CAN digital immigrants teach digital natives? It all depends on whether digital immigrants are able to break through the digital era and adapt to the changing environment.
In a recent high achievers’ workshop which I conducted in the university, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my students were silent during the break between the workshop sessions. Observing them, I noticed that they were all glued to their mobile devices. Is this what technology has brought for our younger generation?
Born in the late ‘60s, I have had the opportunity to be a recipient of technological change and am able to have first-hand account of the evolving technology in my lifetime. I am what people call part of the generation of digital immigrants. In contrast, my students are what are known as digital natives – persons born during the wide spread of technology who are always attached to their digital devices.
Education in the 21st century is all about embracing digital technology. The Government’s aspiration for our future generation is for them to be tech-savvy. This is living with the changing times.
In the near future, according to a survey, some of the jobs today will no longer be relevant. New jobs will emerge and these will most likely be catering to the digital age.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh recently said that universities have to be prepared to adapt and change their curriculum and delivery so that graduates are able to fill in jobs which are yet to emerge. Technology is moving rapidly and educators have to keep up with this fast pace.
In the Education 4.0 framework, challenges of the fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) are addressed in relation to the Malaysia Education Blueprint for Higher Education 2015-2025.
It is imperative that students are equipped with ICT and collaborative skills and be interested in lifelong learning. They also need to have critical and creative thinking and communicative skills.
Statistics show that the number of unemployed graduates in Malaysia is worrying. There are many possible causes for this. Employers look upon fresh graduates as liabilities who need to be provided with extra training before they can function adequately in their job.
Have fresh graduates been equipped enough to face the industry? Are educators making themselves relevant in accordance with IR4.0? How can the Education 4.0 framework work for educators? Only time will reveal the true state of educators’ readiness.
ASSOC PROF DR SOO KUM YOKE
Academy of Language Study