By Heena Gavit
With the onset of covid-19 in late 2019 and early 2020, the world faced many challenges in terms of physical health, mental health, education, among others. Schools, colleges, educational institutes and universities across the globe were shut down over night and students were forced to stay indoors. This posed a major challenge to the conventional classroom teaching methods which brought in the concept of online learning.
Students and teachers could be connected with each other at the comfort of their home and education could still continue. Tests could be conducted in online manner. Online education opened newer avenues to make the education more dynamic with increased participation of students through quizzes, tests, challenges, among others. It also opened a gate of assistance for children with special needs who learn at their own pace.
However, we cannot neglect the fact that online education did come with disadvantages. There was lack of motivation amongst the students, little or no social interaction and absolutely zero inclusion of sports and physical activities.
Therefore, there are few advantages with online education which are disadvantages for offline education and vice versa. EdTech is a way, which can incorporate technology with conventional teaching and use the advantages of online as well as offline tuitions and bring a more effective way of imparting education.
India is well-progressing towards digital education, backed by rising adoption of digitization by universities and colleges, increasing internet penetration, soaring demand from students and increasing number of EdTech startups. As per RedSeer Consulting, the online education market (higher education and lifelong learning market) in India is forecast to reach $5 billion by 2025, driven by the government’s focus on designing online education programmes, strengthening digital infrastructure across the country and catering to the rising demand for upskilling among students. Former Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had said that India can become the edtech capital of the world, with the private sector playing a key role and the public sector acting as a facilitator.
Private EdTech companies like Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, and others have brought a significant change for students who used to prepare for exams like JEE, NEET, and UPSC Civil Services. Recently an EdTech Startup – Physics Wallah (PW) entered the unicorn club. It provides coaching for national exams (like JEE, NEET) at nominal cost. Byju’s, the largest edtech company, has impacted lives of 3.4 million students from its initiative education for all and aims to educate 10 million children by end of 2025. Through the initiative Byju’s partners with various NGOSs to provide education in rural areas and urban slums to create equal opportunities for all and bring the weaker sections to a level playing field. It has also initiated statewide partnerships in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Under the aegis of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), EdTech entities have come together to set up an autonomous and an independent body called the India Edtech Consortium (IEC). Its members include all the leading EdTech companies like Byju’s, Simplilearn, upGrad, Vedantu and 19 others. The consortium aims to catalyse public-private efforts in a technology driven approach towards maximizing teaching-learning outcomes.
Edtech does enhance the learning and education process and is better than the concept of tuitions and traditional classrooms in India.
Remove Age Barriers: Online programs and courses allow people of any age group to learn at their own pace, without inhibitions, and without compromising on their other commitments, which were not available at their time.
Equitable Chances and Reduced Pay-Wall: India’s Edtech industry could slowly bridge the education-quality gap between the rich and the poor, giving Indians from all backgrounds more equitable chances of success.
Polling is an approach that can be used as an activating strategy. Polling gauges students’ interests and progress in real time and pre-assesses what students have learned before teaching a new concept. Polling also promotes students’ awareness of their individual progress. As polls are anonymous, the student is able to see how they are doing with new content without feeling the pressure of getting an answer wrong.
Performance tracking: Since graphics has more influence on the thought process, so tracking student’s performance on graphs can help teachers to pay individual attention to students as well as students can judge themselves in a better manner.
IT sector: Coding, web development, cloud computing, android and IOS development are few sectors which can only be taught in a digital environment. Setting up of more and more smart classrooms with digital boards and computers will only enthuse more students about upcoming technologies.
Assessments: Edtech can also be used for formal assessments. For example, a Google form can be created that allows options for question types and embedding of images or videos. Individual student answers can be viewed as well as the class as a whole. Responses can be exported into a CSV file and feedback can be given to individual students. Socrative is a free tool for creating exit tickets in real time. It engages students and provides teachers with feedback on student mastery. And the best part about this is, it can be achieved in an invigilated manner which reduces the scope of cheating.
Feedback: Students are often scared to give negative feedback about their teachers. The option of anonymity available online can help students freely express their reviews and this can help the teachers to improve for better. Not only students but teachers can also give instant feedbacks to the students, just like checking notebooks and writing remarks.
It is important to note that Edtech should be used to enhance instruction, not replace the teacher. It should also be encouraged that teachers check school and district technology policies and ensure their students are using technology in safe, appropriate ways. It’s a welcome step that recently we saw aslew of announcements by private Edtech companies to onboard marketing tens of thousands of teachers. Technology is growing increasingly more prevalent in today’s culture, and it is important for educators to take advantage of the hundreds of resources made available to them and their students. Not only will utilizing technology influence the way educators teach, it will also increase student engagement.
The author of this article is a member of parliament, Nandurbar constituency, Maharashtra.
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