Using technology in the classroom can transform learning

(File pix) Using technology in the classroom can transform learning experience. Archive image for illustration purposes only. Pix by Faris Zainuldin

TALKING about technology in the classroom, one must remember the guru Robert Taylor, who wrote The Computer in School: Tutor, Tool, Tutee. Taylor framed the potential uses of the computer as: (a) tutor, computer-assisted instructions in which the computer teaches the child; (b) tool, in which the computer amplifies the ability to perform academic tasks; and, (c) tutee, in which students learn by programming the computer.

A term we often hear is computer literacy, which was coined by Arthur Luehrmann. I wrote a book on the subject in 2000 — Asas-Asas Multimedia Dalam Pendidikan (Fundamentals of Multimedia in Education).

Integrating technology into the classroom can be seen at three levels — macro, meso and micro — as mentioned by Robert Kozma of the Centre for Technology in Learning at SRI International.

At the macro level, system factors such as cultural norms, social context, educational policy, and curriculum standards come into play, while at the meso level, school factors such as availability of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, ICT integration plans, school leadership, innovation history and parents are emphasised.

At the micro level, individual factors such as pedagogical practice, innovation history, educational background and experience with technology are considered important for teachers, while experience with technology and social and cultural background are emphasised for students.

The Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025, under Shift 7, has incorporated ICT in education. Similarly, globalised online learning has been incorporated for higher education under Shift 9.

What needs to be done is this: the infrastructure in schools, such as Internet bandwidth, needs to be upgraded and made accessible 24/7. Devices such as tablets and interactive white boards or smart boards should be introduced in classrooms.

A green studio is recommended if recording of the teaching is needed. This allows students to watch the video any time and at any place.

Lecturers are becoming “educators”, “facilitators”, “instructors”, “coaches” and “e-moderators” rather than one-dimensional teachers.

Gone are the days when the lecturer used to stand in front of the classroom droning away. Now, they move around to facilitate discussions and group work.

Students, too, need to change from being recipients to creators of knowledge. They need to be creative and critical as per the demands of the 21st century.

The pedagogical approach has shifted from being teacher-centred to student-centred. Blended learning is the way to go for Generations Y and Z students.

Blended learning combines online digital media with face-to-face classroom methods. Classes are collaborative, with students using mobile devices such as mobile phones, iPads and notebooks as learning devices.

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