Trends in 2018 for Technology in Education Sector

Dr.Sarika Lidoria, Vice President, ITM Group of Institutions ITM Group of Institutions is a multidisciplinary education group based in Mumbai with expertise spanning the sciences, engineering, management, fine arts, social sciences, arts, and nursing.

The pen is mightier than the sword, we’ve been told. But we are living at a time when the pen must lay down its arms and give way to the apogee of power and strength: technology. Its strength is in transformation; but not just intransforming our experience, its power lies in creatingnew experiences, wonders, and avenues never before heard of. The pen can indeed describe to you in detail and imagery a distant star and evoke the dormant imaginative curiosities latent in each of us. But the Hubble Telescope can literally throw you in the midst of the vast, panoramic vistas of space, with its billions of stars and solar systems, millions of lightyears apart, and galaxies after galaxies of luminous light – all-enveloping and staggering to both the mind and the eye. What the pen can point to, technology can place you in the very midst of.

This transformative power of technology is finding its place in the world of education and introducing in it a seismic change. The great physicist Freeman Dyson called technology ‘the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences.’ The paradigm shift this has inaugurated in the world and now, progressively, in Indiaisjettisoning the traditional tools used for the acquisition and distribution of knowledge and education.Throughout history the rise of technology has been shaping the way learning is experienced by the seekers of knowledge. From the use of papyrus and reed pens we have come a long way in the rise of our technical and scientific skill, to be able to produce chalks from calcium carbonate. Chalks, blackboards and writing slates have been reported to have been used in India when Al-Beruni visited the subcontinent in the year 1030 CE. These were technological break-throughs in their days. The inventions in Education Technology have not only changed the didactic experience, but they have also changed the history of the world. Without the invention of paper in China by Cai Lun in 105 CE, one could argue, the history of the world would have taken a different course and we would have found ourselves today in a very different present. In every technological change in the instruments of education, there lies a revolutionary upheaval of the world.A great and positive cataclysmic change now awaits us as we stand at the threshold of yet another educational revolution.
From calcium to silicon has been our glorious progress!Smart devices with interactivity levelsaping the human,to computers with memories capable of storing every single book from every library in the world in a single place,have the potential to change the face of education, and how it is imparted.The major innovations to take place in the classroom began with the replacement of the blackboard with the projector and the projection screen. In India video-based learning has gained in prominence with the rise of projectors. In an article entitled ‘6 Technology Trends that are Pushing up Digital Education in India’ published in India, we are told that by the end of 2018 video-based lectures will rise by 80 percent. Storability of lectures and the access to it by students across the globe, are making the harrowing problem of pupil-teacher ratio a thing of the past. Free availability of lectures from top-notch universities on online platforms like Coursera and EdX, which today boast of more than 1.5 million Indian users, has played a seminal role in the democratization of education in the world. An achievement which the traditional pen-and-paper state of Education Technology could not have imagined. Advancements in audio-visual technology and the innovations in the techniques of their universal dissemination have greatly impacted, and even encouraged, online Distance Education in India which according to the All India Survey on Higher Education (2014-15) conducted by the HRD Ministry accounts for 11.7 percent of Indian students. Smart devices, from mobile phones, iPads and palmtops to the trendiest new readers by Amazon and Kobo, are fast replacing paper books from the hands of students. The number of trees this has saved, and is likely in the future to save, is itself a great consolation to contemplate! Audio-learning initiatives from foundations like Libri Vox and Audible and their integration with learning institutions at the school and university levels is bound to bring into the fold visually disadvantaged students in the near future.

The inventions in Education Technology have not only changed the didactic experience, but they have also changed the history of the world.

The future impact of technology in the Indian Education sector is not easy to foresee. The rise of technology means the increase of tools for learning at the hands of distant and regular students, whether abled or differently abled.Interactive Screens, Virtual Reality simulators,Screen-Casting devices and software applications like Learning Management System (LMS), Learning Record Store (LRS) and others have already sunk their teeth in the Indian educational system. Virtual Reality technology is predicted to make head ways in the teaching of Architecture, BioEngineering, Civil Engineering, Mining, Molecular Genetics etc, by augmenting both the grasp and love of the students for the subjects. A virtual simulation of a DNA strand, for instance, can have the same effect of direct experience that the Hubble Telescope gives of the starry heavens above. Enterprising new start-ups in this field like Trimensions and GazeMatic are making the ubiquitous availability of VR a very near possibility.

Change in Educational Technology is a harbinger of a greater and wider civilizational change. Developments in the methods of learning and the distribution of knowledge send ripple-effects across the entire society and culture. As we stand on the shores of the immediate future we can see a huge tidal wave covering the horizon, heading our way, ready to sweep away everything about us and to build anew a world entirely unforeseen. Universal education, integration of different teaching techniques, learning as per convenience, an enriched learning experience for one and all,the removal of all barriers of time and space to learning - these we must expect, and for these we must work.