Every educator’s major focus in the 21st century is to help students develop skills and build learning capacity to transform their lives in the future. It is the role and responsibility of any school to equip students with knowledge, skills and confidence to achieve success in the real world.
As we move to a more progressive way of education that takes advantage of technology to eliminate unnecessary tasks, student and teacher time should be freed up to focus on analysis, synthesis, real-time application and creativity.
There is a new wave of EdTech companies that are developing innovative solutions to improve capacity, skill development, and personalized learning. These startups are applying different strategies such as seamless classroom experience, industry specific learning, gamification, interactive assessments, data science and sustainability to draw the attention of students and keep them engaged while they learn and develop the necessary skills. It is very important to note that they are providing all these benefits to the students while maintaining digital safety.
A major challenge faced by institutions and educators today is lack of individualized attention or personalized learning. Because every student learns in a different way, the lack of personalized learning can result in poor learning experiences and low skill development for students in Indian schools. Assessment platforms such as Learnosity, Schoology, Canvas, Blackboard and Google Classroom automatically calculate detailed quiz results and, within seconds, highlight students in need of intervention or enrichment. These types of calculations were previously done by-hand during non-school hours by teachers. Another technology startup that calculates grades for teachers is Paperscorer. Paperscorer embraces a hybrid digital approach, where students can take quizzes in paper, then teachers can use the Paperscorer app to automatically scrore the quizzes.
“At the juncture we are today, where technology is imbibed in each sphere of our lives, we need to accept and integrate skills with other teaching and learning methods to bring about a new way of education”
Leading EdTech startup BYJU’s uses a combination of games and interactive play/learning through its online platform by asking questions and then giving an opportunity to students to think about different ways to solve the problem. This leads to the development of critical skills like critical thinking and problem solving. Another popular interactive startup is Kahoot. This software allows teachers to quickly build polls or quizzes. Students can use their individual devices to answer the polls in real-time and see the aggregate results of the class. Kahoot is a great resource for teachers looking to engage their students in class.
Another example is Cuemath. One of the key challenges for most students in mathematics is that problem-solving has traditionally been taught using rote formulas without teaching the underlying purpose or logic for the formulas. Edtech startups like Cuemath focus on developing skills for students, using technology and gamification to help students learn and solve mathematical problems using critical thinking. Big Ideas Learning is another company that offers an app for students to work through complex mathematical problems online or offline. This leads to development of digital literacy and analytical skills.
Technology can also aid in keeping parents aware and involved in their child’s education. Startups such as Peachjar are helping promote parent teacher collaboration by keeping parents informed about all the amazing resources in schools and community. Kickboard – an app that teachers use to track student behaviour throughout the day – also communicates reports and notes to parents.
These online startups are not only developing skills for students to learn, understand and solve problems, but also helping them become exam-ready with the help of technology, interactive videos, and virtual platforms. Competitive exams such as GRE, NEET, IIT-JEE, GMAT for higher education are not just about knowledge, but also critical thinking, logical reasoning, leadership, team-building, and peer-collaboration. Companies like CollegeBoard are focusing on exam-preparation applications that allow students to practice exam questions, hone in on their deficiencies, and review the necessary material to improve their overall performance.
Skill building is the need of the hour for our future generations. Skills such as coding, design-thinking, and data-analysis were not even a part of our curriculum two decades ago. At the juncture we are today, where technology is imbibed in each sphere of our lives, we need to accept and integrate it with other teaching and learning methods to bring about a new way of education and help student build necessary skills such as digital and media literacy, communication, collaboration, critical thinking etc and make them future-ready.
Mukesh Sharma, Founding Chairman
Mukesh Sharma is the founding chairperson of Prometheus School in Noida - an educational institution with a goal to provide re-imagined and holistic education. An entrepreneur and visionary, Mukesh brings in 25 years of industry experience, backed by his initiatives including QA InfoTech, a Software Quality Engineering Services Company, employing over 1300 people globally. An active industry evangelist, Mukesh has authored several books and papers to benefit the software engineering and quality disciplines. He's a well recognized golfer and a philanthropist making a societal impact in his spheres of operations.