New skills to suit the changing times is the order of the day.
Educationists have realised that the 3 ‘R’s and the 4 ‘C’s do not formulate the limits to decide what is to be taught and how it is to be taught. They simply outline a broad spectrum of 21st century skills, that when imbibed by students allow them to function, learn and adapt to the changing world throughout their lives.
Today, undoubtedly, we live in a world dominated by technology. Our entire sphere of influence, our interactions, our careers and every minute aspect of our daily lives are mediated by computers, smart phones and tablets. The answer to all problems and situations is practically a few keystrokes and a fraction of seconds away from you. It reminds us of the revolution that was brought by the advent of the print media and how it changed the way we perceived information.
Something similar is happening currently if we analyze how the integration of technology has changed the way we look at learning and classroom teaching. The use of devices in classrooms to aid and supplement teaching-learning transactions is not just about the use of fancy gadgets and expensive technology to set up a ‘smart classroom’, rather it is the use of technology in a manner that enhances the learning experience for the students, equipping them with future-ready skills and enables them to create, collaborate, communicate and critically analyze the world around them.
When technology is used in classroom-teaching, it encourages students to work on group projects, providing them with opportunities and interfaces to communicate effectively and share their learning and skills in a way that prepares them for future situations where teamwork and collaboration would be needed to work through conflicts and find the best solutions. To be able to succeed in their chosen areas of work, students need to think on their feet and provide effective solutions to complete a given task. Providing them with an atmosphere of digital learning where they share tools, resources and information gradually builds in them the habit of working together through an assignment creatively and effectively. A student while handling a device in school understands and agrees to follow the idea that a certain code of conduct is expected of him regarding the responsible use and handling of the device and information accessed therein. This instils ownership and a sense of responsibility in him. As they get engaged in the process of learning and continuous pursuit of information, they gradually develop a habit of exploratory learning which goes a long way in infusing in them confidence and the willingness to continue learning in their professional and personal lives. This helps build a strong foundation to success in all spheres of life.
A teacher, thus, started out from being a “teacher” to a “facilitator” in the process of learning in a classroom and has now evolved to assume the role of being a “coach” imparting skills to students enabling them to become expert life-long learners. We now aim to instil among our students curiosity (instrumental to lifelong learning), effective communication and teamwork skills and empower them with the values of freedom and responsibility so that they are ready to take charge of their own learning as a continuous journey. Our schools, rather than becoming institutes for preparing students for the next level of learning, have now assumed the role of educating technologically equipped students for lifelong learning and personal fulfilment.