How should we evaluate EdTech for future generations?

Education, EdTech

Though advancement in technology has made an impact in all walks of life, it has taken longer to make inroads into the education sector. However, with the spurt in Edutech recently, successful delivery of quality content has become a possibility.

By Beas Dev Ralhan

Intrigued by the unknown and the invisible, mankind has always been goaded to innovate, leading to technological advancements. Technology has already gratified us with innovations, leaving us hungry for more. Though advancement in technology has made an impact in all walks of life, it has taken longer to make inroads into the education sector. However, with the spurt in Edutech recently, successful delivery of quality content has become a possibility. Let’s check out a couple of breakthroughs in the education sector made possible by technology.

Adaptive Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the instillation of human intelligence in machines, has facilitated adaptive learning. A teaching methodology, adaptive learning provides computer-mediated personalised learning solutions to learners as per their needs. In a traditional teaching methodology, a learner will have to choose a linear path in their learning process, but adaptive learning might allow them to skip a few concepts if the learning progress supports the jump. As opposed to sequential learners who gain knowledge linearly, there are learners who learn almost randomly, suddenly establishing the connection and understanding the details.

A student who is already proficient in a particular topic would not need as much practice as others. Adaptive learning rescues students from dreaded situations where teachers fail to recognise the different learning requirements of individuals. Hence, it is also called intelligent tutoring. Every learner has specific requirements, and hence the need for human tutoring. Since it is not as effective as computer tutoring, educators are resorting to AI to address the issue.

Gamification of Education

Educators have attempted to gamify education with the motive of encouraging students to complete the task at hand better. Gamification supplements the learning process. We, at Next Education, are trying to integrate gamification on LearnNext, a self-learning platform. Students can watch videos, participate in question–answer sessions and discussions to supplement their classroom education. The platform has a point and level system. The more proactive a user is on the platform, the higher their level rises.

Furthermore, students can participate as the representatives of their respective schools listed on the platform. Each student earns points for their school, and a few stalwarts are even awarded badges for good performance which would then be displayed on their profiles. The students can points to buy goodies. Contrary to the deferred gratification obtained through end-term exams, gratification on a gaming platform is instant. In addition to incentivising the learning progress, gamification frees students from boredom.  While a teacher may not be able to set practice papers as per the varying needs of each learner, gamification of learning can provide activities as per the potential of each learner.

Augmented Reality

In a classroom ecosystem, it is essential to draw reference to a physical object in order to establish a socially-shared meaning. When physical affordance is hard to establish, Augmented Reality (AR) can come to the rescue. AR involves integrating digital information and technology with the user’s physical environment. Interactive sequences integrated with storybooks are meant for pre-primary and primary sections.  As compared to Virtual Reality (VR), AR is a more effective solution for the education sector. Contrary to its kin VR, which is a new artificial environment altogether, AR overlays new information on the existing environment. Moreover, AR is more cost-effective than VR. Providing a supplementary video may not be enough anymore. The declining interest in using textbooks as the sole medium for teaching is nudging educators to explore new means of boosting learners’ motivation., The AR technology has the potential for meeting the growing demands of the education sector.

We, at Next Education, have plans of introducing AR technology in the pre-primary and primary sections; initially, just a complementary app to our award-winning product, NextBooks. The AR app can also be downloaded and used by those who do not use our books as the technology would still be able to decode and read images, and hence, lead to an enhanced experience. And that is the best part about AR – once a particular object is coded, the AR app would be able to read those objects present anywhere.

India for long has turned a blind eye to the learning requirements of special kids. Technologically-aided education can cater to the special learning needs of such students. While adaptive learning can provide tailored lessons and practice papers for students with dyslexia and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Augmented Reality included in the curriculum can hold their attention span for longer.

Education’s liaison with technology would definitely address a lot of these issues and more.

The author is CEO & Co-founder of Next Education India.

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