An increasing number of educators are calling for high standards and challenging learning activities for students. Learning blended with technology can especially provide all possible sources of education. The technologies are not only going to act as technical add-ons to the system but also they can try their best to improve the quality of education. New technologies can provide meaningful learning experiences for all learners, especially those who are in the developing countries. Educational centers that capitalize on the technological and educational reforms will help students to develop higher order skills and to function effectively in the world beyond the classroom. Achieving such fundamental change, however, requires a transformation of not only the underlying pedagogy but also the kinds of technology applications typically used in classrooms serving at-risk students. The vision of classrooms structured around student involvement in challenging, long-term projects and focused on meaningful, engaged learning is important for all students. Yet such a change in practice would be especially dramatic for those students who have been characterized as economically disadvantaged or at risk. Traditionally, schools have had lower expectations for such students. Teachers have emphasized the acquisition of basic skills for at-risk students, often in special pullout programs or in lower level tracks.
The impact of technology is seen everywhere—at work, at home, and, indeed, at educational institutions. Educators, policy makers, businesses, and other community groups are looking to technology as a tool for reshaping and improving education.
The educational sectors, whether academic or training divisions, have enjoyed the benefits of technologies in various ways. The technologies used for education range from the storage device technologies to the recent e-learning technologies. Earlier computers were used for storing the contents as well for better information presentation only. With the advent of e-learning, new dimensions are realized by learners, educators, and administrators.
The e-learning environment, where the use of electronic tools like computers and the Internet deliver content, has emerged as the fastest growing segment in the field of education/training and development. The “e” in e-learning focuses on the technology-enabling feature of the learning. The e-learning environment came to forefront for taking the traditional classroom training model and applying technology advancements to create new ways for teaching and learning (Thorpe, 2004).
According to the report produced by the National Committee of Enquiry into Higher Education (2001), the rapid growth in e-learning, has overcome many of the barriers of higher education, thereby providing universities and educational sectors with an opportunity to meet the changing demand for education. The advent of e-learning is inevitably linked to a number of challenges. The real challenge of e-learning centers most on the usage pattern. The biggest myth surrounding e-learning is, “Build it and they will use it.”
Recently, e-learning is evolving from the initial technology-driven approach towards a more measured, sophisticated evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses. Recently, the “e” has shifted the focus of learning and training onto the choices in design and delivery of education. But soon, the focus of learning and education will be back where it should be—on learning; the act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill.
The modern-day learners demand knowledge and content that are more sophisticated, dynamic, interactive, and more relevant. Both the learners as well the organizations that depend on them need to learn new skills quickly, and they should have the ability to apply them at the right time. The problem of how to get inside an expert’s head and transfer the wealth of knowledge that resides there is being aided by e-learning. While this remains a real challenge, we are beginning to develop tools and approaches for better capturing of that knowledge and delivering it directly into the hands of those who need the same knowledge.
In cases where e-learning is appropriately deployed, educators can generally anticipate student academic performance that is at least equivalent to traditional classroom instruction (Cavanaugh, 2001).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Transceiver: Communications device capable of both transmitting and receiving.
IR Transceiver: IR transceiver deals with infrared communications.
E-Learning: Learning that is facilitated and supported through the use of information and communication technology, e-learning can cover a spectrum of activities from supported learning, to blended learning (the combination of traditional and e-learning practices), to learning that is entirely online.
ADXL202E Accelerometer: A low cost, low power, complete 2-axis accelerometer with a measurement range of ±2 g . The ADXL202 can measure both dynamic acceleration (e.g., vibration) and static acceleration (e.g., gravity).
Accelerometer: An instrument that measures acceleration.
Pervasive Computing: Pervasive computing consists of inexpensive microprocessors embedded in everyday objects and environments. Characterized by being numerous, casually accessible, often invisible computing devices, frequently mobile or imbedded in the environment and connected to an increasingly ubiquitous network structure.
Microcontroller: A computer on a chip used to control electronic devices. It is a type of microprocessor emphasizing self-sufficiency and cost effectiveness, in contrast to a general purpose microprocessor, the kind used in a PC.