In the wake of a new era where everything is mobile technology compatible, learning is no exception. Mobile devices like tablets are greatly finding their place with the students to make their learning a pleasant experience. This promotion of technology in learning also helps teachers relieve themselves from various burdens of teaching to some extent like easy assessment, recording, reporting, feedback etc.
Thus, the whole purpose of introducing mobile devices and hence technology to education is mostly keeping in mind, a perspective of convenience for the learner and the teacher, neglecting the effectiveness of education or learning.
Going by the definition of education in some dictionaries as ‘the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction especially at a school or a university’, it makes full sense to make use of advanced mobile devices for the process of learning. But is that all about education?
Wikipedia definition of education will throw more light to what we are trying to discuss. Not going by the verbatim definition, it says that education is a process of learning in which knowledge, skills, beliefs, and values are passed on from one generation to another generation through methodologies like storytelling, teaching etc. Moreover, it also adds that it is an informal transmission of information from one human to another.
Whatever may be the degree of perfection or craftsmanship shown in designing online educational tools, if there is a disconnect between the teacher and the learner, it serves no purpose. This idea is deduced from nowhere else but from our own research findings.
One research says that students spent almost seven hours communicating with devices and many teenagers are increasingly become addicted to cell phones sending on an average 109.5 texts a day and 3200 messages a month. Do these numbers sound too low? Yes, this is based on a 2012 research report and it is certain that these numbers must have exponentially gone up these days.
This usage of phone can soon become a behavior or obsession, say researchers. It may become a compulsion for people to be with their mobile devices or they might look withdrawn without their mobile devices. These findings are no lesser than psychological changes that make our future generation stick around their hand held devices paying no attention to the fellow beings of their sort around. The purpose of education is to build a harmonious relationship between people of a society by bringing them closer. Are we doing justice to this value?
The interface of a machine in the form of a mobile device is what acts as a barrier in what is supposed to be an inter-personal process, which is education. How far is it logical to argue that a machine can replace a human being in conveying or transferring knowledge to another human being?
There are human interactive sessions in schools letting students socialize with others during craft or other activity hours, but the time is comparatively negligible. Moreover, there is a possibility that the introduction of mobile devices simultaneously would reduce the impact of such human interactions. The above research findings can be correlated to this idea making it a plausible argument.
There is a Zen saying,
‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear’.
Explaining this would take another article to be written. But at the least to be understood in the context of this article is, students not just learn the information passed by the teacher, but follow the way he lives his life to reflect those values in theirs.
Technology is a marvel but should be used wisely. Avoiding technology as a whole would be a mishap with counterproductive results. But by avoiding it to get catch hold of our students at a very younger age, we do justice to both our values and our love for technology, which is justified.
The rationale is completely flawed by making the primary school children getting acquainted with mobile technology giving them the freedom to get obsessed with it. There are many things that the modern technology based learning denies to our students.
For instance, fun in learning. It can be argued that there is a lot of customized fun in digital devices that students can enjoy during learning. Fun in its inherent form has a lot to do with sharing; not the digital form of sharing. Fun is an experience that needs to be shared together with exchange of a real time emotion humor. There is little room for such exchanges in this form of learning. Many such shortcomings of essential things can be easily found.
Education system should let the students understand the essence of human relationships in their younger age so that it can be retained and remembered in the act of building a healthy harmonious society. Technology based learning can be brought into their curriculum at a later stage conforming to scientific standards on children psychology.
Otherwise we are just building more machines in our schools!
(Image Courtesy: mirror.co.uk)