Staff Reporter

His ideas hold lessons for all, says scholar

Seminar on technology and learning concludes

in Thrissur

‘Education not a senseless acquisition

of information’

Thrissur: A three-day seminar on ‘Technology enhanced language learning: the way forward’ organised by the District Centre for English (DCE) concluded on Friday.

Lecturing on ‘Technology and Mahatma Gandhi: lessons for teaching’, Michael Warren Sonnleitner, Fulbright-Nehru scholar from the Portland Community College in the U.S., observed that Gandhiji’s views on technology were often misunderstood.

“He wanted technology to be under the control of people and not people to be controlled by technology. He wanted technology to be of service to all, especially the most disadvantaged, and not primarily to enhance the wealth and power of a few. Revisiting Gandhiji’s views may yield important lessons to India’s current educators as they deal with evolving technology,” Dr. Sonnleitner said. He said that technology could aid learning and push the pace of progress, but its misuse could be destructive.

“When we advocate computer-aided learning, we should also understand that more computers means more consumption of energy. For more energy, more dams would be built by destroying environment. You cannot view technology in isolation from climate change and global warming. Climate change can trigger earthquakes, scientists maintain. It means that if you drive your car unnecessarily, contributing to higher carbon emissions, you too can be responsible for creating an earthquake like the one in Haiti that killed 2.3 lakh people. Your luxury can trigger loss of lives even if you do not want it to. This is the dark side of technology,” he added.

Maya Pandit-Narkar, Pro-Vice Chancellor of English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad, said that education was not senseless acquisition of information.

“It is a continuous process of making sense of the world. It encourages people to be knowledge workers, dreamers, artistes, administrators, scientists, policy-makers and philosophers. Education should liberate us from our prejudices,” she noted.

M. E. Premanand; Anil Pinto of the Department of Media Studies in Christ University, Bangalore, and Reena Francis, head of the District Center for English, Thrissur, also spoke.