In the last article, we spoke about how Anand Pai was able to transform the classroom training through gamification. This transformation is an example of how EdTech can facilitate better learning outcomes. We are going to extend the discussions in this article. We will touch upon other aspects of the transformation that education is going through and how EdTech is playing a role in this transformation. In one sense, we are expanding upon the previous articles and cover how technology is transforming education more holistically.
EdTech Is Not The Only Transformation Agent
The need for transforming classroom education has been manifested since long. The genesis of “kinder Garten” is in the concept that the school inside four-wall is not conducive for natural and all-around growth of students. The natural environment helps overall learning & intellectual growth more effectively.
In addition to the freedom from the physical constraints, there is a marked movement towards more project-based, hands-on learning. NuVu, The Innovation School, not only implements this concept but has also has demonstrated that departure from the mainstream and established practices can still be successful in the real world.
Take another example of another experiment. At York High School, York, Pennsylvania, two teachers are combining arts & politics, history & science to bring an integrated learning experience for students. There are many other examples, but we will avoid those for the time being for want of time and space. What one needs to remember is that these experiments and alternative models are transforming the education from the ground up.
EdTech Is The Primary Catalyst
At the core of these transformations is the concept of immersive learning. Immersive learning is essentially the use of multiple senses to learn concepts and skills. Immersive learning is also an excellent way of developing critical thinking & analytical abilities, along with empathy and many other virtues.
Immersive Learning Is The Way Forward
Despite the alternative and creative methods that schools lie NuVu and York High School are trying, the physical barrier remains. There is only a limited geographical area that the school and students can cover even after spending a fortune. And some destinations, like space, are away from the reach.
Such instances are where technology turns impossible into possible. Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality (AR & VR) technologies are bringing the universe to the doorstep of every student, almost literally. And this is not an exaggeration.
The Personalization Paradigm
On the other hand, technologies like Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping to personalize education. “One size fits all” approach that has been prevalent till now, can now change to suit cognitive and learning capabilities and inclination of every child. We have written extensively about the personalization, so we will not go into many details right now. But without technology, it is not possible to implement the personalization at the scale where it would be meaningful worldwide.
The Evaluation Paradigm
If one thing that the EdTech is still lacking, it is the ability to evaluate and provide meaningful feedback. For the most part, the evaluation is still dependent on Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs). However, MCQs are insufficient if you want to evaluate the critical analysis capabilities. Most MOOC platforms do offer peer-evaluation, but again that may not be accurate and sufficient. For the on-demand video courses, evaluation by the teachers is not possible.
The project-based learning does provide a better evaluation to some extent. However, it is still outcome-based and doesn’t necessarily talk about the process. It cannot comment on behavioural patterns and cognitive biases that may have affected the outcome of such projects. The most significant value of the classroom with a teacher primarily lies in this fact that the teacher can observe such behavioural patterns of the students, and can provide appropriate feedback at the most appropriate time.
The Blended Learning
And the availability of the feedback will be the factor that will drive the blended learning model. The classroom is not going to vanish because of the technology, because we want to develop human beings, not robots. The interactions are primarily responsible for developing the thinking and behavioural abilities. If there is no one to guide and shape such communications, social skills may not develop correctly.
The blended learning will have a different role for the classroom. It is to demonstrate and practise learnings in social environments. It will become a place where the teacher will become a mentor who will decide what improvements are necessary for each student and show them the directions. Role of the classrooms and teachers will change forever.
Expanding The Boundaries
What technology is doing is to break down the boundaries that have surrounded the education for long. Be it geographical, language, or content barrier; the technology makes it possible for education to transcend these boundaries. The EdTech is moving towards making education more accessible and relevant to everyone in the world. The need is to ensure that education and students remain the factor that drives the technology, and it is not the other way round.