- Digitization and education
Digital learning and education are as important as formal education has been up to now, however there is a much larger amount of information available through digital learning. By using a variety of technical tools, a greater number of information can be displayed, and the material presented is more interesting.
If you are doing research, you can get plenty of other research papers that can be presented to those who study. The very way of research and analysis has changed much since the emergence of the Internet and IT technology.
However, the accent today is on the availability and the large amount of information.
Today one does not have to travel to certain parts of the world, but can work with others via the Internet or video conference calls.
From now on, in maximum four to six years, the big changes are expected to happen.
What does this mean for education and digitization?
It means that there are still faculties with professions that people are educated for, but the relevance of many of those professions in the world today is declining (not to mention the discrepancy between developed and undeveloped parts of the world). Young people and students are in danger that, after years of education, they will not be able to find a job suitable for their profession.
That is why today's faculties, educational centres and institutions must make major changes in the field of education.
Today the majority of faculties in Europe and in underdeveloped regions are still mainly oriented towards theoretical learning, where graduates and postgraduates do not obtain an adequate practical knowledge. After completing their studies, they cannot get jobs because they lack practical knowledge. Education should not be based solely on theory, since it is easier for educators when working with larger number of students, but it must also be in line with the balance of practical knowledge and skills that are necessary when starting profession. The employer is not interested in theory, rather in the utilization of certain practical skills and knowledge that will improve his work. Unfortunately, in modern society today, everyone wants a finished product. Such principle applies to all future employees as well, where employers need an educated worker with practical knowledge that can be easily applied for the position required. There is a notion of the insufficient cooperation between companies, employers and educational institutions in general. Therefore, it is essential to develop a continuous course in improving practice during the period of four to six years of study at the faculty.
It is important to emphasize, that there are still a great number of those getting education in certain professions that either don’t exist after the students’ graduation, are no longer needed or are not in demand in the current labour market. The incoming changes can create unnecessary panic. Therefore, the capabilities of future researchers on the matter are crucial in anticipating the possible consequences in societies in the next 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. After the initial study in accordance with the defined cause, consequences and phenomena, higher education reforms should be carried out, especially in underdeveloped areas, but in other European countries as well.
The process itself entails the following request, namely: the changes in pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education.
It is noted that educational reforms are closely linked to a digital education and changes in the field of IT technology, and soon to be in the robotics as well.
- Education Reforms
Reforms in education should go through three key changes:
- DIGITIZATION AND THE USE OF IT TECHNOLOGY
- RESEARCH PROCESS
According to current research, the changes are supposed to happen every 5 years, as they are already constant and fast. Then, they should be applied in education, in accordance with the needs of the labour market in the future, through communication with employers and companies that are part of the labour market for future prospective professionals.
- FOREIGN LANGUAGE APPLICATION
The use of a foreign language across all state institutions, formal, non-formal education and adult education is very important throughout the transitional process.
A successful state is the one that invests in progress of its inhabitants, in their qualifications and skills that will be needed in the future when they complete the educational process (an estimated 20 year span). It does not necessarily indicate that in the future European countries will neglect their native languages. They will rather continue to nurture them, through communication with three principal pillars: their compatriots, friends and family. However, it is very important to introduce the principal, main and mother tongue of Europe, that should become the second native language for all European citizens. It will make communication better and easier for all inhabitants of Europe, especially if it is introduced across all educational institutions from pre-school to higher education. That should enable communication to become easier for all inhabitants of Europe who would, beside their mother tongue, be able to learn the future mother tongue of Europe. All the procedures including transactions, exchange and diplomacy processes would become much easier. It represents an evolution for all Europeans who would be able to easily change their place of residence or work, to travel and get to know the cultures of other Europeans more simply, but also to change themselves in the process, or make an impact on others with their cultural heritage and mentality. The level of tolerance and understanding is raised, and the language of hate and violence reduced. The differences between inhabitants from different countries of Europe do not necessarily have to lead to conflict against each other. Disparities do not have to be the weaknesses, but the strength in learning from others. The best examples in relation to laws, politics, health, administration, education, media, etc. would be set up as the role models and system settings for the young European country of the future.
One of the problems that the European Union faces today is the translation of numerous documents into multiple languages. It requires a longer time process, a higher financial cost, possible mistakes that lead to confusion due to linguistic uncertainties (certain words in one language have a completely different meaning in other). Such problems significantly slow down the processes of implementing the important projects within the European Union. By adopting a unique European mother tongue, the process of development and growth of the future newly established young Europe shall lead to resolution of many problems. The European Union has just begun the process of formation.
However, the only process of creating the future Europe as one entity is the unity of all the countries of Europe with its unique laws, state administration, politics, military and language. United Europe should regain the power it has lost after the Second World War. In the chaotic times of today and in the years to come, the new Europe will face a dilemma and will have to choose between war or peace.
