The answer to the question of how digital the education system of the future should be is pretty simple: as minimal as possible. That’s not to say that education and digitization are mutually exclusive. As long as education involves the mastery of basic cultural techniques, linguistic expressiveness, acquisition of knowledge, understanding of different contexts, knowledge of arts and literature, and formation of one’s personality, the question of digitization remains of secondary importance.
The desire for knowledge, enjoyment of reading, understanding of scientific methods, mastery of foreign languages, development of aesthetic tastes, formation of a political and moral attitude — all of those can be acquired, practiced, refined, and developed without digitization.
Pitfalls of Digitization
This does not necessarily mean that digital technologies cannot be used at all. Thanks to them, some things such as managing incoming and outgoing data, can be done a lot faster and easier. However, this has got very little to do with education. There have been no studies that could prove conclusively that digitization of education significantly speeds up or improves the learning process.
In some countries, laptop classes disappear as fast as they come because the negative effects of using digital technology in class become apparent rapidly. Here are some of them: greater distracting potential, reduced ability to concentrate, declining imagination and creativity, the use of professional writing services, and impaired memory performance. Digitization is all about the automation of manual work. This also applies to education, provided it is interpreted as a process of simplifying things.
What Does it Mean?
Applications and digital algorithms do not help us educate ourselves. Nowadays, all the knowledge of the world is stored in the cloud and available at a click of a mouse. We can access it whenever we want — but who needs it? In the past, a person living next to a library could enter it anytime, and nobody called them educated.
We, on the other hand, tend to confuse the possibility of accessing knowledge with actually knowing something. The popular statement that it’s no longer about knowing something but about knowing where to look expresses this fateful confusion succinctly. Of course, digitization will determine the direction our lives will take in the future. However, education can help us look for information in a much more meaningful and creative manner.
Those who want young people to adopt a critical attitude to social media and digital entertainment industry should concentrate primarily on the social and ethical issues the use of artificial intelligence will create.
Freedom and Diversity
It is much more important to develop our own thinking and communication skills than rely on machines in everything. Since digitization cannot be prevented, educational institutions should place a lot of emphasis on showing what else in this life is worth knowing.
Only by getting a diverse education can young people increase their chances of surviving in the digital world of the future. That sounds more paradoxical than it is. In this world, only those will succeed whose knowledge and abilities cannot be automated and who will be able to live and work with machines without becoming too dependent on them. This will require a lot of imagination and creativity, the two things that only a good education can provide us with.