A Nigerian once said, “If you want to hide something from a Nigerian, put it in a book”. A 2014 version of the saying would be “if you want to flaunt something to a Nigerian, put it on the internet”. How true!
Before Tsai Lun of China invented paper in 105 BC, the transfer of complex information, ideas and concepts from one individual to another and to groups had undergone extreme evolution which follows the progress of civilization, which in turn, moves in response to changing cultural technologies. However, the industrial revolution of the 19th century brought major innovations in printing technology. The age of industrial revolution made transfer and interchange of written information between cities as well as continents readily available through the print media.
Conversely, centuries after the ascendency of the print, technological advancement places a threat right in the very face of the printed books with the digital technology swerving the way we live, the way we think, the way do things and the way we get educated. As the E-book becomes popularized, more and more commercialized, will the print media survive this bloodless feud and reclaim its status? Well, the apparent reality that shines brightly at our faces is that the E-books has come to stay – at least is staying – and the potency of the data superhighway, coupled with it irresistible charm, greatly dims ample hopes of a resurrection for the print tradition. As the “E-culture” stays, the need to harness ways of effectively educating the already “book-lazy” generation in this new media without restraining their potentials is very pressing; educators should wake up to this new and exciting reality and of course should be prepared to face the enormous challenges that comes with it.
As more and more schools and colleges are replacing textbooks with electronic tablets that are loaded with essential reading materials, software, apps, and other media, educationist and concerned stakeholders should be more concerned about how the technological ingenuity behind the E-book can be maximally utilized, to the profit of students. We must get the students to read! That’s the purpose of the E-book. If books are already scary to those who need to read them, we must begin to think of how not to make the E-Books scary but get student read and be read through them. Before we can suitably make students imbibe the culture of the Electronic books, education institutions should primarily achieve these:
Make internet not only available but handy.
I am ashamed we are still talking about availability of internet facility at this time but we cannot shy away from our peculiar needs no matter how odd they sound. We cannot solely want students to develop the E culture without helping them get accustomed to the entire virtual reality world. Learning outside the World Wide Web experience now is almost learning in vacuum. Once we have immersed students in the whole kit and caboodle of the internet, making them handle E-reading effectively can then become feasible.
Training the trainers
For many, teaching has never really been the fancy, trendy and nice career to pursue; one does not really know the genesis of this perception but a good opportunity has presented itself for teachers to change this picture! Like employees in other industries, teachers too should always be on top of their game not just at teaching students the school curriculum but also at molding the 21st students who are able to meet up with the expectations of the modern society; that’s their strength, molding lives to become value-added. Teachers themselves should be abreast with the useful latest learning technologies before they can be able to give instructions effectively to their students based on it. We shouldn’t be asking teachers to go open email addresses any longer in this age, no! Let’s take teaching from chalk board to digital boards!
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