Sunday, February 25, 2007

Technology applications for education

I write this post in the context of my previous post on Education and The Resurgence of India. One of my blogger friends did raise the issue of taking discovery learning to the masses and to explore an effective model of doing so . I thought about the issue and though i don't have ready made answers , but I believe that elements of discovery based learning can be simulated in a traditional rote environment through the use of technology. Well I am not talking about a variant of Computer Aided Education , but a much more sophisticated concept . When the idea hit me i spoke to a colleague of mine who is involved in Instructional Design and is aware the Governments efforts in this direction , she said "Niladri , there are organizations who are trying to work with this idea in some parts of the country.....". Apparently there are some technology based class rooms already in place in parts of rural Karnataka , however in spite of the efforts these do not translate into something significantly different from rote learning .

The issue is probably because of the fact that the design of such experiences /simulations are not based on principles of constructivism (for details of Constructivist Learning Theory click http://www.exploratorium.edu/ifi/resources/constructivistlearning.html).

The efforts of creating a technology based class room in our schools of rural India are indeed efforts in the right direction , but its too few and too slow , and by the time this movement catches speed and traction, it might just be too late . Is anybody from the Education Ministry listening !!!

3 comments:

Shreyasi Deb said...

I was reading the TOI yesterday and S A Aiyar wrote what I strongly believe in. Although India is a roaring Asian tiger already despite the lack of social indices (as I mentioned in my last comment here) the economoc growth is unsustainable without a commensurate growth in literacy, hygiene, mortality rate and overall poverty figure in rural India. what you are propounding if implemented will be path-breaking
The link on your post doesnt work. try reposting!

sunmay said...

I humbly disagree on your stand that "discovery" based education could be simulated in a classroom ... i believe it cannot ! Audio cisual aids can only fuel and guide one's imagination but when it comes to first "experience" they are a tad better than textbook illustratons .... A lot many people in the world think through their hands ..and i believe i am one of them !
A classic textbook and a hi fi simulation can show an IC engine but having it opened up before you takes the learning to an altogether different level. All the fragments of ones imagination fall in line once you have the real thing before you. Having a furnace with all dimensions in a textbook is one thing and experiencing the sheer power it exudes is another ... the gist is rote and discovery based education have to supplement each other .. and technology aids as of now dont come close to the real "thing"

Niladri said...

Dear Sunmay

The context of my blog is primary education . In a previous post I had spoken about Education and the Resurgance of India and had spend time explaining the concept of discovery vs rote education . the challenge is to get some semblance of discovery going for it to make any meaningful impact . Hence this post is in continuation of that , in a country that is straved with resources getting the ball rolling is a big job ,and hence discovery based applicaitons are the way to go as far as rural indian schools are concerned and the experiment in Karnataka is a good start to that effect . What you are talking about is more from a perspective of an university student and hence it maybe inaccurate . I beleive that the challenge is at a school level and not so much at a Univ level . If you now read my post in that context you will find it a bit more acceptable