Someone asked Confucius:
- Master, how long do we have to wait for the change?
- If you wait, it will be long...
Education is a topic that is always current. Because of the changes that are expected to take place in this sector. How it should be changed is a question that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. Here are several opinions that were outlined during a discussion at the Bulgarian Academy of Science.
Industrial development and new technologies are a serious challenge for education, but they also give new tools for its change. The Internet opens up wide horizons, but it is also a threat for our intellect as it leads to distortions in thinking and habits. That is why the purpose of education is to provide adequate knowledge corresponding to the new forms of social development. Each technological novelty is met with caution and reserve.
The access to technologies
can also be a factor that creates inequality among people. It even gets to the moral and ethical norms and values, which young people will be taught. Digitalisation – yes, but we shouldn’t kill the simple human spirituality. Buying tablets is not a bad thing, but students also need musical instruments in order to encourage the development of musical culture. Through software products, they could improve their logical thinking and their language skills. Special attention should be paid to the training of teachers. The state should be aware of the priority development of certain industries in the future in order to prepare staff for them, because training doesn’t happen in a month or two, but takes years, Academician Kiril Boyanov believes.
Education is not a one-way process and generations have to find common ground, to adjust, looking the new realities in the eye. Digital transformation continues and education technologies have to change fast.
It is time for innovative models
and teaching methods; for applying the research approach in education. Funding should also be taken into account as change requires considerable resources. And this is not a responsibility only of the state and municipalities, but also of businesses. Adapting education to the digital generation is a difficult task to solve since it requires a change in the thinking and actions of many people. In the future, many professions may disappear, but the teaching profession is not among them because it creates other professions and should be on the crest of the wave, is the opinion of Yana Vangelova, Chairperson of the Student Council of the University of Ruse.
The digital generation grows up with the new technologies and if we want to attract their attention to the “blackboard”, it must have a touch screen. Almost all children have tablets and smart phones. They constantly download information from there, and that is why lessons must be no less interesting to them. Textbooks must be created so that, together with all the accompanying multimedia resources, they could be uploaded to the cloud. Digital education will be the
drive to the digital economy
If we want our economy to have a drive, we need to create a new type of educational approaches and resources. Teachers will be an active factor in this process, their role will change and they will be more like mentors. Robots and chatbots will also enter education. Interactive boards and tables will leave the blackboard back in the past, assures also Prof. Angel Smrikarov from the University of Ruse.
Who wants a change and who wants to change – these are two questions, the second one welcomed with much less enthusiasm. It would be good if each university has a Centre for Innovative Educational Technologies, which is the drive of the digital transformation. It will not take place by an order of the minister or the rector, but people are needed who will work for it. Constant training and retraining of teachers will be required; the way of thinking and teaching will have to change, too. A measure of intelligence will be the ability of each person to change, claims Prof. Rumyana Peycheva-Forsythe, PhD, Head of the Educational Technologies Centre at Sofia University. University and high school students expect to be provided with access to information through their mobile devices and are surprised if the tutorial is not available online. Universities are competing and some of them offer remote training programs. The transformation of the higher education is significant for the survival of universities. Finding their new place will depend on the openness of the educational institutions. Digital universities already exist, but isn’t it all about improving, facilitating and perfecting education through digitalisation, and not about a deep change, is the rhetorical question of Prof. Peycheva. It is important
what are the benefits
of integrating technologies in education. At this stage, there are used more for convenience than for applying more effective teaching models. Artificial intelligence and cloud technologies will become key tools in research and education programs and technologies.
Children turn into screenagers, they look at the world through the screen of the device in their hands. If too much attention is paid to visualisations during training, this will be at the cost of analytical processes. It is noticed that the smarter the technologies are, the more stupid people are. The Internet doesn’t help for the development of social competence and for this reason problems appear in the communication among young people. The money for education should not be directed only towards buying technologies, but to the real development of the people and their intellect, points out the psychologist Panayot Randev and adds: A danger exists for the technologies to evolve so much that most people would not be able to cope with them. Technologies outline the next division of people. We should use them in a balanced way, so that we don’t lose our humanity.
Education is something that is too important to let it change chaotically in the age of digital transformation, cloud technologies and the onset of artificial intelligence.