The Indian Education System today is at a pivotal stage, where all stakeholders across socio-economic demographics have started questioning the purpose of learning and the approach to education in the 21st century.
While on one hand, practices such as rote learning and ‘teaching to the test’ are being universally denounced, on the other hand, the age-old challenges of syllabus completion, nurturing student engagement and catering to differentiated learning levels and abilities in a classroom remain relevant even now. There are multi-level discussions happening that involve policy makers, school leaders and education consultants, who agree on the need to address the learning styles of the 21st century learner, but also struggle to find practical ways to do it. With technology entering the learning space within classrooms in the last decade, there have been mixed thoughts about the efficacy of the medium in raising the learning profile of the students.
Technology, like any other medium, has its strengths and weaknesses. The biggest strength of technology as a medium is its ability to meet each child at his/her level of understanding and to cater to each individual’s learning needs. The biggest weakness, in my opinion, is that technology is devoid of emotion and lacks the ability to form lasting emotional connections with the learner, as a human being can. This is where the content and its delivery play a huge role in impacting the learner. From the innovator’s end, the platform needs to be designed in a way that recognizes every student as a unique learner and personalizes his or her learning path. At the teacher’s end, the platform must offer a way to use that data for recognizing individuality so that teachers may perform their tasks better. This is the only way the impact of a technology-driven solution can be noticeable and effective on a cognitive and emotional level.
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However, this feat is only possible with the zealous drive of educators who are ready to create their own micro-innovations to leverage the powers of technology. Once the teacher is convinced and aligned to the solution, half the battle is won. There are some very dynamic teachers across the country that have shown tremendous support and understanding of the purpose of technology implementation in the classrooms and have used it to benefit learning for all. Not just for students, but personalized portals are being used in government and affordable private schools of Karnataka for ongoing teacher training, lesson plan ideas, and mentorship.* In a government school in Bihar, a teacher has been using a pen-camera to record his lesson to review and improve his own language skills as well as providing a platform for students to review their classroom behavior, thus making everyone aware of their areas of improvement on a personal level.* With the use of virtual reality, some government school teachers are bringing current, political scenarios to their classrooms, such as the Syrian refugee crisis and then invoking deliberation and discussion among the students, leading to higher participation and empathy with global issues.* These examples are significant because the world and jobs of tomorrow will require an ability to self-learn, an ability to work on critical feedback and to engage with people from diverse backgrounds and with problems of a global nature.
The contribution that conscious use of technology can make in raising the level of understanding and opening up horizons for stakeholders on a large scale is tremendous. A proper approach to blend traditional teaching practices and technology-led enhancement programs is the way forward to serve the learning needs of 21st century learners as well as teachers and thus, the sector is ready to absorb the principles of Industry 4.0.
If you are a School Owner, Principal or Math Head and want to tackle Math Anxiety and help improve the overall math profile of your school through implementation of AI, please do get in touch with Ritika at firstname.lastname@example.org or Punit at email@example.com
This January, The British School, Delhi, that have been using our Math Learning Program for schools called Mangahigh.com, won the International School Award in London under the category of ‘Use of Digital Technology in Learning’ based on a year long case study of impact of Mangahigh on Math outcomes for their students!
* - Case studies collated by The British Council in collaboration with Central Square Foundation titled “Teaching and Technology – Case Studies from India “ – edited by Dr. Gary Motteram