July 2007

Linking Students to the Global Community

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Education does not always have to comprise of the passing of information from educator to student, with the only objective being to make sure that the student has been informed of all that a certain syllabus has to offer. True education, in the real sense of the word, can only be achieved when the educator, comprehending the needs of the student, passes on true understanding of the subject at hand, with there being a transfer of knowledge rather than information. This idea of bringing together students and teachers on to one 'thought platform' is the primary idea behind Think.com, an online community developed by the Oracle Education Foundation to engage and inspire students. Think.com provides a web-based application for school aged students globally, providing its users with an online opportunity to utilise basic technology skills to reach out to a global audience for their thoughts and ideas, and thus enabling a more diversified form of education. This article will address not only the success that Think.Com has had in Pakistan over the past few months, but also discuss possible technology platforms, that will be beneficial for the school communities to make use of, to bring the greatest benefit of the same, to the future generations that lead countries such as India and Pakistan.

The role of the teacher has changed more in the past two years than in the past 50 years. For years, futurists and industry professionals have been talking about how technology will change the traditional classroom as we know it, but only now has the software technology been made available through open source and community development, for those changes to actually take place.

For years, teachers have struggled to get students to be creative and original. One of the main reasons students find it difficult to exercise their creativity is they feel constrained in the school environment. After all, our schools have come around to focus more on discipline and rote learning to brainwash the mind to follow pre-defined patterns. 

But now we have access to the most exciting technologies. There is an endless list of technical platforms available to be used for teaching purposes. Webcasts, Wikis, Online Community Groups, Podcasting and Blogs are already out there, just waiting to be customised and used. You want original content? There is no way to supersede the originality of an idea than to have them capture it.

Now that we have leaped across the technological challenges to increase the interactivity of software, we are now able to focus back on the education part of the challenge. Are our schools and educators flexible and creative enough to utilise the power of the Internet to its full teaching capacity? Education 2.0 isn't about the technology at all

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