When the world is now slowly beginning to open up, the COVID 19 pandemic has witnessed an economic fallout like never before since the Great Depression that took place in the last century.
By Dr Monique Kamat,
When the world is now slowly beginning to open up, the COVID 19 pandemic has witnessed an economic fallout like never before since the Great Depression that took place in the last century. The crisis has led to job losses, pay cuts and switches in careers for individuals. And nations are now gearing up to face another challenge which is of the new variant – STRAIN. While every dark cloud has a silver lining, the situation has given rise to an opportunity to one and all to step up the pedal and take the digital route in effective communication. Education as a sector has been one such ground which has seen a 360 degree shift where technological intervention saw maximum penetration as the lockdown acted like a catalyst. From web designing, programming languages to data analytics, a series of futuristic online courses have gained much steam in recent times as Ed Tech companies have successfully gained a wider audience and acceptance.
In schools and colleges, teachers as well as students have adopted to the virtual methods of learning like fish to water. However there have been certain new challenges that have emerged during this paradigm shift. A lot of teachers and students face difficulty in using multiple apps for different activities. And in a pursuit to ensure that this void is filled, NGOs like Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation are joining hands with tech players who are into digital learning space to make this transition even more seamless. There are projects like “Project Ignite” which are poised to be instrumental to allow educational institutes to be able to adapt to a blended online and offline format with the help of virtual campus and Learning Management System (LMS) in order to streamline the virtual education system.
It will be interesting to note that the large Indian population which was earlier a bit slow in comparison to most of the developed economies across the globe to convert to virtual learning, has suddenly been pushed to adopt the change like never before. This has further led to a surge in demand for massive open online course platforms which offer a valuable tech addition to the landscape of distance learning. Also the need of the hour is to provide help to teachers to deepen their understanding of pedagogical practices in remote learning, choose and practice using technology tools most suited to their context and the learning needs of their students.
Adaptation to novel methods of learning is the only way forward and education institutes, Ed Tech companies and NGOs have sensed that quite early. This comes at a time when teachers and students have to struggle using multiple apps for various activities right from attending the online lectures to submitting assignments and what is required at the moment is a holistic solution to create a single interface that helps in bringing everyone on one common platform and thus help to improve the overall eco system. With physical classrooms closed, the combination of education and technology is poised to become the new normal in future once the pandemic and its variant has subsided from our lives.
(The author is CEO of Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation. Views expressed are personal.)