Why technology invasion into the study room is a double-edged sword

>> Students are often misled and ill informed through online sources


BY MANOJ KRISHNAN

BY MANOJ KRISHNAN

A decade ago, academics didn’t possibly figure out that technology would manifest itself in ways that weren’t possible even in the wildest dreams.

Technology for sure, was bound to make an impact on everyday lives, even in case of students. But the pace at which this transformation has been brought forth is mind boggling.

As a result obsolescence too has been taking place at equal momentum if not faster. By far the most important aspect or plus point has been the access to information that is very crucial from the point of view of the student community

Technology has to be appreciated, no doubt, as it adds value to learning process. The traditional black board or white board system may look crude today, but let us not forget the basics. The tectonic change from tradition, through OHPs (Over Head Projectors) and now smart boards has introduced a new dimension to the process of learning in classrooms.

A student can see, digitally, how blood flows in the circulatory system, how a volcano erupts, how a rocket shoots up , how an amoeba catches its prey and so on and so forth. There is hardly any facet of life that technology hasn’t touched. Thanks to Google and many more, sourcing content for academic purposes has become just too easy.

So also, online gaming and social media platforms have given way to shunning outdoor games

So also, online gaming and social media platforms have given way to shunning outdoor games.

Open Digital libraries, archives, free sites and other similar resources offer both quality and volume and thus a click is all that is required to initiate one’s quest for gathering information. The process of education has undergone a drastic change and it is bound to be faster in the years to come.

While the advantages that technology harbours vis a vis the disadvantages are many, there is a fervent need to understand or scrutinize the utilization of technology today where ‘ misuse’ or ‘abuse’ is the order of the day.

Easy access to the ‘net’, even during mobility has thrown open unwanted content (read porn) that was long back considered taboo. Social media platforms like Facebook,YouTube,Whatsapp and many more have become ‘ zones’ of defamation and revenge and for posting stuff that are not even authentic. The ‘virtual’ communication happening today even among students have reduced personal interaction to a large extent. Privacy has become almost nonexistent and there is a tendency to openly post anything and everything under the sun.

Productive time that is lost due to such platforms has created many addicts. Family relations have begun to get strained. We have come to a stage where notes are copied through whatsapp at the school level and effort in most cases is minimized. Students have begun to realize that, if not from classes, material can be obtained from the cyberspace. Students venture into dangerous territories an get caught into deadly games like “Blue Whale”.

So also, online gaming and social media platforms have given way to shunning outdoor games. Cyber crimes have assumed new dimensions and “friend requests” are still landing many in trouble. In fact, students are often misled and ill informed through online sources. The list is endless and much can be described about elements that are playing havoc in an otherwise calm system.

While digitization has distinct positives, there has to be clarity in communicating how the benefits can outweigh negatives.

While digitization has distinct positives, there has to be clarity in communicating how the benefits can outweigh negatives.

While there is a marked difference in debating, discussing and taking action , the need of the hour is to analyze how well we could harness the power or benefits of technology to build a sound system that promotes and nurtures positivity. This can’t be done by students alone and there has to be a concerted effort from one and all in the loop.

Educating students regarding the boon and the bane of technology has to be an ongoing process right from the school level, not to mention homes. There has to be a judicious use of gadgets and the ill effects of misuse and abuse need to be clearly driven into the students’ heads. Parents have to be Role Models and they should be the ones who practice what they preach.

It is no mean task, but very much possible in this world that is going digital in all respects. While digitization has distinct positives, there has to be clarity in communicating how the benefits can outweigh negatives.

This alone would ensure that our student community that strongly banks on support and solid backing of parents and other linked adult elements, would traverse the path that has much in store for them, but is often highly misleading.

To sum up, Einstein’s equation E=mc² which could revolutionize how energy could be utilized, was twisted to produce destruction of the highest order in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

What to make of technology is purely left to us.

The Choice is and would remain forever ours.

(Manoj Krishnan is the Initiator and Chief Guidance Officer of The Compass Team, an organization that has been working for over 6 years with students, teachers, parents and schools to make this society a better place to live in)

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