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.