In the 21st century, the way of learning and getting educated has radically changed. Education is no more solely dependent on chalk and talk, books and paper assignments. Educational technology in schools has brought convenience for administrators, broadened the latitude for teachers and for students it has brought modes of learning that engage them better.
Technology has permeated all spheres of life and school education including classroom instruction and learning have likewise been witness to significant changes.
Like all agents of change, educational technology has its share of supporters and detractors; its advent is characterized by curiosity, suspicion, and debates. What is incontrovertible, however, is that technology is here to stay and we better come to terms with it.
The right approach for schools is to customize it, utilize it and preclude abuse. But first, they have to accommodate it in their infrastructure. This has implications on classroom design, additional learning spaces hence space planning.
Now modern education is replete with technological aids. The curriculum solutions based on digital resources are emerging rapidly and gaining acceptance. Schools can only choose to remain aloof or marginalize digital advancements in pedagogy at their own peril which means imperiling the future of their students.
What does Education Technology mean?
From a scholastic viewpoint, technology is a set of implements and pedagogical devices that expand the possibilities of teaching-learning, individualizes education and gives impetus to collaborative learning. It adds substance to education by raising the level of participation and receptiveness in students. For educators, it comes as a time-efficient aid for managing the curriculum and meeting curricular goals, prepare, conduct and articulate enriched content through digital aids like Interactive White Boards and projectors.
For school administration, there are digital solutions that aid in the management and performance assessment of the teachers besides core administration.
There is a unanimity of opinion that the chief goal of educational technology should be student empowerment.
Incorporating educational technology in schools
How plausible is it to incorporate technology in existing schools? How should the new school project be planned to harness the benefits of educational technology? Is it proper to encourage unsupervised use of technology in younger students? These are certain questions that invariably surface when liberal inclusion of digital technology in schools is under discussion.
As far as existing schools are concerned there are two dimensions to the incorporation of technology—the infrastructure to accommodate technology and training the teachers to employ it. We have dealt with the infrastructure related changes or modifications that may be required in our article on renovation while training the teachers have not been seen as a challenge, contrary to general perception. Teachers welcome the changes once they are convinced of their utility as they then do not see it as an imposition.
Then comes the subject of the degree to which students should be given the freedom to use digital technology in the schools. While there are differing views on the subject and, like in higher education institutes, some schools also promote what is known as BYOD i.e. bring your own device, however it is limited to the higher grade students.
If the technology is facilitating cultivation of interest in the subject, it must be adopted as it will directly impact the learning outcomes.
For new schools, it is advisable to take into account educational technology while starting the school project. This will imply developing a master plan and designing the interiors to that effect. The curriculum solutions or digital solutions for the teaching and administrative use must be chosen with care and obtaining expert advice is the best way to proceed in this regard.
Education technology generates new avenues in teaching-learning and enhance connectivity between the staff and makes communication with the parents easier and convenient. It brings in accountability and gives new definition to professionalism and makes the school function like an organism in a true sense.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.