Linking literacy to technology (discussion week 8)

The pace of technology in the educational field is quick and unstoppable; this situation has been partly predetermined by the overall technological progress, and is partly explained by the growing access to distance education for those who work full-time, raise children, or study at the day courses in some educational establishments. The modern technological advancements give teachers to access larger numbers of students simultaneously, holding webinars or web-conferences, establishing digital news-boards, blogs, or interactive classrooms in which all students are free to participate in the discussions, peer reviews, and assignment completion. This image of education is quite optimistic, especially taking into account the greater measure of accessibility for students and teachers, additional skills and opportunities given by online education, and the flexibility of studies.

However, the traditional instruction still has some indisputable advantages over online learning. Some students do not have a strong self-discipline, which makes them hurry completing assignments on the last day, thus losing the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of studies. In addition, the teacher can hardly require attentiveness and diligence from students he or she has never seen in person. Finally, people for whom the usage of innovative technologies is challenging may hardly have access to the online learning tools.

There is no doubt that distance learning continues to take over the traditional educational process for the sake of cost-efficiency, flexibility, and increased access. It is highly probable that 50% of education will be conducted online by 2019. However, the situation may change rapidly once students and teachers realize the value of personal communication during lectures and seminars, the teachers’ ability to pass their own experience and emotions. There is no doubt that traditional, in-class education provides much better learning outcomes, and the transition to digital forms of learning is a necessity for people who cannot afford attending classrooms. In addition, the schools responsible for providing online education are not likely to obtain the range of tools, devices, and skilled staff able to provide high-quality online learning to a half of the students worldwide; hence, the perspective of quick and overall transition to online learning is still doubtable, even under the conditions of rapid digitization of all services and activities.