Has a kid ever smooth-talked you into giving your mobile phone just so s/he can play a game? Those innocent eyes, and requesting tone saying “please just one game” makes it really difficult to deny.
Well, things played out differently a couple of days ago when Vikas, my neighbor’s 6-year‑old kid, came to me and asked if he could watch an e-learning video on my phone! I guess kids of the internet age want to use tech to teach themselves. It is all thanks to online learning.
There is a raging debate about online learning or more precisely Edtech, especially after the COVID-19 forced all schools to shut-down for months.
HOW TECHNOLOGY WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION?
Is online learning effective as face-to-face learning? Is it really needed for kids? Is there any concrete proof that online-learning is effective?
According to PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), a quality education system/infrastructure should consist of 6 essential components.
- Application-based content
- Attention to early education
- Attention to teachers
- Attention to culture
Let us find out if EdTech/Online learning/E-Learning has all the 6 components.
Accessibility is the biggest USP of online-learning after innovative teaching materials. Thanks to the telecom revolution in 2016 mobile internet became cheaper, and we have nearly 700 million internet users in India. Online-learning materials can now be accessed from anywhere and anytime, just like when Vikas wanted to learn an e-learning video from my phone.
Application-based learning can mean two things. One is to show students why things we learn in class are important and relevant. The other is using educational mobile software that makes learning possible in virtual space. Online learning inherently comes with both these components as it offers several learning applications to explore and abundant resources to teach real-life application of lessons.
Attention to early childhood education is also considered as a national mission as per the new National Educational Policy. Quality early childhood education leads to increased educational success. Most children today are exposed to the internet at a relatively younger age. With modern technology and the internet, kids are getting smarter and technology-oriented with internet proficiency. i.e. Osmo a US-based award-winning educational games system has merged engaging learning with tangible explorations. It makes lessons and games come alive on the screen. EdTech like these is changing the way how kids learn.
Attention to Teachers. A good teacher is the heart and brain of any form of education be it online or face-to-face. A teacher adds value to the learning process and improves learning outcomes. The top-performing school systems in the world source teachers from the top third of their graduates: Singapore recruits the top 30% of graduates; Finland recruits the top 10% while South Korea recruits the top 5% of their graduates for teaching. This is to ensure that teachers are skilled, knowledgeable, and effective educators. In regions where top-teachers are limited, online learning can help create a balance. Students can access lessons from top educators across the world from the comfort of their homes.
Attention to culture. Culture is one of the most important and most neglected components of education. PISA has found that schools that use mother tongue as a medium of instruction have lower dropout rates, lower repetition, higher attendance, and higher promotions. Online learning, EdTech, in particular, provides immense scope for learning in the mother tongue. BYJU’S, fi.e, has developed learning content for K-12 classes in prominent Indian Vernacular languages.
Assessments should not just be memory-based examinations. They should measure students’ ability to understand and apply their learnings in real-life situations. Online learning has the most effective array of assessment tools such as quizzes, puzzles, games, riddles, and open‑ended questions. It is also possible to conduct real-time assessments through e-learning.
Online learning or device-based learning meets all criteria set by PISA. It can meet the learning needs of kids with different abilities and learning styles be it visual, verbal, or practical. It is a good supplement to classroom education.
Is EdTech the Future of Learning? Will physical schools still be relevant? Will hybrid learning where Edtech supplements conventional education be the future? Let us know what you think?