Ansa Javed Khan
John Dewey’s Statement that “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself” perfectly sums up the importance of technology in the education system. In this digital age, the Industrial Revolution 4.0 is rapidly reshaping the digital economy and transforming the dynamics of Education System altogether.
The dissemination, reception, and experience of education in the modern world have undergone a paradigm shift as a result of technological innovation and the predictions that IR 4.0 technologies will have a huge impact on learning potentials.
According to the World Economic Forum, IR 4.0 calls for rethinking the future of work and education in order to diversify abilities and skills.
Therefore, institutions and organizations must move to rapidly integrate innovative IR 4.0 products/technology such as big data, blockchain technology, and artificial intelligence in education instead of maintaining outdated practices. No doubt, these are future possibilities and a country like Pakistan in the context of education and technology must do much more than merely introduce digital learning platforms and implement Learning Management System in its educational institutions.
It is also a fact that since the beginning of learning and development, technology has actually played a significant role at the forefront of education, right from carving symbols and figures on walls, to the traditional teaching techniques that ultimately emerged into modern modes by incorporating the latest available technology until this most recent innovation in Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence.
The twenty-first century has ushered in beginning new challenges from technological development, for technology has become such an integral part of our lives, with babies becoming acquainted with cell phones at the age of one year, progressing to the ability of pressing/clicking to play songs, choosing videos from a list by the age of two, and then to the ability of using smart-phones for making calls, playing games, and so on, by the age of three.
In the context of such acceptance and familiarity, the field of education is no exception; rather, it is embracing its own direct and indirect contributions from its current role in the classroom to future trends in enabling Personalized Learning experiences, which lie at the heart of technology-empowered educational transformation.
The role of technology in education has not only flip the notion of basic direction from the Old Pedagogy of Teachers (Teacher-Centered Approach) to a New Pedagogy of Students (Student-Centered Learning) but it has expanded to include the use of new, highly effective tools from the ability to access information (the Internet) on an individual basis to networking and collaboration (social media) with people around the world, without compromising the essence, integrity, and relevance of course presentation, all of which arise from the Integration of technology that in turn is using digital tools and media to enhance Learning, Teaching, and Assessment.
Therefore, the role of technology in education is attainting new heights because education has gone from passive to active, to interactive as well as aggressive. Therefore, there is an urgent need to adapt to new ways of developing, communicating and interacting and the education system should focus on developing a set of skills including advanced critical thinking and problem-solving.
Along with empowerment and transformation, there are obstacles and concerns, such as the digital gap and accessibility, as well as training and professional development for educators, to name just a few. I observed this digital divide firsthand at an online course for Master Trainers in 2021, when there was a noticeable disparity in the quality of delivery by the faculty, a lack of digital literacy abilities, and disruptions during the online sessions. This clearly hampered the majority, with the exception of a few, from being elevated to Master Trainers for the next phase of the Project.
Despite such challenges and concerns, transformations are taking place, and technology is providing advances in education. As a result of the Covid Pandemic, which not only expedited the adoption of these technologies, but also called conventional teaching techniques into question and forced educational institutions to adhere to distance learning as a standard norm. Enrollment in Massive Open Online Classes has increased dramatically, not only in terms of the number of students, but also in terms of the percentage of courses created, in comparison to the decade in which MOOCs burst onto the education scene.
Moreover, technologies such as gamification, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (AR/VR) and Artificial Intelligence are continuously revolutionizing education and encouraging collaboration and innovation in the field.
In conclusion, John Dewey’s statement still rings true with respect tothe vitality of technology in the context of education. Technology enhances students’ access to information, facilitates collaborative and personalized learning, enables new teaching methods, bridges the gap between classroom learning and real-world applications, and creates a culture of life-long learning. By embracing technology, we can ensure that education becomes more than merely a preparation for life; it becomes a vital part of life itself.
The writer is Deputy Director Planning & Development at Bacha Khan University Charsadda.