Global Learning: Revolutionized By Technology?

With the rise of the digital age and mankind’s journey into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is clear that technology is bound to play an integral role in nearly all aspects of our lives. Needless to say, this includes how and what we learn in and out of the classroom. It is estimated that by 202 there will be a new surge of digitized jobs across the globe and that the current shortage of IT professionals demands that education evolves itself to produce the talent needed to run the growing and developing digital economy.

 

The role of technology in global learning has been more than just bringing gadgets into the classroom. It has changed norms, the mentality, how we socialize, the culture and even the environment of a classroom have changed to a great degree. Technology beckons that in the complex and rapidly evolving world of today, academic models have to be tailored for interdisciplinary research which is necessary to create an effective teaching and learning environment.

 

Research from Professor R, Keith Sawyer, a leading expert on creativity and learning has emphasized the power of technology and its influence on academia. He explains how technology provides experiences that lead to ‘deep learning’. This is a result of technology allowing students to learn collaboratively, giving them the freedom to test and redesign models and most importantly articulate their knowledge visually as well as verbally.

 

What technology has provided is an intelligent classroom infrastructure. This digitally enhanced learning environment provides students with unique learning concepts. This includes the distributed cognition. A theory by Edwin Hutchins who describes that people in their environment with specific tools at their disposal can be considered as a single cognitive system.  Programs which make use of distributed cognition are mainly aimed towards leveraging collaboration between technology, the students, and the teachers to strategize virtually and create digital solutions. Such a working environment is flexible and diverse, it offers face to face instructor-led courses with video and interactivity during online classes and gives a blended classroom experience.

 

Another unique learning concept that can be exploited using technology is Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal development along with the idea of scaffolding. The Zone of Proximal development refers to the expertise and skill outside a learner’s comfort zone while scaffolding refers to the necessary actions including instructional support, tutoring, quizzes that are used to facilitate learning within the Zone of Proximal Development. Using this approach of identifying and improving the learner’s bare limit, we can optimize a student’s capability of learning more material and provide them with the desired balance between their current ability and challenges they have to face. Technology further provides digital tools which expand the options and reach of personalized teaching and scaffolding. It complements the power of in-person and online tutoring and enhances skills learned from the digital network.

 

The digital innovations that have been brought by technology leverage unique learning solutions and give incentives to revolutionize the classrooms all around the world. It offers the best of digital and human-driven education, opening doors to access and provide materials to all corners of the globe. It affects individual lives, tuning them to understand a more globalized community and motivates them to play their niche in it.

Is Technology Essential?

Technology is the modern day Hercules. An entity whose existence and prominence only increases with time. Most of us praise it and feed into its importance while others choose to indulge in disinheriting it, even if it is a fool’s errand. Though sometimes technology can be too much, it can become distracting, it can reduce your attention span, sometimes you have to get away from social media and actually entertain a social interaction. However, no amount of complaints can undermine the importance of technology, it is the blood and bone of the digital heart of today’s digital society. Technological advancements have made it almost impossible to live without a cellular device and if we were to deny ourselves the internet, we would effectively reduce ourselves to the medieval ages.

 

Technology has connected us to the online stream of virtual identities. It has made the barriers of distance, ethnicity, language and culture void, though personal preference is still a factor in who we choose to interact with, rather it is interaction itself that has been made easier. Effectively technology has turned us into a global village, we are all connected through one another through the streams of data that we can willingly log in and out of. This globalization, in turn, has had its own influence in shaping the modern society. In fact, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that the modern society has technology as its central pillar.

 

Through technology, ideas, ideologies, knowledge, and materials travel from one corner of the world to another. This has been revolutionary for business and education alike. While IT and communication have always been a part of the business in one form or another, with the recent development in technology, business models have been completed reimagine with IT becoming a completely independent department which ensures that the business can efficiently and productively function under the umbrella of Information and communication technology.

 

The classrooms of today have also been refined by technology. Today e-learning is one of the most common means of educating young minds. A classroom has been turned into a digital hub where technology is used in innovative manners to help develop the skills and knowledge required in a more efficient and productive manner.

 

Perhaps the most easily identifiable dependency of technology can be tracked in the medical field. Where incurable diseases like the Human Immunodeficiency Virus have been reduced from a lethal death sentence to a manageable inconvenience. Advancements in technology have made sensitive and complex procedures viable and have also helped in conducting groundbreaking research which improve the quality of health services that can be offered. A prime example of technological advancement is the capability of the ongoing human genome project, where all the genes are being identified from a physical and function standpoint.

 

While these describe the more prominent examples of how technology has become essential to us, the more obvious reality is that it would be difficult if not entirely impossible to function in today’s society without having at least some basic know-how of current technology and how to make use of it to become more productive. How capable we are can be gauged by our digital literacy and a basic level of proficiency is a must for any individual if he wishes to survive in the digital age.

Society and the Future

Anything that makes our life easier can be termed as a technology. It is basically the solutions we have developed over centuries as the answers to our needs and problems through the careful application of our knowledge and skills. Technology has further boosted our development and enabled us to create even better technologies. So, it can be viewed as a cycle where we create and improve technologies, and then these technologies help us achieve new heights of scientific and technological brilliance.

Today new technologies are coming out so fast and in such huge amounts that it is almost impossible to keep up with them. One becomes outdated and a newer technology takes its place. When we talk about modern technology, however, we refer to the most popular and most prevalent forms and applications of technology in our lives today that have infiltrated every aspect of our living. Initially, technology was only a means to survival, finding and enabling solutions to problems beyond our human capabilities. Today we are trying to we are experimenting with technology to constantly test its capabilities and limitations, and automate as much of our lives as possible.

 

Influence on Society

These modern technologies are a vital part of our lives now. We cannot even go a day without using them. Their effects on our society are both good and bad.

 

The Good

If modern technologies didn’t have a positive effect on our lives and our society then we wouldn’t be as zealous in developing and improving them all the time. It cannot be denied that technology has changed our lives for the better. Whether it be education, health, communication, entertainment, or anywhere technology has been put to use, it has yielded positive results.

Talk about education, anyone with a smartphone and an Internet in an underdeveloped country has the opportunity to benefit from high-quality learning materials online. Distance learning couldn’t have reached the point where it is today without modern technology. Smart systems with AI capabilities are making headway in the medical industry by helping doctors achieve what was so far inconceivable. Communication gap too has been bridged due to the high penetration rate of smartphones and Internet into our lives. Even from the furthest corner of the world, we can chat with loved ones or monitor your empty house while you’re away to ensure that everything is fine.

 

The Bad

As with absolutely anything, there are also bad effects and impact of modern technologies on our society. From overuse of these technologies to the level of addiction to new forms of crime and illegal activities that couldn’t have existed without modern tech, there are seriously damaging effects of technology as well that are affecting aspects of our society.

As the saying goes, an excess of anything is bad. The overuse of modern technologies developed for our facilitation to the point of abuse or addiction will, of course, have negative effects on us and our society. Similarly, the plethora of illegal and immoral activities carried out with the aid of modern technologies are things all of us should religiously avoid and discourage strongly as well.