In the last five years, we have witnessed a shift in the teaching approach. Education through print medium is unidirectional, non-interactive and limited, while technological awareness within students’ starts at an early age, writes Nilesh Gaikwad, Country Manager, India – EDHEC Business School.
For a ‘sleeping elephant’ of the last century, India has definitely hit the ground running in the last few years. Infrastructure development and Acceptance of Technology at a breakneck speed has come as a refresher. Big business houses are taking note of the same. Applications of this technology within the Education sector are aiming to benefit the 25+ crore students studying in Indian schools, especially since education here followed the ‘Chalk & Talk’ model. Rising incomes of the middle-class has fueled a spurt in private IB schools, which in turn has expedited the use of technology to optimize learning.
According to a recent report from Google, data consumption in India has increased by 18x in the last two years and estimated one Billion users from India to be online by 2030. While metro cities are approaching saturation, private education institutions have turned their attention to 2nd and 3rd tier cities to satisfy the huge requirements of an education thirsty populace. Education Solutions industry is working overtime to provide digital solutions to this all-important user base. Thus, modern day teaching medium will reach every nook and corner of India.
Schools are adopting the ‘Digital’ medium. As it involves substantial investment towards infrastructure development and labor training, schools are trying to work out a ‘best of both worlds’ approach. Unlike the traditional ranking system, the emphasis has shifted up on overall personality development of the students. Inducing topics related to socio-emotional skills that stimulate profile development is important. As it is impossible for every school in India to go 100% digital, the need of the hour is a customised Integrated Learning Solutions model. Such a model provides ample freedom to the schools to develop the right blend of print and digital learning aids for their pupils.
At the start of the academic year, school authorities take parents into confidence to outline the development requirements of their pupil. Through the course of the year, the teaching staff works upon accomplishing the pre-defined goals. Often, providing real-time status of student development and introducing course-correction measures wherever necessary. With digital solutions at their beck, parents are able to monitor the progress of their children, thus making them more involved in the process. Unlike the traditional education medium, students receive feedback during the year and are mentored with corrective measures rather than waiting for the year ending exams. There are multiple positive outcomes to this approach for the actors involved in this process:
Self-learning: While the focus is on student development, there a couple more actors who have shown phenomenal improvements – Parents & Teachers. Through this process, parents are learning more about the right approach with their children. Similarly, teachers are able to optimize their efforts by personalizing the teachings with the specific requirements of the pupils. Teachers are also able to judge the future requirements of the students and plan accordingly. Finally, they can foresee the advanced functional training requirements for themselves and help school management improve the overall quality.
Inclusivity: Parents are no longer passive players in the academic journey of their children. As parents have access to real-time progress reports, teachers can benefit from their feedback in ensuring the best way forward. Additionally, the trust factor built between the school and the parents can create long-lasting associations.
Productivity: Owing to the real-time feedback, students can concentrate on specific topics for their development. An increased and efficient communication between teachers and students leads to strengthening of the teacher-student bond. Practical assignments providing real-time feedback will peak the student interest and make them more productive in day-to-day curriculum.
Knowledge-bank: For the school, this experience can be a stepping-stone to realigning their vision in accordance to the changing dynamics of today’s times. The learnings from a specific year can lead to a more focused and optimized approach not only within the management of the class but also of the school. Knowledge within a print medium is limited. A combination of print & digital teaching will ensure learning happens at an in-depth level rather than by sticking to just one form. Not only Teaching but also quality of learning can improve exponentially. Online resources can give rise to teacher forums, which in turn lead to sharing of best practices within the academia. It is an all win situation for the students.
Challenges: Schools have to consider the cost factor and find the best mix of Print & Digital solutions for optimal benefit of their students. As with any change, sensitizing the teachers and ensuring everyday use of the technology will be challenging. School management may face a resistance in the early days but overcoming the initial speed bumps are essential for providing better academic experiences to students. Combining digital and print seamlessly with clarity in benchmarking will keep confusion at bay. Users should have clarity in the advantages of the new model. Regular Feedback regarding the processes will curtail the rise of disinterest. At the same time, these meetings can be a good place to display self-learning outcomes, which can benefit the collective goal.
Considering the above points, it is only a matter of time before Integrated Learning Solutions are applied within the K12 sector. However, personalizing the solutions according to the student’s needs and chucking the one-size-fits-all attitude will define the success rate of this technology.
(Author Nilesh Gaikwad is Country Manager, India – EDHEC Business School. Views expressed by author are a personal opinion.)