Transformative digital technologies in Education
It is a matter of fact that modern technologies have transformed and will continue to transform education in content, provision, delivery and style. This has become even more pertinent during these exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 crisis as it has exposed the technological divide between countries and within countries. It also raises questions about how technological platforms will transform the nature of education and questions about affordability and accessibility.
Technologies and transformation of education
Technological advancement has undoubtedly transformed education in many ways. Inevitably, educational institutions are bound to be abreast of these technological changes and adapt to them. As countries go through lockdowns due to the pandemic, innovative ways must be sought to continue to provide education. It is not feasible to stop teaching indefinitely without an alternative. Thus, different online platforms came onboard to cater to online teaching. This was a drastic development in the education sector. As a result, institutions have quickly resorted to digital teaching and learning by providing the necessary technical training for both the academic and adjunct staff to adapt to the new education model.
Challenges and opportunities
Digital learning creates both opportunities and new challenges concerning education in general. One of the opportunities it has created is the academic staff’s ability to learn new technologies to enhance teaching online. It has led new demographics of people to get into education, especially within the higher education sector, to continue their education and develop new skills. Physical distance has impeded some people as they would not be able to commute to campuses because of family or work-related commitments. Online education has literally broken those barriers for the learner who would require a visa to travel from one country to another. Other opportunities include teachers’ ability to attend several academic conferences and professional development training courses without much cost and time compared to when one would travel from one place to another within a country or across countries. This means the ability of teachers to engage with the wider academic community nationally and internationally.
Despite the opportunities, some challenges may be related to online teaching and learning. Online provision of education has exposed digital poverty yet and disparities between many communities and countries. Some academic institutions were not ready to switch as quickly as required to online teaching as they did not have the necessary infrastructure, both the human resources and the needed equipment to do so. The online provision also required that people be trained to deliver it efficiently and effectively. Needless to say, it was evident that there was a need for the availability of strong internet connection and connectivity to allow students from anywhere to sign on. Other challenges include but are not limited to the necessity to ensure that students were given the necessary support in terms of resources and social skills and the mental being to have the best learning experience, despite the distance. The other challenge is how to ensure that online learning would not undermine the quality of teaching and integrity of the assessment criteria and learning objectives without necessarily intruding on the learner’s privacy.
Future of Education
Education seems to expand to new frontiers more than ever before. This appears to be happening because of technological development. Governments are bound to invest hugely in educational technologies to ensure that none is left out. Vulnerable sections of communities can be easily excluded because of the digital divide. The availability of innovative technologies can both facilitate the affordability and accessibility to education. Thus, there is a need to make digital literacy possible from early education to reduce the gap between the haves and have nots.