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Edtech trends 2018

The advent of digital classrooms, cloud-based content, e-books and online assessments has enabled our education system to reach inflection point

Indian education is poised at an interesting juncture. On the one hand, there is a growing focus on learning outcomes, while on the other, technology is being adopted quickly and content is being rewritten and redesigned to adapt to a variety of emerging media. But among all latter-day developments, ‘technology’ has clearly emerged as the single biggest factor to impact education.

This augurs well for present-day learners, educators, and other stakeholders in the teaching-learning process. The advent of digitally enabled classrooms, cloud-based content, ebooks and online assessments among other developments, has enabled our education system to reach inflection point. Let us look at new edtech trends that have the potential to definitively change the education landscape.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR). This was probably the most talked about pedagogy of 2017. Virtual Reality (VR) places the user in virtual or immersive environments which are being used to provide learners life-like experience in subjects as diverse as history and chemistry. Augmented Reality (AR) on the other hand is a technology used to present an enhanced version of reality where elements of physical real-world environments are augmented with digital learning experiences. AR/VR technologies help learners experience and interact with digital learning objects to support their learning. Educators, who earlier had print or digital images/animations for teaching support, can now leverage these high-fidelity educational experiences to achieve better learning results.

Adaptive learning through Artificial Intelligence. Adaptive learning has the potential to solve a crucial challenge in classroom learning — how to engage with learners of varying abilities in the same classroom. Adaptive systems use machine learning to personalise the presentation of learning material based on the learning speed, interest and problem areas of each student. In the hands of teachers, this can become an important tool to ensure better learning outcomes. Machine learning together with natural processing and speech recognition technologies are also facilitating the development of conversational programmes, called chatbots. The bots can be programmed to provide a wide variety of services including private tutoring.

Learning Analytics. It is often said “what gets measured is what gets done”. The focus is shifting from big data to ‘little’ data. Little data is personal activity information which when analysed by intelligent systems, is able to provide key insights into the way students learn. It may well become an important source of information and insights for decision-making for educators. It may also unlock new potential for personalisation of tools and content. By adding the right information capture mechanisms and real-time insight capabilities, traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) can now vastly enhance the teaching-learning experience. The implications of a data-driven approach will be far-reaching and will permeate not just teaching and learning but other areas including guidance on career choices. An integrated learning solution, launched last year by OUP (Oxford University Press), provides detailed learning analytics for students, teachers as also parents.

Online Assessments. New forms of technology mediated assessment have enabled a big shift from fixed-in-point summative assessments — which today are at the core of the learning process — to continuous and adaptive formative assessments. Online assessment solutions are clearly more customisable, interactive, secure and quick to deliver. They work across multiple platforms (mobile phones included) and offer detailed interactive dashboards to analyse performance from various aspects. Capability to store historical assessment data and compare progress over time can be used to establish a trend and also draw inferences on learners’ progress. Online testing also offers the benefits of anytime testing, remote proctoring, real-time audio-video integration and also more personalised testing.

2018 promises to be an interesting year for education, with technology set to disrupt traditional pedagogies and mindsets. Its integration with print and classroom practices will be central to its success in the Indian context, and wider acceptance by stakeholders, the key to its longevity.

Yet it is important not to lose sight of the evolving needs of the educator or teacher in the context of fast-paced edtech developments. Teacher training programmes offered online, offline or in combination, are key to upskilling our educators, often the primary consumers of such edtech solutions, who play a pivotal role in seeding and adoption of technology among learners.

(Sivaramakrishnan V. is managing director of Oxford University Press, India)

140 Views  | Posted on: 8 Feb,2018 Add Comment  Show Comments (0)