories. An online student community offers a stage to get connected with other students from around the world.

Building dynamic groups is hard to achieve by staring at books all the time. Instead, students are required to get together and share opinions on thought-provoking topics of interest. Technology helps bring such group of students together. Although, they are physically apart, video-conferencing through helps them gel together under one roof. Video-con is most popular application used these days in modern-day education. The application is also cost-effective — reducing the lodging, travelling, and marketing costs associated with organizing such activity.

Conventional teaching techniques are becoming less effective with each passing day. Therefore, tech companies are helping teachers to become ‘trouble-shooters’ to find solutions to the problems that arise instantly. In order to equip teachers to adapt to this evolving role, modern-day schools are now distributing ‘trouble-shooting software’ among teachers and students where a number of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ are feed. In this way, 24/7 support is available with students and teachers to learn through interactive software.

Modern-day learning mostly requires critical thinking. Technology-based learning tools help students solve critical problems by presenting simple and workable solutions. Teachers’ role has been redefined by these advanced tech tools. Now teachers are no more ‘firefighters’, but instead work as facilitators by providing constant feedback. Timely feedback from teachers helps build the capacity of the students to develop deeper understanding. For example, geography students may find it difficult to grip the exact locations, and know territorial boundaries. However, Google Maps or Google Earth has made this task easy for students and teachers to understand these difficult maps.

Also, ‘simulation software’ has made it easy for engineering and architecture students to grasp tricky trigonometry exercises. Beside this, technology is helping business graduates and young entrepreneurs learn from best practices and online-business-models. It helps them excel and grow using online platforms and reach-out to potential customers with ease. Such online-business models have attracted a large number of customers by using ‘easy-to-pay’ and ‘easy-to-deliver’ modes which was not possible a decade ago without the support that technology has provided.

The initiatives of the government of Pakistan, such as the free laptop distribution scheme, establishment of incubation centres, and the recently organized ‘Digital Youth Summit (DYS)’ supported by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are highly commendable. These new developments have thus changed the negative perception towards introduction of technology in education sector and linking it up with development of youth.

Conventional teachers are now switching towards tech-based learning tools. They are embracing digital devices which are no more considered a threat; rather, it is considered as a futuristic approach in bringing innovation in the field of education, and a way forward in building young minds for the future and uplift for the economy by supporting young entrepreneurs of the country.

The writer works as an executive assistant at the Prime Minister’sOffice, Board of Investment,Government of Pakistan.

Email: fariduk.anugmail.com

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