Founder of Ashoka University Pranav Gupta Highlights – How COVID 19 played the biggest role in Digitising Education   

Information technology, artificial intelligence, data and core technological systems will continue to develop, evolve and become more crucial than ever”, asserts Pranav Gupta of Ashoka University.

Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder

Covid-19 changed the entire discourse of the normal we have known for a long time. The government announced lockdown of the country on March, 2020 thereby shutting down offices, markets, educational institutions, judicial courts; barring only essential services. Along with airline, tourism, hospitality and service industries which experienced significant declines in their operations and revenues, entertainment and sports industries were also on the slide. The outbreak had significantly complicated daily educational tasks.

As the state mandated shutdown of schools, colleges and institutions, lockdown procedures grew prevalent and the future of the younger generation was in jeopardy. However, it unintentionally created a lot of opportunities, notably for distant employment and alternative education.

Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder opines, “The Covid-19 scenario did not result in the cessation of teaching, instructing, or evaluation; rather digital preparedness helped in the process of imparting education by utilizing a virtual platform that enabled students to continue with their academics. Most schools switched their whole curriculum to online learning in response to the outbreak.”

The isolation and restrictions impacted many individuals and organizations, but there were other sections of our economy that started to thrive and prosper. These industries include those related to pharmaceuticals, healthcare, communications, internet and digital sector, to name a few. Before the pandemic, supplemental technologies and facilities played a supporting role; but then Education Technology (EdTech) enterprises witnessed a sudden rise. In response to the pandemic, the majority of educational institutions transferred their curriculum and assessments online; as a result, choosing the optimal teaching approach.

Also read: “India’s demand for foreign education remains unscathed despite the pandemic” – says Vineet Gupta of Jamboree Education. 

“If we are to fully appreciate what is happening, we must recognize that the shifts to effective teaching strategy were sparked by fresh mindsets and attitudes that our society has newly begun to embrace. When we use services like video chats, online grocery and meal delivery; we see that we are more proficient than ever before. Many of these newly adopted beneficial solutions are enduring even after the crisis has passed and will continue to do so. Information technology, artificial intelligence, data and core technological systems will continue to develop, evolve and become more crucial than ever”, asserts Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder.

The academic life of students is undoubtedly changing. Education has evolved and possibly will continue to change. The shutdown of school and college campuses due to Covid-19 outbreak has altered the structure of our normal practices and the way we function as educationalists. The rising acceptance of digitization for practically all operations, that formerly took place within an educational institution’s premises, gives a chance to reconsider how various academic activities may be conducted in digital spaces.

In the post Covid-19 times, the educational models such as blended and hybrid learning integrated remote and in-person training by combining digital elements simultaneously with in-person components. Given how important computers and other associated technologies are to modern communication and commerce, integrating technology into education helps prepare students for success in the workplace and in life. Students that engage in a mixed learning environment not only grasp the curriculum being studied, but also the usage of technology.

“The purpose of mixed learning models is to consistently provide better outcomes by fostering a dynamic learning platform that provides educators freedom in everything from scheduling to varied form of resources and communication. Such a learning strategy produces a unified classroom setting where the requirements of all groups of learners can be satisfied by rendering in-person and virtual education complementary. Depending on what is best for their students, one may alter the material, technology and teaching strategies. To consistently improve the effectiveness of teaching for students, they can use new techniques and make adjustments to the existing ones”, highlights Pranav Gupta.

A number of institutions have previously put policies into place to adjust their educational strategies to the requirements of their students. Different aspects of face-to-face education and online learning are combined to cater to every student and the students are expected to engage in both formats. Nevertheless, nothing is without its shortcomings.

These ensuing alterations in culture, identity and expectations placed on educational leaders and administration, which may reshape the post-pandemic digitized structure of education, pose the risk of escalating already-existing disparities in the usage of digital technology. A sustained transition, perhaps a definitive one, towards online involvement presents a set of issues regarding student enrollment, retention, and advancement.

“Covid-19 acted as the significant force behind digitization of education. It demonstrated the significance of using technology as an ally in education by highlighting the benefits of digital ingenuity and communication channels. We are grateful for technology and aware of its advantages, unending possibilities and its impact particularly to our futures. Although we are apprehensive about plans for its transformative makeover of our teaching, learning and evaluation process; there is a chance to substantively co-construct and connect with students with the help of it. Rather than implementing ‘one size fits all’ approaches that deny them any choice, it is necessary to grant them agency and to encourage them as emerging digitalized citizens”, shares Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder.

Also read: Edtech Hybrid Business Model in a Post Pandemic World.

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