Yogesh Makkar, Founder, Kapdec

Yogesh Makkar founded Kapdec with a mission of making education possible for everyone. Yogesh, an engineer and an innovator holds an honors degree in Mechanical Engineering from NIT-Kurukshetra, a Master’s in Engineering from the UNL & an MBA from Kelley School of Business. Yogesh is committed to making a difference in a student’s life by providing unique methods, with a global team’s help, to help students learn more and be comfortable with the learning process for lifelong learning. What keeps Yogesh awake at night is only his passion, that is, to deliver a “unique” platform – that, indeed every student anywhere on the “globe” should be able to use.

 

A great advice given by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam regarding adverse situations and the bright prospects that follow was, “Adversity always presents opportunities for introspection.” As we look back in 2020 and prior, any major or minor transformation for the betterment of human kind, has resulted only after a big problem.  Likewise, the outbreak of Covid-19 ended resulted in a significant shift in the education world, and that was – finding ways to ensure learning does not stop. As we move past that juncture, a responsibility on education leaders is to find ways to eliminate the learning loss and simultaneously present opportunities for the student to go beyond their limits and help them exceed their learning goals. 

Learning without limits requires two essential yet critical ingredients. The first is a desire to learn, and the second is finding resources to meet that desire. Finding resources is a factor that has challenged educators and administrators in finding a balanced mix of technology, educational content, talented educators, and the cost. Finding quality resources to nurture the desire to learn beyond the limits is not a one-time process. It is a journey that requires continuous brainstorming, evaluation, and fine-tuning. In the forthcoming sections, we discuss the process steps and critical milestones to build a framework supporting and encouraging students to apply themselves and learn beyond their limits. 

Developing a Framework for Tech Accessibility: 

(1) Establish a Technology Roadmap: The growth of remote learning in the last year compared to the growth in the previous decade presented a mixed set of reactions from the student and teacher community. As educators found ways for the students and teachers to connect and collaborate, each came with its challenges of engagement and support. Teachers realize that a real classroom is much more than just a video meeting and real engagement depends on many other factors. Education leaders must map out the specific needs of students and teachers concerning instructional delivery, access, and after-school support. Understanding the user’s needs, their challenges, and the strategic growth that an institute requires will eventually determine the relevant technological framework. A critical component that must be considered is that teachers, admin staff, students, and their parents must receive the necessary training and support system to ease the change process in implementing the new technological  framework.

(2) Curriculum Roadmap: The K-12 education system has been lagging in innovation compared to most other educational programs. There has been substantial growth in the higher education, engineering programs, medical programs, yet the early formative years of students, where they establish and strengthen their base, that is, K-12 has been behind the curve. It is time for educators to rethink the standardized curriculum beyond the state-mandated minimum requirements. Establishing optional but offering above and beyond programs or gifted programs will push the desire amongst the students to go beyond their limits. Some examples of enhanced education could be, encouraging creativity via writing essays and articles, producing media and videos, making field visits and working with professionals, and understanding what specific profession creates curiosity. Such models of highly engaged and well-rounded learning experiences will fuel creativity and spark the fire to learn more.

Break the Barriers – Integrate Technology with Education.

A good roadmap will lead to the next obvious yet most crucial part: to identify, select, and establish a set of technological equipment and essential hardware/software that can support collaboration, engagement, and mobility, which is scalable yet cost-effective.

Some of the components that must be considered in selecting the assistive technology should be:

  1. Identify the hardware, related peripherals and accessories. Learning in the 21st century must support mobility, as learning is no longer limited to the four walls or just watching a video lesson. As we deploy a wide variety of devices and other resources that students can use to gain access to all of the concepts and content on the go. The selected technological framework must support the instructional media access 24X7 and a peer-to-peer communication framework, student to teacher communication. Engagement remains at the forefront of which a user selects a platform to use.
  2. Learning Management and Communication Platform. An LMS connects stakeholders, hardware, and technology to enable communication channels. Among all of the tech administrators’ options, one must think of the ease of access and scalability for future growth. Additionally, the selected learning management platform must be easy to access without losing features irrespective of the platform, whether mobile devices or desktop-based windows or MAC system. Mobility helps expand communication with peers, mentors, and colleagues via social media channels.  Digital tools also modify the content possible as required, such as increasing or lowering the complexity levels of reading material or changing the presentation rate.

Foster Learning Through Experiential learning

And last but not least, learning without limits depends on the “desire” to learn. So we discuss few ways to fuel up the desire to learn. Experiential learning is one such method. The objective is to mobilizing student learning around real-life challenges and encourage project-based learning. 

Accessible advanced technologies can make it possible for K-12 schools to eliminate any form of barriers and deliver learning to young students without limits and restrictions. However, technology itself is only one part of the entire equation of ensuring supportive success for students. While the first critical step is choosing the right technology to be used, implementing these solutions considering the whole child will yield the best outcomes.  

Meeting The Needs of Students with Disabilities:

An emerging issue, at the outset, is that students with disabilities and those without financial aid are often not considered when new technologies are designed to enhance course curriculums and learning. This ends up widening the opportunity gaps and creates more significant inequalities for the most vulnerable learners. Hence, in such a scenario, teachers, CTOs, and administrators need to work to bridge the gap between the availability and accessibility of technology. And for achieving success in doing so, schools must adopt a twofold solution.  

In conclusion, we can say that using digital tools and advanced technologies can help students prepare for the digitized future. At a higher engagement level, tools like games, digital books, websites, and videos can be structured to meet different learners’ needs, from novice to expert. 

Learning principles can transcend specific technologies. When designed carefully and thoughtfully implemented, technology can potentially accelerate, transform, amplify and expand the effects of powerful learning principles. Since the process of learning isn’t observable directly, the whole study of learning very often produces such models and conclusions that gradually evolve. Thus, increasing tech accessibility in classrooms can genuinely revolutionize how students learn. And for this, it’s essential that schools adjust their classroom styles to align them with new technologies. 

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