July 1, 2022 7 min read
Technology has played a strong role in revolutionizing most key sectors that aid human survival. From healthcare to education, the power of tech has enabled greater accessibility and affordability. The pandemic has further accelerated digitization bringing the future closer.
The past two years have witnessed the growth of edtech and the rise of edtech has transcended physical limitations to make ‘learn from home’ simpler. The results have been phenomenal and the offline to online transition, though not completely seamless, played a very important role in avoiding a lapse in the Indian education sector. Children and adults continued to learn and the industry continued to thrive.
Midway into 2022, and life beginning to appear ‘normal’ or ‘back to usual’ it is imperative to understand if the edtech industry has made a lasting impact or has it merely replicated the offline teaching structure online. While it cannot be denied that online classrooms and traditional teaching methods are necessary, let's not forget that technology goes above and beyond. Replicating a physical experience is one aspect and while we have the opportunity, to dig deep beyond our means and finding solutions to simplify learning is the real deal.
There is a good ol’ saying by philosopher and educationist, John Dewey - “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” This stands true more than ever in the current scheme of things. Technology can create a paradigm shift in teaching and learning behaviors. It is unfair to the learners and educators if we use it mindlessly to just stay connected instead of deep diving and creating solutions that will simplify learning or bring it alive.
The reason why most edtech platforms may seem irrelevant once students get accustomed to physical classrooms is because they have failed to address the crucial needs of the child’s learning process. Compared to earlier generations the students today are born with the IoT and have shorter attention spans. At a very young age they are exposed to interactive consumer tech apps where they can view videos, use filters etc. They are already on the path of learning through interactive avenues and are seeking beyond rote learning methods.
Tech can and has solved many challenges that are a part of the evolving learning environment. New and emerging technologies like Augmented Reality, Gamification, Virtual Reality, 3D Simulations and Artificial Intelligence are paving the way for immersive learning. In simpler words, this means better retention and increased attention span simply because they are engaged in the process of learning or they are actively engaged. Technology is a tool that can keep students motivated to continue exploring and learning by doing. A landscape where an edtech platform is dedicated to complement learning at home and creating an immersive environment in classrooms is ideal. Apart from simplifying STEM learning and creating a conducive environment in physical classrooms, edtech can promote stronger digital literacy for young and adults alike. The future digital preparedness is crucial in applying and changing the existing pedagogical ways.
Apart from teaching methods, edtech can also help speed up the back end and administrative processes. From managing attendance to preparing schedules and keeping a tab on individual student performance, the processes can be sped up and made even more efficient through technology. Teachers can spare more time on the productive and creative elements of teaching than on mundane operational tasks. Eventually, time management and workforce management can become more streamlined. From a bird's eye view, technology is an enabler.
For discerning schools, parents and learners in dilemma while looking up for their options, a headstart would be to identify your goals and opt for a platform that is a comprehensive product suite. At present, any platform that has made serious efforts to develop a vast content library and develop a strong administrative backend is ideal. As you progress and develop a stronger comfort with these tools you will see increased productivity and output. Most Indian edtech companies have limited themselves to course offerings rather than diving into the ‘simplify learning’ aspect of technology. At any given point, opt for companies and products that have taken the offbeat path to see guaranteed results.
The article is written by Ilangovel Thulasimani, Co-founder and CTO at Practically and it first appeared in PC Quest in May 2022
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