Beyond Traditional Classrooms

Computer is no longer a luxury, but a new educational necessity, as important as books, libraries and labs

The past two decades have seen vast changes in the world of information technology (IT). The growth of IT has led to the fast development of multimedia in its various forms and phases.

Computer revolution of the 80s, driven by PCs, moved on to multimedia and today it has gone to a higher level of clouds, transforming the world of computing and creating a huge impact on those who depend on information for survival as well as growth.

Multimedia is composed of integrated digital media with the capability of creating desktop videos, incorporating narration and other audio effects, visual simulations and animations to enhance users’ learning experience.IBM’s Vice President Mike Braun aptly describes multimedia as “a revolution in personalisation that combines the audio visual power of television, the publishing power of the printing press and the interactive power of the computer“.

Tech innovations have positively impacted the world of education. The use of technology in education started in the eighties. Right from the classroom lectures, text books to computers, internet and laptops, tech has transformed the world of education the world over. Looking back over the last decade, who could have imagined the impact of digital media. The web world of internet simply unleashed limitless possibilities in research, education and technology providing more and more avenues for learning.

We are experiencing a scientific information explosion of unprecedented nature.Today, scientists and engineers use computers to access thousands of rapidlygrowing data bases that store numbers, words, maps, chemical and physical structures and these are researched many thousands times in a year. The base of scientific knowledge today is unimaginably gigantic. Not only is the volume of new information large, but rapid changes in many fields are making learnt skills and knowledge obsolete faster. Knowledge is continuously modified and basic concepts and theories revised. New theories emerge as new discoveries and offer new ways of looking at the data.

Herbert Simon, Nobel laureate, observed that the developments in science and information processing technologies have changed the meaning of the verb, “to know“. It used to mean “having information stored in one’s memory“. It now means the process of having access to information and knowing how to use it.

Early use of computers in education was primarily found in mathematics, science and engineering as a mathematical problem-solving tool, that helped students to deal more directly with problems of a type and size most likely to be encountered in the real world.

Modern communications systems such as radio, film, television and computers created an information-rich society where schools no longer remain the only centre of information and learning leading to the new emerging educational technologies that have become an important catalyst in higher education. James Kulik at the University of Michigan, who performed a meta-analysis on several hundred well-controlled studies in a wide variety of fields at the elementary, secondary, higher level, found that computer-based education could increase scores from 10 to 20 percentile points and reduce time necessary to achieve goals by one-third and proved that computer-based technologies most certainly work.

Increasing advancements built intelligence into the tool, creating computeraided design and computeraided manufacturing in engineering that greatly empow ered students to achieve what professional engineers were able to accomplish using the traditional methods. It helped students focus on problem-solving and reasoning.