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We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teachers hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world( David Warlick).Technology aided education means employing technology to assist students better understand what is being taught. It is not change itself rather it brings change. Technology is playing a very important role in every field of life so we must adopt modern technology in education as developed countries are doing. Although integration of technology in education is on very low level in Pakistan but it can be improved by following examples of other countries. Educational technology also has some drawbacks and it is criticize a lot but benefits are more than shortcomings, so it doesn't decrease importance of technology aided learning.
Technology is the part of our lives in such a way that we can't feel, old methods are applicable no longer paper and pen are being replaced by tablets,
"Paper is no longer a big part of my day. I get 90% of my news online, and when I go to a meeting and want to jot things down, I bring my Tablet PC. It's fully synchronized with my office machine so I have all the files I need."(Bill gates)
Technology is not a change itself instead it is a tool for changing the style of doing things. It is playing such an important role in education that it has coined a term TEL (technology enhanced learning). If we want not to be blamed by coming generations we must utilize all the tools we have, like John Dewey says,
"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow".
Educational technologies are widely utilized in Universities and colleges and it has a positive response but still there are some people who believe that technology has lessened teacher's share in classroom and one day technology will replace teachers, but it is merely a misconception. It is true that teacher plays more important role than computers and other technology. The fact of the matter is
"Technology Changes Teaching, Not Teachers" (Ellen M. Granberg) .
Technology provides assistance to teachers, it is nothing without them.
According to Education experts, technology has helped a lot in raising the understanding level of students, as technology lets us demonstrate practically instead of just reading words from book. In other words technology aids have helped in building interest in studies as a result students' attendance is increased in institutions availing technology aids.
According to David Andrade,
"Technology can give teachers and students great resources, new opportunities for learning, ways to collaborate and create, and save money. Technology is a very powerful tool for education".
Experts say that technology supports thinking process of students, it broadens their view point. Another benefit of introducing technology particularly Computer technology is that students have other sources for help besides teacher and study hours never end as students having access to internet can find help for himself any time anywhere. International Society for Technology in Education is working on improving education with technology; it has support of thousand of education and technology experts all over the globe. Holly M. Jobe, the President of ISTE says that
"It is important that education technology continues to be a priority in our nation's schools. Through ETAN we can continue to support technology use in schoolsÂ ".
So it is an admitted fact that educational technology is the need of today.
There are a lot of modern techniques and technologies which are being utilized to make learning an interesting process. For example, the most commonly utilized device is a "Multimedia Projector" as audio video aid which makes understanding of topic much easier. Another popular application is slideshow software which is being utilized from a long time and is employed even today. Besides these things a modern technology is distant learning by video conference which is very popular today as by this method thousands of students can take lectures staying thousands KM away from teacher. Computer apart from its other uses is considered as learning aid as a lot of computer applications (self learning software) are available which makes independent study easier and computer aided learning is termed as Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). According to a report I pads are useful in teaching counting to kids. And the most important thing is E-readers and audio book players; one can get millions of books in softcopy and carry them in his pocket. These things are economical and the present technology conscious generation is more interested in these gadgets than paper books. By use of these aids learning has become much easier and interesting process.
If we look at the education systems of developed countries, there is a very important role of technology in learning process. For example in USA and UK devices like I clicker and I pad has enormous use in class rooms and these are recommended even for the kids, most of colleges and Universities have linked classrooms facility that students sitting in different campuses can attend a single lecture. Social networking and micro blogging sites like twitter are used for daily lesson planning and communicating with students. In China 1,000 experimental schools for modern educational technologies and 91 national experimental zones for IT education have been set up throughout the country in last few years, according to Peoples' Daily (National News paper).
Unfortunately the education system of Pakistan still consists of old and outdated methods. Despite many developments in last few years, major population of students is still lacking basic resources. For example most of the Public Schools don't have computer labs or the labs are outdated. A large number of the students don't have internet access even at High School level, and where these facilities are available they don't have any kind of technology experts to assist teachers utilizing these facilities. Use of technology in Education does not mean to provide educational institutions with modern equipment and all that, it is more than that.
As Nancy Kassebaum says;
"There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails."
