By Seema Sahay, May 22, 2021 14:00
Learning is a lifelong phenomenon transcending the four walls of the classroom. K12 institutions across India have realised the urgent need to value hands-on, practical, project-based and personalised learning. The digital platform has allowed digital education, opening a new dimension to learning, with a 360-degree bandwidth.
While the pandemic made it imperative to digitise education, the transition from offline to online learning, both synchronous and asynchronous, on the virtual platform became the only route and viable way to keep learning continuous and constant.
However, this paradigm shift is here to stay for whenever students come back to real classroom, this dimension of virtual learning is going to continue. But this blended learning will have to see a complete realignment of the school curricula and the best of both the platforms will churn out the optimal collaboration revitalising classroom instructions.
From the pages of text books to three-dimensional teaching aids and then transitioning to digital platform has ensured a complete perspective of the topic in hand. The students can ideate, deliberate, collaborate and infer from their own learning curve.
A well-rounded education apart from being holistic should also be well integrated. A cross domain linkage, a multidimensional and innovatively designed high bay space will augment learning to higher levels where we bring art integrated learning for all disciplines.
The Central aspect of 360-degree learning is that the students learn from their surroundings. Learning by observation and experimentation sets a level of exposure and experience. Learning modules and the school environment should be planned to focus on current times. Contextual updated learning techniques will keep students energized and eager to learn. Educators have to constantly review and reinvent the wheel and strategise so that the learner is stimulated to further curiosity, zest and happiness to co-create and construct knowledge. Keeping that spark burning there has to be variation, modulation and adaptation along with integration of the different strands of learning. We have to be mindful of the fact that there has to be a shift from knowledge acquisition to knowledge construction.
Bringing design thinking in co-creating knowledge and producing their own prototypes through experiential methods with tangible outcomes is another level to reach Meta learning, enhancing a sense of enquiry and growth within the students.
Prescriptive learning as a norm is petering out. Refreshing our pedagogical model with dynamic curricula in alignment with the new National Education Policy recommendations 2020 which focuses on competency-based learning rather than content based learning is the need of the day.
The complete teaching fraternity had been on pins and needles as they had to transition to virtual platform. But on the hind sight, I feel that it has been a mixed bag. Not denying that it has led to a digital divide where the children in far flung remote areas and even in cities have been deprived of learning, more so due to an economic divide as everyone is not privileged to have the gadgets to facilitate virtual classes.
But on the other hand children, who have easy access to digital learning have been able to move several notches up as they have become so adept in technology to an extent to guide their teachers and parents to a large extent. Peer learning, group learning and net etiquettes are what command discipline in class ensuring team work and collaboration among all.
A 360-degree learning approach sets the learning outcomes with a multidisciplinary integrated approach. Using colour, space, environment, ecology, objects, creative arts, performing arts and most importantly technology are our contemporary tools which address the application of real life situations to classroom transactions by the learners.
Education ultimately has to empower a learner for a better tomorrow with higher cognitive skills. While it is an easy passport for employability and job opportunities, we have to see how it also leads to evolution of a human to have better values, discipline, technical, and behavioural skills, enhancing the social and emotional quotient. It is that asset which stays forever with one as it builds all these 21st century skills. It widens one’s knowledge and empowers the spirit of self- exploration and progression.
The Right to Education Act 2009 promises to give that fair opportunity to every child to be educated. The day we accomplish this goal of complete literacy in our country we would accomplish a 360-degree turnaround and that day doesn’t seem far.
Seema Sahay is the Principal, GD Goenka Public School, Sarita Vihar, Delhi. The views expressed here are personal.