Reforms in education with digitization and the use of digital tools should go through all forms of formal education:
- PRESCHOOL EDUCATION AND DIGITIZATION
The use of digitization and digital tools enable easier visualization and realistic view of objects and professions that are explained to children aged 1 to 7 years. The tools can provide a diverse combination of letters and numbers, more interesting and different learning of letters and mathematics, as well as show and explain phenomena in vivid way otherwise not explicable to children of that age. The job of educators working with a large number of children becomes much easier. Children aged 1 to 7 can absorb a large amount of knowledge and information. They have the ability to master up to 3 foreign languages, much easier through play and entertainment than older kids have. This results in development of more advanced, mature and intelligent children. Digitization brings accelerated development, advanced communication and progress. This does not imply spending up 6 to 8 hours with computers or on tablets in a pre-school institution.
- PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION AND DIGITIZATION
Compulsory digitization brings changes at all levels of education - to align 50% of the theoretical knowledge with 50% of the practice applicable in the environment we live in. This is closely related to the problem young people still face at primary school and that is the lack of ideas about a possible future profession. Their perceptions of occupations are not grounded in reality, information about them are not available nor presented through practice. They later make choices guided by their parents’ counsel and opinions, which often produces bad results (they leave studies or switch to another studies). This unnecessarily confuses the individual and subsequently leads to unnecessary chaos in society. It is therefore necessary to bring practice closer to children at primary schools, to organize research and classification of the types of occupations that will be needed in society of the future after educational period is finished. The next step would be the selection of children’s skills and their abilities that would enable the right choice of the profession for which they would be prepared. It is noted that this type of approach is probably more accessible in developed countries than in underdeveloped countries.
The goal is to bring children closer to the profession they will deal with in the future through practice/apprenticeships that are carried out first within primary schools and then in the secondary schools. A satisfied individual is the one who is doing the profession he/she love, and as such can provide and make the greatest contribution to society. If the young are considered as nuclei of every nation and future members of society, then they should be the best investment in the first place, in order to become responsible adults, who contribute to the stabilization and progress of their society. The same principle should be applied to every young generation to come. We note that the education of children and parents through the educational process is in a mutual circular joint process.
Nowadays, more than ever, it is necessary to help parents in overcoming problems of the children’s upbringing from birth up to the age of eight and synchronizing, throughout the education of their children, the communication with the educators in order to get the best possible results for their children. Nowadays, when there are constant changes, and a modern parent works an average of 8 to 10 hours a day to raise and feed the family. An active citizen, an active mother and an active father are those who, together with educators, will be involved in the education process and the changes that are occurring. Everything changes, and this is not easy because it requires a lot of patience and time. The upbringing of children has not produced the best results yet, since those who need us the most, are the ones we ask the least. They can tell us, if we ask them where the problem is, how they feel in the process of education, how we can find the cause, how can we eliminate the consequence and then how to apply a good solution. Previously conducted research and good communication can produce the best results.
- HIGHER EDUCATION AND DIGITALIZATION
The need for research is in line with professions that will disappear in the near future. Students will not be educated for professions that in future will not be needed in society, as per the development of IT technology. Professors will not be left without their jobs because they will reorient to new subjects that they will teach or improve certain profiles in line with the development of IT technology. Again, we have the application of digital adult education. So those who have to re-qualify will go through the digital education process, but they will later apply it in their lectures, too. Digitization and use of tools make learning and presentation easier, speeding up the process of solving tasks that can be solved by a greater number of students simultaneously. It also facilitates the process of examining the tasks, and it's possible to show a video of many phenomena and processes. Note that projects and practice must be an integral part of the 4, 5 or 6 years of education in cooperation with companies or institutions depending on which vocation the students are studying for. After finishing their education, they will have passed the training, acquired the necessary skills and are ready for the labour market.
Advice during studies is very important. Investigate the needs of the labour market, which professions are in demand, and which are direly needed in society, not only in your country, but also in other European countries. For example, the current situation in Serbia, Europe and the world is that there is a deficit of medical workers and specialist doctors. We note that more medical faculties are needed on the territory of Serbia. Serbia can arrange agreements and projects through which it will become an educational centre for the needs of its market, but also the markets of Europe and the world. We are aware that we live in a material society, and that's why we need to have educational centres and institutions that fund and support themselves through different budget and sponsorship programs, while the financial resources of the state budget will be diverted where they are more needed. Everything is about a mutual and circular process.
What do we get through major changes and education reforms? A lot. Future graduates with professions that there is a real need for in the society. Graduates who are realistically needed by the labour market, after having gone through a prepared apprenticeship or practice after years of learning. Does digitization shorten the previous time needed to get educated? Possibly. Will digitization improve and accelerate the current raise of intelligence in children? Possibly. Will children learn and master the material in a shorter period of time? Possibly. Digitization has begun, and the application of IT technology is unstoppable. Does this affect the acceleration of other processes in society? Yes. We are already seeing great changes in education.
Dynamism brings a series of changes, processes and fluctuations in which things are moving from one state to another, which is necessary for civilization and mankind to progress. Are we aware of all the dynamic changes happening in society? Unfortunately, not quite.
