The recent COVID-19-led transition, especially in education, has been radical — from the times when no phones were allowed in the classrooms, to a
world where the classrooms have come into the phones; from coming into the classes to logging into the classes, from holding chalk to holding a mouse to teach... A recent national survey conducted by the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Development (CTLD), BML Munjal University, showed that teachers are desperate to get back to “normal” teaching as soon as possible.
The study found teachers faced three broad set of challenges: first, using technology effectively in the class; concern about screen time and its effect on students and the quality of Internet connectivity. Around 34% found online teaching tough, as they were not very tech-friendly. Another concern that 32% pointed out was being unable to make out what was happening at the student’s end and not being able to make out if the student was paying attention. The lack of warmth and socialness was another factor that 22% cited.
However, challenges in leveraging technology to teach and monitor students’ engagement over an online platform, which together accounts for 66% of the challenges, have an easy fix: teachers should learn to effectively use and embrace technology for online teaching.
There is an exciting concept in psychology known as Cognitive Dissonance. Consider the example of a habitual smoker being told that smoking is injurious to health. How will this person respond to this health advisory? He will either consider quitting smoking, or outright refute the warning and reaffirm his action by thinking of the positive impact smoking has on his stress levels. We can draw a parallel with teachers who have been coerced into adopting technology. They also have two choices:to embrace technology and leverage its benefits, or curse the situation, and hope that things get back to ‘normal.’
But the question is: is this a matter of choice in the era of Industry 4.0? Businesses are thriving in a world embedded with Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Virtual Reality and are the potential recruiters for students, who are themselves adept at using technology. Can we avoid dealings with technology? Given the way the world is transforming and businesses are evolving and constantly innovating, the answer is ‘No’. The way we shop, bank, communicate and entertain ourselves has changed. Consequently, job requirements are changing and so, we have little choice but to realign our teaching pedagogies with technological advancements.
Educational institutions have already started to invest in technological infrastructure with the assumption that teachers’ perspectives and practices will change, and the availability of technology will lead to technology-driven teaching. In a world driven by digitisation, resolve to become the tech-friendly teacher.
The writer is Associate Dean, School Of Management, BML Munjal University