So the real thing is to provide the students with teachers which can efficiently integrate technology in education, as it is a famous saying that a teacher can be replaced by computer deserves to be. In last decade many steps have been taken for improving educational standards of public sector schools and colleges, many pilot programs have been launched to provide students with modern facilities. But saddest thing is that most of these programs were launched by NGOs, and Govt. didn't show any interest in these programs as a result majority of programs resulted in complete failure due to lack of funds.
"All previous attempts to introduce technology in Pakistani educational system
have failed precisely because of the half hearted efforts made by government.
Take the example of agro-technical educational scheme that was introduced
in the seventies. It failed because it was not examined through the Board and
was taken too casually by students, teachers and school administration. I see
not much difference in agro-technical education of seventies and computer
technical education of today."( Adeela Arshad-Ayaz)
One of the major causes of lack of modern facilities in schools is unavailability of funds as Education budget of Pakistan is very narrow. So the education system of Pakistan is facing a complete disaster.
The education system can't be improved by providing modern technology aids only. In Pakistan the programs of Govt. bringing technology in classrooms usually fails because of lack of public awareness and national consensus on issue. First people need to be convinced that technology can improve education standard and understanding of students. For this purpose educational seminars and conferences can help. Secondly technology experts are required to teach the teachers, how they can teach in a better way by utilizing modern technology. It is a sad fact that there is not concept of employing a technology expert in our schools. Thirdly the Government will have to revive education policy by giving more importance to technology. Integrating technology in education is an expensive process but it is one time investment.
Although technology aided education has many benefits but there are some drawback too. There is a lot of debate going on benefits and shortcomings of technology. First of all critics say that it is much expensive than traditional methods of teaching, also technology is not available to all equally there is a large Digital gap between people of different areas especially between large cities and rural areas. Another problem is training of teachers; with the advancement of technology it is crucial to arrange workshops for teachers to introduce them with upcoming technology nationwide, which is a very difficult task. Although these arguments are right but it doesn't mean that technology aids should be discarded, instead we have to find solution of these problems.
Technology implementation has lead to some serious problems too. First of all technology has increased the chances of plagiarism without being caught, for example graphing calculator is commonly allowed in exams but it has all basics formulas and equations pre programmed in it ,so a student can easily get high grades by using it. Similarly in case of literature students can easily copy paste articles and assignments. But good thing is that technology has provided the solution of these problems too in the form of plagiarism control tools. One of the biggest problems is that teacher don't know whether students are typing their notes of or updating their status on face book. A quick look through a computer lab will reveal that most of students are wasting time in surfing web aimlessly and updating social networking sites. This can be controlled by using strict filters which again technology is providing us. Also too much dependence on technology has adverse effects at it changes the way of human thinking. According to Sydney J. Harris,
"The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers."
So we must use technology but with care that it may not transform us into machines. Technology is an assistive tool for us and it has much importance but not more than humans. The misuse of technology will lead to collapse of our education system. We must learn that use of technology means a moderate integration with education.
Future of technology aided education is bright as it has delivered more than expectations and it is growing rapidly. Within a decade technology has developed so fast that it is impossible to predict its future, but there are a few things which are worth describing as future technology. Today we are using gadgets which are not too intelligent to interact with real world. But a lot of companies are working on intelligent robots to work as teachers of teaching assistants in schools in fact a pilot program has been launched in Korea where robots are used for teaching purpose on elementary level. Another thing is smart board which is very common these days but it is not much efficient and could be replaced by holographic projectors. Podcasting is one of the most popular educational aids as it provides two way communications between students and teachers. There are many things like e-newspaper, podcasting, real time video conferencing, flipped classrooms and digital text books are on the way to classrooms. Regardless of what is going to happen, future of technology aided learning is considered bright as it is changing and developing very fast and it is said that change never dies.
Above mentioned things conclude that technology integration in education is not a bad thing all at, it depends upon us, how we utilize it. As compared to some disadvantages of there are a lot of benefits which makes it worth applicable in our lives. But the most important thing is that technology should be utilized keeping in the view that technology is a not the change instead it is a tool for change and tools need some operator.
" The technology itself can fail, leaving an instructor to resort to back up."(Ellen M. Granberg). So technology must not take the place of teacher otherwise our educational institutes will only produce humans having thoughts of a computer.
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