As part of the evaluation, another assignment given to us by Cik Aidah is a personal opinion piece on ICT in education.

Well, here goes my piece (sorry, rather random and easy-flow without much planning :P) which is loosely based on the following video:

And also from a very informative video of a talk he gave:

This past semester, I took the Educational Technology subject under Pn. Rosseni Din with Major Jasmy as my tutor. In the course we learned to familiarize ourselves with several media that can be used in the classroom, one of which is the use of videos and WordPress blogs.

During one of the lectures – I remember it was by Pn. Rosseni – she showed us a video done by Michael Wesch who is the Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the Kansas State University who is rather popular on YouTube for his controversial and thought-provoking videos about the use of technology.

The video that was shown to us actually questioned the educational institutions we are so proud of. In his video he told of how he had conducted a simple raise-your-hands survey with his students with these questions:

1) He asked them to raise their hands if they did not like school. More than HALF raised their hands.

2) He asked them to raise their hands if they did not like learning. NONE raised their hands.

The conclusion that he came up with was a tragic situation where young adults like those who were in his class, and not unlike those in our country as well, wanted to learn but were unhappy with the educational institutions they were in.

This is really upsetting because as educational institutions, learning as well as instilling the love for learning in students, regardless of the topic, field or area is of the utmost importance. However, based on the simple survey done, what can be said of our educational institutions is its failure to do what it is supposed to do ! >.<

What is the cause for educational institutions failing to facilitate learning? What is the main problem?

When Michael Wesch asked students to make a statement about their learning and education, here were some things that came up:

“I facebook through most of my classes.”

“I bring my laptop to class but I’m not working on class stuff.”

“I buy hundred dollar textbooks that I never open.”

“(My neighbour) paid for class but never comes.”

“I complete 49% of the readings assigned to me – only 26% relevant to life.”

According to Michael Wesch, one statement keeps coming up:

They say that,

“Some students are just not cut out for school.”

But what he said to elaborate that really struck me. If school is for learning, when you say “Some students are not cut out for school,” you are basically saying that, “Some students are not cut our for learning.” Which is absolutely absurd !

Every student has potential and the capacity to learn. Why is it that someone has to be a certain “mould” in order to fit into school and therefore, learning?

Which is further proof that there is something seriously wrong with our education system !

Yet, what can we do, as future teachers to change this? To change the way students view school and learning?

Maybe, if we incorporate things that students are interested in, that are real and relevant in their lives, into the learning process, into the education system in schools itself, students will be more motivated to learn, to even want to go to school. 🙂

And what may be these “things” that students are interested in, that are “real” and “relevant” to their lives?

Facebook. Flickr. Photobucket. DailyMotion. YouTube. Twitter. WordPress. Blogspot. Wikipedia.

If teachers could incorporate these Web 2.0 applications and the internet and make it part of the learning, we may just witness a revamping of the education system and learning !

Some ways we can do so:

1) Using WordPress or Blogspot blogs as a platform for students’ learning: Students may be able to download lecture notes and slides, additional reading material, links to websites with further information about a topic, discuss and challenge one another’s opinions through commenting, view videos and photos that are related to the topic of learning.

2) Image sharing sites like Flickr and Photobucket can be used to link students to pictures and photos that can be visual aids to what they are learning about.

3) YouTube and Dailymotion can link students to educational videos for further learning and as materials for discussion as well.

4) Wikipedia is a collaborative information sharing site whereby the collective intelligence is better than one single person. Draw students’ attention to the discussion tab on the main Wikipedia webpage to teach students to always critically evaluate information before accepting it as fact. Such thinking skills leads to higher level thinking.

Although I have yet to see this implemented in real life, whether it is really practical or otherwise, or whether I will be able to carry this out more than just in theory, I believe that it is worth a shot in trying.

Therefore, it is clear that a technologically-advanced era calls for a change in the approach we take to teaching and learning. It is illogical to think that the old ways will continue to be relevant to our current students’ lives and interest.

Teaching is more than just disseminating information. Our responsibility as teachers is to instill the love for learning as well as equip our students with the necessary skills for them to survive in the future. Implementing the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process, incorporating technological applications and resources into education may serve to achieve both these aims.

Hence, with these revelations (after watching the video) I am strongly convicted of the benefits of incorporating ICT into the teaching and learning process.

I hope that I, being new to this as well, will be able to do so for the benefit of my students, learning along the way 🙂