An educator by profession, Swati Ganguly is a firm believer in constant advancements in the field. A flag-bearer of academics, she is a resourceful educationist with 25 years of rich scholarly and administrative experience. With a post-graduation in Comprehensive Management of Children with learning disorders, from the Spastic Society of Karnataka, Bangalore; Swati has served as a Special Educator for 13+ years. She also, holds a diploma in Counselling Skills, from Banjara Academy besides being a Certified Auditor from National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET).
Today, Swati is a globally recognized advocate of Education Transformation Frameworks (ETF) a Microsoft initiative in collaboration with UNESCO, credit to her active work to facilitate a comprehensive digital transformation of schools. Ms. Ganguly continues to be a catalyst for transforming learning techniques in schools via technology. It was with this very passion, that she co-founded Edufiq an EdTech start-up for courseware solutions on Artificial Intelligence through a revolutionary “game-based” and “experiential learning” platform for school-going students. In a conversation with Higher Education Digest, Swati Ganguly talks about the impact of COVID on education, Game-based and experiential learning techniques, and much more.
What is the role of EdTech tools in assisting a seamless shift from offline classrooms to online classrooms?
The amalgamation of Education and Technology better known as EduTech, has favourably impacted millions of lives. It came into existence almost two decades ago, but its presence was felt during the Pandemic in the past few months.
In the past, the relevance of imparting education online remained untouched for years. Today many Edtech companies have helped it evolve. Many educational policies are now being made by the centre and state governments. These policies favour the application of online tools and innovative technologies in the education sector. Also, the schools are now getting ready and have started integrating these advanced technologies such as smart boards, online learning apps, curriculum management software, e-textbooks with their systems.
The outcome of this move has resulted in the development of communication and administration platforms. Due to the steep decline in the tariffs of internet data and the cost of communication devices, this cutting-edge technology is now within the reach of the common man.
Classrooms have evolved into learning labs. Game-based and experiential learning techniques are adopted by many schools. The learning experience is enhanced through remote learning tools offered by Edtech companies. It has reduced the cost of the acquisition of new technology in schools. Edtechs are modifying the approach and techniques to impart education according to the changing times. It is because online mediums can integrate this change in no time.
As we know that the Delhi government has introduced the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and game-based techniques for continuous assessment of students under its new state school education board. Is the introduction of AI at an early age a right move? Do you support this move?
The government has recognized the importance of learning AI and thus has introduced it as a skill subject in schools. One of the reasons is that AI has spread its wings in almost all the fields – be it healthcare, construction, transport, or education. The introduction of AI into the school curriculum would give children a head start and would open a plethora of opportunities for them. Getting accustomed to new and prolific technology can take time thus, understanding AI at an early stage using practical and interactive methods will ensure that the future generation becomes future ready.
In light of the current developments, students are not only adopting the online form of education but are also embracing a new routine that prevents them from outdoor activities and games for precautionary reasons. When children learn AI using game-based learning approach, they enhance their decision making, problem solving, and creative thinking skills which a child learns through outdoor games and activities.
As AI is a new subject, we, at Edufiq want to make it enjoyable, collaborative and experience-based with our unique pedagogy. We truly believe that introduction of this subject packaged and presented with the right teaching methods can generate a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity in children and give them something new to look forward to. Thus we have blended game-based learning and experiential learning approaches with education that has made learning AI enjoyable and engaging. We, at Edufiq, believe that learning should enhance creativity, critical thinking, and decision making abilities in children and give them a real life experience to learn from.
How has Covid impacted the education sector?
Coronavirus has temporarily halted the education system and has affected more than 250 million students. Around 1.5 million schools are bearing the brunt and other learning spaces have been impacted too. Opening of schools is not on the top of the priority list of the government and even if the schools reopen, providing a safe environment would be a concern for the management.
Under such unprecedented times, the education system evolved and integrated advanced technologies which made learning possible even during a crisis. Digital technology has assisted in communication, collaboration, and learning across distances, making it an essential tool in these modern times. A shift to remote online learning is here to stay.
Do you think the Pandemic times are the right time to reshape the education system?
Everything requires an upgrade and so does our education system. While schools and colleges are closed due to the Pandemic, virtual learning has emerged as an essential tool to help children to continue with their education. The teacher can impart knowledge and students can also clarify their doubts through online learning platforms. This new-age learning is filled with challenges and thus it becomes imperative that the learning approach should be constructive, productive, and a fun activity. Reshaping the education system would help children to adapt to the changing times and be prepared for the future with the assistance of trusted specialists.
Tell us something about Edufiq.
Edufiq is an online learning platform which with its consistent efforts has devised a fun and joyful AI courseware for students of classes 5th to 10th. We integrate game-based and experiential learning techniques with our curriculum to teach AI to students in the age group of 9-16 years. Our friendly instructors are not only the masters of their craft who come from high-performing academic backgrounds, they are also experienced in making a classroom experience fun-filled and engaging. Our courseware also promises to make the learning process exciting as we utilize the best teaching techniques and follow the best practices to teach AI using our unique pedagogy and experiential kit.
In this fast-paced digital world, we provide a stress-free environment to children. Our courseware was developed keeping in mind the learning capabilities of children. The game-based courseware is specially designed for students of class 5th, 6th, and 7th to provide them with a comfortable and fun-filled learning environment. While for the classes 8th, 9th, and 10th we follow hands-on learning approach so that the children can learn by experimenting.
How did Edufiq evolve? Also, tell us about team Edufiq?
The idea behind the creation of Edufiq was to provide children with an integrated and innovative AI courseware that augments the learning experience and makes it more engaging and exciting. By integrating game-based learning and experiential learning approaches in an AI courseware, Edufiq not only wanted to make learning fun but wanted such learning to help in the cognitive development of the child.
To bring this idea to life, Tech expert, Osborne Dsouza (Co-Founder and Director) and I being an Educationist came together to create Edufiq.