05 Sep 2020 19:43 IST

Technology is the pen and paper of our time

Digital classrooms allow both educators and students to grow beyond linear, textbook-based learning

David Warlick, educator, author and early adopter of technology in education, said, “We need technology in every classroom, and in every student's and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”

The Indian Government, having recognise the importance of technology in future classrooms, has initiated a much-needed revolution in the schooling system through the New Education Policy — to prepare the students for the rapidly evolving digital landscape in the global ecosystem. Various scientific and technological advances have made it imperative for schools to reinvent learning methods and techniques.

It's a fact that a majority of the current school students might land up in occupations that do not even exist today. What the future would be like is beyond our imagination! Hence, schools should focus on developing important life skills, such as, critical thinking, adaptability and problem-solving abilities.

The new education policy asserts on an experiential, integrated, student-focused, collaboration-based and analysis-driven pedagogy, aiming at holistic development of the child. Technology will play a huge role in achieving these objectives. To keep up with the digital transformation across the globe, educators and school principals must use technology as the key instrument to shape the future of our children. New-age technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are believed to be the future of learning and education and schools should include them in the curriculum, for better learning outcomes.

Let us discuss the key principles of NEP and how technology can assist educators in driving the implementation in each area:

Identify and encourage student capabilities

    AI can also point out tasks to educators where majority students face difficulties, so educators can work on improvement areas and make the classroom inclusive for all. AI also offers students ways to experiment and learn in a relatively judgement-free environment, providing personalised learning environments.

    Foster critical thinking

      By including educational games for grammar exercises and so on can increase student motivation and engagement and result in better knowledge retention. Educators can design creative, goal-oriented tasks, which enhance students’ problem-solving abilities and promote innovative thinking.

      Integrating vocational education at all levels

        Educators can use simulations and make students work on vocational projects replicating real-life situations in the virtual world. Coding applications can be introduced in junior classes, to develop the technical acumen. Students can also enrol in online internships and online courses in various fields, such as, architecture, engineering.

          Continued education through technology

            Recorded sessions would be very helpful for learners to cope up with the rest and educators would not be impacted by new joiners. Working students can continue their education through distance learning online programmes.

            Continuous tracking of learning outcomes

              Through real-time data analytics and the use of AI, educators can track individual progress effectively. They may also be able to analyse trends across the class and make appropriate interventions. Technology enables educators to shift towards competency-based assessments.

              Experiential and discovery-based teaching

                Integration of technology helps to link theory with practice and develop valuable, lifelong skills and strategies. Virtual tours of the places and virtual labs for experimentation is all possible through apps.Online technologies allow students to collaborate and share ideas and discoveries. Educators must emphasise conceptual understanding rather than rote learning. They can use 3D videos and models to explain difficult concepts, more tangibly and clearly and help students build stronger fundamentals.

                Empowering educators

                  Technology in the hands of great educators can be a game-changer for students. Technology enables educators to grow beyond linear, textbook-based learning and engage students meaningfully. Educators can prepare meticulous lesson plans through a plethora of online resources and educational websites — to enhance virtual learning experiences.

                  Technology also gives educators a breather from routine administrative tasks that add little value to the quality of classroom instruction. Any tool that saves time and effort of educators ultimately propels the education quality further.

                  • LMS reduces educators’ workloads by facilitating the better organisation of learning materials which students can access independently and easily

                   

                  • AI tools can support educators by enabling automation of admission, learning, tutoring, assessments and feedback sharing.

                   

                  • MOOC and government schemes such as Swayam extend the reach of learning materials to all and have been enabled by cloud computing.

                  School heads must realize that it’s vital to embrace technological innovations, to stay at par with global digital evolution. Adopting new education policy is a critical step in this direction — through which educators can turn students into adept and skilled individuals ready to face the digital world, beaming with confidence!

                  There are excellent online classroom software available in the market such as classroom.live. It is a complete education delivery platform and offers a seamless virtual learning experience. Educators can make classroom.live their ‘key companion’ to align with the NEP guidelines.

                  Undoubtedly, there are daunting challenges to overcome before we can truly implement NEP across the nation. The dream of an equitable education system, ensuring highest-quality education to all, can be realised by making technology ‘the ultimate partner.’ The existing gaps can all be bridged through technology-driven reforms, executed in a synchronised and systematic manner.

                  (The writer is Business Head, Unthinkable Solutions LLP.)

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