The future of learning in a digitally integrated ecosystem is not so distant anymore. The rapid rate and pace with which the education system has been disrupted by the pandemic and advancements in new digital technologies and Information Communications Technology (ICT) provide all the more compelling reasons for schools to carefully consider the role of technology on the systems, culture and pedagogy of education.
Failure to do so may culminate in a lost generation struggling to adapt to a new normal and lacking the right skill sets required for the 21st century.
Digital transformation in schools will have many advantages such as:-
Students can have access to learning resources in an easier and less expensive way. Thanks to digital transformation, students can access many different contents at school, at home, wherever they are and regardless of their economic status. There is no need to visit the library or decide which book to buy from amongst the long lists suggested by schools or shared by teachers. In the same vein teachers too will be able to access students’ homework and coursework submissions real-time online. Edits, commentaries can be viewed by students for reviews and improvements. Tedious loads on teachers in reviewing homework or course-works on hardcopies and handing them back in-person to students will be a thing in the past.
BETTER COLLABORATION & ENGAGEMENTS
Digital platforms allow teachers and students to collaborate remotely from anywhere, anytime – this entails sharing of views, data and research papers. Project groups can organise virtual discussions or meetings without the need for in-person meetings or to await for availability of meeting rooms. There are many collaborative and content sharing platforms which are accessible for use by schools for example Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
Technologies such as augmented and virtual reality facilitate teaching. Educators get to engage students in ‘virtual show and tell’ presentations and similarly students in their presentations – showcasing their opinions and views. Digitalisation promotes a variety forms of expressions that utilise digital tools and platforms.
BRIDGING THE GAP
Promoting digital transformation process allows schools the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to personalise or customize students’ learning. With big data and data science, schools are able to suggest courses a student should pursue benched against examination scores, aptitude in addition to other metrics. The opportunity to customize learning for each student makes education more productive: special needs can be quickly diagnosed and progress is accelerated. Even as students and teachers return to school, Covid-19 has left an indelible mark on the future of education. It is apparent that schools need to consider kick-starting digital transformation initiatives one way or the other.
One of the key success factors in ensuring optimal digital equity amongst students is to enable students with the right device and specifications – be it laptops or tablets. The right display size, microphone and camera capabilities in addition to durability are pivotal to ensure minimum disruptions. Various adoption models which schools have and can deploy in ensuring students have compatible laptops or tablets; one of which is through a rental model, making it affordable for all students.