Raising the Technology Consciousness of Educational Institutions

I was reading the UN report on out-of-school children in various countries. While many of them belong to sub-saharan Africa, a good number belonged to the Indian sub-continent as well.

The causes range from conflicts to gender discrimination to child labour. Recently, multi-modal interventions have helped to cross these barriers in a significant way. Of these, technological interventions have gone a long way in making education more available and affordable. Technology has helped crunch numbers and reach out a large number of these children.

On one side we have disruptive technological innovations like virtual reality, robotics and self-driven cars and on the other side we have this huge population which has limited or no access to education. World over we see many schools adopt hi-tech learning resources and that is making a huge difference to education. In many parts of the globe, children are learning about the environment, creating their own robots and managing small businesses with the support of technology at a very young age.

However, we do see many educators in developing nations still debating whether to use technology or not. We do have well tested globals models of ICT in education and case studies of how tech enabled education has produced better teachers and improved the overall quality of education. There are enough and more best practices that can be adapted and adopted. In some countries, while the governments have put in place ICT policies and supported them with infrastructure, the actual adoption by educators is not yet widespread.

If we do not raise the technological consciousness of educational institutions, there is a very high chance that these kids who are out-of-school or being offered only basic education may be left out of the developmental process. They may continue to grapple with basic education while children in advanced schools may go very very far away. They will neither be creators nor users of technology. So if you are an educator or in the edtech business or a person with a vision to transform education, it is time to raise the technological consciousness of the various stakeholders of education in whatever way possible: ICT literacy, learning management systems, tablet based education, programming for children, Open Educational resources.etc. Without this the digital divide may become impossible to bridge.

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