How can technology help create an engaging learning experience?

October 29, 2018 | Vikram Shetty

The primitive classroom model

Teaching style plays a vital role in creating a pleasant and engaging learning environment for students. Following a traditional approach, educational models in India had stagnated. Indian education institutions were following the same structure and techniques used during the colonial years, and this reality had not changed in 6 decades of Indian independence. In the last decade, it became more and more clear that students were hungry for advanced educational tools and the digital revolution brought with it a range of teaching tools, equipment and gadgets that became the instrument of progressive measures in the education system. Teaching models have changed drastically with the advent of technology in the educational sphere. The primitive classroom has transformed into an interactive, dynamic learning environment. While earlier students mainly played the role of passive listeners, they now have the opportunity to be engaged as interactive and engaging teaching techniques have been implemented across India.

Technology is shaping the future of education

In the schools today, technology is already sweeping through classrooms as more and more educators are using new tech-driven products to enhance education models. Making lessons more fun and interesting, education is imparted to students through flexible and non-intrusive formats. AI learning and educational software has changed the classroom model. For example, DreamBox, an education software tool for maths that adapts to each student’s skill level and lets students learn at a pace best suited to their needs. Technology is bringing about a revolution in the field of education, shaking up the role of educators, creating philosophical shifts in approaches to teaching, and remodelling the classroom. The penetration of internet-based smartphones and computers has catapulted quality learning and made it accessible to students across geographies.

Better student-teacher engagement can be achieved through interactive classrooms

A technology-driven classroom could be the key to better student-teacher engagement. Students are used to being passive participants in traditional teaching techniques that involve the teachers explaining subjects at them. When innovative teaching models are integrated with technology, students are introduced into the equation, and the results are promising.

  1. Active learning among students

Naveen K. Jain is an entrepreneur, education philanthropist and the founder and former CEO of InfoSpace. In a recent interview, Naveen was discussing active learning in the classroom. On the subject he stated: “Our educational system is not broken; it’s fundamentally obsolete.” He further elaborated saying, “Classroom as we know it, was ideally suited to convey information instead of a place where children come together in a group and solve problems in an interdisciplinary way.” Naveen believes in active learning, where students engage in problem solving and group work using newly acquired information, and research shows that it can dramatically boost students’ retention of information.

  1. Flipped classroom education model

The technological revolution has given birth to entirely new directions for education research. Scholars and industry experts are circumventing social-economic pressures of high tuition fees and practical challenges like unavailability of good educational institutes in rural areas. The flipped classroom is an excellent solution to these problems. It is a new pedagogical method which employs video lectures and active, group-based problem-solving activities in the classroom. A variety of approaches has been devised to get students to take responsibility for information transfer, and encourage them to participate in class activities. Dr Helaine W. Marshall, professor of education and director of language education at Long Island University, has described the integral role of technology to “create fertile spaces for teaching and learning,” adding that flipped learning is the key to transforming education.

  1. The Maker Movement

Sylvia Libow Martinez, an American engineer whose book ‘Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom’ has been acknowledged as the “bible” of the Maker Movement. This movement is aimed at emphasising aspects like creativity, practical application, and critical thinking. As one of the scholars spearheading a campaign that highlights the benefits of technology-driven education models, Sylvia defines the Maker Movement as a revolutionary global collaboration of people learning to solve problems with modern tools and technology. It is a process where children and adults combine new technologies and timeless craft traditions to create amazing projects and control their world. She also emphasises the possibilities and implications for schools and districts concerned with engaging students, maintaining relevance, and preparing children to solve problems unanticipated by the curriculum.

A leading scholar and educator in her field, Tanu Sharma teaches International Human Resource Management (IHRM) at Jaypee University of Information Technology, Waknaghat, Himachal Pradesh. She took time to shed some light on the topic and share some of her insights on the role of technology in the education system today.

“We all know keeping student attentive and making them participate in classroom activities is a challenge for teachers. Use of technology can add an extra element to teaching; students get more participative as they get extra to learn by listening and looking. Audio and visual aids have made the entire experience of teaching and being taught more adventurous and fun.

Technology binds people across nations. Collaborating and making team members work from their respective zones has been possible only because of it. Technology-driven education gives ample space to teachers and students to experiment and gather enough knowledge. This model in one way enables the student to take risks and think innovatively while at the same time put their knowledge into practical application and gain global views on it.

Tech-based education does not make the learning process very easy, but it gives students in-depth knowledge of their subjects. Innovative learning aids can influence students and leave a more profound impact on them.”

 

The benefits of technology in education are possibly limitless. During the current education revolution, technology is at the very heart of new and innovative teaching models that are being incorporated to enhance the learning experience. Technology-driven education models help to drive children towards self-learning, participating in class, and work effectively in a team. They also improve cognitive and social skills among students.

  • Creates a more engaged environment for students

As educators, a high level of engagement is paramount. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the more students are engaged, the more they learn. Better student-teacher engagement also makes it easier to maintain your energy throughout the day.

  • Virtual learning becomes a reality

Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) educational technology is a web-based platform for the digital aspects of courses of study, usually within educational institutions. A well-maintained VLE enables students to receive a good education, even to those students residing in rural locations.

  • Tech-driven learning can benefit students with disabilities

As more and more schools move towards technology-based differentiated learning, teachers have the option of providing a variety of digital tools or apps to learn a given subject to students who are differently abled. Using innovative technology to enhance learning is a highly effective approach for many children. Studies have shown that students experience greater success as these new age tools help them work around their disabilities.

  • Incorporates different learning styles

Technology-rich education programme that focusses on an active learning environment has proven to improve the depth and scope of student learning. Teachers can make use of a wide range of technology-driven avenues to make lessons more dynamic and engaging for students.

 

  • Improves student collaboration

Good communication will always lead to better learning, and technology has proven to enhance collaborative and problem-based learning. By mixing technology aided learning with traditional techniques, a hybrid approach could inspire and empower students with the freedom to embrace self-learn and boost their self-confidence.

  • Prepares children for the future

As technologies emerge and evolve to make new realities, students need to become increasingly flexible and adaptable with lifelong learning. In the corporate world, individuals have to go beyond their limits to compete and succeed. Tech-based education models can go a long way to ensure that students have an active imagination to come up with innovative solutions to the challenges they would face in the future.

A new reality driven by technology-enabled educational greatness

Many studies conducted by reputable institutions have shown that the impact of technology on education has been tremendous and it has also proved to deepen the design of instruction and the effects of subjects in classrooms. The entire education fraternity should encourage the practice of implementing technology while integrating the use of a given technology to facilitate learning. Moreover, when technology is paired with well-structured programmes, interpersonal relationships and experienced educators, it can be an incredible asset to the education system. No one can deny the critical role of technology in education. The question now stands on how we can, as a community, improve our use of technology to create a vibrant and dynamic learning environment. As new and emerging technologies evolve and flourish, societies will become increasingly agile and versatile with lifelong learning as its modus operandi. We need to prepare our children to grow with the times so that they can become the thought leaders of tomorrow and go on to create a better world.

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