Develpoment Education Learning

Paperless Education- The New Future of Learning?

Adapting to technology doesn’t necessarily mean inconveniencing oneself in the name of development. This is perhaps the biggest concern of educators all over the globe. The reluctance to adopt a paperless education method stems from multiple reasons; all of which might be justifiable. But the fact remains—technology was developed by humans to simplify tasks in their daily life. Therefore, paperless education is gaining popularity in the field of learning.

What is Paperless Education?

When one talks of paperless education, the direct ideas that pop in one’s mind are perhaps difficult to grade papers, a lack of practice of penmanship, and an overall reduction in the growth of aptitude. Old-school educators feel that if they let technology invade education like it has invaded other aspects of a human’s life, they’ll hamper learning. But is this fear valid? Let’s do what is done best in such daunting situations—create a Pros and Cons list!

Pros of Adapting Paperless Education

As an advocate of the healthy use of technology, paperless education is the revolution in education we urgently need to adapt. And the reasons for this urgency is listed below:

1. Going Paperless Means Easier Track of Learning

Paperless education makes tracking easier
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In every aspect of human life, we’ve let technology help us. Be it accounting, record keeping, data tracking, or any other tasks that were tedious as hell five decades ago. Nobody can deny the efficiency and accuracy it has granted us. Students deserve to learn through the same level of efficiency that the current era runs on.

Converting the system of learning, even gradually, to accommodate the paperless vision of education can mean that a great level of efficiency can be achieved. Just imagine the time, effort, and energy it is going to save if every essential teaching and learning resource, administration, execution, and feedback, come together through a systematic interface.

The quality of learning and education is dramatically going to improve, and the progress will be evident. Oh, one thing that perhaps is the biggest pro for teachers is that, with paperless education, no students can go on with the excuse that they forgot their homework back at home! (oops)

2. Efficiency in Cutting Costs and Reducing Staff Work Load

Bulks of copies of worksheets, assignments, heaps of books, references and sheets, and about any other resource that uses paper. Therefore, education requires money. These are regular in today’s learning system. But imagine reducing all that and storing it all in one single digital space. Calculate the amount of extra money and costs that would be cut down by making this simple transition for paperless education.

Paperless education makes teaching easier
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Teachers all over the globe have a singular common complaint. Too many students and too few teachers. The teachers have a tremendous workload and average pay. Now going paperless would significantly reduce the extra work that a teacher has to go through, like preparing copies, collecting assignments, etc. This undoubtedly would add to improved quality in learning, as the teachers would finally have time to focus on what’s important—imparting education.   

3. Promoting A Sustainable Learning Environment (My Favorite Pro Ngl)

Just think back to all the stacks of paper you’ve used in the past month for your schoolwork. Now multiply that to the thousands of students in your school and even more in your city. The amount of paper being used, printouts lying forgotten, assignments reviewed and stacked away, is a growing point of concern. The way we are moving forward is if we don’t work out a more sustainable mode of learning and of living, humans aren’t going to have much to live on with.

Going paperless will not only help you reduce your carbon footprint and do your bit for the environment, but it will also encourage students. Students who are leading towards a future where resources have already been plundered, and the need for sustainability will be at an all-time high.

4. Changing the Teacher-Student Dynamics (But in A Good Way)

Paperless education changes teach student dynamic
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A typical traditional classroom setup has been pretty similar for centuries. A professor or teacher or educator is leading the class, with students as attentive (and not so attentive) subjects. This system is religiously being followed to date, with some minuscule changes to it.

But gradually, as individuals and generations have grown, its effectiveness is seemingly reducing. The reason? The current generation doesn’t seem to thrive under the thumb of authority; they need the freedom and space to be expressive. For that reason, the teaching styles and patterns of teachers are gradually evolving.

Through paperless learning, a teacher wouldn’t necessarily have to be at the centre of the class. They can delegate students and at times, learn alongside them, as well. It can be visible that letting technology take over is not always a bad thing, especially if it assists in a more progressive style of receiving education.   

