Technology has taken over the world by a storm. Fancy tablet computers, interactive whiteboards, advanced learning softwares are regularly being used in classrooms to enhance the learning experience of students. Integration of technology in learning provides an individualized learning paths; unique learning styles to complement each student. Moreover, many of these technologies have the power to help students with learning difficulties and other impairments to thrive and grasp complex concepts, which would have not been possible if more traditional methods were used.
The use of sophisticated technology among students have contributed to greater efficiency levels. For instance, softwares like DreamBox (online software provider focusing on mathematics education using animated adventures and games) are constantly used in US elementary and middle schools to provide a dynamic experience. Not limiting to students, teaching has become much easier and interesting for the educators as well. They are able to utilize new methods in teaching for instance, using podcasts, integrating youtube videos and many innovative ways to supplement lessons. Certainly teachers can not be replaced by technology, however it will make their job less tedious.
When taking the Sri Lankan educational system and digitation into consideration, we still have a long way to go, though computers were introduced to schools back in the late 1990s.
Sri Lankan students are still struggling with low speed internet connections, shortage of computers and unavailability of qualified teachers with the necessary IT skills. According to the School Census Report 2017, published by the Ministry of Education, there are 4,551 schools out of 10,194 which do not have computer facility. However, back in 2016 the government proposed fancy tablets to be introduced to replace traditional text books, however this idea seems quite laughable now that even some of the Western Province schools do not have access to computer facilities, let alone tablet computers. At least on a basic level, it is crucial that schools are equipped with enough computers to adopt a one-to-one ratio with students and devices. Next would be the recruitment of qualified teachers. Sadly, due to the lack of teacher provision and the adequate knowledge, the students are often being let down.
Teachers often read the textbook; students swiftly takes down notes; the lecture drags on and on. This is the typical situation in Sri Lankan schools. At the end of the day, only the pages are filled but not the minds. By using new methods of teaching, intertwining technology, many of the obsolete teaching methods can be extinguished to bring in new ways to provide a deep understanding of the course content. It is quite a shame to be quite primitive, when Sri Lanka has a whopping average literacy rate of 92%. Applying such innovative methods could definitely do wonders for the Sri Lankan educational system.
In the contrary, the leaders of the country are often focused on less important issues. It seems like they are ignoring the great big elephant in the room. Thus, it is high time that Sri Lankan leaders give greater prominence to improving the educational system, rather than worrying about cashews and whatnot!