Speakers at a recently concluded lecture series on "Technology in education" converged on a common theme that technology had reformed the field of education. The Internet was a huge information base to acquire knowledge and the use of technology had made the process of teaching and learning more flexible, said R.K. Shevgaonkar, director, IIT-Delhi. The lecture series was organised by the Vaze College of Arts, Science and Commerce.
"The new learning makes everything easy. Students and teachers don't have to be present at the same time in the same room," said Shevgaonkar. "Students can learn in their own time and in their own way and teachers too can give lectures at their own time, no repeated delivery so the quality of content is intact," he added
Shevgaonkar however, observed that many educational professionals saw technology developments in education as intimidating. "Teachers are scared to take risks so they play safe. Technology needs to be seen not as a replacement but as an evolution," he pointed out. Technology did not reduce the number of people but instead increased the need for skilled people, he said, adding that "When students have questions and when they're curious, they will need teachers to present the subject in the most simplified fashion."
The world was changing and growing digitally, Shevgaonkar said. And it was the need of the hour to be taught how to adapt and manage this complex world. Today, digital literacy was one of the basic skills required for employment. "You have to be familiar with the trends in technology. Everything is available online but the knowledge about what exactly to type or which site to refer is imparted through education," he informed.
Earlier, Jyoti Bhadkamkar, trustee, Kelkar Education Trust, said that technology was the need of the day as it increased one's efficiency. With the onset of computers, it had become easier for teachers to impart knowledge and for students to acquire it. "Students become more confident as they learn through various interesting mediums like audio visuals, which makes them more skilled," she added.
Academics connected with technology, was a geometric progression that was indispensable, said Dr. Sanjay Oak, vice chancellor, Padmashree Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth. However, all this came with a cost. "What we need to challenge is how to make it affordable for the future generations of students," he said. "When we talk about technology it includes not only the capital cost but also the recurring cost to maintain it," Dr. Oak said, adding that "We all need to figure out a way to make it available for free or a subsidised rate to the lowest level of people because digital literacy is the future," he concluded.