InterviewsOutlook

Outlook 2021: EdTech Will Continue to Enhance Education Techniques

Dr. Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja, the Co-Founder and Director of Capital College, speaks about how edtech is changing the landscape of the education sector for better

What sort of edtech learning was learned during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Certainly, this is an overwhelming time for all educators, students, and families. However, only times like these help us evolve and bring out our creative side to innovate, curate, and deliver through tech-based learning tools that will retain the quality of education. Capital College tries adhering to effective pedagogical practices so that they remain engaged and interested in the learning material.

One of the ways we have adopted these practices is by producing well-designed interactive lessons that are supported with constant checking to meet the needs of the learners. It is done by creating compelling audio and video content for students to remain interested and engaged.

While traditionally, schools give generic files where students are expected to learn and understand by themselves, currently, we are seeing a rise in learning software like LMS. At Capital College, we have worked on both – synchronous and asynchronous learning formats depending on what best suits the student’s learning process. We have a range of live sessions, recorded lectures where we target a global classroom making the session highly interactive and interesting.

What sort of impact has the pandemic had on the education sector in the region?
Like every industry, the pandemic has led to a stage of uncertainty in the education sector as well. There has been a significant portion of disruption in the system where research suggests that more than 1.6 billion learners spread across 190 countries and continents are globally affected. With higher education institutions taking a digital route, it has projected to affect 94% of the student population.

Having said that, this is a testing time and as responsible educators, we are looking for techniques that will salvage the current situation and perhaps discover ways that will be highly beneficial in the near future. In fact, with the aid of technology, there has been a display of a promising future in the industry with an expedited mode of delivering quality education. Yes, many students may not have the required resources to carry forward an online mode of learning, however, this is a start to creating a safe environment where adaptive and well-read learners will thrive.

Has digital technology in education enabled us to find new answers?
Yes, definitely. Digital technology has evolved to become a core element in the education system. While tech tools have not only helped students to remain engaged and interested, but it has also formed an effective interactive space where it is no longer JUST textbook material. In addition to this, the role of teachers has also changed post the incorporation of digital technology.

They are no longer just orators or professionals who are imparting wisdom to the students, but they have transformed to become content creators, mentors, advisors, and evaluators. With teaching materials empowered with artificial intelligence, we are also starting to build platforms that can gauge student response and work accordingly. Apart from this, these systems can integrate the type of tasks, interests, and difficulties so that teachers can tackle them. Such tools are only going to add a significant level of precision which may be difficult to achieve in a traditional classroom setting.

How effective is digital technology in education?
We strongly believe that digital technology is nothing but bringing out the best in students. Digital learning tools are enabling students to cultivate self-directed learning skills. Students can identify the learning material, understand the importance of it and they are successfully able to apply the information.

In some cases, they are also able to evaluate their performance. On a higher education level, this will increase their efficiency, productivity, and ultimately will make them job-ready. Through this form of learning, they can sharpen their critical reasoning and analytical skills which are reflected positively on their logic, imagination, and creativity as opposed to traditional textbook learning.

Additionally, technology creates an effective visual appeal which is keeping students engaged, growing their .k, knowledge base without them even realising it. They are becoming active learners, listeners, and adaptors which is further reinstated with teamwork, storytelling, problem-solving, and gamification.

With students becoming more responsible and accountable for their actions, they will be able to venture as self-starters in the market which is very crucial considering the current climate. As young aspirers, if they have the ability to become entrepreneurs and ideally create jobs for others, it is an achievement in itself for the education system.

Even before COVID-19, was there already high growth and adoption in education technology?
The concept of e-learning is not new. It has been prevalent for a few decades, however, the intensity of its adaptation has changed rapidly. Even before the pandemic, global EdTech investments were reaching $18.66 billion in 2019 and were set to reach $350 billion by 2025. Since the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a surge in using online tools like online learning software, portals to submit papers and assignments, video conferencing for teaching purposes, or even language apps.

Over the years, EdTech has had a constant source of enhancing education techniques, innovations and this pandemic has only reaffirmed its importance in the sector. The technology advancement has not only retained the quality of education provided but also improved student experience.

What are the challenges in adopting the latest technologies into the education sector today?
One of the biggest challenges in the education sector is that many students do not possess reliable internet access or other technical difficulties that disable them from active classroom participation. This is highly relevant in countries with lower income brackets. For instance, countries like Austria, Norway, and Switzerland have 95% of the student population completing part of their education online, only 34% of Indonesian students can successfully do so.

As educators, it is pivotal to bridge the gap and allow students to take complete advantage of the diverse EdTech tools available. From an educator’s point of view, there is a lack of professional development in teachers as they are expected to integrate new technologies, create content and impart the required learning outcomes as well which many may not be prepared for. Lastly, students are also finding it extremely difficult in some areas to complete their formative assessments in the higher education level which requires streamlining and ways that will not put too much pressure on both students and teachers.

Could the move to online learning be the catalyst to create a new, more effective method of educating students?
While many think the shift to online education took place in a manner that was completely unplanned and uncalled with very little training and minimal technological exposure, I believe that this is a rise to something that is going to be prevalent for many years to come. This will integrate technological systems and tools, improving student experience and education.

I strongly think that this will only accelerate information in technology education and make these digital tools an integral part of online education. Although the transition may be difficult initially, it will certainly lead to further growth, value, and exposure to educators and students. Digital Education is the future of Learning.

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