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The Importance of Technology in Enhancing the Learning and Teaching ExperienceOctober 28, 2021
As the programs and modular courses are entirely delivered online, Parami is fully embracing the recent advancement of educational technologies (EdTech) into its curriculum, hoping to foster learning processes and provide a comfortable learning environment for students. Parami has recently welcomed Zaw Htut Aung (Mason), an EduTech Integration Officer, to operate the management systems and streamline the use of technology in classrooms and the institution, including assisting faculty members and students in using the available technology tools at Parami effectively.
As an EduTech Integration Officer at Parami University, Mason works closely with the Director of Academic Affairs to help students and faculty members maximize their teaching and learning experience with educational technology. Having been keenly interested in science and technology, he went to a technological university in Myanmar and has actively participated in extracurricular activities, especially in STEM education. Mason engaged with several educational projects as well. The vocational training project conducted during the second wave of COVID-19 was a significant experience that led him to understand the potential of educational technology during this challenging time for everyone.
In an interview, the Parami EduTech Integration Officer, Mason, discussed his responsibility for educational technology integration into the learning and teaching at Parami and his opinion on the importance of technology in education.
Could you please highlight the educational technology (EdTech) tools used at Parami? How does each technology tool support and enhance the learning and teaching process?
Since Parami ensures quality education, it is crucial for us to identify the needs for our way of teaching and to learn at Parami. We always make sure to select the technology that is compatible with the pedagogy (the practice of teaching). We are using Canvas as our learning management system, Zoom as our channel of virtual classrooms, Padlet bulletin board, H5P, and PearDeck for creating interactive lessons and formative assessments, which are all helpful in simulating an active learning environment.
When it comes to Canvas LMS, it allows students to access course content in an organized manner and stay on track throughout their course. They can also do their assignments and take quizzes there. These Canvas features are handy for flipped classrooms, a type of blended learning Parami is practicing. It allows students to view/read the course content before the class, and the students gain a deeper understanding of the content by engaging in activities during virtual class time. Zoom is mainly used for virtual classrooms during this challenging time when face-to-face classes are unavailable. Poll and chat features in Zoom serve as formative assessment tools for the teachers to understand more about the students’ situation and help them tailor the rest of their class by focusing on the students’ weaknesses. Parami also uses H5P integrated within Canvas LMS, and it allows students to experience rich and interactive course content. For example, suppose a student has to watch a video outside of their class time. In that case, H5P allows teachers to create interactive questions to display within the video. The students have to answer while watching the video. It makes sure students recall facts and basic concepts of what they have been learning asynchronously from the video. Padlet also allows teachers and students to work on a bulletin board while learning synchronously or asynchronously. For instance, when a group of students is assigned to discuss what they have learned or brainstorm about specific topics during a Zoom class, Padlet serves as a bulletin board to place their ideas in one place in a visually appealing and understandable way.
What are the main challenges of getting students to adapt to the new technology tools?
Since the internet was widely introduced only ten years ago in Myanmar, it is undeniable that a certain amount of the population lacks a foundation in digital literacy. However, students are excited to adapt to new technologies and eager to implement them in their learning. Several students from different states and different regions of the country are taking courses offered by Parami University. Electricity outage, unstable internet connection remain challenges, and an increase in mobile data package prices makes it more challenging to access quality education.
What is your opinion on the integration of technology in education? How is it essential for virtual learning in Myanmar?
In this Industry 4.0, technology is a part of everything, and it is essential to integrate technology in education to achieve different learning objectives. The use of digital tools can fulfill the unique requirements of individual students with differentiated instruction from the teacher. For example, the “Branching Scenario” feature in H5P allows students to choose and learn what they are required to learn with differentiated instruction prepared by the teachers.
During this challenging time of COVID-19 and the unrest in Myanmar, it is vital to make sure that students are not disconnected from learning, and virtual learning is the best option. At the same time, the integration of technology is also crucial to maintaining quality assurance.
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