Moodle in Elementary Education

Education and Technology

One of the symptoms of our society and an outcome of our education system is that there is a disconnect between what we define as “content” and what we see as “technology”. We all grow up to believe that the creation of new knowledge, ideas and thoughts is the real work (somehow bereft of technology) while technology is not something we need to know or do. As a result of this, the ordinary “educated” citizen (now completely dependent on technology for his day to day life) has to call a technician to set his router right so he can enjoy the internet. While processing speed, bandwidth and spectrum affect us every minute – most of us do not bother learning or understanding what this means. If asked what the internet is or how it works, an average 16 year old city kid fumbles and lets out a few incoherent lines. Even a student of computer science is more often than not unable to explain in a straight and simple manner how the internet works.

Lets forget about 'digital technology', most people do not know how electricity is generated or what the different between AC and DC power is. Therefore we are largely a society scared of technology forcing us to become merely users and not producers of it. This thinking is perpetuated in education, where because of the lack of knowledge and an inability to actually understand what technology is offering today, we deny technology in education. Its like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Moreover, people believe that technology in education means watching a few videos online! This is far from the truth.

Technology in education is empowering, collaborative, democratic and equitable. The reason we believe in technology in education is because the modern digital world gives us the power to live the values that we can normally only dream or speak of. Lets look at what these values are:

1. Knowledge is open for everyone to access. Knowledge building is participatory and collaborative. We have moved away from a world where knowledge was accessible and built only by a few and then given away to many. We are now in a world of knowledge buidling by many for many. This democratisation is empowering. Students across the world, irrespective of their background must have access to this world and realise their role in knowledge building and thereby changing society.

2. Technology breaks barriers of who is the learner and who is being taught radically altering the education paradigm. In a virtual learning environment, peer learning and collaboration are encouraged and teachers become learners. There is respect for an individual learner and students can progress at their own pace.

3. Non Linear and Interdisciplinary Learning Technology allows us to look at life as it actually is rather than from compartments of geography or mathematics. Virtual learning spaces rely upon layers of information and a student can experience learning across disciplines at the breadth and depth of a level she is comfortable with. For instance, a digitised course on history allows you to learn folkore, geography and science at the same time because of its design and technology.

These ideas are only the beginning.

A Learning Management System like Moodle allows you to practise these values.