Introducing global teaching methods has become a necessity. Nirav Khambhati, CEO, Tata ClassEdge and Naveen Rajlani, CEO, VP & Business Head, Inside Services, Pearson India open a debate to the avid readers of digitalLearning
How do you look at the emerging technologies in this field? What can be the areas of improvement?
Nirav Khambhati, CEO, Tata ClassEdge:
Big data is rapidly changing the way we look at teaching and learning. The field of education science has been more theory driven than data driven so far. However, with massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other open learning platforms that are closely monitoring and collecting data on how students respond to different types of learning experiences, learnerexperience data is going to be a gamechanger in the design, development and delivery of technology-enabled educational solutions. Analytics-based adaptive learning that adapts learning experiences to suit the end user’s level of understanding and preferred ways of processing information will move teaching-learning from a one-size-fitsall approach.
At Tata ClassEdge we are constantly trying to build on our offerings by creating an ecosystem of like-mined people and partners in areas as diverse as computer education, authentic hands-on science learning, robotics and the like.
Naveen Rajlani, VP & Business Head – Inside Services, Pearson India:
With massive technological advancements and economic liberalization, the world is now becoming a global village. In a scenario like this, introducing global teaching methods has become a necessity. It is essential that students and teachers in India are able to think and function at par with their counterparts across the globe.
All the emerging technologies available in this digital field provide a great solution to the much awaited benefits of incorporating technology in education. The technology solutions available for schools in bits like Digital Classrooms, e-Books, Tablets & ERP help both teachers and students to innovate, recreate and give shape to their ideas. All of these solutions need to be integrated as one solution for schools to impart quality education and innovative answer to a complete learning solution.
One area of improvement is the need to integrate all kinds of learning tools, be it textbooks, digital aids or assessments into one integrated learning solution that helps teachers with reports on individual student performances so that they can identify gaps in learning and ensure better progress. Pearson is currently working towards addressing this concern and will be soon announcing the launch of an integrated learning product for the K-12 segment.
The main challenge is in winning over teachers to start using technology. However, we cannot blame teachers even if there is some resistance. It is to do with the fact that technology is ineffective if there is no thrust on how to use it to improve the learning outcomes
What are the opportunities and challenges faced by companies offering Technology based Instructional solutions?
The main challenge is in winning over teachers to start using technology. However, we cannot blame teachers even if there is some resistance. It is to do with the fact that technology is ineffective if there is no thrust on how to use it to improve the learning outcomes. If teachers see a clear benefit in using technology to enhance their teaching, the resistance automatically disappears.
Currently, most players use projectors and interactive whiteboards to display multimedia content in classrooms. From this passive display of content, we are witnessing a move towards students directly interacting with technology as in the use of virtual laboratories and immersive educational games. Tata ClassEdge offers both these solutions already. The other big opportunity is in gathering data on the way teachers and students use technology. The insights that can be derived by analyzing this data can serve as powerful tools in fine-tuning educational design. On this aspect again, Tata ClassEdge is sitting on a goldmine of usage data.
Soon when 3D printing, wearable technology, augmented reality and intelligent tutoring systems become more accessible, classrooms are bound to undergo a radical change from the way we see them today.
One of the major problems faced by the smart classroom solution providers is encouraging teachers and education providers to use this technology in imparting education. The digital service providers need to ensure that teachers are able to utilize this technology to the maximum to gain benefits out of it. Unless the solutions offered are fully used in classrooms, school won’t be able to derive maximum benefit. Companies offering Digi- Classrooms will have to find out more and more ways to engage and encourage teachers to use this technology.
What distinguishes you from the competitors?
At the heart of Tata ClassEdge lies its instructional design model — the multiple learning experiences model (M-LEx™) — that assists every teacher in preparing unique lesson plans suitable to his or her individual teaching style. The lesson plans include not just interactive multimedia, but also innovative multisensory activities that aim to enhance critical thinking, social interaction, communication skills and creativity in students. What is more, Tata ClassEdge has differentiated the content, designed for struggling learners and high achievers. This ensures equal opportunity for all students to learn according to their abilities and perform in class. Thanks to a large number of modularised teaching points developed for multiple state boards, CBSE and ICSE, the lesson plans can be mapped and sequenced exactly according to each school’s particular textbooks. This makes the system much easier for teachers to adopt.
One area of improvement is the need to integrate all kinds of learning tools, be it textbooks, digital aids or assessments into one integrated learning solution that helps teachers with reports on individual student performances so that they can identify gaps in learning and ensure better progress.
The multimedia included in lesson plans are short nuggets that help clarify difficult concepts using animations, interactivities, songs and engaging story-based formats. Almost all of the multimedia has been created inhouse, which makes it possible for Tata ClassEdge to update content or add new sections. A cloud-based architecture ensures continuous and near real time content updates in schools and enables tracking of usage of Tata ClassEdge in every classroom of every school.
Tata ClassEdge is not just about readyto- use lesson plans and multimedia. It also provides a platform for teachers to contribute open resources, create original lesson plans and collaborate with each other. The platform has been designed to develop a collaborative knowledge sharing community of teachers.
The 4 Cs maturity model indicates the maturity level of usage and how usage evolves over time.
- Consumption: In the first few months or a year of usage of Tata ClassEdge, schools tend to use mainly the lesson plans and multimedia.
- Contribution: Schools gradually contribute and share open resources using the Tata ClassEdge platform.
- Creation: Teachers realise the potential of creating their own original resources and sharing them using the platform.
