By Shivani Chimnani:
Technology has managed to invade the church of learning- the classrooms. It has spun itself around the learning process, creating something novel and maybe potentially dangerous. E-learning is rampantly expanding and reaching remote parts of the world, replacing apparently outdated teaching practices, and so much more. The internet has become a vital, almost indispensable part of each student’s life. The emergence of the internet and other technology has been both productive as well as harmful. Its impact has been twofold:
Technology plays an integral role in our life, teaching us the unimaginable. The advent of the internet has changed the fundamental learning process in educational institutions, making children potentially sharper and independent. We are using this medium to bring children closer to world experiences and the global community.
School textbooks are essentially very brief and confined to very few aspects of majorly vast topics, and a lot of times, they are outdated and non-insightful. The internet gives school children an opportunity to learn much beyond the script of the government prescribed textbooks, to broaden their horizons with the mere click of a button.
We live in a time where a child does not have to wait till Monday morning Geography class to learn about the solar system, he can do it right there with YouTube and its exquisite graphics, along with a solid explanation. A lot of applications facilitate e-learning, teaching children the crux of varied topics in the most lucid manner rendering them smarter, even giving birth to prodigies. The internet is the immediate and most convenient tool for satisfying a child’s thirst for knowledge, it does not only answer ‘why’ but also what, when and how, followed by facts of world history. If you ask a student the shape of the Earth, be sure yourself, because it’s not a sphere but an oblate spheroid, which he/she must have learned online.
Further, the internet has helped myriad school students further objectives of social justice, to connect with other students from remote parts of the country, even the world, to fight for their rights (they know their rights, which is commendable in itself). In early 2009, Nobel Laureate Malala Yousufzai wrote a BBC diary to campaign against the Taliban’s hegemony which was denying education to girls. Yousufzai continued to use this very medium to advocate the power of education and to express Taliban’s growing influence in Swat which led to her gaining massive global support. The internet has done some serious good for many students.
Steve Jobs once said, “The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.” Unfortunately, the internet has managed to partially ruin the bond between teachers and students by reducing students’ reliance on their teachers. Today, if a student is doubtful of something, instead of asking the teacher, they prefer to google their query. Such practice is harmful because the internet might answer his question, but it won’t engage with the student and provide facets to ponder over, which a teacher would have happily done. The art of posing questions to teachers is gradually fading because a student seems to feel like a know-it-all because he possesses Google.
They often fail to realize that their teacher can provide them much more insight and analysis which will help them remember the theory taught for eternity. A concept taught by a teacher creates an everlasting impact which can maybe even change your life, something which our tech-savvy students are in dire need of understanding. A teacher not only endows us with answers but also with motivation, inspiration and intuition. Google can never subdue the power of teaching, forget replacing it.
Excessive reliance on the internet has to a large extent hindered the students’ thinking ability. The moment a student gets a class assignment, he/she googles about it instead of thinking over it, even slightly. The brain has stopped doing its job because of Google. This is especially harmful because students are not engaging in the most fundamental part, thinking. That’s the only aspect which separates us from other living beings, our ability to think. The internet has rendered our students dull, lazy and utterly dependent.
Change is inevitable. We may fear change, but we cannot stop it. Technology will seep into the education sector and make a powerful impact, but we have to find the necessary ways to strike a balance. We have to make attempts to make the best of both – human and technology. Education and the process of facilitating learning has to be rendered in the most effective manner, be it through humans or machines.