An Australian government policy statement articulates this changing paradigm in the best possible manner, “Australia will have technology enriched learning environments that enable students to achieve high quality learning outcomes and productively contribute to our society and economy.
“The Fibre Connections to Schools (FCS) initiative is an integral part of the Australian Government’s Digital Education Revolution (DER) suite of initiatives. These initiatives recognise that Australian students need greater access to, and more sophisticated use of information and communications technologies (ICT). They need the best hardware, high speed broadband connections, quality digital content and well trained teachers to integrate technology into teaching and learning.”
Towards this end, various efforts being mooted across the globe include:
Offering dedicated, uninterrupted and cost-effective connectivity options to students to help them access and exploit the global reservoirs of information and information tools for better learning, understanding and experience.
Enabling virtual collaboration facilities amongst students and faculty to improve information exchange; promote collaborative learning and exchange of ideas.
Encouraging and enabling teachers to devise digitally stimulating and compatible teaching methods. And use technology for improving children’s learning capabilities.
Facilitating online interaction of parents with teachers for improved liaison.
The realization of the above objectives is possible with the collaborative efforts of the four most important factors:
Leadership: There is a need for strong, decisive and long term leadership in the space of digital education. If our governments and educational institutions can come together put in place such strong leadership, it will go a long way in improving education using digital connectivity.
Infrastructure: While several improvements have come about in the connectivity space. The last-mile connectivity is still a challenge in far flung areas. Without the right infrastructure it would not be possible to employ connectivity any better.
Teacher’s Involvement: Teachers & faculty must take the most important step in integrating connectivity & digital tools to improve learning amongst children. Teachers are the vital cog in the wheel to use increased connectivity in education.
Learning Resource: As connectivity improves, there is now an acute need for learning resources to be available in the digital formats. This will encourage students to use the connectivity channels more authoritatively.
Educational institutions ought to become more enterprising in the use of technology for their parent-teacher liaisons. A dial-in system to access the ward’s attendance or progress reports can be a great tool. Parents can be connected over conference calls or via two-way voice messaging platforms, a business phone system can be deployed for this purpose. A mobile app could be an interface worth exploring.
Expanding the reach of education and improving the connectivity to students from far and wide are the two main objectives of digital connectivity. And with dedicated efforts these can bring far-reaching results.