Architecture and Engineering experts talk about Technology for Accelerating Career

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“Now we know the power of the internet and how we can make the best use of digital technology. Everybody has to learn the blended mode of learning to stay updated.” Saying this, the Director of National Institute of Technology, Sikkim Mahesh Chandra Govil emphasized on how digital technology has become an essential part of education. Govil was sharing his thoughts at an Exclusive Webinar on Essential Education for Accelerating Creative Career, organised by Elets Digital Learning Magazine and Adobe on February 2, 2022. This was exclusively to discuss Architecture and Engineering fields.

Dr. Govil elaborated on shifting the focus on the creativity of the student and improving the learning environment. He said, “We should nurture creativity from childhood. We can determine it early when we see a child asking questions and having queries.” He further added that a good learning environment is required at all levels to nurture. “There should be a good learning environment at village level to at least create a Centre of Excellence at district or block level,” Dr Govil added.

He added the quality of education should also improve in rural areas and it is a much required change. “NITs and IITs have a big responsibility. Why can’t they enhance the students from rural areas? They have all the best content and through technology, we can share that with everyone.” He added that there is a strong need to change the curriculum. “ We should not compromise on the quality of education. We are not changing the way of designing the assignments. They should be designed around Industry problems.” He further said, “Students should be sent to rural areas to understand design. We want students to realise what rural India looks like. This will develop their problem-solving skills.”

Director, Symbiosis School of Architecture Dr. Gauri Kotnis Shiurkar defined how digitisation after the pandemic has affected everyone and adaptation is the need of the hour. “We have faced a similar kind of experience like a liminal experience. It involves forced separation from familiar roles and we have experienced it in the pandemic. We come out transformed from these times. We need to understand how we can adapt to this change. We have come to terms with this new normal to change the pattern. Digitisation has become extremely important.”

She said that one needs to understand the learning pattern of the student to make a difference in school education. “School education needs to change a lot after NEP. We don’t allow our students to use the right side of the brain. There are nine types of intelligence. It should be given importance at the school level to understand a student’s learning pattern to create a difference.”

Dr. Gauri said that a survey was conducted to understand the industry needs and then a curriculum was prepared in her institute. “We could do it because we are a private university. Digitisation has opened opportunities for all of us, breaking the boundaries of nations to have academicians interacting with students on digital platforms.”

“There was a digital divide during the pandemic. We had to start with manual things. We should take this opportunity to become fully digital”, said Prof Dr. Anil Dewan, Head of the department – Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture. He opined that digital is the new normal. The choices are in the hands of students to adapt to the digital environment. “We should bring changes in curriculum. The choices are now with the students. They can watch content anytime. The opportunities are endless and we could reach many more students.”

He further added, “We had all the tools but in the pandemic, students were in their own locations. Some had no laptops, some worked with smartphones but we adapted. We were used to physical teaching. The digital platform was difficult to adapt but now we are used to it. The budget had a province for institutes of excellence and we hope for support from the Government of India.” Prof. Anil delved on the importance of content in teaching. He said, “The industry has moved on. Let my classes be available to all the schools of architecture in India. We have the content. We would like it to be open online to all. We now have internships across the globe.”

Joint Head of Department, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Indra Kumar Singh mentioned how digital is changing the dynamics of the whole universe. “The digital world is inevitable. It’s much about interaction and expression. It is shrinking the world. It may be possible that in a few years from now, we would be conducting classes in a virtual world through the metaverse.”

He also explained that digitisation will never stop and how it is increasing after the pandemic. “Digitalization has always been there. In the pandemic it was seen more. The pandemic became a catalyst for digitalization. Digitalization will never stop.” Singh further elaborated, “In BHU we have equipment in our labs. The problem is some of the students don’t have laptops. Digitalization has given us a lot more opportunities. It is required from software companies to collaborate with students to make softwares affordable.”

The discussion was moderated by Supreeth Nagaraju, Head Education, Digital Media for Adobe India. He said that as a technology provider, Adobe is ready to partner with universities and educational institutions. He added that Adobe has been introducing different products to suit the needs of the market and they can further discuss with the academicia to create the best products.

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