By: Anshika Agrawal
“Information is the main commodity in the present day knowledge society, and whoever has quick access to information, has the advantage.”
Digital Literacy means having the skills one need to live, learn, and work in a society where communication and access to information is increasingly through digital technologies like internet platforms, social media, and mobile devices.
It’s components are:
- Cultural and Social understanding
- Critical Thinking and Evaluation
- Functional Skills
- Ability to find and select information
In centuries past, people communicated via letters. This letter communicated via telegraphs. From there we advanced to the telephone, internet and then text messaging via phone.
Digital Literacy is one component of being a digital citizen- a person who is responsible for how they utilize technology to interact with the world around them.
Digital Technology allows people to interact and communicate with family and friends on a regular basis due to the “busy constraints” of today’s world. Nowadays students are able to use the internet to search and find text sources, videos and presentations they would like to learn about. Technology is a lovely asset to any classroom.
Technology provides us an opportunity to transform teaching and learning .Online courses can help to build the difference and enable students from remotest parts of the country to have access to have quality education at an affordable costs. Thus virtual classrooms will enable everyone once there is an internet connection. Online classes immensely help those who are unable to attend classes in person such as working professionals and homemakers. Not only it will enhance their skills but will also generate employment in the country. Various social networking sites have brought a drastic change in the method of learning. It has converted the boring lectures into an interesting game. Infact the children who are unable to go to school can learn digitally if they desire so.
The covid-19 pandemic has change sort of education landscape in the country. Advancement in technology has enable the students to continue studies in this pandemic. Virtual reality has become the new reality in today’s time. Even the offices have paved the way to home i.e. work from home. Every kind of work which was earlier being operated at work place is now being easily done at home. Though lots of people have also lost their jobs in this unforeseen situation due to many reasons. Schools, colleges have shut down without affecting the education of the learners. Teachers are imparting online lectures to students through various online platforms like Zoom app, Teams app, Google meet etc. Particularly the weaker students who were earlier supposed to follow all the instructions in one classroom now they are able to carry on their learning as per their requirement and convenience because everything is available online at a click of a button. Even the faculty members can record the lectures and conduct more sessions online for discussion purposes. People are now becoming much more adjusted to this new online mode of education.
There are various benefits of this medium, like
- Anywhere anytime learning
- Time saving as no need to travel
- Preserve energy
- Saves living costs for the people who live outside their cities for education, job, other purposes
- More family time
- Innovative way of learning
- Time saving as no need to travel
However every section of society is not familiar with this digital world. Some weak and backward society doesn’t have access to internet and related facility. They doesn’t have any electronic gadgets to avail such overwhelming opportunity. Even most of them have lack of knowledge in this regard. They can’t afford mobile phones, laptops etc for education of their children. Also the teachers were not prepared as they have never delivered any such thing online before. Biggest issue when we talk about online education specially in context with school education is the digital divide that is happening as there is no surety that every primary, medium or higher school is equipped with the necessary connectivity and digital devices in order to help the students in accessing the same. It will impact the learning outcomes of the children at the same level.
Similarly online education has impacted the mental as well as physical health of the people. As people doesn’t get enough time towards their health. It is affecting eyesight due to increase in screen time. Further increase in use of electronic media has upgraded the cost of maintenance and also depreciation.
Though various initiatives taken by the government for online education even pre pandemic includes SWAYAM platform for higher education created with objective of quality online education across institutions. Likewise the DIKSHA platform launched by CBSE for online school education as online lectures can be attended by students. Also the E-PATHSHALA initiative where all the textbooks were digitized and made available in electronic format. The NATIONAL DIGITAL LIBRARY initiated by IIT KHARAGPUR that made available books, journals, publications accessible in electronic format. Also the DTH CHANELLS which beam lectures across the country so that people who do not have access to computers or reliable e-connectivity so that they can also have classes and gain knowledge.
Therefore taking into cognizance of the present scenario of education in India some of the more tangible initiatives could be:
- Extension of existing e-learning platforms like DIKSHA and SWAYAM to provide teachers with user-friendly assistive tools like two-way audio and video for monitoring the progress of pupils.
- Provision of a new National Assessment Centre to design and implement new assessment frameworks that incorporate 21st century skills and many more.
However whether the use of television, radio for broadcasting educational programs will ever replace online classes and e-learning tools and provide the same quality of education to students who do not have access to smart phone or the internet is up for debate.