Technology

Role of Technology in Education

Role of technology in education

The advances made possible by the digital revolution in the latter part of the 20th Century need no superlatives; nearly ubiquitous as the very air we breathe, technology has and will continue to enable greater advances in all aspects of our lives, education included. It is propagated and worshipped everywhere, increasingly in classrooms, where Smart boards and other digital teaching aids are considered hallmarks of the school and advertised to the public as such. Being tech-literate is pretty much a requisite in the modern age and computer programming skills being pushed onto children from a very young age can only benefit them later on, or so goes the premise. Today, education isn’t limited to reading a pile of textbooks or making lengthy notes. Laptops, tablets and e-books (Kindle, Nook) are quickly becoming the much-desired way of acquiring knowledge. This, in turn, has affected the traditional concept of education, though not negatively.

Impact of Technology

 

Learning process is now personalized

If a student faces a problem in understanding a concept at school or college, he or she can turn to the internet. Thanks to videos, audio books and info graphics, learning is more fun!

Student-teacher work together

Tools like Basecamp, Google Classroom and NoodleTools help the students in uploading and sharing their assignments. They can also create a to-do list and keep a track of their work. Similarly, teachers can make announcements, create and organize assignments and check students’ works.

Social media & education go hand-in-hand

Who says social media is only for fun? In fact, using social media for teaching is the ‘in’ thing now. As the conventional set up of classrooms is slowly changing, teachers are exploring new ways of personalizing their teaching methods. For instance, Moodle enables the teachers to start an online discussion with students. YouTube is also a visually stimulating and engaging way of learning.

Distance learning encouraged

Thanks to technology, the state of online education is getting better. Today, students are able to study courses, which aren’t easily available in their country, through distance education. MOOC and Coursera offer various online courses.

Core skills improved

Students who make use of different digital platforms to learn are better than those who don’t in terms of reading, writing, grasping concepts and applying critical thinking.

Although, use of a multitude of digital tools and softwares may have not reached all classrooms today, it is definitely changing the way students and teachers perceive education. Education technology is immensely beneficial if used sparingly and for certain purposes, such as for those children with learning disabilities or for complex science simulations. Tasking a teenager with producing a certain graph on Excel after she masters drawing it on paper is understandably more beneficial than the reverse.

The ability to focus on a task for more than half an hour without disruption is valuable in the workplace and the distractions, in the form of technology, are manifest from prolonged exposure to it from a young age.

Technology and Therapy

bigstock-Technology-and-medicine-Stet-26473718Imagine yourself living in the Stone Age; with no access to your mobile or laptop or for that matter even your fancy car. Difficult, isn’t it? To say our lives are dependent upon the new age tools and technologies would be a gross understatement. With passing years, science has made tremendous progress; with inventions leading to accessible tools which have ultimately shaped our lives. The field of speech and language therapy is no different. Communication skills are the base of the human relationship; we use various forms of speech to communicate, share emotions. But technology is playing a major role in new discoveries. Many ailments, which in past were considered beyond human control can now be easily cured. Let’s look at three major discoveries in speech and language therapy.

Robots & autistic Children

Gone are the days when robots were only used for tasks like moving objects or in operation theatres or in the ‘infamous’ Hollywood blockbuster series – Transformers. Scientists have successfully been able to develop robots who can be talked to or tickled with by children. One example of it is Kasper, developed by the researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, it can be used by doctors to detect autism in infants. Earlier, detecting autism in initial stages was extraordinarily difficult as it could only be detected by monitoring a child’s social skills like interaction with his surrounding, which develop only after a certain age; thus leading to delay in detection. But with advent of Kasper, things have changed for the good.

This robot can be used to detect autism in the initial stages as it detects symptoms through nonverbal communication like body movements and facial expressions. Also, Kasper can be a good motivation for children as the robot is child friendly and plays the role of a companion effectively.

Patients with chronic speech impairments

Until few years ago, the capacity to be able to interact or to express themselves was a distant reality. For instance, for stroke victims, loss of speech can be a common and deliberating consequence. However, recent developments in form of a new computerized treatment, which helps patients in gradually rebuilding speech has allowed the patients to be able to speak again. The technology is effectively used by doctors to give high-intensity stimulation through images to patients with high stroke and brain damage. And the results have been phenomenal, as doctors were able to improve the damaged nerve systems and enable such patients to speak again. For some, this may be “the usual science geeky stuff”, but for those who suffer from such ailments, this is nothing short of a miracle.

Speech Recognition

When we pay attention to speech, we are exceptionally forgiving: we can efficiently figure out words against the engine noise or the sound of colliding waves; filter out a particular voice amidst the uproar of an unruly crowd; handle unfamiliar accents, or make out the emotion in a speech. Though breakthroughs have been made both in speech synthesis and speech recognition technology in recent years, however, machines are still long behind when compared to the human ability of catching up or interacting fast and naturally; continually adapting and learning as we do so. But the researchers at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Sheffield have accomplished this feat too. They have been able to develop a machine which is able to make speech technologies more usable and natural by shrinking the performance gap between machine and humans. Now imagine the next time you speak amidst an unruly crowd and a computer being effectively able to decipher your words and pass on the message or the voice assistant in your smartphone being able to decipher your commands even in a crowded field.

Apart from being revolutionary, these developments have been able to fundamentally alter our lifestyle. Technology, apart from bridging the divide is also positively impacting the medical science. Diseases which in past, posed phenomenal challenges can now be easily diagnosed. Doctors sitting thousands of miles away can conduct complex surgeries using these discoveries. I wonder if there ever was a more effective tool than technology!