Technical education to meet global challenges

GLOBAL: The big challenges for higher education

technical education to meet global challenges

GLOBAL: The big challenges for higher education 10 October . expand higher level professional and technical education to meet the needs for engineers. Issues and Challenges of Technical and Vocational Education & Training in Malaysia for Knowledge Worker Driven . TEVT sector to meet the demands of a high-income economy. . The global changes in technology. Australia's standing in the global vocational education and training market major challenges face vocational education and training providers in Australia and . New funding models and cost-shifting approaches are emerging to meet.

Therefore, the integration of technology into education should be accompanied by continuous reflection on the identifiable characteristics of technology as medium that is not value-neutral or a disembedded force.

To the contrary, technology is socially embedded and could be directly linked to other social developments and processes.

The article therefore wishes to highlight the social embeddedness of technology by stressing how it is intertwined with other social developments like economy. In order to utilise technology more effectively and in a responsible manner in education, the nature thereof as medium should be reflected on. In light of the discussion on the technology as a socially embedded medium, the possible challenges and opportunities that it poses as medium to education, are identified and discussed.

Specific reference is made on how theological education could benefit from educational technologies. Introduction The ongoing reflection on education and technology points to the diverse effect of technology on education. Therefore, this article will identify both possible challenges and opportunities that the integration of technology into education offers.

A reflection on both the challenges and opportunities offered by technology in an educational environment prevents that we over- or underestimate the value of technology in education. The primary aim of the article is to illustrate the complex nature of technology as medium. It is pivotal to understand the complex nature of technology in order to integrate it effectively and in a responsible manner into quality education.

Building on the argument that technology is not a tool, but rather a medium that is shaping culture today, a discussion on the social embeddedness of technology as one of its outstanding characteristics, is outlined in the first section.

technical education to meet global challenges

In the light of that discussion, the following challenges will be attended to: The complex nature of technology is introduced to dissect the possible implications for education. The impact of utilising technology in education differs from context to context and therefore specific reference is made to the implications in the South African context, followed by the opportunities technology offers with specific reference to theological education.

The nature of technology as a socially embedded medium Ascough In other words, an understanding of the nature of the medium is required before designing it as educational environment.

In line with this argument of having an understanding of the medium, Hess It should instead entail several culture questions. Technology as medium is understood as a source of meaning making Hess Although we tend to think about technology as devices gadgets like a phone, car or computer, representing material entities, Drees Infrastructure, like receivers and transmitters, is identified as a core element of technology as no technology could function without it.

Technology is also a social system referring to organisations that provide certain services. Skills are another dimension that are as important as hardware. Technology as attitude refers to an active attitude to analyse problems in order to find practical ways to address it. Lastly, technology is even more than these dimensions mentioned already because technology is also a culture Drees Understanding technology as culture is more encompassing than the other dimensions as it speaks to the complex process of technology as mirroring who we are identityour desires that guide our actions and our values that include our hopes and dreams.

The significant development of technology is deeply embedded and part of other social developments. Therefore, the relationship between technological and economic development is worth taking note of. In the words of Allenby and Sarewitz It requires a new social contract and moral vision prescribing to a society what is valuable and important Saravanamuthu The fact that information and communication are mediated through technology makes it very desirable and alternatives almost unthinkable.

Allenby and Sarewitz They understand the trans-human discourse as just another variety of the technological optimism and argues that 'The ambitions of the transhumanism is comprehensive, extending beyond health and longevity to radically enhanced intelligence, creativity, and emotional capabilities' Allenby and Sarewitz They also warn that we are increasingly blind to the world we are creating in which technology has a central role.

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They formulate the challenge as follows: In an attempt to give an indication of the complexity of technology and its social embeddedness, Allenby and Sarewitz The first level refers to the immediate effectiveness and functionality of technology.

It thus refers to the use of technology to accomplish a particular task, which is often done with high reliability - for example, an aircraft that could transport you from over extensive distances.

