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EXPLOITING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING SYSTEMS

Technology is everywhere in education and we are experiencing ever more rapid waves of technological innovation and disruptions. The speed of change has accelerated to the point that it is environmental, we live in an environment of change. Everything is becoming “smart.” Not just our handheld devices, but also our infrastructure, our buildings, our clothing, our appliances and our cars. In fact the home, the school, the community and the transportation systems all “communicate” with each other. Combine that with smart clothing worn by students and teachers.

E-learning has been continuously present in current educational discourse, Over time, it has been given a highly revolutionary character, granting it the capacity to transform education through the production, participation, and consumption of content in various formats, it is a fundamental element in twenty-first century education that contributes to the construction and participation of the knowledge society; is also considered as an object of transversal study for the development of the networked society, the increase in the scientific production of e-learning over time, along with its trends, as technology and educational practices bring innovations.

Technology has been part of the educational landscape for decades, and one could argue that even chalk and the blackboard are forms of technology appropriated for learning, as indeed are books. One of the most frequently cited reasons for justifying the need for change in education, or at least for labeling education as old-fashioned, is the enormous technological revolution our world has undergone in recent years. Nowadays, we have the Internet in our pocket, in the form of a smartphone. In education, we often have the feeling that we are finding it harder and harder to reach our students. That is why we are so feverishly interested in smartboards or learning platforms or anything new on the market that might help. Every new tool seems like a possible solution, although sometimes we really don’t know what the problem is or even if there is one.

What really constitutes an innovation in education is understanding how schools are really working and what their needs are for effective and efficient ways of doing things. One of the ways technology can play an important role in the education space is by helping to streamline administrative and back-office work, digitize student records or ensure a district is meeting its special education compliance standards

Digital technologies are not being fully exploited in education and training systems. In higher education, learners now are expecting more personalized, collaborative and better-managed links between formal learning and informal learning, parents alike have expressed concerns about digital distractions, ways in which unequal access to and use of technology might widen achievement gaps, and more. Many in the education-technology field see new technologies as powerful tools to help schools meet the needs of ever-more-diverse student populations. The idea is that digital devices, software, and learning platforms offer a once-unimaginable array of options for tailoring education to each individual student’s academic strengths and weaknesses, interests and motivations, personal preferences, and optimal pace of learning.

In many schools, students are given computing devices or allowed to bring their own devices from home and are moving to provide students with their own laptop computer, netbook, or digital tablet. The idea is that this allows for “24-7” learning at the time and location of the student’s choosing. Learning management systems, student information systems, and other software are also used to distribute assignments, manage schedules and communications, and track student progress. Schools purchased more than 23 million devices for classroom, iPads and then Chromebooks have emerged as the devices of choice for many schools. In the next five years to 2020, there will be as much technological change in schools as there has been since 2000. This is a tripling of the amount and speed of transformation.

Educators want students to learn. If it is clear that technological tools will help them achieve that goal, educators will use those tools. Technology lends itself to exploration. But before the technology can be used effectively, exploration must be valued as important to both teaching and learning. In a technology-rich classroom, students might search the Web for information, analyze river water, chart the results, and record what they have learned on the computer. Students are active, rather than passive, producing knowledge and presenting that knowledge in a variety of formats.

Students use a large quantity and variety of technologies for communicating, learning, staying connected with their friends, and engaging with the world around them. But they are using them primarily for “personal empowerment and entertainment.” More importantly, students are not always digitally literate in using technology to support their learning. This is particularly evident when it comes to student use of technology as consumers of content rather than creators of content specifically for academic purposes.  University students use only a limited range of technologies for learning and socialization. The tools these students used were largely established technologies, in particular, mobile phones, media player, Google, [and] Wikipedia. The use of handheld computers as well as gaming, social networking sites, blogs, and other emergent social technologies.

Technology provides educators with the opportunity to move from simply streamlining the way things have always been done to really imagining things they would like to do. One big trend for schools involves trying to make sure that what happens online is connected with what happens during face-to-face interactions with teachers. That could involve giving teachers a say in selecting the software that students use or making a concerted effort to ensure online programs provide teachers with data that is useful in making timely instructional decisions. Another trend involves boosting students’ access to the Internet outside of school.

Young people are developing digital competence that corresponds to important cognitive processes of digital learning in informal learning environments. Although, there are already a lot of frameworks and discourses around digital competence, such general theoretical frameworks will not be sufficient as the digital competence develops student’s personal trait factors have a major influence on mobile media for informal learning in higher education, especially the personal innovativeness, attitude may mediate the impact of personal innovativeness and digital competence or digital literacy to students’ informal learning behavior, which means that digital competence and personal innovativeness may directly influence digital informal learning as well as indirectly impact students’ informal learning behavior with technology through attitude.

In the twenty-first century, universities have lost their monopoly of the production and transmission of knowledge. They face the challenge of adapting to the demands of society, which can be summarized in three key aspects: economy, technology, and faculty development. Firstly, the university model is based on the economy. It is trying to educate more students and to improve learning outcomes, technological advances affect universities both through digital transformations and the new generation. The use of ICT is also the main element in university strategies, to face international challenges, universities are approaching the professional development required to provide the quality of education that society demands.

Conclusion

The government must provide desperately needed leadership to find the best ways of using technology to enhance teaching and learning. They must expect and demand the best and most interesting software to enhance their educational goals. This will also require consideration of what new forms of self-regulation and self-determined learning are now best supported by digital technologies.

 

Article by: Blessing Bassey

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