Relevance of Technology to K-12 Sector
TECHNOLOGY AS A TOOL TO REFORM AND CHANGE CLASSROOM TEACHING IS ALWAYS A SUPPLEMENT AND NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR GOOD TEACHING. TECHNOLOGY IS A MEDIUM FOR ENGAGING STUDENTS VIA AUDIO-VISUAL FEATURES, BUT A TEACHER IS ALWAYS REQUIRED SO THAT THE TECHNOLOGY CAN BE INTEGRATED WITH THE CONTENT TO MAXIMISE LEARNING OUTCOMES.
The idea that technology can act as a tool of intervention in human affairs in order to improve living standards dates back to the philosophical discourses of the 19th century. While different scholars have looked at technology from different perspectives (economics, engineering, science, politics), our aim is to discuss its relevance in the K-12 sector and the potential it might hold for growth and development.
Information technology (IT) and IT enabled services are now the norm across many premier educational institutions. These have proven to be indispensable tools for a child’s learning- be it for gathering information via the Internet or using software designed for specific purposes (statistical programs, scientific calculators, modelling applications etc.). Moreover, even tech-friendly classroom environments are becoming the norm in many places. LCD projectors and interactive smart boards are now a common sight in some of the best institutes. However, an important problem that remains to be addressed is that of access to technology . While it may be easy to come to a consensus on the aforementioned points, it is vital to talk about K-12 schools, especially in the public sector, that lack access to this technology. Many government schools lack adequate physical infrastructure to accommodate its students, let alone the capacity to install such technology. If we are to truly utilise technology to change the way we imagine classroom environments, then we must also work towards its affordability and accessibility. Otherwise, there is a risk of widening the already existing chasm between private and government K-12 schools.
Finally, one must also remember that technology as a tool to reform and change classroom teaching is always a supplement and not a substitute for good teaching. Technology is a medium for engaging students via audio-visual features, but a teacher is always required so that the technology can be integrated with the content to maximise learning outcomes. Hence, the changing models of classrooms have made the teachers more irreplaceable than ever before.