Using technology in school education

Technology-based learning is not new. Schoolnet itself has been in this field for the last two decades. But the last two years have made it immensely popular and more accessible. Whether through online classes, personalised learning apps, gamification, or using multimedia tools to study, technology has permeated the education sector, bringing with it a host of benefits. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are ushering in a wave of disruptive innovations related to school level learning with a twin purpose to scale up quality education and augment the learning of each learner through a personalised approach. At a high stress time like examinations around the corner, technology can prove to make the teaching-learning process smarter and more efficient. 

The use of technology for education must not be an isolated activity confined to after-school learning. By augmenting the infrastructure of schools, teachers can make use of a wealth of global resources to take their teaching to the next level. Using videos, animations, virtual experiments, and interactive features of smartboards, student engagement will increase, and therefore boost retention in the process. Understanding and retaining concepts from the moment they are taught is vital for performing well in exams. 

The World Bank, in its recommendations for combating learning poverty, emphasises that studies at home should complement what students get in school. Reading the same text as in school or watching videos to build conceptual clarity, practicing the same experiments done in schools at home virtually, and using e-readers are great ways of synchronizing a child’s learning journey. Technology can provide that learning continuity at home through curriculum-aligned digitized textbooks, practice engines, and adaptive assessments. 

For instance, to master a subject like Maths, practice is key. Once a student has understood a concept and the logic behind a theorem (which can be taught through various media), practising its application is vital to score well in exams. Today’s textbooks have multiple practice questions, but they are not necessarily aligned to each student’s proficiency levels. Here is where AI/ML comes in. It learns the habits and the common mistakes of a student, analyses his or her knowledge of prerequisites, and then recommends a unique learning path based on this analysis done. It can also generate, within seconds, more and more questions for the student to keep practising. The more one practises, the sharper are the recommendations by the software. This iteration and reiteration of questions covering a variety of concepts is much more efficient than relying on a standardised set of limited questions that all children use no matter their learning levels. It also gives instant and personalised feedback, which is not always possible in a classroom with a single teacher. For instance, Geneo, our personalised learning app, ensures a student masters a concept before they move ahead through continuous assessments, or suggests pre-requisite topics that require brushing up. It allows a student to seamlessly backpropagate to the required juncture in the overall learning curve, and ensure the foundations are mastered to achieve competency at each level. Content recommendations, based on understanding user behaviour, match the ideal learning style of the learner through implicit feedback. Not only Math, but even subjects like Social Studies and English can be learned better with the help of technology – annotation tools, e-readers, grammar quizzes, and comprehension tests etc. can all be utilised to garner better results.

Tech-enabled learning has myriad benefits. But it cannot be implemented in a haphazard manner whereby schools and teachers are left behind. We believe that India requires a holistic ecosystem approach in education, one that brings together the students, teachers, schools, and after-school education providers. The country also needs to improve the access of quality education and EdTech for all – and thus tech-enabled education should be available in vernaculars, be affordable yet high quality, and work with the government and affordable private schools. Technology is a powerful enabler that cannot be ignored in today’s day and age. With everything around us becoming ‘smart’ and highly personalised – from ad recommendations to wearable technology, education must not get left behind. This is not to disregard the traditional ways of teaching-learning at all, but to augment it to reach more students and optimise learning outcomes based on each learner’s unique learning styles. 

 



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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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