Teaching students of
millennial generation requires eminent changes in teaching methodologies & classroom environments rather than being luddites & providing them with facile knowledge.
Focussing on, trends in technology use in education, in developing countries like India, this article is an aggregation of projections from leading forecasters such as Horizon report involving culmination of personal observations & critic reviews. Following are the various emerging trends of the era along with an analysis of possible roadblocks:
1. Mobile-Learning: The smartphone world is expanding at a rapid pace. This gives an insight into the developing scope of education via Mobile-Learning. M-learning focuses on the mobility of the learner, interacting with portable technologies, and learning that reflects a focus on how society and its institutions can accommodate and support an increasingly mobile population. Just as cell phones have leapfrogged fixed line technology in the telecommunications industry, mobile devices with internet access and computing capabilities will soon prove their efficacy as an appropriate classroom device.
If raw statistics are to be believed, 80% of the world’s population now has a mobile of which mere 1.08 Billion, own smart phones, out of which, 91.4 million are from the United States & Indian users are less than 50% of this number. It can be thus inferred that though prevalent, the technology is yet to gain momentum among various sections of the society in developing countries.
2. Tablet-Computing: Tablets or mini mobile computers have captured imagination of the educators around the world in the recent years. Immensely portable, tablets are already a significant distribution element for magazines and e-books. Generally using a virtual keyboard, it’s a light-weight portable package, supporting wireless internet connection, thus catering to all needs of students & making it a choice of GenNext people.
Tablets are yet to make their mark in developing nations as a study tool owing to its high cost & non-availability to all sections of the society.
3. Cloud-Computing: Wonder why venture capitalists invest money into software outsourcing these days? The answer is Cloud Computing. To explain in a simple way, Cloud Computing is like the conception of purchasing a land, building infrastructure and then leasing the flats. While the investor bags in big profits, customers access the benefits in small expenditure. Similarly, students & educators all over globe can reap benefits of the low cost server farms accessible through net which can store huge amounts of data, thereby making the use of expensive storage devices redundant.
What sounds the knell of approaching disaster to this concept is the challenge to provide ubiquitous net connectivity specially when Bandwidth is too expensive & infrastructure not well established.
4. Peer to Peer Computing: The global trend today is to focus on OLPC ie. One Laptop Per Child or providing common learning appliances to students to enhance learning environment & enable universal access of technology. The tablet ‘Aakash’, an anticipated low cost computing device, announced by India’s present Human Resource & Development Minister, to compete with OLPC initiative is a live example of this.
Personal Learning devices though seem to provide an exciting & apt methodology, pose the difficulty of availability to all & rely greatly on wireless connections once again.