Level 2 entails the system complexity that often includes irrationality and dysfunction - for example, the pricing system and inefficiency of boarding and security process and delays. Despite the high prices of air tickets, airlines often become insolvent. Level 2 includes therefore many unintended consequences that are not predictable. Level 3, however, includes a phenomena called 'technology lock in', which occurs when economy and culture coalesce with technology systems around a particular way of doing something.

It is not claimed that these levels are necessarily clear and obvious, but it is an attempt to illustrate the different levels on which technology operates and the interdependence on other forms of technology and social economic policies, etc. It is therefore clear that technologies do not operate in isolation, but are intertwined with other social and cultural systems.

In the light of the importance to understand technology as medium specifically in the context of education, the following discussion will highlight certain characteristics and beliefs with regard to technology. Using technology is associated with the idea of keeping up with the times and pretends to be in step with a rapidly changing society and global environment.

Technological development is therefore singled out as the most important factor in initiating and expanding distance, online and blended learning, where the educational process is mainly facilitated by educational technologies. This he describes as the 'technological bluff' that creates the impression that there is almost nothing that is not possible with technology.

It is just a matter of time. This optimistic view of technology creates the ongoing need for the use thereof and is underpinned with the notion that technology is good and necessary.

technical education to meet global challenges

Chau based her thoughts and critique on the optimistic view of technology on the classic work of Postman Postman described the utopian view of technology with the term Technopoly: Those who feel most comfortable in Technopoly are those convinced that technical progress is humanity's supreme achievement and the instrument by which our most profound dilemmas may be solved.

They also believe that information is an unmixed blessing, which through its continued and uncontrolled production and dissemination offers increased freedom, creativity, and peace of mind. These assumptions concerning students are that they are intrinsically motivated enough to study on their own and in their own time and that face to face learning could be replicated in online education.

In the words of Verene However, he argues that information could be stored via technology, but construction of knowledge and especially a lecture, cannot be replicated online.

He describes a lecture as a live performance of a person thinking and the students thinking with the lecturer by taking notes and posing questions Verene Online education lacks the rhetorical presentation of a face-to-face lecture. Instead, online education reduces students to clients and consumers of information that is available worldwide and decontextualises contents to information that assumes one size fits all Verene He makes a distinction between 'the technical operation' and 'technical phenomena'.

The 'technical operation' refers to technology as a tool that could be used, while the 'technical phenomena' refers to how technology affects our way of thinking and being. The technical phenomena imply that it encompasses our dreams and vision of the future. It means that our expectation and hopes are fixed on what technology can achieve Verene In general, it seems that the improvements associated with online learning made possible by technology are overrated without little credence to what is lost in the process Sinclaire The commodification of knowledge and education The complex phenomenon of the commodification of knowledge could be described in different ways.

For that very reason, I do not claim to give a final and single understanding thereof. I found Radder's Furthermore, academic commodification is not standing loose from other social developments but is deeply embedded within and part of that. Academic commodification implies further that academic activities and its results are mainly interpreted and assessed with economic criteria. Decreased governmental funding according to Radder In social science, for instance, the commodification of research will take the form of contract research.

These practices became accepted as common practice at universities and will therefore receive lesser and lesser questioning and scrutiny. Education will therefore be increasingly geared towards the market rather than the citizen Radder He explains it implies that education systems make use of market principles and practices.

Furthermore, these neo-liberal agenda are instructive of nature and that is one of the main critiques that Amory has against the current education system where technology is central. While technological development is rapidly taking place, teaching, learning and assessment practices have not necessarily changed.

The article will refer to two forms of how technology is utilised in education at universities, namely online education and a blended learning model. Online education that is mainly facilitated by technology becomes a long-term strategy for instruction in higher education in order to survive in an uncertain future and competitive market, resulting in training centres instead of places of learning Chau Although online education is often viewed as the answer in providing access and flexibility in education, it is not always valued in the same way than residential training Chau An even more surprising finding was that institutions are less likely to accept candidates with an online degree into their degree programmes.

