By: Shelly Anand –New Delhi
Digitisation of content and learning processes will be key game changers for education
The pandemic has proved that education and technology can and must be interwoven for a better reach, including to students in remote areas. “Technology and education can work in sync with each other to enable inclusion in classrooms,” says Anuradha Sridhar, head-curriculum development and training, Aditya Birla Education Academy, Mumbai. “Some learners learn well when technology is embedded. With the advent of virtual reality, abstract concepts in biology and physics have become visual for students to be able to understand concepts better.” Simulations, computer-aided learning and robotics have made learning hands-on for students.
One of the main advantages of technology in education is that it makes it inclusive for all students in every possible way. “Inclusion comes in several ways,” says Sridhar. “For students with learning challenges, technology enables them to learn at their own pace. For those visually impaired, it helps in the form of audio aids. For students in remote areas, technology enables reach to remote areas.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of National Digital Education Architecture (N-DEAR) therefore, comes at the right time—when educators have already embraced technology and students and parents know its advantages. The Prime Minister, while launching the N-DEAR, recently said it is likely to help in eradicating inequality in the education system of India.
Over the past few years, technology has been permeating different areas of our work and lives. The last one-and-a-half year has especially created an environment for tech-enabled learning to emerge as the default backbone of educational systems. It is the way for scaling up access to education effectively and has the potential to reduce inequity and improve learning outcomes through personalisation and multi-sensory tools.
“We are looking forward to the unfolding of this integrated platform (N-DEAR) to bring together five core stakeholders—student, parent, teacher, administrator and community member—including market players,” says Shourie Chatterjee, chief digital officer, Schoolnet India, an Edtech service provider. “This augurs well for unifying various sectors of education to make it simple and efficient.”
The combination of education and technology needs to be in sync with insights from learning sciences to make the teaching-learning ecosystem effective. Researchers have found strong links and overlaps between the work of neuroscience and educational psychologists. Many of the active learning techniques, such as interleaving of concepts and using multi-sensory content, bode well for learning outcomes of individual learners. “We need a systematic effort, from the institutional level to the level of the teacher, to marry the concepts of learning sciences into teaching,” says Chatterjee.
Gen-Z children were born in the lap of technology and don’t quite connect to the traditional method. Alka Kapur, principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi, says: “We have incorporated technology in our teaching method and the results have been pleasant. For the students to be able to succeed in the future, it is important that we emphasise on the skill development strategy.”
It’s important to create opportunities for children where they can use technology to solve problems because the challenges they will face later on in lives will be solved using tech. Children today learn best when there is a combination of audio and visual aids and it is only appropriate to exploit technology for teaching-learning processes.
Learning applications akin to gaming applications make learning more visual, which helps students comprehend abstract concepts. “Students have different learning styles,” says Sridhar. “Learning applications make content explicit and visual for both the visual and aural learners. Even for a learner who is hands-on with technology, aids like STEM, Maker spaces, and Robotics applications, make them better equipped to apply their learnings to a new world.”
With an emphasis on self-directed learners, who are equipped with skills like problem solving, risk taking, and collaboration, use of technology will enhance these skills and take the student’s learning at a higher level.
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.