he global pandemic has a huge impact on almost all sectors of the economy. While it has been easier for multinational companies and professionals to embrace working from home as the new normal, and continue working as usual, times have been tough for education providers around the world. However, necessity is the mother of invention.
With disruptions everywhere, various concerned academics, citizens, politicians and bureaucrats argued for the need to innovate and reinvent the Indian education system. That’s how the Smart Techno hybrid classroom model came into being. The adoption of the model by schools is transforming the traditional education system. The best part is that the change is not just limited to private schools, but even several public schools have started teaching using the Smart Hybrid classroom model.
Although the crisis is devastating, it is making our schools, and even universities technologically advanced. Undoubtedly, students and teachers have had to make radical changes, as learning has always been in the classroom. Furthermore, many of them are not well-equipped with the technologically advanced tools to take advantage of distance learning. Nevertheless, the use of technology in teaching is helping to improve the quality of education in India. It is also changing the way education is offered in India.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the possibilities to improve the infrastructure in the K-12 and higher education sectors have increased. Private schools are already using the e-learning system, smart classrooms and some have even mandated tabs, starting as early as preschool. Given the lockdown situation, one can imagine that many EdTech companies will see and seize the opportunity to fill the gap that may exist, in order to bring more schools on the digital platform. As unlikely as it may sound, the next five years could make virtual education the new norm in India.
An essential aspect of dealing with the challenge posed by Covid-19 is ensuring that virtual learning becomes a continuous process. Connecting students and teachers through digital platforms, with the help of the required software used on laptops or phones, is the latest transition in education. It seeks to eliminate the physical need for teachers or classrooms. This is a suitable time to take advantage of the Smart Hybrid technology and its latest offerings to make education more efficient and productive through online learning and assessments.
Way Forward: Changing Scenario of Education System
In response to the challenge of university and school closures, the central government, state governments and private players have devised various initiatives to support and benefit students. Since the closure began, the government has taken numerous steps to ensure that the impact of the crisis on education is minimal. To help students continue their learning during the pandemic, various e-learning portals and applications have been launched by the government and educational agencies, such as DIKSHA portal, e-Pathshala, Swayam, STEM-based games, etc. Due to the accelerated adoption of digital technology brought on by the lockdown, educational institutions, business houses, data management methods, and online training solutions have been forced to work together.
Numerous educational institutions see it as an ideal time to experiment and implement new technologies to make the delivery of education possible and meaningful. Many use it as an opportunity to be more productive and efficient by developing innovative and enhanced professional skills through online learning and assessment. Online evaluation platforms or Information and Technology (IT) companies continually strive to improve their products, in an effort not to let the crisis get in the way of the curriculum.
Much has been planned and implemented, and further improvements are being made. The substantial use of technology in teaching in the midst of a crisis will lead to a new era in education, where the best teachers will be available to students from all over the world. The quality of the IT infrastructure, the skill level of the teaching staff and their familiarity with digital learning technologies are important parameters to be evaluated in the future. The adoption of technologies to provide education will help strengthen the country’s digital learning infrastructure in the long term.
The impact of COVID-19 is that many more students, both in schools as well as colleges, are able to attend classes from home, with the help of smart Techno Hybrid classroom model and various other methods of innovative application. Although this trend was already on the rise, it will receive a big boost due to COVID-19 restrictions on physical schooling. The good news is that urban as well as rural India is well prepared to provide remote learning to students.
Our country has one of the largest 4G networks on the planet. Virtually all parts of the country have 4G connectivity. Even more impressive is the fact that the data transfer is very convenient. On such strong networks, classes can be streamed with ease. Students who learn in virtual classrooms will find their learning experience to be as good as, or perhaps even better than, that of students sitting in the classroom. The tremendous transformative power of Smart Digi Hybrid Classroom is its ability to bring endless courses within the reach of students. A student living in the interior regions of the country can master an artificial intelligence or big data course without paying a hefty fee.
The number of students receiving online education will increase dramatically over the next few years. The application of technology in education has led to an unprecedented transformation from education being teacher-centered to becoming student-centered. Virtual classrooms and various online tools are helping to continue teacher-student engagement and make it as close to the classroom experience as possible. Moving forward, smart classrooms will do everything possible, from parent-teacher meetings to staff and administration meetings, providing the necessary interactivity. Technology-based education makes the education system more transparent and fairer.
Digital education needs seamless coordination between course content creators, faculty, and technology providers and course participants. It can only be successfully implemented with the availability of basic services such as internet connectivity, adequate software systems and hardware like personal computers, laptops, etc. We cannot deny the fact that in such extreme situations, COVID-19 has proved as a catalyst for the adoption process of technology, to make quality education accessible for all. This is an opportune time to take advantage of the Smart Hybrid technology and its latest offerings to make education more competent and productive through online learning and assessments.
“Dr. Nayan P Gandhi is an eminent management thinker, author and researcher”.