Blended learning is the educational model utilised by more and more residential universities. Blended learning can be understood as a mixture between face-to-face classroom activities and online technology learning activities Zhonggen This combination of online and classroom activities, however, is not as simple as it may seem for both students and educators.

This combination assumes the successful or effective blending of learning and teaching to enhance face-to-face education and reaching learning outcomes. Many factors play a role in the effectiveness of blended learning as educational model, namely the learning context, characteristic of student population, the mission of the institution, responsiveness of faculties, availability of resources, etc.

One of the biggest challenges with regard to effective implementation of blended learning as educational model is the unwillingness to change at an institutional level Zhonggen Despite its popularity, blended learning still presents different challenges that cannot be ignored, like reluctance on the part of institutions to undertake major modifications. Furthermore, blended learning could imply loss of finance and time because there seems to be a weak correlation between this educational model and student's success or persistence.

Technology and education: Challenges and opportunities

Students' passive participation is another challenge Zhonggen Amory is much more critical of blended learning and argues that it is a term used to redeem money unwisely spent on a compromise position, as well as an attempt to save face. In this process, technology is not a tool that supports knowledge construction, but rather the object of the learning. Technology as a driving force behind the commodification of education Words like knowledge economy and information economy are part of our everyday vocabulary and underline the connection between economy and education today.

One way of explaining this connection is by understanding the driving force behind technological developments and the use thereof with the ideology of capitalism.

technical education to meet global challenges

A report from the World Bank The rapid changing needs and demands for skilled workers are an integral part of the knowledge-based economy, and therefore, this report argues for lifelong learning. By implementing these reforms, countries can ensure that all children and young people, especially the disadvantaged, receive the good quality education they need to realize their potential and lead fulfilling lives.

The challenge is even greater for other levels of education. Thus, countries need to activate policies that begin to address the vast shortfall.

technical education to meet global challenges

At this primary school in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, there are learners in one class. Eva-Lotta Jansson 2 Attract the best candidates to teaching It is important for all children to have teachers with at least a good secondary-level qualification. Therefore, governments should invest in improving access to quality secondary education to enlarge the pool of good teacher candidates.

technical education to meet global challenges

Policy-makers need to focus their attention on hiring and training teachers from under-represented groups, such as ethnic minorities. A sense of vocation: Before teachers enter the classroom, they should undergo good quality pre-service teacher education programmes and they need ongoing training so as to develop and strengthen their teaching skills and adapt to changes such as new curriculum.

Hadiza is a teacher in Maradi, Niger. I was trained in 45 days and then started my career as a teacher. When I started teaching I quickly understood that the training I received was not sufficient for me to teach well.

There are many challenges in teaching and I think without good capacities and some experience we are not able to handle the challenges. Hadiza teaching in Maradi, Niger.

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Policy-makers should thus make sure teacher educators are trained and have adequate exposure to the classroom learning requirements facing those teaching in difficult circumstances.

To enable newly qualified teachers to translate teaching knowledge into activities that improve learning for all children, policy-makers should provide for trained mentors to help them achieve this transition. Marianne is a teacher coach at a primary school in Alexandra township, Johannesburg. Critical in that we give guidance and problem solve with the teachers.

And friend because we build up trust. And sometimes we are a disciplinarian, in a nice way. Eva-Lotta Jansson 5 Get teachers to where they are needed most Governments need to ensure that the best teachers are not only recruited and trained, but also deployed to the areas where they are most needed.

Adequate compensation, bonus pay, good housing and support in the form of professional development opportunities should be used to encourage trained teachers to accept positions in rural or disadvantaged areas.

Local recruitment can also ensure that quality teachers reach children in remote areas. Terezinha, a 5th year teacher at a school in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said: So teachers need an extra encouragement. Eduardo Martino 6 Use a competitive career and pay structure to retain the best teachers Governments should ensure that teachers earn at least enough to lift their families above the poverty line and make their pay competitive with comparable professions.

An attractive career and pay structure should be used as an incentive for all teachers to improve their performance. These incentives can also be used to recognize and reward teachers in remote areas and those who support the learning of disadvantaged children.