Changing Dynamics Of Technology In Odisha’s Classrooms; Is Teacher-Student Bond At Stake?
In the hallowed halls of academia, the once-unbreakable bond between teachers and students is undergoing a profound transformation. As technological advancements intersect with societal sensitivities, the dynamics of the classroom are shifting, affecting both the seasoned educators who have weathered decades of change and young students who are navigating this new terrain.
Veteran Educators: Old Teachers
For educators like Professor Sukanta Parida, who have traversed the educational landscape for more than three decades, the evolution of the classroom is a source of mixed emotions. “The vibrancy of the dialogic classroom,” Professor Parida reminisces, “was a space enriched by nuanced conversations, reflections on multiple ways of seeing, the art of listening, or the willingness to expand one’s mental and intellectual horizon.” It was a space where students were nurtured not just in academic knowledge but in the art of respectful discourse.
In the era of old teachers, the classroom was a sanctuary where debates flourished, disagreements were celebrated, and mutual respect acted as the foundation for learning. After a stimulating lecture, students and teachers would engage in lively discussions at the university canteen, cementing a bond of trust that extended beyond the lecture hall.
Yet, Professor Parida laments, the times have changed. He observes that modern technology, while providing unprecedented access to information, has introduced an atmosphere of trepidation. “Teachers are more cautious now,” he remarks. “Every word is measured, every nuance considered, for fear of being misconstrued and recorded without consent.”
Fresh Minds: Students of the New Age
For today’s students, like those in Class XII at Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Pune, the classroom presents both opportunities and challenges, exemplified by the incident involving their Hindi teacher, Ashok Sopan. The controversy arose when a video of his lecture, drawing parallels between Hindu deities and other religions, went viral, igniting discussions about the delicate balance between free expression and the potential for offence in the modern educational landscape. Their journey into academia unfolds against the backdrop of an interconnected world, where smartphones and social media are integral to daily life. As such, the line between the personal and the public has blurred, impacting their interaction with their educators.
Riya Sharma, a bright-eyed student in the Class XII batch of Sai International School, shares her perspective. “While technology offers us the ability to capture and share moments instantly, it also brings the pressure of ensuring that we’re recording every lecture, every discussion. It’s as if the classroom is no longer just a place of learning but a space of potential exposure.”
Vineeth Sengupta, another student, adds, “The fear of recording without permission is real, but the greater concern is the changing atmosphere. We hesitate to ask probing questions or express bold opinions, worried that they might be taken out of context. It feels like the freedom to explore ideas is shrinking.”
Seeking Equilibrium: The Path Forward
As the teacher-student relationship navigates this uncharted territory, both old and new educators grapple with finding the balance between tradition and adaptation. Professor Parida believes that educational institutions should engage in meaningful discussions about responsible technology usage and privacy. “We need to teach students about the value of open dialogue, respect for differing opinions, and the power of constructive debate. This will ensure that the classroom remains a place of growth, exploration, and trust.”
Dr Maya Sinha, a younger faculty member at Centurion University, concurs. “It’s important for teachers to be authentic while adapting to the changing landscape. We can use technology to enhance learning while also fostering an environment where students feel safe to express themselves.”
In the face of shifting tides, the teacher-student relationship stands at a crossroads. With old educators reminiscing about the vibrancy of yesteryears and new students navigating the intricacies of a digital world, the challenge lies in preserving the essence of learning while embracing the potential of technology. As academia evolves, one truth remains constant: the transformative power of knowledge, dialogue, and the connection between teacher and student, a bond that transcends time and technology.