By Abha Sadana, Jun 04, 2021 11:30
2020 will remain etched in the history of mankind as a turning point. It impacted every facet of our lives. Educational Institutes have their own watershed moment. As the lockdown brought life to a standstill, schools had to re-evaluate the way in which they impart education. Traditional teaching methodologies were designed for the classroom environment, in which students and teachers share a common, physical space.
The new normal made us realize that schools can no longer be limited to the confines of four walls. This crisis offered a unique opportunity for schools to leapfrog into the digital age. We were thrilled with the prospect of exploring new tools and technologies for teaching. Nurturing the seeds of faith and perseverance, we at ‘The Modern School’, ECNCR decided to embrace the winds of change with open arms. The dream of a ‘Digital India’ will now be realized in digital classrooms on screens across the country.
The first giant step which schools took and continue to take is seamless integration of technology with the curriculum. CBSE and State Education Boards also acted as catalysts and Information Technology was no longer an add-on or subsidiary subject. The gigantic task ahead was to impart education through computers and mobiles and link the virtual arena of education through Internet. The goal was that ‘greater the integration, more the impact of online education’. The success of this goal can be gauged from the fact that ‘The Modern School’, ECNCR organized a “Quarantine Khoj Online Competition” in which more than 3000 students participated from more than 300 schools in India and abroad. This resounding response proved that education could now reach, any nook and corner of our country and the flavour and expertise will not only be Indian but also international. What may be taught in an International School in a high-brow residential colony in our country can also reach a remote village in India.
Now the decision-makers have to realize that it is the need of the hour to reimagine the future of education and provide equity of access, personalised instruction and promote wellbeing for all stakeholders in the post-COVID era. Equality of Education for one and all can become a reality. Technology through Internet, WhatsApp, Zoom, MS Team, Edmodo, Projeqt, eduClipper, Socrative, Thinglink, TED-Ed, Google Meet, Cisco Webex etc. is making this possible.
Online education is the step forward. It is not meant to replace traditional mode of teaching, but to complement it. These experiments with ‘Hybrid Education’ have met resounding success at our school and those spread across the country. The Government has foreseen the above changing scenario and has realized that teaching methodologies in the era of digital education will see some sea changes, the seeds of which have already been sown in these past few months along with decoding of National Education Policy 2020.
The focus in the era of digital education will be learning to intentionally create learner-centred experiences that are profoundly personalized, relevant, and engaging. Teachers will be making their classes by integrating video, game-based learning, and powerful collaboration tools into their virtual lessons, which will have an important, lasting impact on students learning. The biggest boon of this change which I feel is that the child will no longer remain passive; but an active learner because the knowledge being imparted will no longer only be textbook driven. The child will not be confined to textbook knowledge but will have the liberty to surf and gain a wider perspective of things.
The assessment pattern of educational boards will also no longer be based on three hour written examination or essay based and objective type question papers. Teachers will teach the way a child wants to learn. Assessment system used so far was based on ‘one size fits all’ and ‘economies of scale’ approach by using standardized tests to evaluate students would be a thing of the past. The report cards in the future will be of 360° scale having elements of peer-to-peer assessments, teachers’ feedback, self-assessment etc. Even, Teacher trainings and Development programs would need to be re-designed to cater to their emerging needs.
As an academician and a lifelong student, I am thrilled about the possibilities that the future may hold. We must not squander this opportunity to overhaul the education system. A remarkable era lies ahead, and we are fortunate who will be a part of it.
(Abha Sadana is the principal of The Modern School, ECNCR. The views expressed are personal.)