Bipin Dama, Founder & CEO, Saras Inc (Saras-3D)

Bipin Dama is the Founder & CEO, Saras-3D, Inc. (Saras-3D) India’s first stereoscopic 3D learning solution for science and mathematics that brings international learnings and best practices to India. The company operates in India through its wholly owned subsidiary 3D EdTech Pvt Ltd.  An industry veteran with over 33 years of experience in the technology industry, Bipin has a proven track record of successful product delivery from concept to deployment with substantial revenue generation and shareholder returns. He holds 37 granted US patents. Bipin holds a B.E. (Electrical Engineering) from Marathwada University, Aurangabad and Master of Science Degree (MS – Electrical and Computer Engineering) from Rutgers University, New Jersey.

 

Collectively, we’ve all had front row seats to watch education rapidly change all over the world in the last year and a half. It has been a shock. For the last 150 years or so, the Indian education system has remained more or less the same. And yet, the pandemic forced our education system to rethink itself and embrace digital learning virtually overnight. While we have already witnessed so many changes in the ways students learn, this is just the beginning of an emerging digital revolution in education. As more Indians obtain digital devices and reliable internet access, digital education will become mainstream in India, creating more opportunities for students to succeed across the country.

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, digital education was already gaining traction in urban areas, with students using digital learning platforms as supplemental tools to study from home while preparing for competitive exams. Then, as we saw during the lockdown, in-person classroom sessions were no longer feasible and educational institutions had to find innovative ways to reach students at home. This push accelerated the transition to digital learning. Most private schools in urban India started to offer online classes that mimicked in-classroom learning. While this is important progress for digital education, the solution has created a disparity with government-aided schools, especially those in rural locations. They have limited resources and could not offer the same quality of digital learning, if at all. 

While supplemental digital learning platforms have been available for individuals, most students from the lower strata and rural areas didn’t receive a proper digital education during lockdown because they do not have regular access to a digital device, nor do they all have reliable internet access. As the smartphone user base continues to increase throughout the country, digital education will proliferate. In the coming years, a majority of Indian students will be able to access educational content through internet-powered smartphones.

This is great news because a digital education has the potential to level the playing field for all students. It has the power to give everyone equal access to the best learning resources, expanding academic opportunities for students of all backgrounds. Students who study from home with these tools can learn at their own pace and receive personalized assistance without commuting to school. Likewise, teachers can use digital learning platforms in their classrooms to offer an engaging hands-on experience instead of only relying on passive lectures.

We are already seeing a boost in performance among students who proactively use digital learning tools to supplement their studies at home. When these dedicated students perform better on competitive exams, the possibilities for their future dramatically increase.

Schools are now shifting to this new type of learning by blending traditional techniques like lectures with the personalized experience of digital methods. This way, every student’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning pace is catered to, making it more likely for students to reach their academic potential. As schools adopt blended learning methods, teachers will need to be supported through training to ensure they have the new skills required to teach in the classroom through technology alongside their traditional curriculum. This training can give teachers confidence as they adjust to the new ways of teaching and learning.

As digital education becomes more ubiquitous and some students begin full-time digital learning, there is a potential danger of losing the socialization and collaboration between students at school. To overcome this problem, social learning methodologies and collaboration tools can be assimilated/incorporated into digital learning platforms. These integrations could expand a students’ access to peers and connect them with fellow students across the country.

While the transition might seem inevitable, a country-wide shift to digital learning will require focused efforts to unlock the key elements that can lead to success. The main driver of digital education’s expansion will of course be investing in infrastructure. This entails making reliable internet access widely available and finding ways to make digital devices like smartphones and laptops more affordable. This transformation will likely take several years to achieve. In the meantime, parents and schools can choose digital learning platforms that don’t require an internet connection to access the content and include all of the necessary equipment students will need.

Digital education has the potential to increase the opportunities available to students throughout India. According to research by KPMG, digital formats are effective because they can help achieve the three vital aspects of education: reach, equity, and quality. By granting everyone access to a high-quality education, kids can choose their paths and flourish in their careers as adults. It is the expanded possibilities that digital learning can provide that makes the technology exciting.

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