Cons of Going with Paperless Education

Everything that seems to have unbeatable pros do have a trail of cons that follow. How significant and difficult they are to work around, I’ll let you be the judge of it.

1. Affording the Conversion from Traditional to Paperless

In a lot of countries across the globe, classroom education has seen a significant improvement in terms of technology. The use of projectors, white screens, computers, and other electronic gadgets have been slowly yet gradually been introduced to the patterns of learning. But on the other hand, some do not have the funding necessary for going through such a major transformation. There are a vast majority of institutions in economically backward countries that have students who barely can afford books to study.

The polarization is extreme, I agree, but also necessary to consider. Unless extreme philanthropists are lurking around to sponsor millions of these kids with technology to go paperless, the paper would pretty much remain their medium to study. Sometimes, in our glory of privilege, we fail to acknowledge others who do not share similar opportunities as us. Therefore, to them, as titillating as paperless education sounds, it can’t be a possible reality.

2. Making Your Brain Lazy by Taking Too Much Help from Technology

Oh, if it isn’t the favourite argument by almost every boomer educationist out there—too much dependency on technology has made your brain lazy. They aren’t wrong on that aspect, are they? This is the same brain that used to memorize phone numbers a few times after dialling them. We were experts at roads and directions because Google Maps wasn’t an alternative in case we got lost. So now that we study ourselves, we cannot deny the fact that we indeed are turning into comfort-loving beings that dumps all the hard work on technology.

Now, in such times, the only solace was the training our brains get in the formative schooling years. Through vigorous learning and practising everything in real-time, at least in the developmental stage, students are learning to exercise their brains. With dependency on technology, we won’t have even that.      

3. Constant Need of Active and Dedicated Tech Staff in Institutions

This one’s a no-brainer. If you need to smoothly work out day-to-day school interactions with paperless education, then your altercations with technology will be a lot. The resolution of most technical errors requires the help of some qualified IT professionals. This means hiring full-time staff dedicated to handling the technology in the school. At present, most schools that have ‘smart classes’ (a projector, computer, and a screen) might have someone on the payroll to ensure that the tech is up-to-date.

Can hamper learning if tech fails
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But when transforming into an entirely paperless system of education, dependency on this technology increases tenfold. This means that if for any reason the tech fails, it will hamper the learning for an entire day. To avoid that, technological reinforcements are necessary, and that means more investment. It ultimately looks like a vicious loop.

Summing Up

Do the pros outweigh the cons? Or does paperless education have too many cons to consider it as a viable option? I’ll let you be the judge of that. What I do know is that nothing is constant, especially the world around us. Education will keep progressing and the methods of learning will evolve. How we take up to that change and adapt to it is the real question. Education essentially needs to be relevant for it to be effective for the coming generations. But the process of imbibing that relevancy needs to be easy and accessible with a wide variety of communities, cultures, and people. And that is something that shall be the defining factor for the quest for paperless education.

Develpoment Education General

Technology with Education: How Can It Help?

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Education has always been seen as a process of gaining knowledge, and a process of divulging knowledge by those who have the qualifications to do so. In a simplistic model of learning, the teacher masters the class, with whatever they know being passed on to the students. Years of this methodology being applied to schools and institutions have no doubt been doing the work of grooming millions of students.

But over the years, it has been realized that students need a very different kind of exposure to develop their own sense of thinking and understanding. Enclosing them within the supervision of a few sets of teachers felt limiting, despite the fact that those teachers no doubt have their own sets of skills and knowledge to share. Technology implemented in education felt like a renewed energy, pumped into the batch of students, for whom, the scope of learning turned limitless.

Why do educators and learners both so readily accept technology with education? The answer is simple, technology has always worked best as an assistant. It never had as much power to completely take over (yet), nor has it been stubbornly cast aside. This gradual acceptance and balance of technology with education has made the process of integration look so seamless.

