Identify & Get Informed
Educational technology, the incorporation of information technology into the learning experience, is a term that continues to evolve alongside technological advancements in the field.
The issue of educational technology has played a major part in improving the learning outcomes of individuals by personalizing the learning experience. The immediate responsiveness of computer based programs, and the self-paced private learning environment that educational technology warrants seeks to promote higher levels of motivation among students worldwide. It has also provided greater access to education such as in the case of increased accommodation for students with severe physical disabilities and for students living in remote locations.
E-learning refers to the specific kind of learning experienced within the domain of educational technology, which can be used in or out of the classroom. Distance learning, computer-based training, and social networking tools are just a few examples of e-learning. Tools like TIGed (http://www.tigweb.org/tiged) combine engaging social networking technologies with citizenship and global education. Implementing such tools in the classroom addresses the pressing need for today’s youth to be more aware of their global environment.
The debate over which tool best serves the needs of the learners is ongoing and subject to geographic context. For instance, in developing countries, mobile phones out number computers because of their low costs and operating needs, thus, raising the question of whether mobiles could serve as a better learning tool with more educational benefits than computers in the developing countries.
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Lead & Get Others Involved
Educational technology has made the attainment of education possible for diverse groups including those in remote areas of developing countries. The obvious question that comes to mind is: how is it possible to spread this form of education in remote areas without electricity and telephone lines? The vision to provide educational technology in such areas might seem an impossible task. However, the following story demonstrates the will of a “changemaker”, who achieved the impossible by introducing educational technology in a country where government-run schools are inadequately funded and in the remote Nepalese villages, which are isolated from urban cities and other villages due to rough terrain.
Mahabir Pun, a Nepalese teacher, due to absence of high-school education, was forced to leave mountainous village (Nangi) in western Nepal. After high school, he attended the University of Nebraska in United States. When he returned to his village, he realized his village’s need to sustainable educational institutions. From his experiences in United States, he had seen the significant contribution that information technology could make to improving education system. This single idea motivated him to improve the quality of education in Nepal’s remote mountainous regions.
Mahabir began to work on his vision i.e. using technology to overcome the remoteness of these mountainous villages, by educating himself about computer through computer classes.
His plan is to link teachers by computers and Internet, thereby preventing teacher burnout and improving the quality of instruction. His vision allows teachers, hours-walking distance away, to communicate with each other, share resources, and ideas. Moreover, since qualified teachers are rare in these mountainous districts, distance-learning classes allow three or more villages to share skilled teachers.
Mahabir first steps in making his vision a possibility included connecting Nangi School with villages eight-hours-walking distance away with the help of a small handmade dish antennae. He collected computer parts from the U.S. and assembled them in wooden boxes, thereby building 14 computer for his village. In 2008, Mahabir’s dream became a full-fledged reality with wireless technology connecting 42 remote villages in Nepal.
Mahabir’s solution to geographic isolation and derisory education is compelling, but it is also applicable to numerous countries with similar geographic character and equally to those in pursuit of a sustainable education system.
If you have lead others to get involved in making an impact on the issue of educational technology or any other global issue, let the rest of the TakingITGlobal (TIG) community know by writing your own TIG member's story
and inspire others to create change just like you!
Now that you're inspired to lead others on this global issue click on the web links below to learn more about how you can get involved with this issue.
Learn or test your knowledge of global issues by playing fun and interactive educational games at TIGgames.
Print out One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project's flyers, post OLPC banner to your blog, or email the OLPC commercials to spread the message about OLPC.
Plan & Get Moving
So how are you going to share this global issue with others?
Here’s what you can do on TIG:
- Create a petition or make a commitment to support the spread of educational technology.
- Start a TIG group or a project dedicated to informing and empowering young people in your community and around the world about educational technology.
- If you’re not sure how to start a conversation around this issue, connect with other TIG members on our discussion boards.
- Check out TIG’s Action Guides to learn how to make the action you want to take on this global issue a reality.
Here’s what else you can do:
- Educate others about the benefits of educational technology.
- Enhance your educational experience by taking an online course.
- Join an organization that aims to create educational opportunities or improve education through technology.
This is just the beginning, there is a world of opportunities for you to plan and get moving on. So what are you waiting for and get started today!
Have a Lasting Impact
Remember, learning about a new global issue is only the first step to developing the skills you need to have a lasting impact. So let the rest of TIG know what kind of change you want to see with the issue of educational technology by joining us in one of our online discussions described below.
Which tool is better for advancement of education in developing countries: computers or mobile phones?
Could technology be counter-productive to education?
The social consequence of promoting technology in education.
Mahabir Pun. Web Address: http://www.ashoka.org/fellow/2754
Marwaha , Alka, BBC World Service, 2008. BBC. Web Address: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7708558.stm
Have something more to add to what we’ve discussed above, then check out this global issue’s wiki page to have your say!