Ustazah S.N. ‘Alaniah Abdul Wahid
In this digital media era, and with much efforts of the librarians and information professionals, we can now find a lot of resources online, even journals and manuscript which were not easily accessible centuries ago. And with the emergence of social networking sites, Facebook or Twitter, it is obvious how these tools have changed the way people communicate. Therefore, new techniques and technologies need to be explored, not only to encourage communication especially between educators and students, but also as a valuable tools in Arabic language teaching and learning.
The benefits of technology used in Arabic language teaching and learning includes:
Teacher-Centered to Student-Centered
Education must be relevant to the immediate needs and interests of pupils, and see that as a mean towards its achievement. A teacher should be open and prepare to listen to students carefully and actively to prevent any barrier for a two-way learning. Pupil perspectives are important because pupils are not just receivers or consumers of knowledge, but constructors of shared meanings in a combined exercise with teachers. According to Bob Jeffrey and Peter Woods, in their book, ”Creative Learning in the Primary School”, this ‘learner centered learning’ allow pupils to work in teams, exploring and helping one another while the teacher sets directions, offers opportunities and acts as a guide and resource. The children ask better questions, seek their own answers and gain deeper insights than they had before.
In designing our pedagogies and methods of teaching, we must think carefully about how we might best use the knowledge we possess, especially in classes. Students are usually expected to acquire the theoretical and practical knowledge that is more or less specified in terms of theories and methods. New media gives easy access for students and users to educators’ documents, archives, and materials as these files are automatically documented, saved and stored online during posting. With this well-documented system, it benefits educators in terms of referencing, sharing their sources easily and giving more opportunities for them to discuss lessons with students. This documentation will be useful too for educators to review, improvise and re-construct or de-construct of the model of teaching for their students.
Viral, as how we understand is pertaining to, or caused by virus. One of the effects of a virus is that it infects and spreads quickly to the extent that it may create a huge devastating effect to humans. And when it stops spreading, it’s dead. Viral learning in education thus refers to the way content spreads or can be possibly means the infection of ideas from mind to mind, its transmission and circulation from person to person. Therefore, by using new media, it helps educators to spread content quickly to reach learners and other users in general.
Looking at the points highlighted above, it gives us a signal to change how we engage to meet the requirements of a digital, online society. The role of religious educators is redefined and expanded to provide to the demands and expectations of society. Educators need to have a good understanding of contemporary issues and community challenges, be creative and aware of importance of having relevant knowledge and skills in this challenging world. Islam encourages creativities that lead to positive change, development and progress. Based on an authentic hadith collected in Sahih Muslim, on pollination of seeds in Madinah, indicates that our Prophet (S.A.W.) did not oppose to a positive creativity although such activity is new among the companions of the Prophet. It also shows the appreciation of our Prophet (S.A.W) to the advancement of knowledge, sciences, expertise and skills.
Seen as the latest revolution in dissemination of knowledge, it is not intended though to be the ultimate pedagogy. It is imperative, still, that students to continuously engage with teachers to ensure the credibility of the information as well as a window for students to have more access and allow them to consult their teachers should they need help in their subjects.
To achieve the all-encompass goal of education, educators have to be well-equipped with essential skills to perform their roles as teachers effectively. It is imperative that they learn various thinking tools and practical approaches as well as skills in addressing contemporary issues and challenges. More research on educational policies and practices need to be done, and reviewed by leaders. The use of internet and new media, being the new tools and technologies required for a digital online society therefore need to be much more actively promoted, and eventually be embraced, absorbed and adopted in the teaching process and styles for a more effective teaching and learning.