On a rainy Monday morning, when the weather is absolutely the best for sleeping in, the student makes his way to school. As the results of sleeping late last night combine with Monday blues sets in, the student tries his best to stay focused on the lesson when it begins. To his dismay, the dry nature of the subject results in far more effort being put in to focus one’s attention rather than trying to understand the lesson, and eventually, eyelids getting heavy, the student falls asleep.
While perhaps a little exaggerated, the reality of this situation would like hit home for most students. Lessons have traditionally been conducted in such a manner that one’s attention would likely be anywhere but on the subject material after about ten minutes of a lecture on a dry topic.Technology has advances to address this particular issue. Innovations like the Microsoft Lightspace, Microsoft Surface, and even tablet PCs have served to enchance one’s learning experience. To quote Paul Rose of the BBC,
‘Those classrooms were not for me: overheated, incomprehensible and dull lessons.’
Presenter (BBC), explorer, naturalist
Forms of electronically supported learning and teaching, otherwise known as e-learning, can enhance learning in today’s society due to the pervasiveness of technology in our modern society, and the interactivity it offers students. That being said, the younger generation would be more technologically inclined, and thus feel more comfortable working with familiar technology. The Singapore Armed Forces would be a good example of this phenomenon. In 2010, the SAF issued laptops to new recruits, replacing the traditional lectures on military matters with the online platform Learnet. More recently, apparently keeping up with the trend, recruits will be issued with the, *drumroll*, much coveted iPad 2, which the SAF has placed an order for 8000 due in November later this year.
Yes,traditional teaching methods are slowly being phased out in favor of e-learning. In the classroom, one can think of how a tablet PC can help. Heavy, cumbersome bags have been the hallmark of a student for as long as we can remember, while forgetting textbooks earns us a severe tongue-lashing. Should traditional books be replaced by tablet PCs, we can have all our textbooks in ebook form in one convenient place. Aside from eliminating back busting loads, it lessens the chances of us forgetting a book and also drives down costs, as an ebook is usually the fraction of the price of a physical copy. With devices like the Kindle Fire being introduced at attractive prices, it would no doubt be a draw for teachers and students alike.
More importantly, e-learning devices can help learning transcend physical boundaries. They are able to provide visual aids or programs that help immerse the student into the subject matter for a clearer understanding. For instance, a professor teaching history can use programs like Second Life to create a virtual tour of how an ancient civilization would look like, allowing students to actually interact with their course material rather than simply hearing about it. Similarly, innovations like the Microsoft Lightspace and Surface allows for whole new ways of learning that would definitely appeal to the more technologically inclined youths of today. Instead of passive learning, e-learning encourages more participation, and with many students all at once!
A fun and enjoyable lesson is more likely to allow the information to stick, rather than the traditional methods that inevitably becomes drab when it comes to the drier material of the syllabus. With innovations like these, learning in the near future would likely be an entirely different process from today.