Educational technology has now become a panacea for all our educational ills. In our country electronic future seems to be very positive and bright in the field of education. Nowhere else the attempt to force the pace of development is visible than in the field of educational technology. The modern educationists and technocrats of all hues extol the virtues of computers as the ultimate teaching aid that will revolutionise education. The spokesmen in the field of educational technology proclaim that it has a liberalising influence on education. This statement has been proved in the western countries. Frank W. Banghart has rightly observed that “use of computers for scheduling classes, advanced techniques for planning and control, technological advances in media and mechanical and automated laboratory equipment all portray significant change in how educational institutions will be operated.”
The Structure and Functions of Computer
A computer is nothing but a glorified calculator” with a difference. Besides the work of a calculator, it also performs the act of memorising a large amount of information and retrieve any of them whenever required. Thus it may be called as an information containing box. It stores information’s just like a tape-recorder in its audio-tape.
The computer is structured like a “power-driven machine equipped with key boards, electronic circuits, storage compartments and recording devices for the light speed performance of mathematical operations”. It has its own language. Therefore information’s and problems and translated into computer language, so that it can understand. When related information’s are feel into the computer, it starts interacting.
Functioning of Computer
The computer-oriented skill and knowledge requires a systematic thinking and frame of mind in regard lo the functioning of computer. A computer usually functions by the help of its five basic parts : (i) Input -equipment, (ii) Output equipment, (iii) a memory store (iv) a processing unit and (v) a control unit.
The function of the input equipment is to translate the information into computer language, which computer can use, but the function of the output equipment is to translate computer language into our language, which we can understand and use for our own purpose. The memory store, stores all information fed into the computer through the input equipment. The information’s stored in the computer arc operated and processed by the processing unit. The function of I his unit is to add, subtract and to multiply. On the basis of scientific criteria, it can select necessary information’s out of the stored information’s. The function of the control unit is to control the processing unit in accordance with a particular programme.
Computers in Education
The modern computer culture in education can be a boon or a curse depends upon how we adopt it in the field of education. The import pre-requisite for using computers is the habit of logical reasoning. This cannot be developed by introducing computers in the schools. Instead of introducing hardware lo number of schools, some schools can be equipped into computer based science centre. Mecra Nanda has aptly suggested that “these computer-equipped science centers staffed by well trained imaginative and motivated teachers will make these centers ‘Open for all’, where children could be encouraged lo play around with the machines exploring ideas outside the strait jacket of school curricula. The motivated among them could then encouraged to lake intensive and advanced course to college level.”
Educational Technology has another vital field, which has been opened with Distance Education. In distance education each student is isolated to each other unlike in face to face education as imparted in classrooms. In classroom situations the students share similar experiences. In distance education students need individualised instructions. This requires a computerised system to send reminders, assignments and follow-up instructions. This requires setting up such a computerised system with hardware installations, Planning and developing an information bank and related software equipments. The British Open University has developed an integrated broadcast, Print and T. V. media for face to face interaction, such scope is possible in our experiments too. In India and study centers have been established where access lo these media has been assured.
The Telidon and Telematique, the sophisticated device developed in telecommunication system was displayed at a workshop of Educational Technology organised at lamia Milia Islamia, Delhi. The concept of Telematique is an integrated system of computers, teleconferencing and office technology. The Telidon is a system of presenting audio-visual message via telecommunication. In this system the audience can communicate with the instructor who is present electronically. Hence the technology has the scope of being used as a teaching supplement.
A computer can help the modern educators in the following way :-
(i) A computer can help an educator in classifying children on the basis of their abilities in preparing time table etc., Thus an educator can overcome the drudgery of schooling by the help of a computer.
(ii) Computer works as a substitute of an educator in allocating learning materials for the individuals and groups.
(iii) Computer helps the Students to be engaged in tutorials activities.
(iv) A direct interaction between the learner and the learning material is possible by the use of computer.
(v) The progress card of the students are maintained and preserved by the computer.
(vi) A computer helps the students to collect a large amount of information for the sake of guidance and reference.
Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI)
The most important contribution of modern educational technology is computer Assisted Instruction (CAI). Most of the advanced countries of the world are using CAI as an effective and efficient media of instruction. They use it to impart both formal and non-formal education at all levels and in all the areas. Through in our country, at present we have introduced the use of computer in limited areas such as data processing and decision making but in future we hope that it will be used in formal and non-formal education to cope up with the challenges of a technologically-oriented society.
The invention of computer has given a new direction to teaching technology and it acts like a super teaching machine, which caters to the needs of a number of students at the same time.
CAI is a natural out growth of the application of the principles of programmed instruction. As we know the main objective of programmed instruction is provide individualized instruction to meet the special needs of individual learners. To accomplish this objective, it needs some efficient and flexible device that can store gigantic amount of organised information and use selected portion to meet the needs of individual learner. A computer is such advice which can cater to the needs of individual learners by storing huge amount of information. It can process the information suiting to the needs of individual learner. It can serve to a great variety of educational needs which range widely with respect of educational levels, subject matter, style of instruction and level of learning from simple drill and practice to problem solving.