WHEN we talk about technology in education, the first thing that comes to mind is the personal computer or laptop, and the Internet.
You can safely say that if a student has an Internet connection, there's a possibility that he or she will not have to go to the library. I am not generalising, but with the Internet, students can easily google or surf for information and browse through e-books and thousands of articles. It saves energy and time.
The Internet also enables students to browse through interactive videos to aid in their learning process. They can go to YouTube, Vimeo or DailyMotion websites to search for learning materials.
It's a different learning experience, indeed. When you watch videos, you will be able to see events happening "up-close".
Using information technology (IT) in the learning process can help students in many ways. For example, video clips and graphic materials will stimulate their cognitive thinking.
With real-life examples, students will be able to relate to the knowledge they receive. They can analyse and make their own judgment of events.
The Internet also helps students to connect with their peers.
Decades ago, live video-conferencing in classrooms was unheard of. Today, lessons can be conducted online without the students having to be present in the classroom.
Software such as Skype and Paltalk allow lessons to be conducted online. Thanks to Mailvu and Brainshark, too, teachers' work has become much easier.
We cannot deny that most children nowadays play computer and online games. They spend hours playing football, war-related games and others. This is one of the downsides to IT.
Perhaps software developers could play their part to help reinvent the education system by creating videos and online games that are educational or relate to subjects the students are learning in school.
The games should be enjoyable so that teenage students would find them interesting. For example, learning grammar can be mundane but if the teacher incorporates games into the lessons, it will be an enjoyable learning experience.
Online interactive games, especially the ones that are educational, can enhance students' academic performance.
However, there should be a balance between seriousness and fun during the teaching and learning process.
A serious class is pivotal sometimes to bring in the element of discipline, but too much seriousness may lead to depression and lacklustre performance among the students.
Can technology replace textbooks in schools? We have to admit that students nowadays bring lots of textbooks and materials to school. Incorporating IT into the education system can help overcome this matter.
The introduction of tablets and Ipads is a great solution to the textbook problem.
Firdaus Nuruzzaman, Ipoh, Perak The NST Online Opinion 28/03/2013