I’m trying to get ahead of the curve for my Summer course, due to start end of November, so I’ve been familiarizing myself with it’s E-learning environment. A safe choice since I will be studying mostly online. I was asked to comment on the video for an E-learning orientation. I ended having a good giggle because I went to a public primary school in an under-funded socio-economic area in the 90’s. How things have changed!
When I started primary school the use of devices for learning was extremely limited. Mobiles had only just come into existence. Most of them were built like bricks and were limited to calls only. Touch-screen tablets were a flight of fancy fit only for sci-fi. As for my primary school’s computers? Those were old for the 90’s… and use was restricted to early teaching games and touch typing programmed. The idea of searching ‘the web’ for information was in its infancy and the few, now-forgotten, search engines were blocked on the few internet capable computers. It was to the school’s outdated textbooks children were referred, some of which were decades old in the 80’s. I am 28 and the world has experienced a digital revolution. I now walk around with a mini-computer more commonly known as the ‘smart’ phone. I have a table that is used, not just for on-the-go computer function, but as a media consumption tool – an idea that would have seemed ludicrous in the 80’s. The essays and assignments that once had to be submit in awful handwriting on physical paper can now be completely drafted, revised and submitted via Electronics. Gaming platforms have advanced from the pixelated atari to 3D realistic platforms of Xbox to Ps4 with Virtual Reality on the near horizon. The transition has not been seamless but the state of technology has been so quick we have not had the chance to grumble about the change.
The use of electronics as advanced so quickly that a growing percentage of successive younger generations no longer understand how to cope without tech. Social scientists debate as too the nature of this revolution. Is it advancing our intelligence or is it limiting it? While we know, do we understand; do we over rely on the knowledge that is so readily at hand. Will future scientist become so adjusted to using software to do their thinking that they no longer understand the knowledge they seek?
The only answer I can give is a personal one: the digital age has opened up more doors for education then the world ever did for me, and my pursuit of knowledge will be coupled by a desire for deeper understanding.