Technology with Education Helps in Widening Reach

Globalization, at this point in time, isn’t a new phenomenon. The world is connecting together through (yep, you guessed it right) technology! Technology is responsible for eliminating factors like distance, culture, language, or any other probable reasons that were responsible for dividing humans globally. Thus, it is obvious that education benefits greatly from Globalization.

Technology with education helps widen the reach
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Globalization has become supremely easy through technology. And so, has been education. A wide array of ideas, thoughts, and schools of learning come together on the global platform. The kind of learning today’s generation is receiving will lead to wonders for the future. The simple reason for this is the inclusivity of the entire species. With the above-mentioned barriers removed, it became quite easy to realize how similar people from different parts of the world were.

Education needed this kind of exposure for students to get the best out of it. Technology has given us access to so many different parts of the world. No doubt traditionalists believe that technology does more harm than good. However, modern educators permit laptops and smartphones in classrooms in hopes of making learning easier for students.

But some browsers do have gritty games on mute or some random social media site like Instagram open. But is this distraction a new occurrence due to the intervention of technology? Certainly not. People with a purpose to learn, will do so, and make the best possible use of resources available to them. Likewise, those who seek out distractions, will find it and have been finding it, even with the lack of any sort of technology.    

Technology Helps in Tapering Costs

Technology helps reduce education costs
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In the past, the only way of learning skills and getting an education was by attending schools and colleges. Attending these institutions required money, which some had and others didn’t. Just bear in mind the access to education that technology has given to those who are unable to source money for it.

No doubt some might argue, investing in technology is expensive. But just think about it this way, a majority of the people in today’s time own smartphones, which I might add is mostly a one-time investment. These smartphones alone can assist in learning for those who genuinely want to do it. These kinds of alternatives weren’t available for people belonging to the generation of no technological developments.

So, with relatively low costs, students get access to learning, and that in itself is the biggest win of technology. People invest millions of dollars in student loans. Technology reduces these costs by encouraging smart planning and taking up online courses and certificate courses to cut up costs where possible. Even earning remotely while studying is possible only through technology. It is impossible to imagine education (or life to be honest) without the influx of technology in it.

Technology with Education- Reversing Learning Roles

A recent article I read from Purdue University brought to light something very interesting—a phenomenon rampant in the education system for hundreds of centuries. Notice this painting above. It is a 14th-century illustration by Laurentius De Voltolina that portrays the School of Bologna, a University in medieval Italy. Imagine, a 14th-century depiction of a classroom resembles so much to that of the 21st century.

The educator or teacher is standing in the middle of a podium, addressing the classroom. Students sit below, surrounding the podium. Some with open books, keenly listening and some not so much. One is dozing off on the side, and a few are gossiping at the back.

This model of learning can be best titled as ‘sage on the stage,’ with the educator literally taking over the class to share his knowledge. The students are expected to soak it in sit as an audience to a ‘one wo/man show.’ With technology, students and teachers both can sit back and let the computers take over. With the coining of the term ‘guide on the side,’ technology has certainly reversed roles in learning.   

Summing Up

Technology with education
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Technology with Education is the best duo ever. Both support each other to grow and together become the best source for a student to learn, irrespective of their age, gender, or nationality. In the times of a pandemic, where continuing education was literally impossible, technology made it happen. Wasting two precious years of a student’s life would’ve been tragic. It was progressive to invest it in a slightly different yet easy to adapt the mode of online learning. This pandemic, if nothing else, is the best indicator of how technology has helped revive a system of learning, which might have gone stale in the coming decades.

Too much technology, with uncensored use, might be a problem. But that is something the educators can certainly supervise over. The goal of technology with education is not to classify any type of teaching as superior or inferior. It simply is present to assist in education in any way possible. Humans are developing technology to make their lives easier. And with respect to education, that will be its sole purpose too.