Picture of speakers from the ThinkEdu Conclave 2024. (Express Photo)
Picture of speakers from the ThinkEdu Conclave 2024. (Express Photo)

ThinkEdu Conclave 2024 explores the rise of ‘Cool Gurus'; Evolution of EdTech in redefining modern education

Shivshankar, a vocal advocate for tier 2 and tier 3 cities, urged the abandonment of divisive labels, emphasising these cities as talent hubs vital for urban prosperity

With notable advancements in technology, especially in the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the emergence of the "cool teacher" concept is on the horizon. The 13th ThinkEdu Conclave, presented by SASTRA University, delved into the transformative intersection of technology and education, particularly in the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

On the first day of the conclave, the session titled “EdTech & Creative Pedagogy: Is it the New Gurucool?” featured insights from industry experts Srimathi Shivshankar, corporate vice-president and global head of HCL EdTech Business, Anil Rana, director of Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, and Kalpathi S Suresh, executive director and chairman of Veranda Learning Solutions. Chaired by senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai, the panel explored the dynamic synergy between technology and innovative teaching methods.

Shivshankar, a vocal advocate for tier 2 and tier 3 cities, urged the abandonment of divisive labels, emphasising these cities as talent hubs vital for urban prosperity.

“Instead, let’s acknowledge tier 2 and tier 3 cities as talent hubs, underscoring their pivotal role in propelling urban prosperity. The thriving nature of urban cities is emphasised by the fact that 65% of individuals migrate there to join the workforce. Gurus must embrace technology and adapt to cater to the evolving needs of the new generation,” said Shivshankar. 

In contrast, Rana expressed his belief in the irreplaceable essence of good gurus, emphasising the profound impact they have on students’ lives. “In the past, gurus were revered for their profound impact on our lives; such a deep influence cannot be replaced by EdTech learning alone. A personal, human touch remains crucial in the educational journey,” he said. 

The discussion converged on the concept of “Cool Gurus” replacing traditional Gurukuls.

Kalpathi S Suresh challenged conventional nomenclature, advocating for a shift in perspective on "EdTech." 

“Technology is ubiquitous in various aspects of our lives, from banking to business. We don't label it as ‘business tech.’ Similarly, EdTech is fundamentally about education and is a byproduct of technological advancement. It’s essential to emphasise the significance of objectivity and efficiency in testing. When we harness technology effectively, the primary focus should be on measuring outcomes,” he said. 

He also addressed the proactive involvement of companies and professional bodies in preparing students for the industry, highlighting diverse approaches to ensure students' readiness upon graduation.

In conclusion, the panel unanimously agreed on the transformative potential of AI in reshaping the learning landscape. The term "Gurucool" emerged as a symbol of responsible integration of technology in education, promising not only accessibility but also inspiration and creativity in the evolving educational paradigm.

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