Educational technology merges humanities and technology to not only create new learning experiences but to increase accessibility to modern education. It is no wonder therefore that EdTech has swept across the world.
Up-to-date computer labs or classroom desk-based computer devices are the norms in City Schools and in all modern schools these days. Their students feel completely at home with computer technology and invariably they are keen to increase their knowledge and skills with this major change in educational institutions.
It is unsurprising therefore that the CityTech2023 conference was a resounding success.
Held on March 18, 2023, at The City School PAF Chapter, Karachi, the conference highlighted the impact of technology on education and brought together educators, technologists, and industry leaders to discuss their knowledge and insights into how technology is gradually transforming education.
However, is the ever-expanding and, for the developers, financially highly profitable world of EdTech in today’s schools really all that rosy? The conference speakers overwhelmingly agreed that learning outcomes are what determine the success of the programs.
It is not the technology itself but the outcomes of technology that is the issue. Keynote speaker Dr. Kevin Martin, Centre Manager of Cambridge University’s ‘Digital Education Futures Initiative’ (DEFI) emphasized that unless relationships and dialogue are central to the learning process and experience, learning will not be as efficient as it should be.
Internationally, the recent covid crisis brought this out clearly.
A lack of infrastructure was not the only problem. If engagement and dialogue are missing, learning outcomes will be deficient. Dr. Martin went on to say that EdTech must be focused on quality transformational experiences; that teachers must be a part of the process of designing EdTech interventions, and teacher training must be teacher-centric to make training work for teachers.
Another keynote guest speaker, Mr. Rob Jamieson, Head of Partnerships at Pearsons School Qualifications, concurred: EdTech is “a servant, not a master”, he said. Teachers must be guided by their subject expertise and not be overwhelmed by the claims of individual programs.
Mr. Khan Kashif Khan, Director of Strategy and Operations at The City School Southern Region, when asked to share his vision and thoughts on EdTech said:
“Digital technology has made the entire educational process faster, more efficient, and more interactive than previously. Students are learning faster, staying engaged, and retaining more with well-made virtual lessons and they are enjoying entire individual and group projects so it’s no surprise that students learn faster.”
Mr. Khan, in common with all the conference speakers, advises schools to incorporate technology into their curriculum as a necessary step.
“It’s no longer a matter of choice but a crucial responsibility. The goal must be to prepare students for a world that is continuously changing, and technology is an essential component of that preparation. Without technology, students may not be equipped to handle the demands of the modern world which may leave them irrelevant.”
“Therefore, it is essential to make technology integration a priority and to continuously explore and incorporate new technologies to ensure that students are adequately prepared.”
The City School’s key strategy is to collaborate closely with major technology partners such as Microsoft and Google to develop solutions. The goal is to bring about a fundamental shift in the means of delivering education programs. In other words, the conference was not about imparting new skills but about driving a broader transformation in education.
The City School prioritizes ensuring that teachers and staff are properly trained and equipped to use technology effectively in their classrooms. Technology is not limited to just the ICT curriculum but covers every aspect of teaching and learning. Therefore, all teachers and staff are exposed to it, regardless of their subject area.
Additionally, The City School invests in its infrastructure to make technology easy to use, which means that teachers don’t need to be ICT experts. Instead, an enabling environment is provided that makes it straightforward to integrate technology into their teaching.
Quoting Jack Ma, Mr Jamieson said that we are step by step moving from knowledge-based education to computer-based education.