Abhay Gupta, Co-founder, Board Infinity
Smart classes are prevalent in schools and colleges today. In 2020, many smart class solutions with elaborate digital content libraries are available and used by professors. Even book publishers are joining the bandwagon wherein they are providing digital content along with books which attributes to the overall content repository. That being said, solutions that work offline with no internet dependence is the need of the hour. As per ‘The future of Internet in India’ report by Nasscom and Alamai Tech, 75 per cent of new internet users in India will come from rural areas. This explains why education systems should be built on a cloud and why mobile technologies will be integral with incorporating this change.
In the wake of the pandemic, education has moved base online. According to a report by Omidyar Network Indian and RedSeer Consulting, the Indian edtech market clocked a 120 per cent growth during covid and is expected to reach a valuation of US$ 1.7 billion from the US$ 735 million at the end of 2020. While the increase looks astronomical, in the light of the crisis, this transition has been organic. While virtual classrooms and recorded tutorials are a welcome change for now, once the lockdown ends, the emphasis might move back to the traditional methods of learning, losing all sight of the development.
It is vital that schools and colleges understand the need of adopting tech, here are some key benefits listed below:
- Efficiency and resourcefulness: Tech enabled learning resources including recorded lectures, digital ebooks and virtual classrooms help save ample amounts of time, are interactive and are an effective way of learning. Earlier information used to pass on like a dispensing machine but now mentoring and brainstorming are made possible. Moreover, using data analytics to monitor insights into students and teachers performance will throw light on different areas of concern.
- Learning through mobile apps: According to a report by Counterpoint Research, India is the second biggest smartphone consumer in the world after China with more than 220 million active users. This is a great platform to provide value and learning through mobile apps. Concepts are now simplified with easy to assimilate illustrations, animations, games and more. With the price point of smartphones being more affordable, people from rural areas too can take advantage and upskill themselves. Even though India is on par with global institutes, we are lagging behind when it comes to usage of tech in the education sector. With the rising cost of education, tech enabled solutions can come to the aid of those who want to pursue higher degrees but cannot afford it. Government should encourage and play an active role in adopting the latest tech to deliver course content.
- Online learning management system: Colleges and Schools are integrating traditional methods with online learning management systems or LMS platforms into their web portal. Students can login to access their subject material and attend live sessions. Pre-recorded videos are uploaded and can be accessed by students anytime. However, LMS adoption is still poor as in many parts of India, people do not have computers or the basic access to internet services.
- Wiser classroom education: Modern classrooms can benefit with several tech based features. A live stream with a good internet connection will help reach out to students beyond the geographical limitations. Other additions such as smart boards, technologies such as OCR for scanning notes, AI for evaluating submitted assignments and exams, facial recognition and eye tracking to capture attendance can transform education to another level in terms of student engagement. More number of students can be reached with the help of rotating classes.
- Less Teachers, more mentors: India is suffering from a demographic bulge. The current education scenario will never meet the country’s educational needs, and the focus should be on delivering quality education independent of infrastructure. These solutions cannot be an add on to the current system. They need to be quickly adopted and become more mainstream, thereby providing quality education to the increasing population of the country. Sadly, our country’s teachers only vomit out information and leave behind the elephant in the room, which is mentoring. Even as we revel in the contributions from the edtech sector, designed to aid education during the pandemic, the way forward will be redundant if schools and colleges fail to wake up to a more integrated form of learning. To provide personalised career coaching experiences there are edtech platforms in the market who are collaborating with college with aim of helping students upskill and get right guidance. Tech based solutions should become a part of mainstream learning and not some backup alternative. A smart education system will give rise to a smarter generation of the future.