‘21K School spearheading futuristic education revolution’

EducationWorld May 2022 | Magazine Spotlight Feature

Santosh Kumar, Co-founder & CEO and Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal, Co-founder & Director share the aims and objectives of 21K School, India’s #1 online school.

Tell us about the launch of your ‘Future of Education’ initiative.

Santosh Kumar: The education system is changing, with new teachers and programs that will change the face of teachinglearning forever. Imagine a world where students are enabled to learn at their own pace instead of being conformist members in an assembly line-type environment. Education has always been much more than just the curriculum; it’s also about social interaction between peers with similar interests as well as creative aka free thinking exercises on how we can improve society today through meaningful discussions.

The revolution won’t come without hurdles but there have never been better times ahead for those willing and ready! We at 21K School are spearheading this revolution of making transformational education available to children world over.

We wanted to give parents an inside out perspective on how we are delivering futuristic education. You can visit our YouTube channel @21KSchool to know everything you ever wanted to know about Online Schooling and didn’t know where to look!

As a K12 school that is only online, can you tell us how you are providing education to children through your platform?

Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal: Our three co-founders and I came together with one strong belief – that the biggest gift a parent can give their child is to prepare them for a rapidly evolving world and a future far beyond the traditional roles we have grown up seeing.

This is our core notion in order to offer high quality online educa[1]tion, global curriculum choices and quality teachers who love teach[1]ing on a universal platform that students have access to anywhere in the world!

We started 21K School to change the way education is looked at and taught for. We knew we had to change the factory model of education and bring in transparency and innovation at the core. A child must enjoy learning and only then can she use that learning in her future life.

Our digital-only K12 schooling experience helps save time and gives children the flexibility to pur[1]sue what they love. Online School saves as many as 1,050 hours per year, translating to 700 days over 16 years of school education by reducing travel time and tuition time. This flexible learning model at 21K School allows students to pursue their passions across sci[1]ence, maths, art, music, dance, entrepreneurship, and sports.

21K School is designed not just as another mainstream schooling option but as a giant leap into the future of learning experience where parents are assured that their children are being prepared for a happy, healthy and prosper[1]ous global citizenship; Our students are ready for the real world with a growth mindset.

What is the market feedback for this digital education format since education in India has always been provided in a physical setting?

Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal: The Covid pandemic hit India at a time when our back-end processes and IT platforms were all set to kick off our first academic year in 2020. We observed that schools were slow to adopt the digital model, and students and parents were grappling with this new format.

We were lucky to have enrolled 300 students before the pandemic hit, since those parents knew what digital learning meant and could offer their children from the comfort of their homes.

Our teaching methodology coupled with our teachers, and our tech-friendly platform all came together to offer a seamless approach to learning for children in the 3-18 years age group.

In our second academic year, 3,500 students signed up, a 10X growth, which was a testament to our form of online schooling. Today we are well on our way to becoming the largest online school in South-East Asia by 2023.

Our parents have been appreciative of our new model, and of the fact that their children are engaged happily online, are learning and are in classes, most often, with students sited in different countries around the world. This has helped children gain a worldly knowledge opening them up to environments beyond India.

We are also the only digital school that reimagines education with emerging technologies like Blockchain, Metaverse, NFTs to instil learning, thinking, and creativity in the DNA of our students, and one of the world’s first schools to transition into Web 3.0. When learning is gamified and enjoyable, it is most effective. We are building the metaverse for future of education.

What technologies and tools are you using to run 21K School?

Santosh Kumar: Our platform uses artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, industry-standard data privacy and security tools powered by AWS Cloud Servers. This helps us increase our scal[1]ability across the world.

Our virtual classrooms are like the traditional physical classrooms, but visible on an Internet-enabled device. As we want our classroom sessions to be interactive and engaging, we use an AI assistant who accompanies two teachers for each session, and the system monitors students’ emotions and attention. Based on this, the teacher adapts to his/her teaching style. Our advanced AI can also formulate a learning curve, and prepare a lesson plan with an assignment and teaching aid, personalised for each student. Additionally, machine learning usage helps us study students’ learning patterns over time, enabling us to create a holistic teaching-learning process to match students’ requirements.

For summative, formative assessments and tests online, our teachers and AI assistants prepare the assessments and tests and correct all answer scripts. We use advanced Natural Language Processing algorithms to read handwriting and voice recording to access any student.

Additionally, our AI-enabled learning platform helps determine the strengths and weaknesses of students and guide students on the path of their unique identity and career/passion.

Take us through a typical day or induction into 21K School ?

Yeshwanth Raj Parasmal: At 21K School, our goal is to make each of the 16 years of schooling for students meaningful and joyful.

Our academic year begins with a week of welcoming students, where we use a game-centric approach to connect with students. This is followed by a bridge course which not only helps students bridge the gap between what they should have known at the end of the last grade and what they need to be prepared with at the beginning of the next one, but it also aids the educators in understanding what the class baseline is. This process is further assisted by a diagnostic matrix which helps identify students’ areas of excellence and focused growth.

A three-click journey is all a child needs to reach her classroom. On the platform, students can access learning material and tools, share assignments, access Virtual Lab, Digital library, Explore Canva, discuss with their peers all of which are supplemented by our single-login system to make it an easy-to-use experience. Right from the Coding platform that helps them learn the fundamentals of coding to our massive library filled with reading resources or a virtual lab that reimagines science and experiments — we have them all.

On a daily basis, we teach core subjects, along with several Indian and international languages and capstone courses, including computational thinking, to develop students’ analytical and problem-solving skills.

Our Day Boarding and Summer School Programme allows students to master real-world skills critical for success — not covered in the traditional curriculum.

As parents are used to meeting teachers at PTAs, what is your alternative solution to parents of 21K School?

Santosh Kumar: Our 21K School model allows learning from anywhere and hence we also allow parents to evaluate their child’s progress from anywhere any time. All classroom sessions are recorded and we have both the Gallery View so the student can see how the rest of the class participated, as well as the Presenter View to observe what the teacher shared. In fact, we use classroom recordings to help parents share real time feedback with teachers and educators and this helps all stakeholders improve classroom experiences.

The platform is also connected to our personalised learning engine, whose AI helps students and parents understand classroom performance and learning journey in a brand new way. The system taps into all the lessons attended, assignments done and activities completed to map out the strengths and areas for improvement, all of it live and in real time so there’s no need to wait till the end of the semester only to realize there’s need for remedial classes. The findings turn into an easy to understand and interactive dashboard for parents; in one quick look they can see a level of granularity and transparency that is unprecedented in the field of education.

What are your future plans for 21K School?

Santosh Kumar: People often ask if we are a school or if we are a next gen technology company? If we are creating a new dimen[1]sion of education? The world in 20 years is unsure of what the future will bring, but one thing is for sure — education needs to be on point. There are more pressing issues than ever before when considering how we educate our children today so they can contribute tomor[1]row morning! The way I see it, the value of a good education is not limited to the individual itself. It can be passed down from generation to generation, and even determine which path an entire country takes in times to come! And we are proud to be able to make cutting edge education accessible to thousands of children world over – so they can make a difference. We won’t stop until we impact 1.4 billion school going students worldwide including the remotest parts. The world is our oyster and we hope to spread our wings far and wide.

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