How to enrich knowledge: As virtual learning, interaction rise on smartphone

virtual learning


The era of where people gather to discuss issues is gradually dying and Google is not helping the situation. Gone are the times when there were long-drawn, well-fought debates about who is right and who is wrong that elicited healthy and robust academic exercises which also enriched our vocabulary.

In the contemporary era, knowledge and ideas are nearly always readily available at the touch of a button.

With the so-called intelligent Personal Assistant becoming more sophisticated, it would not be long before we have access to information that could baffle you, especially with the promotion of the “Internet of Things” concept.

According to an article published in 2012 by Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, there is a pointer to the New Age of Technology and about the incursion of smartphones, Google, YouTube, the social media and the implication of over-dependence on them.

Albert Einstein said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Like Einstein feared, are we really breeding giants in the fields of sciences, technology and arts through the rigorous processes of empirical research and investigation, experimentation through the study of theories and the practical deployment of such well-rounded knowledge by experts under guided and well-taught instructions, or we are simply rolling out a mediocre generation who have to Google the result of every query?

The Griffith University research further probed thus: “Does this now make us knowledgeable experts or is the easy access to information making us stupid…?”

The study suggests that our modern lifestyles and over-dependence on SMARTPHONES are making us “less intelligent” than our ancestors, at least at a genetic level – an echo from Einstein.

The reality now is that the immediate availability of information has created a particular conundrum in our society. When it takes a few seconds to find information about almost any topic, the value of knowledge and expertise is thereby devalued as information becomes cheaper and more accessible.

This is despite the fact that information, knowledge and expertise are fundamentally different entities.

Information in Webster’s dictionary is defined as knowledge obtained from investigation, study or instruction. Expertise on the other hand is having or involving great skill or knowledge in a particular field.

As it is, arguments about the inadequacy of traditional models of education in the information age abound, particularly in higher education. Despite the slow adaptation of education to the information age, the rise of the open online courses and the apparent imminent death of the lecture as we know it, are just two examples of the changing educational landscape being brought about by our shifting relationship with information and capability for learning and living with technology.

Only recently, a student of the University of Benin (Uniben) learnt this bitter lesson. Peace Ufuoma, a final year student of microbiology, had put on a white shirt on the day of her final examination with the inscription: “Aggressive malpractice brought me this far.”

As expected, the social media highlighted her bold display of ignorance and in no time, it got the university’s attention.

A disciplinary committee was set up to review her academic work in the university and a conclusion was made; the authorities of the university ordered her to rewrite all examinations from 200 level to 400 level.

If she fails to write and pass these courses (about 40 of them) she can as well say bye to an award of a B.Sc.

This is not an isolated case because so much of the “university experience” our youths now have is between YouTube and WhatsApp group chats.

I was shocked recently when a relative told me that at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) students now get most of their course materials from YouTube rather than from a lecture or a lecturer.

Alhaji Ahmed, Abuja – [email protected]

Alhaji Ahmed
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