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How Technology Is Changing Education

Dear students,

If you have just completed your graduation or are on the verge of completing your graduation, then you must be wondering about the next step to take. Till graduation, our academic choices are relatively simple. However, at the post graduation level, students are faced with a bewildering variety of choices. Should we opt for a regular post graduate program – i.e. a Masters’ program in our chosen field – or should we opt for a vocational program, such as an MBA? A single large educational hub like Bangalore alone is home to many a top university in the country. Further, each of these universities would offer some of the best post graduate programs and courses – both research-oriented courses as well as vocational courses.

In light of this sea of options, in order to make judicious choices, we need to first of all understand the world that we are living in today. The modern world is very different from the one that we had just 10 years earlier. Technology has transformed our world dramatically – and nowhere is this transformation more significant than in the world of education. So, let us understand how technology has transformed education and how it continues to change the face of education.

1. Ease of access: One of the biggest impacts of technology is that it has greatly enhanced ease of access to educational content. Today, a student sitting in a rural area of India can easily see videos online prepared by some of the most reputed professors from the top universities in the world. Through various online courses, such a student can get a degree or diploma or some other certification from any top university in the world. The latest articles, the latest research papers, the latest videos – all of these are available at the click of a button. A lot of this content is also available completely for free.
What this means for students is that there is tremendous scope for learning outside the classroom. A student of a particular course at one university can enhance his learning through various online courses and secure relevant certifications from top universities. This would improve the job prospects of that student and would reflect in better placements for that student.

2. Learning about the past versus learning about the future: According to some studies and surveys, many of the jobs that we see today would become redundant and obsolete tomorrow. New technologies are rapidly replacing older jobs with new, more technology intensive, more knowledge intensive jobs. Older educational programs and courses often focus on learning about the past – learning about the developments and the work done in the past. But, modern education needs to focus on preparing students for emerging technologies and upcoming professions, many of which would become extremely popular in the next 5 to 10 years. In this regard, many top private universities have taken the initiative and have redesigned curricula and introduced new courses in order to prepare students better for the future.

3. Improved interaction: A student sitting in India today can interact live with professors, educators, employers, and even with fellow students from across the world. While some of this interaction may happen as part of their course, a lot of interactions can also happen through various social media. The implication of this is that good quality practical exposure is no longer limited to a handful of top universities. Students across the world can, on their own initiative, acquire a lot of insight into technologies and processes that are relevant to their chosen field.
Further, this ease of interaction has made distance learning far richer and far more useful today. Earlier, distance learning meant getting a bunch of books and other educational material by mail, going through that material, and then appearing for an exam on a set date. Today, distance learning may include 3 to 5 days of live classroom sessions per week through online video conferencing (webinars, etc.). In such sessions, a student may directly present his questions and doubts to his professors and get them answered in real time. Further, such sessions would also provide a lot of peer interaction since the number of students attending one such session may be anywhere between 20 to 200 on average. Following these sessions, professors may upload additional instructional material and assignments for students. Thus, distance learning is no longer a secondary option to be used only by students who are unable to visit a regular classroom. Today, distance learning, at times, offers richer live interactions than typical classroom learning – certainly a typical classroom does not include students from across the world.
These then are some of the most important ways in which technology has transformed education. There are many other ways in which small but significant changes are taking place – for example, online videos replacing or complementing traditional laboratories, online courses helping enthusiasts take up their hobby as their profession, and so on. All of this means that today’s students have an exciting world of new options available to them. Further, technology is rapidly ensuring that each and every student has the tools to become the best in the field that he or she chooses. Your future, therefore, is truly in your own hands.

All the Best!

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