We all know education is the key to development of any nation.
And, if there is anything that has really helped education improve with steady strides, it is education marrying technology. Yes, the power of technology is exploding the education sector level by level. Things that looked almost next to impossible are now a reality. Say, due to technology, you can find classrooms into one’s living room. And without any doubt, the contribution of technology has been transformational for this challenging sector.
Today, one cannot imagine education operating without technology and this has helped impossible things to function without technology. From marking attendance of the class to teaching using various tools, technology has made everybody’s live easier. Technology has taken unelaborate learning to a level where students get engaged to what they are learning in the best possible way and as per their individual learning pace. In the developed nations, schools has evolved from being a boxed computer class into a versatile learning tool. Also, the methods in which teachers demonstrate concepts, assign projects and assess progress of the learners has undergone a change. All in all, there is much transformation in the sector and the purpose of such is not only to make students future ready to thrive in a tech dominated world but to build up a progressive world too.
The developed world had much before acquired a new face to education and learning and now the developing world is also following the same footsteps. However, the adoption of education technology in the developing world is not a very rapid uptake and its success too would continue to remain unlikely unless the five existing issues are addressed.
So, let’s check out what are the challenges coming in the way of developing nations to check the successful adoption of edtech. A discussion on these issues is fundamental to help experts come up with an effective solution to resolve them and pave a way for successful deployment of edtech in education.
Technological devices cannot work without power and until power is widely available or for that matter made affordable, the adoption of edtech will continue to remain bleak.
As per reports, about 70% of those living in the Sub- Saharan Africa do not have an access to electrical power. So, in such a condition when funding agencies show their willingness to support educational technology initiatives, they must consider how power would be provided to these devices. Solar power and batteries are a good option- adopted widely by developed worlds too when hydel power facilities looks tougher to be implemented.
Another challenge which is making edtech adoption in developing countries handicap is that of delivering the last ‘mile’ of connectivity to home, schools and institutions at a reasonable cost. Also, the bandwidth must be such that, it is capable of carrying compressed videos so that citizens can have a sound access to the wide variety of educational materials available in video format and to be able to exchange reasonable quality photographs and video clips. In fact, it is not far that we will be seeing access to internet as a basic human right.
Training & Professional Development
No matter whatever comes at one’s disposal, electrical power, internet bandwidth and electrical devices, if there are no teachers who know how to use these devices effectively, everything goes down the sink.
It is past time that teachers training be concentrated on just grabbing of effective teaching models or successful ways to plan out pedagogy. Alongside such, what is equally important for a teacher right now is to grasp the concepts behind teaching with technology, have hands-on experience using technology, revise or develop one lesson that they can use when they return to their classroom or online environment.
Value of Teachers
Teaching is one profession that is highly respected in the society but when it comes to earning an income, it is not everywhere that teachers are highly paid. Teachers are looked upon as a cornerstone of the society as upon them rests the vital responsibility of educating the next generation.
So, what can be an interesting way to attract best minds to teaching?
In the developing countries, it is unavailability of qualified teachers and underpayment that is the biggest issue to be tackled out. In the developing world, there is a dire need to hire people who genuinely care about helping others. The sad story about teachers in the emerging world is that, most of the teachers in those countries think of teaching as something to do rather than something they want to do. It’s not just about filling heads but selecting competent teachers who have an urge to engage students to solve problems and also encourage them to view the world from different perspectives.
In the developing world, the outcome of implementing any educational technology project should include at least two aspects- one being that as to how technology or instructional method can improve learning and the other being, how the method or technology can be sustained after the initial funding has ended.
The fact of the matter is that, most educational professionals are very excited knowing on the latest trends on technology but when asked on sustainability, they turn up blank because they pay least attention to it initially until a demand to think upon it crops up. They understand that the possibilities of technologies are massive but fail to understand that it is not supported and maintained, it cannot sustain. Because, when new instructional methods cannot be sustained, it can be really frustrating for those who spent considerable time to learn them only to find that they can’t maintain them. And what do you think, can developing countries afford to lose resource and time?
Hence, there can be an endless talk on how various educational technologies can shape up a better world of education and their potential is immense. But, until the above issues are addressed well in a significant manner, educational progress will continue to be slow if not in all the parts of the world but definitely in the developing countries. Don’t you think likewise? Let us know what your views are, through your comments.