Going beyond the four-wall building
Today’s world is characterized by fast changes in the use of technology. Compared with the 1990s, for example, new features of an already familiar piece of technology are added on a weekly basis, as well as new technology, aiming at improving efficiency and productivity.
In education, there is a growing demand for schools and courses to move away from the traditional pedagogy and embrace high-tech 21st century teaching and learning set-ups.
According to Saomya Saxena, an education and technology observer based in India, modern day classrooms should be more centered on students, with teachers taking up the role of facilitators and guides.
To do this, teachers can use a variety of instructional methods and follow different pedagogical approaches aided by technology. This is supported by Indra Charismiadji, president of PT Eduspec Indonesia, an education consulting firm based in Jakarta. “The global challenge faced by the world of education is to come up with a program that improves the quality of learning in line with technological advancement,” he said.
CHALLENGES AND RESOLUTIONS
Realizing this, the Culture and Education Ministry, through the Sector Analytical and Capacity Development Partnership (ACDP), has drawn up strategies to improve teachers’ technological knowhow.
“We want to improve educational infrastructures and teachers’ competence at the same time. What’s important is that we maintain knowledge in schools,” Tagor Alamsyah Harahap, counseling program head at the ministry’s primary education teachers and educators development agency, said as quoted by Kompas.
Schools have also taken steps to implement technology-based education approaches. Since earlier this year, the New Zealand Independent School in Kemang connects its classes to the school’s web-based materials. Teachers make use of interactive materials to deliver the subjects and evaluate students’ performance.
“Every week my class uses materials from the school’s website for my class,” said Nurlailah, an EAL teacher working at the school. “I can use materials from the web to add to the lesson I deliver using conventional methods, for example. Students can obtain greater insight into the subject with the help of more interactive content available on the web,” she added. The New Zealand Independent School in Kemang has incorporated web-based teaching-learning into the curriculum since early this year.
Monalisa Sirait, the manager of one of the branches of LBPP LIA, concurs. “We are tapping into the growing need for technology-savvy teaching methods. The market is demanding Internet-based teaching and learning processes.”
Monalisa said that students were becoming more autonomous in learning, as they were able to explore subjects further through web-based materials. “Audio and video programs included in the package help give students hands-on experience of and exposure to, in this case, the target language,” she said further. LBPP LIA is a leading English course in the country and since 2013 has worked with a world-renowned publisher that provides the teaching-learning materials for use in the institution’s classrooms. STEPPING OUT
Modern teaching and learning process can cater more to students that have different types of learning abilities. The process modern is more adaptive to students’ different paces and styles; teachers can explore diverse programs or software to adapt to the students’ needs.
Another perspective on technologybased learning is provided by Andrew Ford, a management and organization consultant with a deep interest in education. He talks about a personalized learning matrix, in which a teacher negotiates and works out with the students what is best for that student. “They still have to deliver the curriculum […] but they do it in another landscape. They hide it under other activities, or project-based learning,” he said. This way, the students learn to make things and resolve problems. Andrew mentions the need for dynamic space. Teachers, in this set up, are seen as the lead learners, who together with students explore the materials.
Today’s learning environment is, according to Ford, a place where not only students and teachers are actively involved, but the parents also want to be involved.
Modern learning institutions have the potential to become the center of many activities, not only for students but also for the community, as they provide the necessity to become engaged in the ever-changing world. Technology in an educational establishment can bridge students with the world at large and let the subjects step out of the pages and engage students in a more direct and convincing way under the guidance of teachers.
“We need to change the way people see a teacher in a traditional sense. Today’s students can obtain information anywhere, not only from their teachers, so teachers today should not only be seen as the fountain of knowledge, they should also be the ones who bridge the information to students,” said Indra Cahrismiadji.