Redefining Education - Role of Technology

Alok Vishwakarma, Chief Architect, Extramarks Education India Extramarks Education India is a leading digital learning solutions platform which provides the best of pedagogy and technology to create an engaging child-centric teaching-learning environment.

Ages & ages ago, when I was still a student, conventional teaching aids and pedagogy dominated the day. You were as good a student as the teacher you got. Supplementary tuitions were the order of the day, especially if you aspired to get through a prestigious medical or engineering college. I was one among this lot.

Once, in one of my after-school coaching classes, the teacher was explaining the structure of the Heart. In order to give students a comprehensive understanding, the teacher had drawn a huge, nuances, elaborate diagram of all the complex parts of the heart on the board. It goes without saying, he did not have a model or a ready chart at his disposal – but he also didn’t need any. His skill and passion was such, I sat throughout that class, fascinated, or even a little mesmerized.

A question plagued me then, as it did when I started my stint with Extramarks– how many such exceptional teachers, inspiring teachers, passionate teachers are present in our country? Very few! And consequently, how many passionate, exceptional and inspired children are studying in our classroom? Abysmally few. This abysmal state of affairs would have continued had technologically not entered the picture and seismically changed the landscape of education in the country. Visualize the chalkboard drawing of the Heart. And now visualize it come to life using rich colors, graphics and sounds. Wouldn’t the impact be greater and more permanent?

This, in my view, is the basic boon of technological integration in education space. When we are able to stoke the imagination of a child and bring alive concepts that otherwise are learnt via rote, we enable a streak of lifelong learning. We promote inquiry and curiosity, while transforming unimaginative text books into visual learning modules which simplify complex concepts. And do you know
the best part about technology, this teacher is uniform every where. A graphic rich module, when played in Baroda, of Delhi, or Chennai, or any where else on the globe would have the same language, tone, communication and explanation. Technology is the great equalizer – and nowhere is this facet more beneficial than in the edtech delivery space.

The role of technology, and the need for continuous innovation in the e-learning domain is invaluable, and indispensable

Making learning rich with graphics and animation is not the only purpose of tech integration. There is another, very important aspect of technology, which is driving learning and learning patterns across the globe. This aspect is data analysis and use of artificial intelligence in understanding performance patterns among learners and projecting a future learning path for them, complete with report, analysis and identification of strengths and weak areas.

While being standard, technology is also intelligent. It can adapt and customize learning solutions to an individual student’s starting point. At Extramarks, we have evolved a specialized pedagogy of Learn-Practice-Test to provide the learner with an independent, holistic atmosphere of study. At each step of this three-pronged approach, latest, dynamic technological tools are employed to provide rich engagement to the learner and then to exhaustively test his understanding. The tests we prepare are adaptive, which means, that they adjust to the learner’s level of comprehension and expertise. Our intelligent algorithms predict where does a child need to focus. In this respect, don’t you think, tech-enabled learning solutions not only become a mentor, but a companion on the journey to excellence.

About a decade ago, Extramarks had already realized the transformative power of technology in education, had begun implementing technology tools to disrupt traditional setups, thereby bringing-in constructive changes in education delivery. Extramarks leveraged technology to make education interesting/engaging through rich visual, multimedia modules, and accessible, by providing learning content and solutions through hand-held devices, thus enabling anytime, anywhere access. Extramarks also went deep into understanding the learning needs at each age group, and has hence developed a spectrum of product and services, which caters to the need of learning and education right from early childhood to beyond school.

Anything said above is not to undermine the importance of teachers and classrooms. In fact another boon of technology is how it is able to adjust and assist in the traditional learning-teaching transaction. The ready visual modules can both, be displayed in the class or used by the teacher to help with lesson planning. The digital learning modules we prepare also help keep learning continuous – since whatever a teacher shows in class is also individually accessible to students through individual devices (tabs or mobile phones.)

Whether in-school or after-school, whether in a metropolitan city or a remote town – e-learning solutions are here to help each child become a confident, independent and engaged learner. The role of technology, and the need for continuous innovation in the same domain is invaluable, and indispensable.