The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed K-12 education, not only the way it is delivered by educators but also, the way it is consumed by learners. There has been major disruption around key aspects – the cancellation of public standardized tests, interruptions of internal assessments and drastic switch from traditional classes to digital learning spaces.
Of course! None of us was prepared for such a revolutionary disruption and so is the case with the education industry as the majority of schools didn’t have digital tools in place to facilitate such an upheaval.
However, thanks to e-learning, education did not stop even when “stay in touch but no touch” remains the dictum. The education fraternity, parents, students as well as the government retreated to the safe confines of the digital dimension of education. Though digital technology has been challenging for both educators and learners over how well equipped they are with technology and accessibility, it has kept everyone glued to computers and smartphone screens.
Infusion of Digital in K-12 Education
With the abundance of choices in digital learning aids, learners get to decide what they want to learn and how they want to learn. Being a highly visual, interactive and extremely engaging platform; e-learning not only attracts school kids and working professionals but also, kindergarteners. Whether it is online assessments, online tuitions, online exams, competitive exam coaching, doubt solving sessions, or professional courses, ed-tech leaders have set new standards of teaching and learning in the field of education. Backed by creative digital solutions, the K-12 industry is evolving to become more student-centric, collaborative and data-driven.
Let’s study in detail the role of tech leaders and ed-tech in shaping the future of education.
1. Democratisation of Education
Education is the largest source in the entire world that provides Equality and Equity of Opportunity to young learners to become achievers and succeed. Ed-tech companies should focus on creating solutions that cater to the learning needs of all kinds of learners and in a way that provides equality of learning opportunities to all these learners.
Further, there exist wide disparities in educational opportunities such as accessibility, affordability and lack of early learning experiences for young children. E-learning resources or ed-tech companies are perhaps the best solutions that can assure every student necessary access to the educational rigour and resources they need during their education.
2. Innovative Tech Solutions
In the midst of the pandemic, we witnessed many educational institutions becoming “digital” overnight, generating great insecurity in both management, as well as in teachers, students and parents, who until a few days ago, were used to 100% face-to-face methodologies.
The pandemic forced educational institutions across the world to make a drastic switch from obsolete software products to more advanced and robust systems and a majority of educational institutions were neither well equipped with these advanced tools nor were aware of know-how about the integration of technology in education. Now that technology is a part of education, there is a need for innovation around technology solutions so that educational systems can easily integrate them within their current system.
3. Responsible Use of Learner Data
Technology is a tool used to allow the students to extend their learning far beyond the walls of the classroom. As part of the mission to create global citizens ‘Classroom 2.0’, technology allows students to be comfortable outside their comfort zones from an early age.
In online classes, data of every learner is individually stored and easily trackable all the time which enables the educators to easily track the performance of students. As there is a pool of personal data available with ed-tech companies, parents are highly suspicious about its privacy and safety. Therefore, ed-tech companies should focus on the responsible use of learner data with ethical principles of transparency and fairness, and respect to how we treat the data that affects people’s lives.
However, these things depend on the standardization and the regularity policies of the Governments.
4. Breaking the Traditional Barriers with Intuitive Designs for tech products
Traditional methods of teaching are prevalent across the globe and adjusting to the “New Normal” has been particularly hard on educators. Tech leaders should lead the way for adoption by creating intuitive product designs, especially the UI and UX, to make educators more comfortable with education software. Additionally, these software solutions should have the capacity to work on low bandwidth to be able to make an impact in the remote areas.
The new model of education must take into account everything that involves this new industry, such as:
Intuitive UI and UX for easy adoption
The connectivity of systems and ease of access to knowledge
Performance on low bandwidth
We are experiencing a moment of transition between the physical classroom setup to virtual education. The change was imposed abruptly and forced the world to change historical habits of learning together. What was previously important for learning, interaction with others, remains fundamental even today. However, we have to change the physical relationship to the virtual one. The social isolation that imposed the pandemic of COVID – 19 is also the opportunity to approach the other in a new way, that is, through technologies.
E-learning popularized as a rescue from the pandemic – to keep the learning going when educational institutions remain close for almost a year now. However, from being a temporary substitute, it is turning out to be a revolutionary phase for the education system. The education fraternity is finding e-learning as the best measure for a long-overdue overhaul of education. Therefore, Ed-tech companies must keep their innovation drive on and work towards reshaping the future of education because this is not it. The pandemic is almost a point of inflexion for e-learning and the Ed-tech sector in India.