Shifting dynamics of education
February 2015

Shifting dynamics of education

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The changing face of Indian education system is surely a positive step in the teaching methods today. The digital era is gaining momentum in imparting education to the new age generation. However, Dr K P Singh, Chairman, NIMT believes that only digital education is not enough to shape the future of Indians. A proper curriculum must be designed in such a way that both learning styles are accommodated

Shifting-dynamicsHow important do you think is a tablet for the curriculum in your institution?
The digitization of the classroom globally has resulted in a changed education pattern. Students have better accessibility towards study material. The tablet makes complex procedure very easy to understand for students, which was earlier difficult to understand by hard copy study material. It has revolutionized the e-learning programs or distance education programs, hence giving a better interactive learning for the students. Therefore we cannot deny the importance of tablets in education.

Is a tablet the only way for the colleges and the universities to help their students understand the concepts better?
Is a tablet the only way for the colleges and the universities to help their students understand the concepts better definitely not. For overall concept clearing of the student and with demand of the topic the teacher must adopt the best learning tool. The tools need not be only digital to be called as best learning tool. An appropriate example to quote here is paramedical students learning bones anatomy etc. The best way to teach them is through real skeleton in front of them, which is a classical way of teaching.

The e-content must be strictly regulated. A host of security concerns, including data protection and compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) should be followed

What can a tablet, e-book and e-content not do?
Those concepts/subjects or topics which can understood best by using concrete information such as facts, procedures, practical experience, visual analysis etc cannot be understood by digital method. Therefore the curriculum must be designed in such a way that both learning styles are accommodated. The classroom is filled with facts, which are organized with theories, providing a rich environment to feed children’s natural preferences.

In fact NIMT has already incorporated e-learning into its curriculum. NIMT has a team that has deployed an instance of openEDX. Students are able to access recorded lectures, interactive animations, questionnaires etc on edx. nimt.ac.in

NIMT has also started NIMT X which is basically a platform for both open and UGC approved online courses from over 50 Universities across the globe including the likes of King’s College, London, Trinity College London, Yonsei University, University of Warwick and partners such as The British Council, The Royal Shakespearean Company amongst others.

How do you evaluate, assess a tablet before selecting it for the curriculum in your institution?
Apart from technical specifications that should meet the criteria of the curriculum, other factors include warranty and after sales support for students. In case of tablets for school students, the specs are not very intensive and selected keeping in mind the kind of content that will be made for the curriculum. However for UG and PG students, the specs generally include the standards available in the market. The tablets are selected keeping in mind the multi-purpose utility of these tablets – which are used not only for learning but also for surfing, entertainment, games etc.

Introduction of digital tools into the classrooms has brought the narratives alive. The traditional tools of teaching are slowly losing their relevance. Do you see any inherent contradiction between the two?
Today academic field have witnessed the dramatic growth and influence of Internet, wireless technology. The educators hold the vision of revolutionizing future of teaching and learning systems. However, one must not forget that the main aim of educator is to use the best learning tool and depending on the topic, digital learning tools are not always the best. Therefore it is the responsibility of an educator to strike a good balance between traditional and modern learning tools.

Although the private institutions are far ahead of the public institutions, the new government appears committed to bridging the digital deficit. How do you think should the government move?
Government is taking strong steps in minimizing the gap of modern technology in academics. Government must keep in mind the economic and social inequality according to categories of persons in a given population. Keeping in mind the difference in socioeconomic levels of parents, government must release free of cost technology based learning tools for better growth of students. This will help in filling the gap due to technological advancement in private and public academics.

The main aim of educator is to use the best learning tool and depending on the topic, digital learning tools are not always the best. Therefore it is the responsibility of an educator to strike a good balance between traditional and modern learning tools

The digital roads to smart education have their own shares of potholes. Infrastructure continues to be the main bottleneck. How do you think can it be overcome?
e-Learning has become increasingly significant learning tool in education. Since many schools have lack of infrastructure to support wireless devices, students to bring their own devices cannot give access to immediate technology integration in the classroom. The access advantage— anytime, anywhere, any device—gives a significant benefit in learning.

Must the e-content be regulated? There are equally good reasons for both in favour or against. What is your take?
The e-content must be strictly regulated. A host of security concerns, including data protection and compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) should be followed. Protective wireless infrastructure, providing a segmented student network which separates teachers and administrators must be followed, to avoid data security conflicts and protecting student information. Built-in authentication procedures must be implemented which should monitor internet. Also, a web filter should provide internet access controls.

Do you think that e-learning runs the risk of over exposure and doing more harm than good in the end?
“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” – John Dewey. Therefore we need to follow the best technology to educate student. But at the same time we cannot deny that over exposure to e-learning tools have risks to student’s health. There are several statistics which explains the same. The best way to regulate the exposure time is to make students aware of the risks involved in over exposure to technology. The institution and the educator must also share the responsibility in regulating the exposure time for the same.

The massive open online courses (MOOCS) have brought closer the dream of digital equality in our country. However, the shallow internet density in our country is making a crisis out of an opportunity. How do you think can the Government come to seize upon the opportunity?
Although the private institutions are far ahead of the public institutions, the government appears committed to bridging the digital deficit. However, many classrooms still struggle to integrate technology tools into daily learning. Therefore the government has the vision for how the future of teaching and learning systems should be revolutionized

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