How The World ‘Clicked’ With Digital learning

"The world progressively becoming more and more technologically oriented, it has become the need of the hour to integrate both of them"

Move aside Netflix, there’s a new kid on the block and this one is here to stay for a long time. Yes, I’m talking about digital learning, something that has amassed a great fan following for the past few years and has especially climbed the social ladder since the pandemic, which has given it more than a moment’s glory in the spotlight. In the early 2000s, the digital world was seen through the narrow prism of entertainment, which only expanded exponentially post 2010 when the Pikachu’s and Shrikant Tiwari’s of the world arrived at the entertainment hall of fame. However, the current circumstances have shown us that there us that education is not far behind in making its presence felt in the online arena.

For as long as I can remember, education and technology have been two binaries looked at in isolation. The tug of war between the two has always created two watertight options for people: either technology or education. Until recently, the two were never envisaged as parts that could reinforce each other to make a whole; that is, provide holistic education. However, with the world progressively becoming more and more technologically oriented, it has become the need of the hour to integrate both of them. Being able to compose a formal email and navigating your way through the internet to soak knowledge has become as important life skills as being able to manually write answers.

The pandemic has taught students and parents that learning can be dynamic and adapt to the changing social contexts. With millions of students accessing learning through an online medium, schools have been forced to show their proactiveness in training the teachers to create engaging presentations to teach concepts, which can often seem dry when solely learnt through textbooks. Moreover, there is no fear (or lack of clarity in learning), when online learning platforms are here! The detailed study material and, not to forget, fancy virtual backgrounds have led to happy students, who can enjoy education and convenience simultaneously, and more importantly, happy parents as they can now see gadgets in the affirmative.

Though we can see a sunny picture for the privileged sections of society, it has not been all sunshine and rainbows for those who have been unable to access digital learning. Recent data shared from the Union Education Ministry has revealed that in states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, gadgets are out of reach for 70% of the children. This has adversely impacted their lifestyles in several ways. While the discontinuity of the mid-day meal scheme due to the shutting down of schools already disincentivized parents to encourage their children to learn, the inaccessibility to gadgets has been another punch in the stomach. Reportedly, 0.55 million children have dropped out of school In Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh due to these reasons. Besides those who don’t have the facility of gadgets at all, there are also sections of students who have irregular access to digital learning. These are students who have siblings and must share a single gadget with them to attend classes alternatively or whose parents have jobs that do not allow them to give their gadgets to the children for a long stretch of time. Stories of children walking kilometres on end in search of stable wi-fi connections are also not foreign. Overall, digital learning has shown that one doesn’t need to notice whether a child goes to a school that is public or private, big or small or English or Hindi-medium to see inequality in the availability of resources and opportunities.

Digital learning has transformed the way the world views education- it is no longer envisioned as students with their necks folded inwards, as if getting ready to dive into a textbook, sitting enclosed by four walls. Fortunately (or unfortunately for some!), whether one is engulfed by a deadly virus or basking in the sun in an exotic beach, learning is only a click away. The only challenge lies in striving to provide that privilege to all children who, by virtue of being human, have earned the right to demand education.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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digital technology online learning edtech

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