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Sunday, December 5, 2021

No Time to be Technologically Handicapped

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Zareen Afridi
See the world through my lens

One cannot be technologically handicapped during these times when the world has moved online. Being tech-savvy has become one of the most predominant features if one wishes to survive in today’s techno-gorilla time. This comes as a notice to those who always flinched from technology and touted it as advanced and modern and used to stick to the old ways. When the world has moved so fast and it is now understood that every work can be made online and done from home, it becomes highly likeable that the individual is familiar with the basic controls and uses of the smartphone, laptop or a desktop. 

The academics have moved online and the majority of the professors and teachers belonging to 50+ of age. It is understandable that they are the ones who have highly suffered. The newer generation of teachers and professors can adapt to technological advancement and can make do with their smartphones. Thus, making presentations, teaching online through live streaming, interface operating, Google classroom and the like becomes very easy. But those who were conditioned to the old ways of teaching, for them, operating a smartphone and laptop have become a major headache. It is seen in most cases that the senior teachers are struggling on how to teach their lecturers online. For those who have to teach through videos, even that is a struggle. 

Women teachers have to maintain a work-life balance since they are working from home and home chores demand their own attention. In the past few months, women are struggling to make the ends meet. Women with children especially have to fight a battle at home because the children themselves have their own online classes. Women are fighting a tough battle on both frontiers. 

Is learning really happening through online studies? 

Many students and teachers are of the opinion that learning is not really happening online. The proper environment that the classroom facilitates like the attendance system,  face to face interaction, gauging meaning through non-verbal communication etc. is not present in online mode. When it comes to online classes, it is only the screen that connects the students and teachers which is not very friendly. Also, attendance is considerably low when it comes to online classes as compared to old school classes. 

The Thrill of exams is Gone

Both school and college-going students have confessed to resorting numerous cheating ways. The strictness in exams is non-existing and in the majority of cases, exams are not being conducted altogether. The students at school level are very comfortable in doing cheating by conference calling each other, by switching off the video and doing an open book exam, by taking the help of siblings or parents and many others. This makes it very easy for the students to achieve high marks in their exams without fully contributing to it. There is no point of hard work when cheating methods are available handy. Even teachers are aware of these practices and they cannot help it. 

At the college level, assignments and projects are being given to students for grading students. In the previous semester, students had been promoted on the basis of their assignments which more or less cannot replace the examination system. In many schools and colleges, students were promoted to the next level or class without any form of assessment at all. This takes away the thrill of giving examinations, preparing for it, late-night studies and discussions.  This has also made students laxer in their approach to learning and education. 

Wasting Away Precious Resource of Time

Many teachers and parents of students are of the opinion that this pandemic has proven to be a major time-waster for the students. We all were never prepared for this shutdown. Schools and universities were shut down in March of this year with a promise to ‘open shortly’ but till now in October, there is no sign of their opening. Also, it is not safe in the near future to open schools due to fear of contamination. All this spare time accounts for the most crucial learning time for the school and college-going students. Since they were not prepared for this extended time at home, that time is being given away to non-useful activities like binge-watching TV series or movies. Children are devoting excessive screen timing which is doing more harm than good. The learning time and mental energy is given away to these activities and massive time wastage is happening for students all over the world. Only a selected few of the students are doing online courses and using their time in productive activities. 

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