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Predicting the future of education walking on the corridors of international edutech exhibition

By G. Balasubramanian

“Hold on, let us spend some more time in this stall” said my friend who was walking along with me. “No, the next stall appears more gravitating.” I said. And we moved on... the next.. the next and the next! Each of them offering us some food for thought.. what will happen to learning if this happens... if this comes true! As we walked through the several pathways looking at the stalls on either side with a huge and absorbing crowd witnessing the myth and marvel of technology impacting education, one thing was certain – technology in education has not only come to stay but is going to impact the destiny of learning inputs, methods, styles and processes, if not the very goal of learning objectives!

As a regular and routine visitor for the International Didac conference for the last few times, I must admit that the way educators tried to open their third eye to examine the role, relevance, and impact of technology as one of their future perspectives for growth, was indeed impressive. At a personal level, I made certain observations which I think is worth sharing, though I do not expect many others to concur with my views!

1. There is a declining interest in the print media among the educators, though they understand its essentiality and basic relevance to learning.

2. No wonder, even Finland eduprenurs appear to be engaged with print materials for Indian schools as an opportunity consequent to their successful endeavours for promoting educational tourism. I wonder with the new NEP focusing on ‘India centric education’ what would be the scope and market for non-Indian eduprenurs unless they engage with local sentiments.

3. The huge crowds at different stalls indicated that ‘Education 4.0 is not a far cry; but mere infrastructural empowerment is neither the beginning nor the end of the game.

4. Technology focusing on ERPs and other auxiliary systems that scaffold educational administration are no more educator’s cup of tea; they are really looking forward to better integrated approaches to pedagogy with authentic contents that could trigger thinking.

5. Smart Boards have come in many different ‘Avatars’ with intelligent systems supporting their functions (with some AI inputs); educators could indeed examine huge opportunities to teach the content in diverse ways.

6. The impact of AI, VR and AR on content management in different disciplines is evident, though it appears to be more at its embryonic level; there is huge scope for the investors in such markets to go into more non-routine methods of content preparation and delivery.

7. Focus is slowly shifting from enabling teaching to enabling ‘self=learning’ and ‘self-directed learning’ in the development and delivery processes of the contents; both the B-to-B markets and B to C markets are being addressed, with the latter fining more interest as it facilitates the investors with a cash crop.

8. A lot of interest is seen in the ‘assessment software’ with focus on instantaneous assessment and reports; it is important for the eduprenurs in this area to understand that the assessment models should scrupulously authentic. The variety, reliability and validity of the assessment tools need to be better than the classical models we have nourished. There is a huge scope for improvement. (The focus needs to shift from reporting mechanism to the assessment mechanism)

9. With anytime anywhere learning being the call of the future, the emergence and role of technologies in learning, seem to address the ‘learnability’ of the learner rather than sheer ‘learning’ that either happens or does not. That gives scope for better learning support with virtual tours, virtual labs, and opportunities for real time learning which I think the technologies can do well.

10. As one of the marketing advocates reacted to me when I mentioned about a previous stall, ‘that technology is no more valid,’ I left the stall with the question ‘which technology is going to be more valid’ with each of them taking multiple avatars with convergence and divergence of knowledge and skills.

“Well, is the future for home schooling?” – I may not agree. Yet, I am excited, thrilled and of course, worried too, about the future of learning!

As I turned to one of the pages of my old diary which I had written a few decades before, the quote from Robert Browning was comforting me:

“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be.
The last of life, for which the first was made”