We have all reached a point in time where we no longer need to debate the importance of technology in education. It is now a universally accepted fact. However, we might agree that the intermixing happened sooner than expected, closely fueled by the coronavirus pandemic. Before we could make EdTech a more seamless experience; before we could equip all students and teachers with the skills necessary, the entire education system went online and not all aspects of virtual classrooms and homework are beneficial. Yet, there are obvious advantages and it is all about prioritising the good and minimising the bad.
Mixing technology with homework was inevitable. But can it really help students if we continue on the current path? Let’s find out.
Virtual homework is rarely monotonous
One of the top reasons why a few schools in Sonepat were already shifting to the virtual world is because it takes away the conventional sit-and-listen style of learning. The routine can be highly monotonous to students if they are to always listen to the teacher while both in school and at home. With virtual homework, students have the freedom to decide their pedagogy. They can choose the essay topic, the source from where they wish to collect information, discuss among peers over online medium and write on their own time.
Additionally, the virtual medium has more applications available to teach a particular concept. A student can wish to learn math or finish an assignment by playing a game or watching a YouTube tutorial rather than just depending on textbooks.
Learning soft skills along with concepts
The best school in Sonepat uses the virtual homework method to teach its students valuable soft skills. And the medium is effective too, given that the students themselves are largely responsible for their education. Time management is the first skill that students pick up readily. With no fixed routine or set timings for classes, students have the responsibility to manage their time to fit in online classes, virtual homework, extra-curricular activities and rest. The lack of constant supervision from teachers also helps to build accountability. Students can take it upon themselves to meet deadlines and maintain quality, thereby taking on responsibility.
Virtual homework can also teach critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and strategy. With the use of the right tools, schools can leverage technology’s benefits and fast-track skill development among students of all groups.
The lack of boundaries does not help
On the flip side, virtual homework and learning are increasingly diminishing the boundaries between school and home. The same room is now used by students to study, finish an assignment, read a book for leisure and sleep at night. The lack of boundaries affects education in some ways where students find it difficult to switch from one task to another. They either end up overworking or burnt out or underperform by not understanding when to do what. Technology still does not have an answer to creating fixed boundaries.
And then there is the infrastructural problem. Not all homes are equipped with high-speed internet and not all students have the luxury of owning a dedicated device. These, at times, create bottlenecks to learning and the purpose of homework gets lost.
Technology is meant to distract
This is a major disadvantage of mixing technology with homework. It is so easy to lose one’s way while watching a YouTube tutorial. The advertisements of enticing links are right there in between educational articles. For a young student to keep his/her focus on the homework at hand and ignore the constant bombardment of distractions is a herculean task. Students with virtual homework are prone to distractions than the group that finishes the assignment on pen and paper. The lure of social media adds to this predicament. The other world will always remain more attractive than studying.
Until we can have dedicated EdTech devices where all other distractions can be kept at bay, technology will remain distracting. Personal computers or mobile phones where exciting applications are just a few clicks away cannot always lead to effective learning.
Naturally, the top school in Sonepat does not rely too much on virtual homework. Even at a time when the pandemic took everything online, students needed some real-world learning material to effectively absorb their educational materials and acquire knowledge by using the best of both worlds. Swarnprastha Public School’s strategy to use technology has been along these lines where students get the benefit of EdTech without losing themselves in the drawbacks. Through careful online supervision and strategic virtual homework, SPS intermixed technology and homework in the right blend and helped students learn better before and throughout the pandemic. Technology, when used right, can do wonders and that is true for education as well.