- Collaboration: Teachers and schools collaborate with each other to share learnings, ideas and resources. This expands and deepens knowledge and communication at the community level and can have a much wider impact. This impact need not be restricted to curriculum but could be extended to a broader scope including social issues, community welfare and environmental issues in the area.
The success of Tata ClassEdge is not measured on financial criteria alone but more importantly on the number of students we are reaching out to in different segments of the society. Significant investments are poured in so that we remain best-in-class. Partnering with like-minded entities ensures crossfertilization of ideas and innovation.
DigiClass is a complete classroom solution that comprises of hardware such as a CPU, interactive white board, UPS, server and speakers. The content, DigitAlly, is our patented, award winning software which contains animations, simulations, diagrams, 3D objects and much more. DigitAlly allows teachers to make changes and save it as their own copy. The ability to make changes to existing content, our continuous process of getting regular feedback from teachers and up gradation is what differentiates us from the rest. Our content is also customized as per the boards.
Over and above that recently Pearson has selected IBM as its strategic technology partner to deliver customized e-learning solutions to Schools across India. As part of the engagement, IBM is implementing Life Cycle Maintenance solution which will ensure IT operations are well maintained and function without any disruption. This includes supply, installation and maintenance of the IT infrastructure in these classrooms.
Please share new innovative tools for the Technology based Instructionalsolutions that are available with you for a more effective student-teacher engagement.
Tata ClassEdge provides effective curriculum support to teachers through:
- lesson plans mapped according to the sequence of chapters in textbooks
- visually rich multimedia
- worksheets that promote critical thinking
- teaching strategies for teachers to use authentic hands-on experiences in classroom
In addition to this, we have LabEdge, which consists of interactive simulations and virtual tools to teach maths and science. GameEdge includes interactive group games to practice all subjects including science, maths social studies and grammar.
PlanEdge facilitates academic and assessment planning for the entire academic year and helps teachers track their progress on curriculum completion. PlanEdge also provides a grade book that conforms to the CCE requirements of CBSE. It also allows schools to capture the co-scholastic aspects of students.
TestEdge provides a high quality question bank with varying levels of difficulties, mapped to the Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives. All the questions are mapped to the chapters and concepts covered in the textbooks followed by schools. Teachers can create formative and summative test papers using these questions. TestEdge also comes with a question authoring feature, which makes it possible for teachers to create customised test papers. We expect that these products will free teachers from a lot of the administrative work which can be better utilized for class preparation and interactions with students.
There are various kinds of technology that is being used to adopt innovative learning methods. At Pearson Schools, we provide endto- end education solutions in the K-12 segment, with a focus on technological innovations. We offer ICT enabled classroom solution, DigiClass and MX Touch Education devices to impart quality education to our students. The solution combines state-of-theart hardware with syllabus based, multimedia content. PowerSchool is a web-based student information system that enables educators to make timely decisions that impact student performance while creating a collaborative environment for parents, teachers and students to work together. Apart from using technology in education like ActiveTeach, which is an academically sound and comprehensive school curriculum with innovative teaching and learning resources, integrating technology with the syllabus Active Teach creates learner-friendly classroom environment. Students nowadays are using more technological tools to learn better, QR code readers and augmented reality applications like ActiveApp helps students to convert images from the textbook into digital resources and helping them make their own digital resources. We have the classroom Quiz, where the class can be divided into teams and the quiz is currently there from 5 grades onwards. This is very interactive for both student and teacher.
A digital learning programme in schools can greatly enhance the quality of education and provide learning which is more interactive, deploying visual and aural mediums to help students understand concepts and retain them for longer
How can a Technology based Instructional solution revolutionize the education sector in our country?
Technology has made it easy to visualise difficult topics like the structure of an atom or the working of the digestive system. Teachers and students can manipulate values like temperature and pressure and see their effect on objects in a virtual laboratory. It helps teachers collaborate with each other and share best practices (for example, in a large chain school).
With better connectivity in schools, students and teachers can access some of the best content from prestigious universities across the world that is available free on the Internet. Technology also helps students connect with their peers across different parts of the country as well as the world. A socially networked world also fosters multiple learning communities and inspires interest in academic topics beyond the confines of textbooks and classrooms.
ICT in education can be pivotal in transforming the face of Indian education. A digital learning programme in schools can greatly enhance the quality of education and provide learning which is more interactive, deploying visual and aural mediums to help students understand concepts and retain them for longer. By adopting ICT in education we can exponentially increase the quality of education accessible to the masses.
Smart Classrooms also bridges the gap between classrooms and outside world to large extent. It enables the teachers to explain the abstract concepts better. There is an issue of availability of quality teacher in many schools across India; the use of these solutions can help minimize that to some extent.
How indigenous is the digitization of the classroom and the textbooks? Is there any mechanism to Indianise the smart classroom so that the technology can fill the digital deficit in the country?
Tata ClassEdge content is mapped to CBSE, ICSE and 22 state boards including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and UP. Tata ClassEdge is also available in three regional languages viz. Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. Tata ClassEdge is not only mapped to a specific curriculum but also to the textbooks followed by individual schools. Currently we have mapped our content to over 7,500textbooks across 400 publishers.
Also, if you look at the use of characters in Tata ClassEdge multimedia and worksheets, they represent the diversity of India. Many of the examples used are taken from Indian contexts and even the English version uses neutral Indian accent as opposed to British or American accents.
At Pearson India, content is our core strength. We create and adapt local content that is designed around the curriculum and local needs.