New challenges demand novel approaches to the process of teaching-learning. With the rise of the pandemic era, there has been a surge of options in the educational arena. This new wave has acted as a catalyst in enhancing the teaching-learning process and paving way for better educational experiences thus reinventing the experience of education entirely, shared Yatharth Gautam, Director & COO, Birla Open Minds, in an interview with Nidhi Shail Kujur of Elets News Network (ENN). Edited excerpts:
Tell us about your achievements in terms of ‘Innovation in Education’ during the year 2022.
We have always believed that the secret to getting ahead is getting started. This is where Birla Brainiacs comes into the picture. With Birla Brainiacs, we have come up with a strong support system in the form of interactive content and mentor-driven live classes. However, we also believe that students need to collaborate and experientially learn and not be dependent only on a virtual understanding of concepts, which brings in study kits, activity kits/experiment kits and other learning experiences right from the pre-primary grades, “the foundational stages”.
Changing with the times and adapting the pedagogies to the modern way of life should be prioritised to cater to 21st-century learners. At Birla Open Minds we stand by the fact that education should be a way of life! Life is full of excitement, promises, challenges and adventures!
How are futuristic technologies going to transform education in the year 2023?
A few decades ago, the biggest advances in educational technology were computers in the classroom. EdTech was largely concentrated on in-school content distribution with a focus on tools and resources for schools which were supplementary to teachers. The past was marked by pre-recorded content and static onscreen lectures whereas the future will be exceedingly interactive, engaging, and driven by a global pool of teachers and peers.
The old model of Ed Tech focused on an online curriculum which narrowly fixated on the academic subject matter and was entirely instructor dependent using an easily replicable curriculum using a ‘one: many’ model of lectures. The new and evolved model, on the other hand, has an online curriculum which is based on analytics; is personalised and has a progress tracking system using AI-based feedback. The curriculum is based on cultural collaborations, which amalgamate YouTube, social media and gaming models such as Minecraft, Frozen and such; thus focusing on continuous engagement.
There is still a long way to go in moving towards an AI-guided path. In this process, a very important point that we have to keep in mind is to enhance the student experience in every possible manner. With the spark of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality tools and an endeavour to integrate collaboration in a virtual setting, EdTech can work wonders. Virtual learning platforms must try to come as close as they can to the reallife experience of attending school to ensure the continuity of students’ overall development.
What innovation accelerated the transformation of growth in the education landscape in the year 2022?
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. New challenges demand novel approaches to the process of teaching learning. With the rise of the pandemic era, there has been a surge of options in the educational arena. This new wave has acted as a catalyst in enhancing the teaching-learning process and paving way for better educational experiences thus reinventing the experience of education entirely. From tablets to VR, anything seems possible now.
Edtech platforms such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets have lent great flexibility to consume content on the go, thereby saving time and giving students an option of ‘where’ and ‘how’ they want to study. This has enabled students to experience holistic school learning along with competitive exam practice in an efficient manner.
Additionally, Artificial Intelligence has made the learning process more engaging and productive. Tools such as AI, ML and IoT better the learning experience for students by tracking the student performance, identifying problem areas and testing students in relation to competitive exams. This has enabled self-study thus freeing the students from depending on external help.
What is your mission and vision to impact the paradigm shift of the education arena in the year 2023?
Our focus at Birla Open Minds is on high-quality, measurable and replicable interventions to address gaps in the education system.
It is obvious that the education sector has undergone an overhaul in the last decade and now more so with the pandemic and all the baggage it brought along. The underprivileged children faced the harshest blow when it came to learning owing to the lack of access to technology and the exorbitant costs involved. We understand that helping one child might not change the world but it might change the world for that child for sure! As a small gesture of support and philanthropy from our end, in collaboration with the Being Human foundation, we distributed much-needed tabs free of cost to the children in an NGO in Pimpri, Pune to ensure their learning progresses smoothly.
Under this initiative, students can gain access to an array of learning resources and virtual sessions at no cost. We wholeheartedly aim to support children in becoming the kindest, most capable, and most resilient versions of themselves.
Building a future-ready generation across the social strata has always been our vision and with ‘Birla Open Minds’ and our tech-driven version ‘Birla Brainiacs’; we have been consistently striving at achieving this dream of a country that has the privilege of uniform education to one and all.