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Teaching in the Digital Era

Teaching in the Digital Era

“In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.” ― Phil Collins

Student- Teacher, what is the capital of Kenya?

Assuming you are the teacher and you don’t know the answer. You borrow some time from students and then what will you do? Will you remove a world map and find out the capital or Google it? I am sure most will choose the latter to find an answer. Isn’t it? So will our students.

In this advanced hi-tech world, teachers need to updates themselves with constantly evolving modern expertise. They need to learn and re-learn the apparatus to keep up with the rapidly changing technological world. Along with theoretical and practical acquaintances, technological knowledge also plays a pivotal role in enhancing their quality of teaching. The degree, qualifications, and expertise can only help them to achieve initial success but to succeed in the long run they can’t thrive on the knowledge they acquired at the beginning of their career. In fact, at times technological familiarities contribute more to their success than anything else and help them to gain a competitive edge over others. Therefore, the challenges teachers face is more than before. Tutors need to prepare their students for future opportunities. Yes, for opportunities that might not even exist in present. For any teacher, avant-garde knowledge and an appropriate framework are instrumental to foster out-of-box thinking, for keeping pace to overcome technical challenges, to become a proactive constant learner and maximize student satisfaction. Digital age trainers face constant issues like how to encourage a technologically friendly classroom environment to facilitate students’ involvement and deliver a high quality of experience in teaching.

Generation Zers are digital natives (yes, whether we like it or not). Unlike other generations, they are grown/ growing in an epoch when technologies like smart phones, social media, teleconferences, artificial intelligence, and instant accessibility to any information already exist. In the new era, innovative educational tools like artificial intelligence, digital reader tablets, gamification, 3D printing, cloud technology, mobile technology, video conferencing, and smartboards are preferred teaching aid in creating an active learning environment.

The Internet allows easy availability of information with minute details, explanations, examples, pictures, videos, latest news, up-gradations, knowledge, and skills. In a connected world teachers can join communities of experts, collaborate with other teachers/students/ experts, share their expertise and provide solutions/answers to their students, even other students who need help by providing practical and theoretical advice, useful aids or resources. The added benefits of digitalization are the availability of opportunities for every student to learn at their desired time, place and pace. Learning becomes more flexible, personal and accessible to interested students. Digitalization facilitates in catering needs of individual students e.g.:- online courses on digital marketing, stress management, photography, product management, operating systems, personal finance, etc in assorted classes. Nothing is perfect nor is technology, even it has its pros and cons. One-on-one learning is time-consuming and expensive it can also damage social interactions with one another, face-to-face conversation/interactions and spirit of teamwork.

A good teacher manages both the worlds by being flexible and adapting to new trends. Here’s how some technologies can be adopted by teachers and institutions to increase students engagement-

  1. Word processing applications to write notes, add tables, charts, pictures, footnotes, check spellings and grammatical errors and save notes for future references.
  2. Rather than writing and explaining notes on the boards, teachers through the use of Overhead Projectors can make PowerPoint presentations, show short films, interactive videos or even add audios, sound effects, and images.
  3. Video conferencing enables teachers with high definition live streaming allowing teacher-student interactions and knowledge and information sharing. It also helps in organizing virtual trips which otherwise would never have been possible for students to see.
  4. Teachers can use E-Learning on digital tablets that permit them to answer their learner’s queries, exchange videos, texts, information, presentations, quizzes outside the school hours.
  5. Web-based learning or Online Learning offers convenience and flexibility to students and guarantees the availability of resources from anywhere and at any time.
  6. Intending to maximize enjoyment, motivation, and engagement among student many instructors use Gamification of learning as an educational approach. Gamification is a process for integrating game mechanism to make non-games more enjoyment like adding video gaming can encourage students to achieve faster results in activities that are usually viewed as boring.
  7. Electronic Whiteboards are interactive whiteboards connected to the computer. It works with a projector and the boards are touch screens. It offers the teachers to share screen, text audio, and video files. Students can also record full lectures and use them for future references. It allows integration of several other technologies like microphones, cameras, the Smart notebook app, etc.
  8. Artificial Intelligence AI systems like robots can help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each apprentice and allows them to decide the learning pace, the curriculum, the form of education and even the instructors. It saves educators time since they can delegate repetitive monotonous tasks like checking assignments.
  9. Cloud technology offers an opportunity for teachers to deliver face-to-face instruction in a virtual environment. The teacher can upload their lessons, marks, notes and slides on cloud application which can be accessed anytime by their learners.
  10. 3D Printing in education allows students to experience the physical world where they can see, feel, touch and study actual creations as the real-world equivalent. Here students are no longer a passive consumer of information but an active, betrothed and occupied apprentice having practical hands-on-approach.

Teachers and educational institutions should focus on digitalization to make their and their students live better by facilitating leaning an augmenting student’s participation through apposite use of technological processes and resources.