Kids today usesmartphones even before they learn to talk — a phenomenon many of us would find hard to believe. Welcome to the real generation of “digital kids.” According to a survey by Common Sense Media, about 38 percent of children under the age of two have used a smartphone or a tablet. By the age of eight, about 72 percent of children have used a smartphone, tablet or a mobile device. Children (eight and under) are spending more time on mobile devices, an average of 15 minutes per day, as these tools will allow a single-point access to all regular K-12 educational needs like digital classrooms, assignments, timetables, curriculum, discussion forums, and communication channels.
opposed to just five minutes a day back in 2011. Not surprisingly, for the first time ever, traditional schools and teaching methods are facing the threat of becoming irrelevant for these “born-with-a-smartphone” kids. Over the next ten years, school and college students will need new learning tools and mobile-driven systems to make mainstream education truly engaging, relevant and futuristic.
Resetting the Core of Education
With technology revolutionizing every aspect of our life, it’s surprising that schools even today still have the same basic framework that existed fifty years ago. We still have physical classrooms with a certain number of children, with teachers at the forefront running the show. Students still rely on stacks of books and infinite worksheets as part of their regular school work.
However, the emergence of sophisticated digital learning tools and platforms is set to change the very core of education. These tools will allow a single point access to all regular K-12 educational needs like digital classrooms, assignments, timetables, curriculum, discussion forums, and communication channels.
Probably the biggest advantage that these tools would offer is the power of remote learning and teaching. Instead of the regular time-bound lectures, these platforms will enable students to access classrooms on their laptop, tablets or smartphones at a time that is suitable for them from any location. These tools will enable educational institutes across the world to bring a personalized experience. Students can design their own learning methods and choose to learn by reading, watching online videos or even playing games, making the learning curve customized and hence – more rewarding.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the current education system is that most subjects today are taught in the same rote manner. However, a digital platform powered with extended features can help in customizing and changing the learning pedagogy. For example, a history class could enable teachers to recreate famous battles and wars in 3-D, which could make learning much more engaging and fun. Augmented reality could help students to actually “visit” the different continents or gamification would help kids learn numbers faster.
With books generally being replaced by tablets and e-readers, textbooks too will soon become obsolete. Why would students carry loads of books and heavily loaded backpacks when their tablets allow them to access all the content within a single click? Digital tools with a built-in content store (a virtual school bag) would mean that students can not only access notes by teachers but also third party content and books by different subject experts and authors.
Most teachers would agree that they end up spending a lot of their valuable time on tedious work like tests or assignments and collating performance results. Digital tools can emerge as the precise alternative for automating information collation and populating performance results and student scorecards. One-click dashboards can help teachers to track all assignments and statuses, student performances and even initiate chat or call with contacts, all in one go. This would minimize time spent on non-teaching tasks and help teachers to focus on improving teaching methods and pedagogies. Teachers can focus on finding innovative ways to teach, pay more attention to weaker students, and find ways to resolve learning challenges, if any.
In addition, student-teacher interaction can now go beyond classrooms. Email, chat and teleconferencing would mean that students and teachers can communicate and interact in an even more flexible environment.
As the debate and hype rages about the extent of technology changing education and threatening to replace schools completely, more and more tech experts believe that it is just a means to enhance the whole learning experience. Future schools must be equipped to cater to “digital learners” instead of just focusing on teaching kids with the traditional methods. Digital learning tools will enable schools, colleges and universities to make learning more futuristic and visually and intellectually more engaging and stimulating.