Ganesh Raju, Founder and CEO, Ken42

Ganesh Raju is the Founder and mastermind behind Ken 42, an integrated educational ecosystem that enables institutions to manage their end-to-end pedagogical cycle. Ken 42 was born out of Turbostart, a sector agnostic, pan-India programme that looks to bring in 25 prospective early-stage startups to build a vibrant and empowering startup ecosystem every 6 months. A serial entrepreneur himself, Ganesh is the Founding Partner of Turbostart, ZenQore, StartNXT and Activewires as well. In his previous role, he headed the Entrepreneurial and Private Business practice at PwC India for 19 years.

 

One of the positive outcomes of the pandemic has been the shift in the way the world learns, and how educational technology has evolved to help teachers and learners, irrespective of their age, to maximize their potential and take control of their learning processes remotely. A year into the pandemic, we can now see that edtech players have had a groundbreaking impact at all levels, from preschool to college and adult skill-seekers.

The use of educational technology and the emergence of myriad edtech players during the pandemic has helped students across the globe experience a blended approach to learning. It has allowed them to control the time, pace, and place of learning and become active participants and decision-makers during their learning journey. The pace of advancement and use of technology will increase going forward as the pandemic continues, and even after we return to a sense of normalcy.

A novel back-to-school preparation is unfurling across the world and edtech has served as a catalyst in effecting this transition. Some of the blended and hybrid learning practices that are in use; providing learners, teachers, and school administrators with an elevated and seamless experience are as follows.

Edtech has been empowering teachers to improve pedagogy by mixing digital content with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – thereby recreating a classroom environment remotely. The ingrained methods for providing feedback to both teachers and learners during the process helps in improving the mode of imparting knowledge and how lessons are imbibed by learners. Technology also helps teachers to understand the pedagogical gaps that need improvement.

AI uses data-mining techniques to provide valuable data regarding students’ aptitudes and interests that can be further used by teachers to ensure that they are provided with an excellent, personalized experience and guidance in building their careers.

The use of technology and AI for learning can also empower students to learn more effectively. For many students, the idea of failing can be daunting, resulting in emotional upheavals for something as simple as not knowing an answer when asked in front of a class. These technologies can help them come to terms with the process of trial and error, an experiment in a judgment-free environment, and learn without apprehension. It also allows teachers to provide feedback in a less intrusive manner.

The next big thing in the Indian edtech industry seems to be the wide-spread use of immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), which can enhance the way students engage with education. The use of VR in creating content will revolutionize education delivery in the country and will allow students to easily absorb content and internalize concepts through practical experience.

While originally devised for gaming, AR and VR now provide virtual, visual experiences to students in all topics ranging from archeology to astronomy. During the lockdown, when students were denied access to science labs, AR and VR were used to replace the practical lessons in labs and the same came in handy for schools. Though it can never fully replace real world experiences, AR and VR can provide a relatable experience that can aid learning. It can democratize education in India and can be used to create productive discussions and interactions among students and the same can aid interpersonal and social learning as well.

The changes that have come about are the results of wide-spread and constant innovation in the field of education. Teachers are not limited by tedious tasks such as marking attendance, scheduling, or report generation. Instead, they will continue to use the fresh methods of student engagement that allow them to truly understand whether the students have effectively understood lesson contents.

It can be said that a crucial outcome of the use of edtech during the COVID-phase is that it has made teachers into adopters of technology; something that was previously a massive challenge. Now that the resistance to change has decreased, and teachers are starting to embrace new age teaching methods, there will be a complete transformation in the way education is delivered going forward.

The edtech industry has been instrumental in taking the drudgery out of remote learning for students during the pandemic and has contributed towards the shaping and engagement of committed youth through wholesome learning products and models. The coming years will witness how edtech empowers students in the most distant regions of India to access quality education, thus enabling them to become self-reliant.

More About Ganesh Raju

Ganesh hails from Bengaluru, India and has completed his B.A LLB from Mysore University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant from AICPA, and a Company Secretary from The Institute of Company Secretaries of India. He is also well versed in a plethora of regulatory guidelines in India and was also part of the ‘Elevate program’ organised by the Government of Karnataka. In addition, he conceptualized and ran a national level program (Level NXT) for startups looking to scale up. This was done in association with FICCI and CNBC-TV18 for the first two editions.

In the last four years, Ganesh has advised more than 300 startups and is an integral part of the business and education ecosystem in the country. Outside of work, Ganesh enjoys running, music of all genres and is a car enthusiast!

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