Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 5 - e-learning

Back in my secondary school days, because of the SARS outbreak, we had compulsory e-learning weeks to prepare teachers and students alike for emergencies that requires everyone to stay home. E-learning back then was bittersweet. The sweet side of it was that night birds like me don't have to wake up insanely early for school and can work at night. The bitter side of it was that teachers would pile loads of work on us and the host site had really poor animation with an unrealistic monotonous voice.

Now, five years later, the digital classroom looks very different. There is increased interactivity between the teacher and the students and between students to students. Students are able to talk to each other while not having to be physically there. There is instant interactivity where students can attend while teachers conduct their lessons in real time.

In the future, as technology continues to advance, students and teachers can enjoy augmented reality where it is almost the same as being physically present, open communication amidst everyone in the digital classroom, and live audio communication. Additionally, there is prevalence in free university courses. One of the largest platforms for that is through iTunes U. Students can also take on avatars to increase interactivity and even include body language and facial expressions that has always been the bane of mediated communications.

Tablets and laptops are now a common item for everyone so assessing into digital classrooms has become very accessible. Microsoft has innovated a surface technology where glass can become the new screen - imagine being able to complete your test on your mirror while brushing your teeth. The future of learning is where students and teachers are able to have instant and real time interaction wherever they are and being able to access international resources for new knowledge and expertise.

eLearning could become very successful in the long term, and hopefully this could reach the third world countries because they need it more than we do. Accessibility to schools is tough because of the poor infrastructure and transport to and fro their homes to schools. If free courses could be provided to us, what more to the children in poverty-stricken countries!

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