New age teaching

New age teaching

The advent of internet in the teaching-learning process has made changes in the role of teacher. Many educationalists are of the view that this change is functional to cope with the copious needs of new generation learners.

To some extent, it is true that online education builds enthusiasm and convenience to them. But, there are certain concerns which need to be addressed meticulously by the teaching fraternity.

Internet provides space for anyone to exhibit their ideas and considered by many as intellectual democracy. But, at the same time, unbridled opportunities to publish have brought down the quality of publications. Unfortunately, such publications are easily accessible to the young generation learners who in turn lack the expertise to distinguish.

There is a possibility that unrestrained accessibility to abundance of information available online would make their learning experiences easy and carefree. But it may lead them to develop superficial understanding of many things in unregulated ways. Students may lose the perseverance to acquire knowledge  gradually and systematically which will have some negative implications on the process of knowledge creation.

Teachers need to direct students to get access to reliable and meaningful resources available online. Knowledge creation will stand-still in the absence of systematic and deeper understanding facilitated with the intervention of teacher.

Learning platforms

The Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Hot Potatoes and Moodle are constructive. The use of LMS has expelled time and space barriers. Students can now listen to video lectures and PPTs of their teachers in a casual setting. But such practices can also make the students lazy and casual unless used judiciously.

What has been observed by teachers is that students simply go through the PPTs and videos uploaded in LMS rather than reading prescribed text books. This kind of tradition can add to the declining reading habits among students and as a result an entire generation of learners has to bear its negative repercussions.

Usage of the ICTs in teaching learning practice might prove precarious, especially in the absence of a mentor. Teachers, therefore, have an additional responsibility of continuously monitoring the performance of their students.

Another significant contribution of the internet to the modern teaching methods is the usage of Video lectures and Podcasts  complementing regular lectures. This is considered good as it exposes students to different scholars and their original contributions.

But, mere language competency is not enough to understand the originality of the ideas delivered by these internationally acclaimed scholars as it demands prior knowledge regarding the context and framework. Students lacking basic knowledge of the subject seldom comprehend such presentations in their proper context or understand them only in bits and pieces. Thus, the teacher has to introduce students to the ideas and context of such lectures in advance, to ensure their relevance.

Unfortunately in this era of information revolution, many teachers possess less technical expertise compared to the young urban students. Students today are equipped to get information faster and sometimes have an attitude that they know more than their teachers.

If this kind of unregulated and fast acquired knowledge is clubbed with a learner centred method of teaching learning, then it might prove disastrous. The reason being  though this idea seems pedagogically correct, it has wider negative connotations.

For instance, students often ignore the fact that knowledge transmission from one generation to the next is of paramount importance for the creation of new knowledge.  Isaac Newton once said, ‘If I can see further than anyone else, it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of giants’. The obsession with the internet for quick information should not lead to disregard of the teacher’s role. 

Use of technology in education should not be overemphasized ignoring the its drawbacks. Optimizing its usage is necessary to gain good results. But, at the same time, in this process there is an unforeseen need to balance the strengths and weaknesses of technology.

Teachers have to play a much more active role for the optimum use of internet and technology in education. It should be the teacher’s prerogative, not of technology, to decide what information and method is appropriate for the students by taking into consideration their age, social setting, needs and mindset.     

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