Centuries ago, during the BCs and ADs, first forms of writing appeared in the caves, on slates, and rocks. After many years, human civilization ushered in an ear of ink and paper form of writing (Marton et al., 2017). Ink and paper manual writing defined the education system for many centuries, until the age of computers between the 18th and the 19th centuries. Today, in the 21st century, the learning environment is less tedious compared to the previous ages. Children do not have to learn good handwritings because they can key in figures and letters by clicking on their computer or PC’s keyboard whenever they want to type words, phrases, sentences, and numerical figures (Marton et al., 2017). Moreover, the advent of the internet and the WWW connections in the modern age altered the structure of academic systems across the worlds, do not need the presence of a teacher standing in front of the class to master concepts or complete academic courses (Marton et al., 2017). Today, learners can achieve all their academic goals using the online platform, though online classes, and websites such as wiki. This paper will therefore delve into the merits and demerits of wiki is a learning platform, discuss the impact of online or cloud learning on the society today, and access the future of education.
Based on the TED video by Suguta Mitra, the Wikipedia, and wikispace articles, it would be futile trying to deny the fact that the online learning platform and the use of information technology has immense impact on the current education systems. Computer learning platform changed many things in academics, eliminated the need of books, and physical presence of a teacher for students to learn and master key concepts in their courses. For example, the Wikipedia article states that the site offers an interactive learning system, where different learners can contribute to a subject my editing the articles posted on the website. The article indicates that the interactive learning platform provided for by Wikipedia allows for exchange of ideas and information among students (Columbia University, n.d). It allows students to have their hands of assignments and learn by doing practical activities on the website. The Columbia Wikispace article also enumerates numerous uses of the wikispace by the institution (Columbia University, n.d). For example, it indicates that the institution uses cloud or the internet to offer group assignments to students who can complete them without sitting in a discussion room. The institution further says that the wiki facilitates close reading, as well as textual analytic skills among the students (Columbia University, n.d). These functions build the learners’ capacity to interact with texts, allow them to critique, and respond to what other leaners have written about a discussion post through peer reviews. The two articles about the use of wikipedia as a learning platform paint a good picture about the importance of cloud and the internet as learning tools in the modern world. They prove that the advent of the internet is changing the learning experience for the better by making work easier for both the learners and the instructors.
Despite all the benefits that come with wiki, learners might not be certain that the content that they access through the site is authentic and reliable. The fact that anyone can edit the content reduces it reliability of the site because some of the information is likely to be out of bias and one’s own imagination (Marton et al., 2017). It might also be possible to locate the source of the original idea, criticize it, and offer other points views based on the original piece. This denies the originator of the information a chance to interact with their readers. Wikis might also lead to academic dishonesty because students do most of the work by them themselves (Marton et al., 2017). Unlike in schools where teachers are available to the students for help, wikis do not offer students an opportunity to ask their teachers questions when they are having problems with the content. Mostly, students have to rely on the emails and the availability of the instructors online to ask questions and seek help. The online learning platform therefore, despite the fact that it makes learning easier for both the students and teachers; it cannot replace the need for classroom teaching. It only gives a shortcut route to education.
Personally, Mitra did a good presentation on the current state of education and the possible future. Mitra proves that all students have equal success rates, the poor, and the rich, but first, they need access to materials such as computers and books (Mitra, 2013). He also proves that young children are not resistant to learning news ideas, more so when they receive motivation and encouragement. The presence of computers in the world makes learning even easier because students, rich, and poor do not have to buy books and go to class, as they can do it using the internet. However, one thing that I do not subscribe to in Mitra’s presentation is when he says that in the future, learning will be obsolete (Mitra, 2013). I think that learning is an active process that begins at birth. In the future, learning will not be obsolete; instead, it will be technologically intensive. Less students will attend physical schools use books and pens. Instead of going to school carrying books and pens, learning will be online using cloud solutions, such as web 2.0 among others. Otherwise, I still feel that the speaker put up a great presentation that illustrated the current and the future state of education in the world.
- Columbia University. (n.d). Wikispaces Examples. http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/our_services/tools/columbia_wikispaces/wikispaces_examples.html
- Marton, F., Hounsell, D., & Entwistle, N. J. (2017). The experience of learning. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.
- Mitra, S. (2013). Build a School in the Cloud. https://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud#t-1004695