The Future of Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

Mind the gap – bridging the digital gap through education

Abaida Mahmood, Qurban & Surraya Educational Trust (Pakistan)

Abstract

We exist in an age of great technological change. Within the space of just a few generations we have gone from horse drawn carriages to exploring the outer reaches of our solar system and from manual printing presses & physical libraries to desktop publishing and the World Wide Web. The increasing pace of technological evolution brings with it many gifts, but also poses challenges never-before-faced by humanity. These challenges have brought in the digital generation gap.

The digital generation gap presents a major challenge to our civilization. In particular because of the effect this has on education — both informal education that takes place at home and in communities, and formal education that takes place in school settings. The tools that teachers grew up with and now teach with are not the same tools that the students of today are using today to learn and communicate with.

We are witnessing 3 generation digital divides. Our parents- the baby Boomers grew up before the advent of any of these technologies, they lived in a world with physical materials and physical information media like printed books and newspapers. This world was similar to the world of their parents and grandparents despite industrialization. The major transition that they experienced was from a world of manual labour to one of increasing automation.

Our generation- the Boomer’s children, people in their 30’s and 40’s today were born into a civilization where computers had already taken hold in government and industry and they witnessed the birth of waves of increasingly powerful, inexpensive and portable personal computers, the Internet, and the Web.

Our children and youth of today —the digital generation are growing up in a world that is primarily focused around mobile devices and applications. They are no longer concerned with building bridges with the industrial world of their parents and grandparents, they are comfortable with their digital culture. Activities like shopping, business, education, almost everything we do as humans is taking place online and via mobile devices.

Each generation is using a different platform of technology and is out of touch with the means of production and consumption of the other generations.Transmission of knowledge, traditions & cultural norms is not operating like it used to.

This paper examines how technology is shaping the future of education and raises several questions like: How will the digital generation acquire the skills to interact with older people and into the workplace? How will the educational institutions adapt to our digital generation? And most of all how can our education systems help our digital generation to remain human?

We as educators need to be vigilant in transforming the learning environments because we not only want an ingenious generation but one who can also uphold morals and values that will enable them to live in harmony with the rest of the world.

 

 

 

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