Going digital: The quiet revolution in and outside the classroom
As per the 2016 Digital Education Survey conducted by Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice, “90 per cent of kids use digital learning materials at home and two-thirds start by the age of 5.” The findings make it amply clear that the digital education (Dig Ed) revolution is underway both inside and outside the classroom. Thus, as correctly put by the report, education technology is transforming the way students learn and it has affected the students from their ‘bus-ride to bedtime.’ Let’s delve deeper into the major breakthroughs to understand the above statement better.
However, before getting into the details, let’s make an attempt to define a Learning Management System (LMS).
What is LMS?
LMS is a software application that aids in planning and implementing the learning process. It is used to create and deliver content as well as monitor both the participation and performance of students. Learning no more remains constricted to the four walls of a classroom and becomes possible anywhere on any device – smartphone, computer or tablet.
Teachers’ Tasks: No More Mundane:
Educational technology (ed tech) has made the tasks of a teacher much easier. The aforementioned survey by Deloitte points out that an overwhelming 8 per cent of teachers with 10 or fewer years of experience believe ed tech at school makes a positive difference to learning. From making attendance reports to defining subject examinations using a visual examination tree, LMS has made mundane work, that a teacher has to traditionally deal with, convenient for them.
• The break up and weightage of formative and summative assessments is now easily available.
• The creation of assets like test papers and activities are available on in-built and free applications like spreadsheets and word processors.
• School administrators can easily monitor and track the course progress and performance of teachers and students in the form of relevant visual reports.
Students’ World: An Array of Possibilities
As already discussed, a student’s learning is no more limited to the classroom. Digital education (Dig Ed) – a blanket term for the use of digital devices, materials and solutions in education is available to them both at home and school for unhindered learning purposes. The affordance of technology, coupled with innovation in the education sector, has brought forth the digital learning wave. For instance, adaptive learning technology, simply defined as personalised learning solutions, addresses the unique needs of each learner.
• Use of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) in digital content materials engages students, besides elucidating concepts better.
• Natural Language Processing (NLP), as an adaptive learning technique, improves language-oriented searches and makes it easy to find learning objects.
• The integration of notetaking software with LMS accommodates word documents and Excel sheets, thus preventing notes’ misplacement
• Web-conferencing makes it easier for students to attend live lectures of esteemed teachers from any corner of the globe.
• Machine learning algorithms present students with concept maps and knowledge states of every subject in a visual form. Thus students can better understand learning paths of every subject, i.e., which concepts need to be mastered first in order to master the others, while which concepts can be skipped and can be addressed later.
Parents’ Concerns Reduced
Being a parent in the 21st century can be daunting. Now, parents don’t have the time to drop and pick-up their kids to and from school, nor do they have the time to sit through their kids’ homework. However, technology has come to their rescue too.
A software program, geofencing, uses global positioning system (GPS) and radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. Wearable GPS tracking devices is a useful technology to ensure the safety of students, especially those in primary grades. Parents can also track school buses and get to know when exactly their kid will be dropped. GPS live tracking would enable them to check out the time that the school bus crossed the last stop.
Communication with teachers about their wards’ learning progress also becomes easier with LMS. They can stay updated about their wards’ lessons, their gaps in learning, etc. LMS also makes it easier for parents to apply for their wards’ leaves and check the latter’s attendance. LMS makes collaboration between all the stakeholders hassle-free and fast.
The change that education technology has brought forth in the way lessons are learnt and taught is massive. This revolution successfully bridges the gap between classroom learning and home learning. A flipped classroom is facilitated where a student is able to browse through content materials at home, prior to attending class lectures. A class becomes a place for debates and discussions. The traditional role of a teacher as the sole diffuser of knowledge is outdated as they become facilitators of knowledge, who nudge students towards the learning of new concepts. This also allows students to learn at their own pace, in the comfort of their home or at the quiet library.