7.1 Emerging Technologies and You

Web can improve learning experience of students in variety of ways. For example, it connects students to real world. In brick and mortar classroom, students excess to knowledge is only limited to text books and library but now, with the help of web resources, students can connect to expert of respective fields. They don’t have to depend on resources provided by teachers. They can collect information very efficiently at Wikipedia using search engines, right information in short time rather than going to library and looking for information. Cost in terms of time and effort of finding right information is reduced significantly. This explains the exponential growth of knowledge. They can be a node on information network and benefit according to their learning potential. Teacher’s role is merely reduced to a guide, who shares learning outcomes with students. Students can connect to information network and learn a lot.  Another google example here is issue of hard water, my students in shanghai had no idea about problems that people face in some part of world due to hard water. They did some research online and found lot of problems in countryside China. So they raised money to help people of effective areas.

It has also made communication lot easier. Previously students’ communication was only within school communities but now with the help of web tools they can socialize with students beyond political borders. They can also benefit students of other places by being node on information network. Moreover, students of similar interest groups can make clubs across the globe and coordinate their efforts to benefit those who are lagging behind. Sometime results of search queries on search engines bring questions to them which they answer. Moreover, they can also ask questions and see how different people answer their question from different aspects. All this create lot of knowledge on the information network.

It is even more important for science courses because it is not possible to do many complex science experiments at high school giving the unavailability of resources, lack of funds, government controls on certain dangerous chemicals. Animations, simulation are very helpful to compensate the inability to do experiments in school. Students can have hand on experience without touching the real chemicals. Interaction with simulations helps student learn properties of chemicals. Similarly, when students study physiology of the human body, it is not possible at high school level to bring a human dead body to provide them hand on experience , Therefore videos, surgery simulations are greatly helpful to fill in that gap. It is not possible for a teacher to be good at making animations or videos. So online resources provides all those animations which help students understand complex scientific phenomenon.

Sometime students cannot attend class because they are sick, or they had to be away for some reason. Sometime a student is just not performing best of his work due to some social issues. Teachers can put their resources online. Students can access those resources from their homes to make up for their loss. Strong students can use the resources to preview the upcoming lessons and activities. Weak students can use those resources to review. They can also be used to review before major tests and quizzes. Teachers can also share keys of assessment online for students. Moreover, online assessments are way more efficient and provide real time response to students, whereas teacher may take many days to provide feedback to students. By the time teacher provide feedback to students, students’ priorities have already changed to other tasks.