Education is getting out of the boundary of classroom-based learning towards a freer access to knowledge at anytime and anywhere in the world. In the last few years, specifically not more than a decade, Bangladesh education has been passing a tremendous era of metamorphosis—from analogue to digital. And, in this respect, digital education technology, popularly known as EdTech, is contributing with its immense benefits to the Bangladesh education sector. This transformation is definitely explicit, but immensely uninvestigated, unregulated and often unauthorised. Bangladesh still remains in a state where nobody knows how to deal with the new age education technology to achieve greater benefits and reduce the negative impacts posed by it.
New pedagogy, new institution?New media has become modern-day teacher, and cyberspace has become the educational institution. Traditional model of education was having a tripartite relation between three key actors to date: student as learner, teacher as educator, and institution as teaching center. The ‘dying’ interactive and interdependent relationship is gradually loosening due to the intervention of the magnificent new age education technologies. How exactly? Traditional education requires tutor who at first get himself/herself educated from an institution by teachers, and then himself/herself become tutor and provide the education to his disciples. The whole act used to take place in educational institutes: school, college, or university.
But, the former practices of pedagogy have been changed remarkably worldwide with the accommodation of new learning and teaching method in education sector. Learners are nowadays more involved in machine learning: mobile learning or m-learning, Internet-based self-tutoring, cyber-communication and online schooling, etc. These techniques do not necessarily require a particular space to sit or gather; this idea denies educational institutes. Besides, millions of free knowledge sources significantly reduce the importance of ‘guru’ in deriving knowledge. Rather, the Internet websites and online knowledge repositories as virtual teacher substitute the physical one.
Regular invention of Bengali digital education technologies, to some extent, is shifting everyday lives’ practices of education on Bengali language. The Bengali computer and android keyboards: Bijoy, Avro, Ridmik and more have transformed how we write in Bengali language with Bengali fonts. The upgrade of Bengali translation method is ongoing. Hopefully, the development and success on Bengali voice recognition programme like Siri in Apple and Cortana in Windows will also flourish soon. In the meantime, a group of SUST programmers are developing machine-generated “Rabindranath Tagore”! Thousands of Bengali websites have been launched and are launching every single day those are full of information. Each EdTech provides immense source and access of information—some are authorized and some are not. Digital information or ‘diginformation’ can be a severe threat if those are not cross-checked, true, and filtered.
Unregulated information cause problem in constructing proper and effective knowledge which suits the individuals. The persons, who tend to become polymath, often grasp information without judging properly. Luciano Floridi in his most celebrated 2011 book “The Philosophy of Information” discusses on an opposite version of information that is called ‘disinformation’. He identified few criteria of what an ideal disinformation should have: disinformation is the deliberate dissemination of false information and the disseminator is aware about it; and disinformation is caused for achieving particular interest. The sharp dissimilarity of disinformation with misinformation is the later one is merely caused due to knowledge gap. In digital education, it is tough to differentiate whether the information is right or wrong.
Digital education and new economyEvery revolution left its winner and loser, so do the AI as the so called “4th Industrial Revolution”. Education is becoming a complex process due to competition—firstly, with the AI and AI-assisted technologies, and secondly, the human competitors—to secure a job in rapid shrinking job market of the modern world. Based on this premise, it is easy to presume that rote tasks will disappear at first. For an instance, “in stock trading, 79% of market transactions are now performed by software, according to Frank Zhang of the Yale School of Management, reflecting the hope that machines will be able to identify patterns more effectively than a human could.” So, what will be the future of human job sectors?
Historically, it is true that every era provides with tremendous gifts those often force human to alter their previous nature. In 1760s, British society was revolutionized by machines and industries that put an end to many of the previous professions, new kind of jobs have emerged, and people employed themselves to those new jobs. Hopefully, the coming age AI-driven world will also provide significant number of new occupations. But, are we preparing our graduate students for the upcoming job markets? Probably not. In Bangladesh public universities, old age formula education is still ongoing. In fact, proper research-less, unproductive, non-innovative, weak theoretical knowledge are subverting the latent talents lies within the students covertly.
Education is about four fundamental tasks: (a) the construction of knowledge; (b) the assimilation of knowledge; (c) the transmission of knowledge; and (d) the operationalization of knowledge. Tech savvy graduates would get preference in upcoming job sectors as digitalism is making the future. Bangladesh universities are far behind to compete with the global market only because of improper and impeded digital education in educational institutions: from primary to higher education. The progress seems slow in adapting new age educational technologies, and somehow pedagogies are very much traditional still now; some institutions are exception in this respect. With embracing the benefits from EdTech, education sector can boost its speed toward an effective ‘learning & teaching’ process.
The writer is a Digital Sociologist, currently working as an Executive Editor at Advanced Services for the People’s Economy, Culture and Technology (ASPECT) Trust. Email: [email protected]