Ancient texts, unique gurukul systems, and a rich history define India's educational heritage. It is the birthplace of Aryabhatta and Sushruta, the land of Nalanda and Takshashila. It has imparted knowledge and inspired the world for centuries. Cut to 21st-century India, the value of education and teachers has only bloomed, with modern pedagogy and technology making way for us to scale new heights in education.
Today, our classrooms have changed and tech interventions have transformed the way students learn and teachers teach. With personalisation, collaboration, self-learning, multi-format approaches, and gamification, among others, taking centre stage, our learning environment is constantly evolving.
Ancient wisdom, however, continues to leave its mark on our education ethos. In the gurukul system, essential teachings were in subjects like language, science and mathematics through group discussions and self-learning. Today, these tools are being rekindled for digital learning in the 21st century.
At the heart of this learning revolution, however, is a robust, skilled, and digitally empowered pool of teachers. They are the builders of a competent and productive nation and drivers of generational impact.
Redefining the role of educators
Despite the multitude of challenges brought on by the pandemic, when teachers quickly adapted to digital methods and new formats it was not only inspiring but also a true indicator of the fact that learning never stops. It enabled students to continue learning seamlessly. With tech-driven approaches, teachers' roles are no longer restricted to just imparting knowledge; they now have the freedom to extend their traditional responsibilities to further mentor, guide, and support students towards a brighter future.
Today, highly-qualified teachers anywhere in the world are able to reach millions of students. They are able to transform lessons into experiences and create a generational impact. The future of education is not about technology over teaching but teaching with technology.
Armed with digital tools like 2D and 3D animations, interactive tests, and quizzes, teachers are able to harness the full potential of edtech. Leveraging elements such as game mechanics and interactive approaches to learning enables healthy competition and keeps students collaboratively involved in the learning process while also assisting teachers to create better learning paths.
Emerging digital tools that use AR and VR to provide engaging and interactive learning formats enable teachers to produce effective modules and facilitate language and phonetic understanding, build cognitive skills, and imbibe problem-solving approaches.
Imagine this: Tech-empowered teachers can provide their students with the opportunity to explore the ruins of ancient cities while studying history, delve into the intricacies of human anatomy while learning about biology, and even bring numbers to life during maths and physics classes. This just goes on to show that while teaching concepts are universal, effective digitisation has the potential to deepen, enhance, and broaden the influence of learning principles; truly unlocking the potential of a student.
The critical thinkers and problem solvers of tomorrow are being built in today's classrooms, and teachers are at the forefront. By empowering students with essential skills, teachers are creating a lasting impact in building a future-ready workforce, one that will drive the nation forward through productive output and innovation.
India’s digital transformation: Time to look ahead
The 2021 UN Sustainable Development Report states that the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out 20 years of gains in ensuring equity in education. In India, 80% of children between 14 to 18 years reported low levels of learning during the pandemic. However, tech-driven initiatives are steadily bridging this learning loss, with efforts such as the e-Vidya scheme and a UNESCO report lauding India's investments in digital resources during the pandemic.
Hybrid learning is one such disruption. Bringing together the best of offline and online learning experiences through offerings such as BYJU’S 'two-teacher model', (where one expert teacher uses strong visuals and storytelling to explain topics and the second teacher solves instant doubts and pays individual attention), is completely transforming classroom dynamics. These formats not only enable teachers to incorporate valuable digital learning resources but also provide critical offline educational experiences like student interaction, doubt resolution, as well as academic and emotional support.
Every student deserves an equal opportunity to learn regardless of their socioeconomic standing, geography, or level of education, and having digitally-empowered teachers is an essential component of this process.
As technologies advance, so will the classrooms of the future and the scope to affect change is limitless. Tech-empowered teachers have the power to greatly expand educational opportunities in the country. By bringing together our tech talent with our inherent expertise in teaching, we can truly see India emerge as a true ‘Vishwaguru’.
Only by making strategic investments in the wide talent pool of teachers and digital infrastructure can we lay the roadmap for India's youth to be the powerhouse of knowledge and build learning solutions that scale and modernise education for the 21st century.
(The author is Sr. Vice President of Curriculum and Learning Experience at BYJU’S)
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