The Potential Of Technology In Open Schooling

Open learning is defined as a type of learning where the learners can choose the corresponding factors such as what to learn when to learn and at what pace to learn. It is a source of education for the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors of the society. Its beneficiaries include those with physical and mental disabilities, school dropouts, those staying in rural areas and remote regions. Open schooling is also taken up by those pursuing permanent jobs. They will need to devote more time at work, than what formal school systems, with its time-bound structure and focus on attendance, can permit. Another advantage of this system is that students can choose specific combinations of subjects, which is not possible under the formal system. The system also contributes to the cause of adult literacy. In India, NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) is the governing educational board that administers the secondary and senior secondary examinations for open schools. Students need to register at the website and download their NIOS Hall Ticket to attend the examinations.

What is NIOS?

NIOS or National Institute of Open Schooling is an open schooling institute. It is in short about completing secondary and senior secondary education through correspondence. Like CBSE boards, NIOS is itself an educational board. But this one is a public examination applicable for regular schooling from boards such as CBSE and students can apply for this and save a year. Besides exams, for those who have enrolled, NIOS also coordinates and conducts correspondence classes. NIOS public exams are held twice a year, which is usually during the month of April and May and during the month of October and November as per the date sheet announced by the institute itself. Students can appear for the examination on-demand at secondary and senior secondary level exams only in those subjects which they prefer. Results are declared within one or two months after the last date of examination. One can visit their website for all the queries and for downloading the date sheet, NIOS Hall Ticket, and results.

The Importance of Technology:

Emerging technologies paved the way for the development of a new generation of distance education. Voice mail, e-mail, teleconferencing, and computer-based integrated telecommunications and multimedia technology are all now part of a new age of open and distance education. There is an overwhelming hoped that the use of these technologies will enrich the communications between teacher and student and will lead to the production of highly interactive self-paced learning packages that can be useful in the learning environment. This will be greatly beneficial to the learners who carry out their learning anytime and anywhere as well as the educational boards such as NIOS.

Currently, the use of technology is very limited such that common internet service is used for some activities like the publishing of results, registration for exams, and online delivery of NIOS Hall Ticket. But there is huge potential for the use of technology in open schooling.

The information and communication technology-based media is a very significant factor for open learning. In open and distance education different types of technologies and media can be used to transfer education to the learners. A medium can be defined as a generic form of communication that is associated with particular ways of presenting knowledge. According to studies, there are five important media in education: direct human contact (face to face), text (including still graphics), audio, television and computing media (Internet and other online technologies). Each media performs uniquely and gives a chance of accommodating different learning styles. One medium may serve as a better teaching function than the other in a particular area since the potential of each technology varies according to how and for what purpose it is used.  It is nowadays more widely recognized that no single medium can be effective for all kinds of learning needs and that each technology has its own strength and weakness. For example, video media is very effective for teaching/learning when there is a requirement for pictorial or graphical illustrations, whereas printed material is always a cost-efficient and much more effective medium for the transmission of detailed information.

Furthermore, studies say that the socioeconomic level of the learner along with other factors such as political, cultural, and geographical background can influence their ability to learn. Therefore, such factors should be carefully taken into consideration while deciding the use of available technologies for course delivery and other academic purposes. Aspects such as affordability, availability, access, and the unique pedagogical characteristics of the particular technological application will also have a significant impact on these decisions. With careful and considered decision making and appropriate use of media and technology, information access can be provided to all students in remote, rural and urban areas as well as across nations helping in their academic and personal growth.