Technology, A Life Changer
By Petar Kutin
I have lived in China as a music teacher for nearly a decade, and technology has changed my daily life. I am often amazed by how fast technology develops in China, from how I communicate with my family in Norway, to how I work and improve my teaching.
Thanks to technology, students at the Yew Chung International School of Qingdao (YCIS Qingdao), can learn musical composition as young as six years old. I use various Apps with a simple interface that can teach a lot about music. Students at all levels can participate with simple interface Apps. It gives my students opportunities to enjoy music and generate learning outlets that were unavailable in the past, as well as giving them a special feeling of confidence in music that surprises teachers and parents.
This year's music achievements will all be uploaded to the cloud and would be accessible to everyone just by scanning a QR code. Our school concerts and shows were broadcast online, so even former students were able to watch and enjoy. During the performances, our secondary students played important roles.
Digital technologies provide an enormous field for people to develop in and showcase their talents and abilities, not only for students but also parents and teachers. "Align with technology" is the school motto at YCIS Qingdao.
This generation has an entirely different learning experience from my student days. My daughter is a student in Year 5 at YCIS Qingdao, where every classroom uses an intelligent whiteboard, and everyone has their classroom iPad to do group projects. They often showcase their study outcomes via presentations with well-made PPTs, or sometimes with videos. Today, students learn from various open resources with a responsible and open mind.
Technology is playing a vital role in enhancing the efficiency of my life in China. Thanks to the innovations such as QR codes, and mobile payments, now I can travel in Qingdao without taking any paper money, and just paying by phone. In addition, shared bikes, shared cars, and shared phone batteries make our daily life in China more efficient. These were not available five years ago. The speed of China's technology development is very fast and technology development is not just simply for practical reasons. It improves our living standards and allows ordinary people like me to enjoy every minute of their life.
Another technology miracle in China is the high-speed rail. I could still remember those days when I travelled to our sister school in Beijing on the overnight train. Compared to the high-speed train available today, I feel the speed has increased more than 100 percent. And the bullet trains made by China are ultra-fast and comfortable, from booking tickets on the app to scanning the QR code onboard. This is how the country improves everyone's life by supporting technology development and allowing innovation to take root. China's self-developed high-speed maglev trains running at a speed of 600 kph debuted in Qingdao. I am so proud of this development that happened on my doorstep.
In addition, technology undoubtedly gives us incomparable security. To fight COVID-19, China has done a spectacular job during this significant global public health challenge. Technology plays an essential role on this difficult task.
China actively leveraged digital technologies such as AI, 5G and cloud computing, which effectively improved the country's efforts in pandemic monitoring. At YCIS Qingdao, with the teaching software support, we quickly trained all our teachers and promptly moved all our lessons online, ensuring no interruption in learning.
In addition, protecting our students and staff's health is one of the most critical tasks. Data collection is essential to manage the flow of people and the distribution of materials. Software designed by the YCIS group, called GMIS, allows us to track individual students' temperature and travel destinations to predict and provide early warning of any potential risk to the school community.
In the past 30 years, there have seen considerable changes in China. Technology makes people's lives more convenient, and young people are enjoying the fun technology brings. I look forward to this young tech-savvy generation to contribute to the world in the next 30 years, creating another technology miracle in China.
(The author is a music teacher at Yew Chung International School of Qingdao, Shandong.)