With the Internet having far bigger access to influence than teachers, EdTech is taking the front seat, taking India’s education story one step forward, writes Jairaj Bhattacharya, Founder & MD- CG Slate (ConveGenius Group).
As with most of the sectors, technology has pervaded the education space, thus, challenging traditional structures and service delivery pipelines that had begun to edge on the cosy and comfortable, hence, stifling the possibility of spurring innovation without a substantial overhaul of the existing mindset.
With the Information and Communication Technology boom, the first challenge that looked to be addressed was the unavailability of quality educational content, which also led to the streamlining of the delivery of such content, effectively reducing, and more clearly defining the role of the teacher, who had now become more of a facilitator.
The Smart Class model was a notable innovation in this phase, and EduComp, a major player. Due to low penetration of ICT infrastructure in the country, the cost for setting up a smart classroom was, till a few years ago, prohibitively expensive. Also, the maintenance of such infrastructure was not a cakewalk. Even now, only the biggest names invest in such technology, but they have proven to be very effective.
The second major innovation phase was spurred on by data and analytics. With the ability to assess performance in an unbiased and convenient manner, assessments became technology-intensive.
Even after the 2nd phase, the dependence on infrastructure, primarily desktop computers and reasonably quick internet, led to such interventions being inherent for ones at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid. This is what the current phase looks to solve.
The major innovation in our phase is adaptive learning algorithms using advanced machine learning techniques, to create a self-learning environment using strong feedback loops.
We are in the third phase of innovation, facilitated by the profusion of mobile devices and 2G/3G connectivity across the country, bringing to mind a popular tagline ‘Kar lo duniya mutthi mein’ (The world, in your palm) by Reliance Telecom. Indeed, the world is now at one’s fingertips.
It presents other players in EdTech space an opportunity for a substantial contribution in ameliorating quality and affordable access to education for end-user be it child, school or learning centre.
Stronger encryption capabilities and cheaper flash memory-based devices, such as pen-drives and SD Cards, have obliterated the need for fast and stable internet connections, and high associated costs, to access high quality learning content. Data syncing and analysis, however, are still internetdependent, but are minimal due to the stronger processing powers of mobile devices at present.
Also, education on personalised devices, such as tablets and smartphones, is an immense opportunity to personalise education for the enduser. The major innovation in our phase is adaptive learning algorithms using advanced machine learning techniques, to create a self-learning environment using strong feedback loops
For larger organisations which have chosen to digitise their data, decision-making capabilities have improved manifold. These include high-end schools, and large NGOs. A robust and unbiased data collection system at the field level, linked to an MIS system, ensures that the upper echelons in an organisation are sufficiently informed about ground realities, and help them take major steps in improving the performance of their.
Jairaj Bhattacharya, is the Founder & MD- CG Slate (ConveGenius Group) Visit www.cgslate.com for more details.