Ms. Rajani Pattabhiraman has been a committed and passionate educator for the past three decades. Her career spans across Schools of repute offering Indian and International Boards across the country. These include Chinmaya Vidyalaya, DAV, Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School and Billabong High International School. She has been a School leader for more than a decade. She presently is the Deputy Vice President, Curriculum Delivery, Training and Audit for EuroSchools. Her illustrious academic profile includes an M.Phil in Education and a post graduation in Commerce. She believes in lifelong learning and has been upgrading herself by attending seminars, lectures, webinars, workshops and training sessions in India and abroad from time to time.
Covid 19 has been a catalyst in bringing about a drastic transformation across many aspects of our life. Apps have replaced physical shopping from stores, Swiggy and Zomato have replaced dining in restaurants; Netflix and Prime have replaced going to cinema halls while virtual learning has replaced physical learning. As we all await normalcy to return, it is imperative to realize that the normal will be a ‘new normal’ incorporating the best of pre-COVID and COVID times.
The Revolution in Education
The education sector has seen a revolution during this pandemic. While getting back to physical learning is a priority for all at present, it is important to remember that schools, colleges, and universities cannot be the same as it was in 2019 or before. From the ultra-modern urban cities to the remotest villages in the country, educational institutions have leaned on technology for support for survival over the past 18 months. These trying times have shown the horizon for tech-enabled education.
Theories of Education
Benjamin Bloom’s Bloom’s Taxonomy and Howard Garner’s Multiple Intelligence are widely discussed and propounded in various forums as the basis of quality education. Technology blended virtual education has put these theories to practice to a large extent over the past few pandemic months and the results are encouraging! Technology has been able to penetrate through the minds of the students with interpersonal, spatial, and musical intelligence among all others. It has helped audio and visual learners and students with physical disabilities to overcome their barriers with ease. The use of audio and visual support, virtual 3D models, interactive games and videos has enabled the essence of education to reach learners rich in any type of intelligence.
Support of Technology in the Learning Process and How it can play a Key Role in Transforming Education
- Online Forums: Through technology, educators have not only been able to enter into the homes of the learners but also their minds. The online forums enable the best student-teacher interactions and sharing of vital and relative information.
- Skill Development: Educational institutions have started collaborating with Ed-tech platforms satiating students’ requirements to kindle their curiosity, develop hobbies and hone their skills in the area of their interest.
- Supplement Shortage of Educators: Quality education suffers due to a shortage of teachers. Schools have started partnering with each other to broadcast the content delivered by quality teachers thereby giving access to all to quality education.
- E-learning Edutainment Platforms: Faster adoption of digital learning has been made possible as e-learning platforms compatible with phones and tablets have been created. Animations, games, quiz platforms, and AI-powered are edutainment platforms that have made learning exciting for students. These platforms make it possible to focus learning on a particular subject or skill for any particular age group.
- Repository of Content: Technology has made it possible to create a repository of content which are subject-based. These are accessible to anyone seeking knowledge. This liberalization of education through technology will help students upgrade singular skills and develop deep domain expertise.
- Data Analytics: Educator and student performance data collation and analysis have been a neglected area in the education sector. The increased use of technology in virtual classrooms, online assessments, and learning management systems has thrown open an important and useful area of analytics. The student and teacher performance data which are captured and analyzed effectively have uncovered the unexplored areas of SWOT analysis of students at various levels, students with special needs, students in the backward socio-economic class, and the impact of the new teaching format on educators. This minefield of information and its analysis has already started creating a revolution in the education sector.
- School Management System: While imparting education the right way is of prime importance, meticulous planning of lessons customizing them to the needs of every student, tracking their performance, and corresponding seamlessly with the parents of each student which supports parents’ partnering in their child’s education has all been made possible through tech support.
- Academic Delivery: The daily, weekly, monthly, and annual syllabus planning, assessment of students’ learning at regular intervals through ‘Check Your Progress’ quizzes, performance tests, end-term evaluations, project planning, and submissions have all been automated vastly reducing the manual burden upon educators and admin staff. This is already showing on the teachers’ performance with improved productivity due to less stress and better time management.
While technology alone can never replace physical learning and the benefits of classroom learning, interactions and physical student-student and student-teacher collaborations.. we today see technology as a true enabler of learning.
Educational processes are seeing a positive transformation, thanks to the digital infrastructure which is seeing unprecedented growth in our country. The recent National Education Policy (NEP) has advocated a stronger and more integrated learning system leveraged on the digital framework. The accelerated pace of innovations that have produced competitive educational products coupled with supportive government policies has set an aggressive growth path for the tech-led Indian education system.
Opportunities of communication and association undreamt of in yesteryears are a possibility now. Virtual tours, blogs, ted talks, live talks with achievers in various fields have all been enabled by technology. Student exchanges and collaborations across the globe are a reality today. Technology has opened up new avenues of communication and collaboration. Massive amounts of information are available at the click of a button through the internet. Access to Formal learning, training, podcasts, Mooc Courseras, and online degree programs is unprecedented in scope, thanks to technology.
The power of classroom learning and human interaction is undeniable; however tech-based learning has ensured uninterrupted learning in these challenging times. In addition to ensuring uninterrupted learning, it has also paved the way to dramatically transform the ‘future of learning’. With preschools, schools, colleges and universities accepting and adapting to a blended-format offering a mix of both physical learning and tech-based education, it is imperative to redesign learning spaces that will go on to foster greater learning, interaction and collaboration using technology as an enabler.
“Technology can become the “wings” that will allow the educational world to fly farther and faster than ever before—if we will allow it.” – Jenny Arledge