Digital vs Traditional Education

– Zenia Zuraiq, II B.Sc. Physics

From Khan Academy to Crash Course, the internet and more importantly, digital video has helped us in many avenues – the most important of them being education. Today, with the scope of the internet and the ensuing interconnectedness expanding at rates beyond our control, we find ourselves being bombarded with information from all directions. But we haven’t taken stock of how exactly this has affected our education and how we learn things.

To start with, we do have a lot of important positives that come from the internet’s ubiquity. Anyone is able to access anything. The internet simplifies the problem of access. It is also way more cost-effective when compared to traditional forms of media. People from all corners of the world are connected today. Anyone can learn anything. On the other side of the coin, anyone can teach anything. Platforms like YouTube and their free digital streaming ensures that anyone with a steady internet connection could be a teacher. Videos of people scratching away differentials and integrals on plain chart paper get millions of views.

So what does this mean for the ordinary teacher? Has the teaching profession been taken over by a bunch of kids with video cameras? Most people would agree however HQ that YouTube video may be, it simply cannot recreate a classroom experience for us. And therein lies an important factor: the teacher’s job is not simply to fill your heads with information. There is something more, something implicit, that a computer is unable to fulfil.

It is no secret that man is a social animal. The connections we make with our teachers are more than just forced bonds or circumstance. This is why the threat of digital education seems to loom rather feebly in the background of today’s society. That is not to say that the concept of digital learning should be shunned entirely. In fact, our real-life teachers could probably take some pointers from these digital helpers. The digital method works well because of its personalisation. Students respond to personal attention.

Technology is slowly making its way to our classrooms today, in the form of presentations, smart classes etc. This integration helps students get the best of both their digital and real-life teachers. Today teachers are more than just lecturers – they bridge the gap between the student and the subject; they co-ordinate the learning. At the end of the day, learning can only benefit from the wide and varied methods we use. Different people respond differently to certain avenues of information. What matters most is the inclusiveness and responsiveness to the students to the different avenues mentioned.

Thank you to all the teachers who continue to support us, digital or otherwise!

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