New-Age Education Can Answer The Disruption Caused By The Pandemic

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 By Sumita Ambasta | BW Education | 23rd September, 2021

Tech enabled learning has meant that students have experienced greater freedom to choose what to focus on, where to study and the schedules they keep.

The pandemic has changed every aspect of life. Education is a sector where the impact of the pandemic will be felt for many years to come. The rise in Educational Technology solutions and companies the world over is an indicator of the need for such solutions. Adoption of technology has been mandated due to the contagious nature of Covid-19, where students had to become learners at home, no matter what age they were. Education has depended on teachers and institutions to drive the educational content. Moving to online platforms for imparting education has impacted different segments of society.

Higher education has seen a rethink on the need for credentials, and theoretical knowledge and the development of skills that can be applied to more than one setting for work or research. Tech enabled learning has meant that students have experienced greater freedom to choose what to focus on, where to study and the schedules they keep. The assumption has been they knew how to choose well. Students with good foundations on methods of inquiry and setting goals for self-learning have benefitted a lot from this growing flexibility. The ones who could drive their own structure and learning have benefitted from this mutation. Those who needed the structure of institutions have found it a big challenge to deal with this self-directed learning.

In schools, teachers work through different methods to teach content and inquiry. Technology platforms assist with certain kinds of learning. Some teachers have been able to adapt to teaching over platforms. However, student-centered learning is a new thing for both teachers and students. While the content can all be delivered through technology platforms, the social and contextual aspects of learning have suffered a beating. While the outlook is not all bleak, it has been very difficult to shift the nature of schooling from a physically structured space to a digital amorphous space. The student’s motivation is maintaining motivation varies greatly and hence learning also falls on a spectrum.

We cannot talk about digital disruption in technology without talking about social inequities. Whether in school or in college, not all students have equal access to technology, phones, laptops, broadband and a physical space where to study. Students have struggled with sharing phones, computers and physical space during the pandemic. Those who have adapted phone technology have managed to gain and even grow from their technology experience during the pandemic. The educators who have brought learning home through exercises and work that can be undertaken independently have contributed to the ways education and technology can come together to create student centered learning.

Disruption in education may be referred to by many names, like new-age education, tech enabled education, student centred learning and so forth. What lies at the heart of it is what people learn and how they learn is being atomized and personalized at a level never seen before. To respond to a world where technology and data are driving change at unprecedented levels, institutional forms of education are slowly giving way to much more solutions driven approaches to education. What is education for? This is a question that has been asked many times. The pandemic has made the diversity of people visible and has led to us asking much more basic questions. A better question to ask is what we are learning for. The answer lies in the way we access the portal that education offers to new ways to act and function In the world.

Something has shifted during the pandemic. While people call it disruption, something new is emerging too. A transformation of both the purpose of education, as well as the way it is imparted, is taking place. This transformation is not done yet and will continue for a while. Digital natives and younger populations are already responding in ways we do not always have data for. They are engaging with technology differently and choosing things their parents and teachers may not have imagined. This experience will lead to innovations that will create new realities. Hard skills will be useful, and a spirit of inquiry will always lead the way. It is not the answers that will be important, but the skill of asking the right questions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house.

This article was first published in BW Education on 23September, 2021.

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