Role of technology in keeping education sector alive during coronavirus crisis


India Today Web Desk

Coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world in every sphere including business, travel, trade, hospitality, etc. Like other sectors education too has also been impacted by the spread of the virus.

Schools, universities, and other learning spaces have been forced to shut down owing to the dangers of the spread of the deadly virus. However, when we have restrictions on physical access during this time and there are advisories on social distancing, students need not necessarily distance themselves from the process of learning.

India has over 37 million students enrolled in higher education alone and the impact on learning that the lockdown could have caused would have been huge.

Thanks to the availability of technological resources, we can significantly reduce this impact and carry out the process of knowledge dissemination efficiently, to a great extent.

The fact that we are equipped with the technological advancements that we need to deliver education to the remotest corners is playing out really well for us, especially during the situation that we are facing right now.

This is the right time for educational institutions to launch online initiatives that will not just help students in the current situation but will greatly benefit the entire system in the long run.

Education technology, Ed-Tech

We can say that Educational Technology or ‘Ed-Tech’ is the need of the hour. From being a far-fetched reality that we were earlier trying to achieve, digitalization of the curriculum and complete reliance on it have now turned into the only viable option for teaching and learning.

The pandemic has in a way, brought about a revolution wherein universities have to bring their courses online for students.

A shift can be seen here and from being a primarily physical medium, higher education is emerging as a well balanced remote learning option. This phase in the history of education can be attributed as the beginning of the process of the digital transformation of classrooms and learning spaces.

Some of the ways in which universities can help retain the impact of a classroom set-up and a physical university space while carrying out the process of learning online would be:

1.Online classes and effective student trainer engagement:

One of the basics of imparting quality education is the seamless interaction between the educator and the learner. Facilitating effective engagement between the trainers and the students via online lectures, doubt sessions, etc. can have a positive impact on overall learning and output.

2. e-Learning content and digital library:

Universities can work towards the development of an online resource bank where students have the option to access books, notes, documents and study material whenever they need to. This would enable students to engage with resources and maintain a self-study schedule.

3. Digital training of trainers, counselors and placement consultants:

Educational Institutions can utilize the lockdown period to organize training sessions for teachers, counselors and placement consultants for capacity building and knowledge enhancement. The acquired skills and knowledge would also help them balance out the situation once the lockdown is lifted.

4. Online assessment and results:

While maintaining continuity in the system of learning is essential, it is equally important to maintain the usual cycle of assessment. A regular flow of assignments, questionnaires and tests can be held so that a systematic track record of students’ progress can be maintained.

5. Virtual placement drives:

Universities can further the process of digitalization by organizing virtual placement drives for graduating students. This way, even the element of placement would not be compromised because of the non-accessibility of the physical university space.

Hence, technology and online initiatives hold great relevance in the world today, especially during this phase of adversity. Online access to learning resources and digitalization of the curriculum can then be seen as the way ahead.

This article has been written by Siddharth Chaturvedi, Executive Vice President, AISECT Group.

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