The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic transformation across all sectors and industries globally, including the world economy, public health, food systems, employment, entertainment, and, most crucially, education. Following the ensuing lockdown, most schools looked for technology-based creative solutions like educational technology to establish a relevant learning environment for all students. Simply stated, educational technology, or EdTech, is the use of computer hardware, software, and educational theory and practice to assist learning. The edtech industry—companies that create educational technology—is quickly expanding, and institutions understand the need to invest in their staff, administration, and students. upskilling has gone beyond a fad.
New learning methods are opening doors for people all over the world and have brought unique perspectives, out-of-the-box thinking, and extraordinary innovations.
A paradigm shift from classrooms to online rooms
With the sudden shift from the classroom environment to online mode in many parts of the world, some are wondering if online learning adoption will continue post-pandemic, and how such a shift will affect the global education industry. One of the most fundamental ways the pandemic is transforming the world is in the usage of these tools and the way they learn.
Compared to the technological usage by students in the pre-pandemic situation, they were using 30–45 minutes a day on average, and currently they use 5–6 hours a day. In this day and age, it is likely to increase post-COVID as teachers and professionals have found it convenient and comfortable to communicate. They have also become more confident and proficient with technology. Many have said that online learning helps in retaining information and also takes less time. True technological revolutions have changed the way education is offered and accessible, and incredible new opportunities for learners are emerging in every field.
What has to be done is to connect learning to the most used and loved aspect of children’s lives: their cellphones. Making them feel comfortable with providing content in their vernacular language, learning by practice, exploring and understanding what they enjoy doing, engaging immersive age-content in the ways they want, such as short videos for better understanding, and encouraging learning from failure. Regular evaluation and practise, in addition to frequent and consistent feedback, should be employed to improve the learning process. This will help them get a lot more out of their new learning experience.
Technology will play a vital role in the post-pandemic classroom: usage of technology will expand, EdTech training will become essential, and classrooms will have a digital twin.
Education technology (EdTech) has already experienced rapid growth and adoption prior to COVID-19 with various adoptions in educational institutions and at home, like using visual aids, conducting research, and creating online portals. Many online learning platforms are giving free access to their services in response to high demand, encouraging youngsters to learn and empower themselves. App-based learning and supporting learning through the creation of online classrooms have been the most prominent EdTech innovations in recent years.
The power of EdTech is such that the delivery and effect of education may be considerably improved with the appropriate tools and methodology. Educators can use technology to connect with several learners or students from different parts of the country, requiring minimal effort and expense on both sides of the device. Experts anticipate that when schools reopen after a pandemic, the trend will be toward more usage of technology and app-based learning services. It has enabled teachers to use a multi-model approach to learning, which combines audio-visual, textbooks, and experimental kits. This enables them to provide learning solutions that meet global standards.
However, there are obstacles to overcome. While it may be easier for high school and older students to concentrate and understand everything online because they understand the concept of self-learning, younger students find it extremely difficult to concentrate and understand everything online due to a variety of factors such as small screens, constant sitting in front of a device, eye strains, and even comprehension. Additionally, some students who do not have dependable internet connections or technology find it difficult to engage in digital learning. This divide exists across nations and within socioeconomic levels within countries. Since the world moved to online mode, technology has become increasingly important in everyday life. This is challenging as 88% of students in the country do not have access to a laptop, regardless of the fact that many homes have smart mobile devices. Numerous concepts were previously only available on laptops, but with the advent of many EdTech companies and initiatives, many are now able to do the same on mobile devices, including coding. There have been various initiatives across the globe aimed at bridging the technology gap.
E-learning has its own set of difficulties. Children use their electronic devices for a variety of activities, such as social networking and gaming. This raises their expectations when education is delivered online as well. It is critical that there are methods for making e-learning more dynamic and engaging where students are able to take the initiative, step ahead, and engage with their peers and teachers.
A positive look into the future
With technology at the forefront, this shift is being led and guided. Over the internet, we witness seminars, educational meet-ups, conferences, parent-teacher meetings, and classes. To disseminate material, a variety of methods and channels are used, with the learning component at the core. Lesson plans are no longer extensive process maps on paper, students’ inventory management is no longer restricted to stocky record books, and lessons no longer necessitate the teacher’s or student’s physical presence. Furthermore, bulky books and lengthy theoretical lectures are no longer required. With the emergence of EdTech, teachers and parents are adopting a more practical manner of imparting knowledge.
Many EdTech companies strive to provide the best for students, parents, and teachers by presenting a digital platform that connects kids with new teaching methods and experiences such as code learning, among others. Providing quality content, portable and active learning, unique ways to engage their students, lessons in vernacular languages, and enabling publishing and sharing of student creations within the larger community.
At CuriousJr, we have innovated a 3 steps learning process: One is to provide children with bite-sized content so that they are not bored and lose interest. Short, simple, and interestingly produced content keeps Gen-Z hooked and excited. Secondly, to match their enthusiasm with devices like mobiles, which is their forte, they get to create and develop games on them, which in turn will match their behavior with the technology. Lastly, sharing their creation with friends and family shows the impact of learning which makes education more effective.
Younger generations have long been role models for this new learning culture, embracing both the flexibility that education provides to pursue a range of professional paths and new educational outlets, such as an expert’s YouTube channel or a Masterclass. They become the creators, inspired by each other, inculcating peer-to-peer learning.
This has the added benefit of increasing time efficiency, minimizing energy use, and providing more one-on-one teacher-student interaction.
The behavior of learning is changing from memorizing something to innovating or creating something. The future generation is learning to innovate and create. EdTech is important not just for defining the way our future generations view education, but also for preparing and empowering for a world that is continually developing, changing, and uncertain.
(The author Mridul Ranjan Sahu is Co-Founder at CuriousJr. and the views expressed in this article are his own)