Technology can enable the required disruption needed in education | The Financial Express

Technology can enable the required disruption needed in education

The advantage of AI is that it can also improve with time, constantly learning and re-learning from student and educator feedback.

Technology can enable the required disruption needed in education
New technologies will continue to create exciting and interactive learning environments.

By Mahesh Srivastava

For education in India, 2022 was an interesting year. Despite the significant shakedown due to high valuations and low returns, the undisputable fact is that India emerged as the edtech capital of the world. The private sector continues to play a key role with the public sector acting as a facilitator and as a result, today, there are well over 4,450 edtech start-ups in India assisting over 300 million school students. Of these, 40 million are students pursuing higher education.

The COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a big catalyst that suddenly brought technology to the fore and almost overnight, edtech along with its technology and IT tools for inclusive, engaging, and personalized learning became a buzzword. But that’s just one aspect of the story. Today, in the post COVID world, technology has become synonymous with education. Schools, colleges, and other institutions of learning have all jumped onto the tech bandwagon.

This needs to be seen in a long-term context as well. 2030, India will have the largest number of young people in the globe, a population size which will be a boon only if these young people are skilled enough to join the workforce. India therefore will need to lead from the front to ensure the global success of the United Nations’ sustainable development goal 4 (SDG 4) which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” The Indian education system consequently needs to foster an environment for a future-ready 21st century India and technology can be that critical enabler. The good news is that the new education policy 2020 (NEP 2020) also lays significant emphasis on the use of technology – including the use of gamification and apps, assistive devices and other technology-based processes and platforms.

The pandemic forced many schools to look at other methods to educate children when the doors closed. Some districts used Learning Management Systems (LMS), but others switched education tools such as Google Classroom. It offers a solid platform for learning to take place. It organizes many tools and resources for a streamlined learning experience for parents, students, and educators. Similarly, under the Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary programmes, Cambridge International introduced Digital literacy, learning how to use digital technology safely, children can protect their own physical and emotional wellbeing and learn the skills needed for future employment. Another new programme was introduced in Mathematics – Thinking and Working Mathematically (TWM). TWM encourages learners to think like mathematicians, solve problems from the real world in elegant and creative ways, talk with others, challenge ideas and to provide evidence that validates conjectures and solutions. This supported higher order thinking that assists learners in viewing the world in a mathematical way.

Going forward, there are many other technology inclusion possibilities for educators to consider, especially in an ecosystem that increasingly encourages e-learning, both at the secondary and higher learning levels. Integrating chatbots – commonly used by enterprises across India, could be a transformational addition into the digital education ecosystem – chatbots could be trained on subject matter and would help dispel student doubts instantly. With the use of AI, chatbots could answer queries and help reduce the current workload of teachers who could then focus on more creative tasks.

For students using e-learning platforms, personalised engagement and feedback at a large scale is a challenge. This is where AI can come in again – not only helping create content but also help with grading. The advantage of AI is that it can also improve with time, constantly learning and re-learning from student and educator feedback, constantly improving its recommendations. In time, e-learning platforms powered by AI could give every student a personalized tutor.

In addition to providing personalized feedback, AI models can also help reduce drop-out rates that currently stands at just 4 percent at the primary school level but rises to as much as 20 percent at the higher education level. AI and machine learning models could also be used to predict drop-out risks among children, identify vulnerable targets and help educators put in redressal mechanisms in place well in time.

New technologies will continue to create exciting and interactive learning environments. Most importantly, a greater sense of accessibility and inclusion will ensure more people can take advantage of life-changing educational opportunities.
Technology, AI, and machine learning can bring in significant changes to the education system – and most importantly democratise it further, ensuring higher standards of lesson delivery as well as addressing some of the challenges India faces due to the lack of enough teachers.

The author of this article is Regional Director (South Asia), Cambridge International. Views expressed are personal.

Also Read: Stepping up to STEM

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First published on: 04-12-2022 at 10:29 IST