Explained: The importance of education technology in 21st century classrooms

In a recent conversation with a friend, all of us got talking about the differences in what we had learned in school versus what our children learn. An interesting anecdote was about English. Remember how we used to learn English? C-H-A-R-M was Charm or T-H-I-N-K for think. Coming to present times, our kids today learn not only the alphabet but also how CH or TH sounds.

Phonetic-based language learning considers spelling the alphabet plus speech and sound. This makes learning faster and better than the earlier methods, where children might be reading well but not necessarily speaking well.

To the older generation, this might sound novel and, to new parents, an innovative teaching method. While that is true, if we think a little further, we will find deeper implications than it looks on the surface.

Language is the bedrock of communication. Most of us are attracted to good speakers. Good communication or oratory skills mean greater confidence. Greater confidence leads to respect, adulation, and success. And it all begins with how to pronounce CH

This is the value that new pedagogies and curricula can bring to K-12 education across all levels. As NEP 2020 put so succinctly under Curriculum and Pedagogy in schools, ‘learning should be holistic, integrated, enjoyable, and engaging.’

The aim of new age education is not only cognitive development but also character building, creating holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with 21st-century skills.

Looking at language again, teaching has evolved from writing on a blackboard or using textbooks to make students rote learn.

Nowadays, many educators use a more visual, interactive process where they would plug in YouTube videos, PowerPoints or apps, voice recordings, or simulations. This helps students imagine, experience, and thus remember better. Such an interactive environment is possible today, thanks to the integration of technology in education pedagogy.

At every stage of learning, new pedagogical approaches are amply assisted by technology, especially in the post-pandemic era of hybrid education.

Let’s look at some transformative technology assistance currently used by schools and teachers.

MULTIMEDIA AND IN CLASSROOM INNOVATION

As schools prepare to gradually restructure school curriculum and pedagogy as per the NEP 2020, ed-tech companies have multiple technology products and applications that can help across all levels of K- 12 learning.

For example,‘Step and Learn’ from Eupheus can help educators create learning games and experiences customized to the needs of individual schools. The games are projected onto the floor from the ceiling. Kids use their hands and feet to interact with the floor (via motion sensors), helping them to play games. ‘

Step and Learn’ helps children play together, fostering collaboration from the early stages itself.

EXPERT INTEGRATION VIA AT HOME, ROMOTE LEARNING

Research shows that with online learning, students are not so self-conscious about asking questions; student interaction increases as does the diversity of opinion in classroom communication. Many students also prefer to communicate with teachers through the internet rather than in person, improving the teacher-student relationship and building trust.

In addition, specialised digital or online programs can help students book one on one or smaller sessions with teachers. They can listen to lectures, look at outcome-based study models, and solve and visualize problems to offer solutions.

For subjects like Maths, Science, or foreign languages, specialized labs can help children think logically, solve critical problems and appreciate difficult subjects.

‘EXPERIMENTIAL, OUTCOME BASED’ LEARNING

Experiential learning is another aspect that educationists and ed-tech companies have created major innovations in. Some solutions deliver knowledge in a personalized and meaningful manner.

They carry diverse multimedia options which can be used by students and teachers as per their preferences. Since there are tools to record most lessons, any student who misses a lesson can go back and watch it at a time of their convenience. This reduces teacher dependency and further opens modes of questions and search for answers.

Learning and information-sharing become more abstract and discussion-led, letting students be more active, debate different viewpoints, go on fact-finding missions, and have a more competitive, passionate mindset. Knowledge is transmitted in a more meaningful manner rather than mindless regurgitation.

EXAMINATIONS AND REAL-TIME FEEDBACK SYSTEM

As teaching and learning become more in-depth, so do assessment methods. Using an integrated technology distribution platform, for instance, can allow teachers to assess better and faster. They can create as well as assign regular quizzes every week to ensure student engagement as well as get feedback if the content is working well.

To felicitate better results, student interactions also become more beneficial. They can form online study groups, hopefully, learn more and better understand their subjects. Different from the usual method of year-end examinations which is too late for accurate course corrections.

Our lives are always in constant flux with new thoughts and changes coming every day. Our children have to be prepared for the forthcoming brave new world.

This transformation will come by bridging the gap between in-classroom and at-home learning with the requisite technological assistance. That is how we will contribute to creating educated and informed leaders of tomorrow.

Article by Amit Kapoor, Co-Founder, Eupheus Learning.