A very interesting component of PIDP 3100 is web conferencing with a learning partner in which there is opportunity to interact with a fellow student and thanks to the advancement in information technology, we are able to communicate our ideas and feelings in a face-to-face mode which makes the experience more closer to life over other modes of communication such as email and telephones. Skype is a wonderful online platform which I have successfully used in the past to communicate with my brother living in another part of the globe, my parents when they are away from me , my friends and, in the recent past my course instructor Glenn Galy Sir when he gave me useful insights into the course. So I was thrilled and was looking forward eagerly to meet my learning partner Melissa in a face-to-face mode. But this time it gave us the joy of that in person communication marginally as the voice component in one of our computer devices was missing. So we combined it with the second mode of communication viz. the mobile phone whereby we used Skype for the visual experience and mobile for the audio one. But nevertheless, it was a unique experience which thrilled and benefited us equally as we had managed ‘face-to-face communication’ in a very interesting manner. And of course, both of us took away valuable insights from this discussion.
Our conversation was focused upon the latest trends in education and the consequent role of the teacher midst that scenario. Since Melissa and I come from different parts of the world viz. a developed nation Canada and the developing nation India, our perceptions and experiences about the extent of use of technology in education were also reasonably different. Melissa has seen the prevalence of technology in educational field tremendously and she enlightened me about the surplus use of technological applications for academic purposes both at the school and post secondary level here. I was elated to learn from her the extent of use of technology for educational purposes in Canada. Though I also have made ample use of the tremendous benefits of technology in the colleges and universities where I studied as well as the college where I taught, but the schools in rural area where we take teacher trainee students for teaching practice, it is almost missing with marginal presence of even the basic amenities to teach students. And many times some of our students come from disadvantaged socioeconomic background where they do not have access to latest tools of technology. Also on reviewing the educational scenario worldwide, we find that in many parts of world, a large proportion of learners still do not have access to the latest tools of communication. This made us reflect deeply upon the two sides of the coin. While on one hand, technology is playing a revolutionary role in mass education of the learners allowing them flexibility of space as well time thus making it obligatory for us teachers to tap it properly for the academic advancement of our learners. But on the other end, as educators we have to ensure equitable access of educational facilities by our diverse range of learners and have to very prudently consider that such technological tools may not be creating a learning gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Our role as an educator is to reach out to maximum number of our learners in the ‘best possible’ manner. Thus we have to adapt our teaching learning strategies according to the needs of our learners and have to be prepared to do our best in whichever manner desired.