Educational Technology: More Questions Than Answers (Part 2)
Homo sapiens are the result of a process of organic evolution where the differently/more evolved organism dealt unfairly with the other organisms. In case of technology, it will be an inorganic revolution rather than the organic evolution. This logical fallacy cannot categorically negate the possibility of technology illtreating human beings, but it can help us in understanding our apprehensions better that are histrophobic in nature.
The second part of the concern is exactly the reverse of the first one – human being using technology as their slave rather than technology enslaving humans. The direction and pace at which AI is developing, there is no reason to doubt the possibility of a technologically created robot (or being?) which can not only do certain things at our commands, but the one that can feel pain and pleasure, can think analytically and creatively – acquire consciousness. Will it be fair to treat such a robot as callously as sending them to diffuse a time bomb or to fight in war zone as we do with technology today? Won’t there be a moral question of their rights to be answered? Despite the difference between organic and inorganic matter, once they have consciousness how shall we be able to distinguish them from human beings?
The last concern about the use of technology in education is a mixed bag – Will it not prove to be an additional burden on teachers who believe themselves to be already overworked? Will it not consume more and more time of teachers and students eating into the time and space where actual teaching/learning takes place? Will it not be a health hazard both for the teachers and students as they will be spending more and more time on computers/laptops/mobiles? Some of these concerns or aspects of them may overlap with the categories of concerns discussed above, but they are thrown as fresh challenges. Looked at it in perspective one can easily see that rather than adding to the burden of the teachers it will help them manage their work with greater efficiency and ease. They will have knowledge, information, ideas and appropriate tools and resources which they can use inside their classrooms effectively to achieve the teaching/learning objectives.
In fact, technology will be integrated in the teaching/learning process and will be used by the teachers and students in such a way that will help them save time in learning through various ways and means which they might use to learn more or to go to a deeper level of the concept concerned. Third concern of this group is related to the impact of technology on the physical and mental health of the users. True it is that spending too much time on technological gadgets like computer/laptop/mobile can cause health issues. But it is more a question of judicious use of technology which we need to learn and teach rather than a negative impact of technology.
Finally, educational technology definitely has a future in which lie potentials that we are scratching now at the surface only. I have made an attempt to visualize educational technology that will be defined by its service to learning. As such, education will provide a framework for selecting and using technology, regardless of whether the technology in question is, a machine, a technique, or an innovative idea.
DR RAJESH KUMAR
Lead Academics at EdIndia Foundation.
Dr Rajesh worked as a teacher of English in colleges and universities in India and abroad. He also worked with Digantar and Azimpremji Foundation as the Executive Director and Education Specialist respectively