Sonya Ghandy Mehta, Director, Pathways World School, Aravali

Sonya Ghandy Mehta, is a Graduate in Psychology and Education and has a Post Graduate Degree in Education from the University of San Diego, USA. She completed her Schooling from The Lawrence School, Sanawar, India. She joined teaching in Jamshedpur in 1991 at the age of 21 & her 30 years of teaching and administrative experience has spanned over Special Education, setting-up Vocational Training Courses and Mainstream Education in ISC, IB and IGCSE Curriculums. She has been associated with Indus International School, Bangalore, for over 8 years & The Assam Valley School for 6 years. Her experience in international education, helped her incorporate new age teaching methodologies in the School.

 

Despite being a year of global upheaval, the new year has brought about a number of major developments in digital solutions in education, such as the rise in the use of apps and hybrid learning and widespread switch to online schooling, It is almost definite that teaching will continue to make use of digital technology for the foreseeable future.

With this comes new challenges and developments, from classroom teaching to online assessments to future study goals; from continuing to upskill staff to an updated teaching environment.

The projected trends in teaching for 2022 and beyond are many, a few of which have been enlisted below:

1. Nano learning:

The information age has brought with it a decline in attention span and an increase in screen fatigue. Our brains are bombarded with distracting alerts and notifications day in day out. They respond to these signals with an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. As a result, our brain is unable to retain and process large amounts of information.

So how do we approach this problem in the classroom? The answer is…through nano learning. It involves providing students with information in smaller amounts, over a shorter period. Learning in short bursts is proven to increase our ability to take in and retain information. By providing students with small, “pellet” like bits of information, it is more likely to increase their productivity, capture their attention and aid their ability to learn.

The four keys for effective nano learning in the classroom are:

  1. Identify the students’ needs.
  2. Set the learning objectives.
  3. Choose your content e.g. videos, apps, podcasts.
  4. Keep it short.

2. Online schooling:

With the onset of COVID-19 and work from home settings, the professionals have shown curiosity for learning new things. Growing awareness about technology is steadily and gradually making online education, including online training courses and exams, a commonplace. The learning that can be augmented using the virtual world is gradually being stressed by programs and organisations. It is estimated that online schooling is likely to be USD 2 billion in India by 2021 according to studies conducted by KPMG and Google. We are seeing blending technology and instruction to create a high-grade and personalised curriculum for kindergarten to 12th-grade students. Online schools driven by K-12 steadily gain popularity as they blend conventional teaching with new technologies and digital learning resources.

Online learning is the most popular educational trend for 2021 – albeit one born out of necessity in 2020. Of course, with developments in edtech, this is now becoming possible on a large scale. Sped up by the pandemic, schools have been forced to experiment more with online learning. Not only is it flexible and cost-effective, it’s also accessible to a wider range of learners as it removes the concept of ‘location’.

Therefore, it can be seen as breaking down barriers in education and opening the door to a wider pool of students.

3. Concept-Based/Experiential learning:

Collaborative exercises, role playing, field work & project-based learning help students to develop key skills and be prepared for careers in the future. There has been an increase in the trend in learning to shift and transfer from machines to cell phones.

Mobile phone penetration has been most in India as compared to that in the world, and the fast rise in digitalisation in urban and rural areas has fuelled the pattern of learning everywhere. STEM edtech players are providing STEM kits for kids to imbibe learning by doing.

4. Introduction of Gamification and Self Analysis:

The gamification theory in education is that learners learn best when they are also having fun. Gamification in learning involves using game-based elements such as point scoring, peer competition, teamwork, score tables to drive engagement, help students assimilate new information and test their knowledge.

Gamification has changed the attitude of learning. It helps students in their learning processes to learn to use computer game design and game elements. It enhances attendance by catching students’ attention and increasing engagement. It allows students to test their results with intuition and decreases the risk of partiality by different data analysis algorithms. Learning through games allows not only students to develop their skills, but also makes the whole learning process enjoyable and effective.

5. Student Assessment using Artificial Intelligence (AI):

For students using online test systems powered by AI, they experience personalised evaluations. AI-based programs offer valuable insights into the performance of students and the group for each topic/subject. During the traditional manual evaluation of the tests, there are chances of biases creeping in. Since online resources and methods are used to assess the student, it will remove biases of manual evaluation.

6. Shift towards non-conventional courses:

Perhaps the biggest trend is to choose which course to learn for the students. India has long been described as an economy in which graduates concentrate on becoming doctors, lawyers,

accountants, and engineers and even though it is still valid largely, the variety of programs, as they offered it, has opened the market for other avenues. There are YouTubers and social media influencers who are independent players, who’s success has opened a different set of opportunities itself, which were earlier not imagined. Today, students are looking to explore further skills and vocational courses in areas such as Video Editing, Design thinking, Fashion, Marketing, PR, Communications, and other niche fields such as e-commerce, Hospitality, Food & Catering, Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, even specialisation in Edu-Tech programs. One such initiative to inculcate the new skills is dream career’s idx.education initiative.

Conclusion:

Perhaps a spark for creativity will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. For example, schools in India and Indian Educators are now recommending reorganising the assessment pattern, Universities have become test optional & this will encourage skill-based learning. We need the leaders of tomorrow to be active game changers and not mere drivers of change by walking the talk with the characteristics of the IB learning profile.

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