The social and economic progresses we experience today have brought numerous changes to our everyday lives. In doing so, the ways in which we perceive the world are constantly changing. With the increased development and mass usage of digital technologies in daily life, it is both expected and understandable that sooner or later we would begin to digitalise both the learning and the teaching progress.
Unprepared for innovation and change, some may fear that computers and digital technologies could take teachers places in school. Not only saving time, but also government money. However, this notion is far from the truth. The fact is that a lot of recourses and financial means are invested into digital technologies, in both developed countries and those still in transition. Despite their rapid implementation, there is little evidence of efficiency or effectiveness within the classroom environment.
The so-called ‘digital divide’ between the rich and the poor means that students across the globe do not have the same opportunities at gaining access to these expensive equipments. Even if we put the difficulties of basic connections and finances aside, the human factor has to be addressed. There are natural suspicions of traditional ‘old school’ teachers who are concerned about the safety of students and the treat of cyber-bullying. Generally, many of us start judging modern digital technologies before even trying them out in the classroom, and we cannot help but worry about the protection of personal information, hacking and student’s health (let’s face it – teenagers see more of their phones and PCs than their own parents on a daily basis).
On the other hand, introducing modern and ‘cool stuff’ into a bland and simple classroom environment can be also helpful and encouraging for students. The overall positive idea and main point of introducing digital technologies is to encourage independent learning and exploration, active learning and teaching. It should allow the students to learn freely and communicate remotely, but still be able to share information with their peers and teachers in a better way.
It should be the role of the teachers to make better use of the digital technologies available. If instructed properly, they will be able to rise children’s awareness on proper use of new methods in the classroom and of course, use it to support students’ learning. But how do teachers accept these changes into their everyday routines?
It is difficult to determine, at this early stage, if the digitalisation will impact our standardised learning and teaching processes in a positive or negative way. The opinions still remain divided both among students and teachers, and among teachers themselves. Maybe an even more modern digital era of the future will bring us more precise answers.
Text: Ljubica Drača