A first-generation entrepreneur, Dr Jitin Chadha is the Founder Director of Indian Institute of Art and Design and Indian School of Business and Finance. Dr Chadha was awarded his Doctorate in Finance in 2011, in a grand ceremony chaired by the HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal and Prof. Dinesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University.
India holds an important place in the global education industry with one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. It was expected to reach US$ 101.1 billion in 2019with 37.4 million students enrolled in higher education. It is the second-largest market for E-learning and was expected to reach US$ 1.96 billion by 2021, with around 9.5 million users.
The pandemic quickly changed the scenario for students and teachers, alike with educational institutions rapidly embracing technological know-how and reshaping their thinking to address the unprecedented demands of the “new normal.”
The concept of a traditional classroom changed. In the ever-evolving digital environment today, technology has become an essential part of the learning process and plays a pivotal role in the future of education. The aim is to create exciting, engaging experiences, so students continuously learn and grow into critical thinkers and problem solvers.
Simultaneously, teacher leadership is aimed to strengthen the instructional quality, lessen time in front of classrooms and increase time to work with students individually and interaction with peers. Teachers are now part of multiple collaborative groups(offline and online) to share ideas, the work of lesson preparation, identify learning needs and together assess performance and progress.
Collectively, this encourages a blend of face-to-face (F2F) teaching and virtual lessons, allowing for co-creation and student-led learning opportunities. Although the classrooms will continue to exist as physical spaces, their utility will focus more on collaboration and application of knowledge to learning projects and real-life issues while most learning will happen at home through virtual lessons. India has the world’s largest population of about 500 million in the age bracket of 5-24 years, which provides a great opportunity for the education sector.
- Learning can happen anywhere and anytime. Rapid advancement in technology provides quicker and targeted access to information saving costs on books and supplements.
- Classrooms are no longer limited by physical locations. A collaboration and co-creation mindset supports students to work on projects with their peers using social media to test ideas and theories, learn facts, understand opinions and balance skillsets for efficient teamwork.
- Teacher and student roles are expanding.
- Teacher’s roles have shifted from being owners of information to facilitators guiding students to experiment, be adventurous and manage their learning journey.
- Beyond subject expertise, teachers now need to be efficient planners, collaborators, problem-solvers and researchers.
- “Good teaching” is no longer about dispensing information and demanding attention in class. It’s more about curating instruction that supports learning goals, ensures coherence across learning activities and gives students autonomy to choose their learning path.
- Customisation of lesson plans to suit individual needs, abilities and pace of learning. A balance between learner-first approach and teacher-led learning creates engagement characterised by curiosity, imagination and enquiry.
- Forms of assessment are being reviewed based on what they aim to achieve. It’s no longer about knowing the answer or scoring high. For a long time, results labelled students as “good or bad” performers, but now they’re aimed to guide and develop individual learning plans.
- It encourages lifelong self-directed learning in students to become independent thinkers, aware of their environment and behaviour. Alternatively, teachers help to develop self-discipline, time management skills and ability to explore ‘how they think.’
- Technology can ease non-academic tasks like marking attendance, tracking progress, grading and recommending lesson resources. This gives teachers time to focus on mentoring, offering feedback and engaging in critical and analytical thinking.
- Tech-driven initiatives, tools and practices can make content interactive thereby increasing their appeal. Alternatively, students can also use digital portfolios to showcase their work that links to their assignments.
- Access to device and internet connectivity is crucial to grow and expand blended learning requiring concerted efforts from all stakeholders.
- Historically the medium of instruction has always been top-down, and technology was known to make students lazy and dependent. Here students’ need to take ownership and responsibility for their learning.
- While developing imaginative use of digital technologies, students need to be protected from its dangers. Also, educational institutions need to clearly articulate their policies on social media use to protect themselves from encroaching into someone’s “online social world.”
- Working conditions, resources, training, on-the-job experiences, class size, accountability need to be clearly defined when developing teachers for the next-generation classrooms.
Even as technology and artificial intelligence are transforming the profession, teaching requires complex social skills and a human-centred approach. In the Union Budget 2020-21, the government announced a proposed outlay of US$ 429.55 million for Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022.*Thus, blended learning although intense and exhausting seems like the most effective way forward.