Are we equipping our little ones for the future?
As is rightly said – “education is light”; the mission of education is to enlighten students for life and not merely for school.
When we talk about education for life, it is imperative to equip the learner with skills that do not become outdated. Skills like analytical, logical and creative thinking will truly make the child PREPARED FOR LIFE. The question now lies within ourselves if we are making the education futuristic and if we are really making our young ones future ready.
Mike Silagadze, Co-founder and CEO at Top Hat, a technology-based educational company, says “I think the way we best learn won’t change in the next ten years, but the tools we use and what we focus on, most definitely will”, reports Forbes Magazine. Be it healthcare or social sciences or education, technology is the new buzz these days. As per Mike, learning would be more of what people learn outside of the classroom, along with being interactive and a lifelong journey. But how can interactive learning happen effectively – inside as well as outside classroom – such that learning becomes a lifelong process? In her paper “Re-imagining the nature of (student-focused) learning through digital technology”, Dr. Nina Hood, a University of Auckland based researcher, emphasizes on the pressing need of making learning more dehumanized and more technology based for futuristic learning and for making the students future ready.
Technology is a powerful tool that can make the learning interactive, logical and life-based, unlike the traditional ways of learning, which are only theory-based and impracticable, working on “one size fits all”, assuming that all students learn and comprehend at the same pace. Technology can be a strong enabler for interaction, exploration based – student focused learning.
So, what are some of the technologies for futuristic learning?
When we talk about the use of technology in education, the most powerful technologies that can be leveraged on, are the ones which are a mix of interaction, visualization and exploration based experiences. One of the newly evolved technologies that is a potent mix of all these is augmented reality. The technology can be easily acquired, processed and retained. It can make learning highly interactive and exploration based through the use of powerful visualization techniques and has strong relevance for as young as a tiny tot to a college going student and even for someone at work. Augmented Reality (AR) adds layers to the physical world, using graphics, sounds and videos – to give a new dimension to the existing reality. Imagine, a kid as young as 3 or 4 years, learns about animals, birds and fishes through realistic models popping up on a mobile or tab screen which he/she can engage with, through inbuilt interactivities, sound and visuals! AR helps the learner to visualize things in a better way and charts a learning course that is explorative and discovery based. Children learning this way, not just build knowledge but also skills like retention power, application and logic.
Another groundbreaking technology which has a highly immersive and learner centric learning approach is virtual reality or VR. It is a computer-generated simulated environment which gives an immersive experience to the learner, as if he/she is a part of it. A learner can, for example, understand all about the human anatomy through a “journey” of the inside and outside of a human body, exploring the organs and systems that make up the anatomy. VR experiences empower learners to learn at their own pace and according to their learning paths, exploring and discovering all the way.
Likewise, there are other technologies which can make learning a lot more impactful, relevant and learner led – which is the need of the hour. All these technologies provide a paradigm shift from the traditional ways of teaching and are far more interactive or participative, making the learning fun filled, more easily accessed, processed and retained – making for lifelong and futureready learners.