Few events in recent history have had such a widespread and profound impact on the world as the Covid-19 pandemic. The disruption was being felt throughout society, and education had to turn to technology overnight to prevent severe learning loss.
With lockdowns and curfews in place globally, students, teachers and parents alike have had to adapt quickly to digital and online education. With the introduction of measures to control the spread of the virus, the stock of laptops and computers has run out, and the demand for virtual education technology platforms has increased. Schools across the country, as well as working professionals looking to raise skills, have turned to educational technology.
meeting of minds
Last year saw the higher education sector embrace online learning, with the UGC allowing universities to offer up to 40 percent of courses per semester online. The government supported the adoption of educational technology – and its new education policy, introduced in 2020, which focused on maximizing online education opportunities. Rs 93,224.31 crore has been allocated to the Ministry of Education in the budget for 2021-22.
At the same time, local and global startups and giants have scrambled to offer potential solutions to mitigate the impact of the shutdowns on learning. While existing platforms have increased in size, newer e-learning platforms have worked in partnership with incumbents. From January to September 2021, the education technology sector saw deals worth more than $3.35 billion, more than three times the combined amount raised in 2019 and 2020.
technology in educational technology
Edtech has the potential to allow for a more personalized learning experience. At the same time, technology now enables high-quality, affordable and convenient online support that is available 24/7 and can be accessed from anywhere via the device that best suits the learner. Online educational content is available in a range of formats – including live teaching and live on-demand broadcasts – and can reach learners across a variety of levels, whether they are K-12 pupils, higher education students, or in their careers.
Some educational technology operators have also introduced new technologies and platforms that have made online learning more seamless and user-friendly. With features like gamification, communities, flipped classrooms and discussion forums, learning also promises to become more inclusive and fun. This provides an opportunity for these companies to learn on the go through feedback from learners, modifying or correcting as needed.
Another major factor in the shift within the education technology ecosystem is that the term “student” no longer applies exclusively to young people attending school or university. Edtech can play an important role in lifelong learning, allowing people to acquire skills when and how they want – whether they are a student looking to better understand key concepts from the course, or a professional looking to take the next step in their career.
This is especially important when we consider how quickly technological progress is increasing the demand for digital skills. Between January 2020 and February 2021, the demand for skilled technology workers in India grew between 150% and 300%. Edtech provides access to increasingly important skills, helping to enable learners to achieve their career goals regardless of their academic path.
Plus, for many companies, the future of work is mixed. This flexible model can provide some working professionals with time and space to learn and improve skills, while contributing to the growth and diversification of the education technology sector.
Promises to keep, miles to go…
At the infrastructure level, the big challenge remains the digital divide. However, thanks to falling data costs, rural India is expected to have more Internet users than India by 2025. With telecom operators ready to move data to the last mile, education technology can finally help bridge the gap Between rural and urban education. Individual state governments also collaborate with e-learning platforms to provide solutions for their schools. For example, last month, Maharashtra launched its Education Technology Forum, which brought policy makers and IT experts together to discuss technology-based solutions to enhance learning.
Covid-19 has shown us the promise of education technology. There are many lessons to learn, but we can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Technology will continue to be an enabler for young and old alike, with the potential to bring the gift of education to more learners around the world.
As a visionary, author and contemporary pioneer David Warlick likes to say: “Technology is the pen and paper of our timeAnd It is the lens through which we experience many parts of the world. “We are stepping into a new world where technology and education are the same, and India is poised to be ahead.
The writer is the managing director of Chegg India.
Ideas and opinions shared here by the author.
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