While there is no denying that a teacher plays a pivotal part in the learning process, the concept of a ‘teacher’ is increasingly diversifying into an expert, an enthusiast, or even a peer.
By Michal Borkowski
The domain of education has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the digital revolution. There is something or the other available for multiple kinds of learners, regardless of their age, location, economic class, or any such factors. In a developing nation like India, which has been facing inherent need-gaps regarding approach, scale, rigidity and perspective when it comes to the traditional education system, edtech can bring about transformational changes. Here are a few ways in which edtech can help revolutionise the future of the education system in India:
A shift from ‘one-size-fits-all’ mode: Edtech is shifting the approach towards education from being teacher-centric to becoming student-centric. While there is no denying that a teacher plays a pivotal part in the learning process, the concept of a ‘teacher’ is increasingly diversifying into an expert, an enthusiast, or even a peer. These platforms enable an individual to study at a comfortable pace from people they are comfortable to ‘hang around and learn’ with, instead of losing onto key takeaways in an hour-long lecture.
Democratised access to education: The infrastructure of the Indian education system has been a major concern, be it in terms of physical establishment, provisions or scale. While socio-economic factors come into play here, edtech has the potential to democratise access to education and opportunities even amidst such fragmented market conditions. Considering there has been a rise both in ownership of smartphones and internet penetration, the need-gap in terms of facilitating education to the poor segments belonging to remote areas is also being addressed.
Bringing fluidity in the curriculum: A common questions asked by students is: “Is what I am learning relevant to the real world?” While academic learning is important, a lot of what is taught conventionally is abstract and holds little to no relevance to real life.
Phenomenon-based learning is an emerging concept in the educational landscape, actively engaging students to perceive different concepts and subjects, identify gaps, seek understanding, and draw parallels, etc, in the context of a real-life scenario. Edtech can help further such a learner-centric approach to learning by establishing a connect for the content being imparted, and by assisting the student in charting out an individual learning path based on what they understand of a certain phenomenon.
New elements and concepts: Next to every student out there has felt like giving up at some point in their educational journey. This is because while they understand the significance of academic learning, they feel too demotivated or distant from how they are being taught. The need for making the content as engaging as possible has been felt all over the world, especially for young minds that might get distracted easily. This is where digital tools come in the picture. While the medium of videos and its utilisation is one of the pioneering and most basic elements of edtech, the elements being introduced in recent times take this even a notch high. For instance, gamification is a new concept that has emerged in this scenario, engaging and motivating students to learn by using the design and other elements of video games to capture the attention and interest of learners, help them enjoy while learning, and inspire them to continue doing so.
Equipping students with better perception towards today’s world: While academic education is one of the foundational steps towards building awareness among young minds, there is a severe lack of a broader perspective in the set curriculum. Moreover, given the current global socio-economic and political scenario, the definition of society and its demand from each individual is dynamically changing. For instance, even though technology is taking rapid strides towards advancement, we are also facing a looming climate crisis that demands awareness and active participation. Further, the need for gender and culture sensitisation in modern-day context is very important, too. Essentially, being skilled in your domain or having good knowledge from an academic purview does not cut the cake—being a good sensitive human being is just as significant. Unfortunately, the traditional education system is largely rigid and thus ill-equipped to carry out such an initiative. This is where edtech steps in, immersing students in an experience-based learning to help develop skills like creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, adaptive capability, decision-making, and most importantly, empathy. Equipping learners with such skills will enable them to become aware of the various socio-economic and political concerns, leverage opportunities to proactively approach those, and contribute well to the society.
Edtech is disrupting the education markets all over the world, bringing about a paradigm shift in the way learning has been traditionally perceived. It can radically enhance the reach, depth and value of how education is imparted everywhere. Given the current scenario, especially in the context of India, leveraging technology to complement the traditional education system seems to be the best way forward. Adding ‘tech’ to ‘education’ has the immense potential to not just help address the pressing need-gaps, but to also enable players in this ecosystem to tap into newer opportunities for dissemination of education in the best way possible.
The author is co-founder & CEO, Brainly, a peer-to-peer learning community and edtech company. Views are personal