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In today’s world, one can access almost everything online without disembarking from the comfort of their couch; this includes education. Sounds great for sure, but is it great for school teachers and students? What are the lessons learned so far, and what is the way forward?
Education is a Human Right, and so is Right Education. We can never impart holistic education to children through remote schooling. The COVID 19 pandemic has forced technically challenged teachers to quickly adapt to technology and deliver lessons to their students online with the sole aim to cover the lessons of subjects within the time that was set before the pandemic. In fact, the time allocation had hardly changed over the years. Covering lessons and subjects in this manner has deprived the students of the opportunity of discovering. The crucial question is, have we started treating children’s brains as storage space similar to how we use Cloud storage?
Digital Divide, Digital Bulimia, and Digital Detox
The use of technology definitely has its advantages. However, its limitations and disadvantages should never be overlooked. Technology is great value addition and must be used in schools by teachers as an augmenting tool within the classroom rather than only for remote teaching and allowing it to stifle holistic growth, including social and emotional growth. The onus lies with adults to facilitate children engaging with their peers and learning through critical thinking of interlinked concepts across subjects.
It is imperative to state that excessive use of technology, especially in remote learning, has not only created a large Digital Divide between the fortunate and the less fortunate but also created Digital Bulimia, especially among the children from economically well to do families, forcing many schools across the globe to introduce the idea of Digital Detox days.
Reality will bite once schools reopen as children will then have to get off the comfort of their couches at home and sit in physical classrooms through every subject period in a disciplined manner. This will be stressful for many children as they may not be able to make this quick shift, and teachers would find it stressful to manage numerous fidgety and impatient kids in the classroom. The danger of many children being wrongly diagnosed with ADHD looms large.
Engage children in hands-on therapeutic education through integrated STEAM
The best way forward is to engage children in hands-on therapeutic education through integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) activities with the use of futuristic technologies, which will help students gain crucial 21st Century Skills of Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration or the 4Cs as it is commonly known.
The benefits of such therapeutic interventions by schools will be multiple. It will transform schools into Happy Zone for children to remain curious, excited, and eager to spend quality time engaging in discovering rather than just covering their subject portions through rote learning. Teachers will become natural therapists if they engage as facilitators for their students in their inquiry-based explorations, discoveries, and innovations, which is the core of STEAM. Needless to state, students will develop as mindful and versatile global citizens.
Lucubrate Magazine July 2021
The picture on the top of the article: Adobe Stock