Published: 11th January 2021
The future of EdTech: How the global education system is in for a complete makeover
The subsequent shift in the medium of learning in 2020, from on-ground to almost entirely online has shown a change in how we approach education
COVID-19 has been able to accomplish what armies of dissatisfied parents, charismatic speakers like Ken Robinson and Sugata Mitra, and piles of research on education policy could not do — give ‘innovation’ a chance.
We are currently in the midst of a worldwide experiment led by the digital and ideological transformation. While digital technologies have been in place for many decades, change had been slow to come in K-12 education but COVID -19 precipitated this shift by affecting 1.6 billion students across the world at one go; all stakeholders were forced to adapt at once- children, students, schools, parents and policymakers.
This transformation was further bolstered by the New Education Policy 2020 which insists that robotics, programming, artificial intelligence and machine learning be included in the existing school curriculum to help children develop crucial 21st-century skills such as scientific temper, computational thinking, logical reasoning and evidence-based thinking.
With the ongoing pace of the changes made in the sector, it will not be far-fetched to say that by the time the crisis is behind us, our education system globally would be affected in deep enough ways that it will not be able to revert to the previous ways of viewing education.
Behavioral Change and Technology
The pandemic has changed the way we view education and the role of technology in it. The subsequent shift in the medium of learning in 2020, from on-ground to almost entirely online and hence its acceptance on the part of students, parents and educators has shown a behavioural and technological change in how we approach education. Students have been at the helm of technological change since a few years, relying increasingly on internet-based platforms such as Quora or Youtube instead of textbooks for knowledge or problem-solving. This reliance on technology to learn, since the outbreak of the pandemic, has been mirrored by the teachers and schools alike, through uploading classes on Youtube or taking a live classroom session on Zoom. Hence, a heavier reliance on technology is a trend most likely to be seen in 2021.
Flipped Learning will get a chance
2021 is definitely set out to give flipped learning a chance, if not entirely inculcate it. Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach, a type of a blended learning model in which the traditional way of teaching--one that follows a lecture-style in which the teacher is the primary disseminator of information changes, to a more dynamic, learner-centred approach in which students engage the topics in greater depth in the classroom while they are introduced to new concepts outside of the classroom--via video lessons or other means.
Tie in with the Gig Economy
The behavioural shift of the young minds is not limited to education but also to the way they view life. Gen Z, today, have aspirations set deep down to the kind of work they want to do and consequently their work-life balance. This transformation has led to the formation of the ‘gig’ economy, a system driven by contact assignments where temporary roles are the norm. Ed-tech platforms come in handy for this cohort through the skills they provide in order to thrive in the gig economy. Hence, one trend 2021 will likely bring from the close link between the Ed-tech sector and the gig economy, is increasing focus on the skills catering to the gig economy aspirants.
Nature of assessment will evolve
The current education system has been limited in its own sense for decades and has therefore had a snowballing effect in terms of future employability and nurturing an innovative mindset.
The healthcare crisis has propelled industries to drive innovation, primarily technological, in order to survive. COVID-19 has been about survival, thus changing the nature of our assessment to a more evolved approach. In order to stay afloat and relevant in the contemporary world, creativity and innovativeness, collaboration and teamwork, problem-solving, logical reasoning, vocational exposure, digital literacy and coding are at the heart of the new ways to assess workforce and businesses.
The hands-on learning model is one in which kids learn new concepts by ‘doing’ or application. Instead of merely applying their listening faculty, student engagement lies at the crux of the hands-on learning approach. STEAM fields to a large extent are based upon constructionist learning wherein students learn-by-making. 2020 has been an instrumental year towards following this approach of learning, as is shown by the influx of students pursuing their interest in such fields. 2021, by all means, is ready and likely to embrace this change with open arms.
Pooja Goyal is the Co-Founder and COO of Avishkaar.