The parents realize the need for moving away from pure exam preparatory education to applying what they are learning. This can be achieved through digital and simulated lab environments. Sajeev Karuthody, Director, Edutech India, shares his views with Elets News Network
What do you think are the factors driving the market of digital laboratories in India? How good is the scope for its growth in the education sector?
Digital laboratory is a generic term and if we have to consider the use of digital technologies like computers, smart devices and other ICT platforms helping education, it is a no brainer that digital laboratories are a game changer in this space.
Digital laboratories according to Edutech, an organization in the forefront of using technology in education and training has three dimensions
a) Enhancing the current classroom based training using ICT and digital aids like computers in classrooms, Printers and Scanners for digitizing and reusing content, Audio visual aids for enhancing and reproducing classroom content etc. Few of the schools, colleges and universities have started using these tools; which are largely hardware in nature
b) E Learning: Digital labs are as good as the content or materials it uses. So instructionally and pedagogically sound content should be used in digital format. Ready to use off-the-shelf content or custom content can be used for specific learning outcomes and learning technologies like Learning Management System (LMS), Online assessment systems, lecture capture systems and collaboration tools are used for any time anywhere learning experience. These are largely software and digital interventions
c) Apply what you learn: These are digitally simulated lab environments that help you apply what you learn, practice and learn various concepts in arts and science and languages. For instance, digital language labs are great tool to learn and practice English and various other foreign languages.
How do you look at the emerging technologies in this field? What can be the areas of improvement?
Lab environments that facilitate effective use of digital technology to simulate an engaging and interactive experience in a simple and cost effective manner is the way forward. Gamification of elearning content, informal and social learning models, use of lecture capture tools will help generate good amount of institution specific content.
What are the opportunities and challenges faced by the companies offering digital labs?
Opportunities are plenty in this space. In view of Indian education system, the parents realize the need for moving away from pure exam preparatory education to applying what they are learning. This can be achieved through digital and simulated lab environments. As Indian education sector gears for this challenge there are enough rooms for various product and service providers in this space. Low cost of internet connectivity and computing devices like tablets will add to this process.
What are the strategies adopted by the vendors to promote their products?
Here in India, the vendors have an uphill task of educating the various stakeholders including decision makers, policy influencers, school systems, teachers, parents and students. Investing in the sustained marketing campaigns, participating in academic conferences, organizing workshops and articulating our thoughts through educational magazines like Digital Learning are some of the ways through which we build awareness.
What distinguishes you from the competitors?
As an organization, we complete twenty five years next year. Our speciality lies in identifying the best-of-breed-solutions from across the globe and introducing them in India after contextualizing their relevance, content, price and packaging to meet local market requirements. There are several Indian firms that take inspiration from western products and develop versions in a half-baked format ending up as a failure at the cost of time, energy and resources.