Unemployment, an increase in violence, social vulnerability, disparity between undeveloped and developed countries of the world, uneven distribution of material goods, great poverty on the threshold of the 21st century, protests, migrations...
Over the last 50 years, machines have been replacing our jobs and a large number of people are losing work, because certain software programs do it faster and in a shorter amount of time than 3 human workers. What will we do about all these people? Where is their place in society? They become inactive citizens and do not have a job. What do we do about all these unemployed people? Where is the division in the world? Which place in the society belongs to machines, and which one to people? The fact is - this is happening. Work created man. If a man has nothing to do, what is happening in the society?
Does this affect the rise of violence we are witnessing? Over the past 50 years, there have been major changes with the application of IT technology and digitization, but it seems as if these changes were not followed by the changes that are taking place in society. We have a cause, but the consequences that led to the dynamic changes in the society have not been addressed (unemployment, unrest and protests in Europe and other parts of the world, depression, increase in violence, number of divorces rising, loneliness as phenomena, an increase in suicide rates, human alienation, poverty, migrations etc.). The question is, which professions will be handled by humans, which ones by machines, and which professions are adults going to be digitally educated for, in the future?
- Constant changes
As we can see with the constant very rapid changes in the fields of IT technology, new software, programs and robotics which happen nearly on a yearly basis, changes in society must also be adjusted. If they occur rapidly in the field of IT technology, they must be applied quickly in other fields as well: education, public administration, the health sector and many other sectors. We still have a dilemma, though... which place does a man occupy in society, and which place will belong to a robot?
In the current system, digital tools or digital media are still insufficiently used for making people literate or in pre-school institutions for learning and recognizing the first letters. Due to the widespread use of tablets, phones and other digital media, children are acquainted with letters, numbers and other phenomena much earlier, and a great deal more information is available now compared to 10 years ago. They acquire knowledge by themselves. It may be time to adjust and match the methods and applications of early childhood education for children with their today's use of digital media. Knowledge that has previously been explained to children at a later age can now be understood by younger children. The use of digital media that have a lot of information has led to faster brain development and the opening of new neural pathways, and thus in the future education will take less time than it has up to now. Perhaps the use of digital media in education will reduce the children's currently increased need for digital technology and open the door to new free-form activities, but we definitely shouldn't forget that digital technology is an integral part of human life nowadays.
Digital Education in Serbia with examples and links of good practices and publications:
(The Faculty of Organizational Sciences, Electrical Engineering School "Zemun" and some elementary schools in Serbia have had digital classrooms since 2013. Samsung Electronics, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and the Faculty of Organizational Sciences in Belgrade, opened the first "Classroom of the Future" with the aim of improving the technological background, knowledge, skills and readiness of the teaching staff and students to apply IT technologies in everyday teaching.
(Digital classrooms of the future since 2013 have the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, Electrical Engineering School "Zemun" and some basic schools in Serbia. The Faculty of Teacher Education in Belgrade received Digital Institute 2015, a valuable donation from Samsung, and the opening of the center marked a turning point in the digital education of future teachers and educators.)
(The Association for Market Communications of Serbia (UEPS) held a panel on “Education for Digital Technologies – What are universities preparing students for, and what companies expect from them”. In their presentations, the panelists highlighted the importance of mutual communication between the academic community, the economy and the state, in creating and synchronizing education curricula for the digital technologies that are becoming the foundation of the economy of the 21st century, with the common goal of creating top experts who will know how to successfully apply the latest technologies in practice, and achieving market competitiveness. Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Media and Communication, University Singidunum, Communis agency, Ovation BBDO, Mosquito Video & Animation, Homepage agency, Gaia Consulting, Belgrade, jun 2018.)
(Best educators, innovators and motivators for 2018. according to the "Živojin Mišić" organization)
(Good practice examples in digitial and online adult learning in Serbia)
(Project "New Technologies in Education" of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development 2017. The document was supported by the British Council.
(DLS – Distant Learning Platform, MOODLE software, Faculty of Law, Economics and Justice, Novi Sad. Many state and private faculties and educational institutions use platforms for digital education and adult learning using the DLS (distance learning system) platform in Serbia.)
(Campster Interactive Online Academy. Campster started a unique initiative with EDUPASS, which unlocks as many as 40 courses on its platform. The aim of EDUPASS is to give you extra motivation so that you can finish as many courses as possible within the allocated deadlines)
(Institute for Contemporary Education (ICE) aims to improve the quality of the educational process through the education of current and future practitioners in education, as well as promoting state-of-the-art education technologies. Our mission is to help individuals become more successful, as well as help schools and educational institutions in the implementation of technologies and techniques for improving the educational process. ICE is an advisory centre for all education leaders as well as a place of professional teaching practice for future professors.)
(Merryland School organizes online English and German language courses for all those who cannot attend regular classes due to their location or for other reasons)
(Faculty of Business Studies and Law, Distance Learning System, the first accredited distance learning system in Serbia)
By using digital technologies, students are much more motivated regardless of age, classes are practical with practical work, and the learning method is focused on the learner using tablet computers.