Leverage technology to inculcate values

by admin
Dr Ashok K Pandey
India, one of the fastest growing economies, possesses the largest pool of youth making it one of the youngest countries in the world and also the largest democracy. Yet Indian education is at cross-roads. The collective behaviour represents anger, rebellion, substance abuse and online indulgences. The public discourse seems vitiated, and our conversations are touching new low. Right as we advance, some values will change, some will get enriched, some will impoverish. However, there is a common core of values that sustain humanity. As educators, parents and a society, we have to protect, inculcate and cherish these values.

Character building, self-control, moral development, adherence to social norms, human welfare and valuing life are essential. “Ron Miller, one of today’s major thinkers on holistic education, puts it succinctly, “Education today, is not a collaborative art of mentoring and nurturing the young, but a frenzied scramble to succeed according to some external measure of success.”

Technology must also be leveraged to help inculcate values as much as recourses to other methodologies including story-telling, the study of the mythologies, art and culture education, and role-modelling. Technology is an assistive tool, and we must leverage it to inculcate values. It helps us learn digital etiquettes, digital citizenship, and safe online activity. The question is how we can prepare the children for the future, imbued with values? Technology is a vehicle to revisit the role and importance of heritage, culture, mythology in value inculcation.

India's Literacy Rate
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “A mind that is stretched to a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions,” exemplifying the supremacy of the humans in solving problems. The advent of the steam engine nearly three hundred years ago heralded the first industrial revolution. The electricity, computerisation and now digitalisation has helped us enter the era of fourth industrial revolution. The development of the past two decades has taken us to a new world of artificial intelligence-driven approach to solving human problems.

Sophia, the humanoid robot and its Indian version Rashmi have taken us by a storm in correctly communicating to the world. The story of Garry Kasparov’s defeat at the marvel of an AI-driven chess master is known to us. Recently the ace debater, Narayanan barely managed to win over Debater, the humanoid who surprised the jury in the IBM’s office with her wit, knowledge, and data-skills. The AI-constructed symphony, AI-generated journalism are all becoming a reality of our times.

We are beginning to see the change from a fossil-fuel-based old economy to green energy based new economy. Self-driven cars are hitting the roads, and communication is taking a digital mode. Where do we stand then? What is the role of the teachers? Let us accept that we must re-skill ourselves and learn to use data, algorithm and new designs for machine learning.

Instilling life learning in technologically equipped students with technology as an assistive tool can go a long way.

In the last three centuries- literacy rates have skyrocketed from 12% to 88%. The curriculum has evolved. The Internet has opened new possibilities in self-education. New learning resources such as Khan-academy, TED/YouTube videos, Wikipedia, and web 2.0 open sources are the new repositories of learning and knowledge. However, there is a lot that can be done to make learning excitement, fun and practical. The focus is still on grading and not on self-development. We assess all learners in the same way without acknowledging diversity. Barriers to learning differ from child to child. Technology must assist us in recognising the needs of each child accurately and in predicting adequate remedies.

The best and latest technology is welcome. However, the technology we embrace is the one that is the best for humans, one that promotes social-expression, equality, and sustainability. The role of technology is to refine our intellect, enhance our creativity and invigorate our emotions.

The purpose is served well, if we leverage the new technologies for solving perennial human issues, addressing the problem of hunger, poverty and disease. The new generation’s appetite for innovation and risk-taking, their ability to stand for a cause are positive indicators to pair the passion for seeking solutions and technology to deploy it for the human’s best cause.

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