Karanvir Singh is the Founder and CEO of Pariksha, India’s largest vernacular EdTech company, which is solving the massive challenge of accessibility and affordability of outcome-based education for the mobile 1st internet users of Bharat. Karanvir Singh believes that both education and technology are great enablers, they empower people and eradicate inequalities. The idea of Pariksha was born out of the personal experience of the founders, Karanvir Singh along with his other co-founders Utkarsh Bagri, Vikram Singh, and Deepak Chaudhary launched Pariksha in 2015.
There has been a shift from traditional offline learning to digital learning due to the outbreak of COVID-19 resulting in the significance of learning through technology increasing drastically.
There has also been, the continued momentum in the adoption of technology in the learning and teaching processes to make education more effective and accessible. This has enabled the EdTech companies to provide personalized solutions to individual students based on their learning needs.
This means an EdTech company will have to derive and gain actionable insights from data to build a learning solution for an individual, apart from just having access to the market and students. With the passage of time, EdTech solutions will continue to evolve as smart devices based on state-of-the-art technology will become more powerful making more potent breakthroughs in the segment possible.
Three emerging tech trends transforming the EdTech Industry
To make the role of EdTech in the education industry more immersive, personalized, interactive, and engaging, there have been constant changes in the existing EdTech models and ways of teaching by bringing technological advancements such as:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled education.
The use of AI covers a wide range of solutions such as personalization of education, the introduction of Chat Bots, assessment tools, and voice assistants (e.g. Siri, Alexa, and Google Home). The different levels for individual learning solutions are Differentiated Learning, Personalized Learning, and Adaptive Learning.
Personalization allows the system to focus on the particular needs of a student. AI system based on this concept analyses the interests of students, their learning abilities, and knowledge gaps. Based on this data, it creates an individual learning program.
Chatbots can be used for any educational purpose. From answering student queries related to admission to acting as a teacher assistant, their use can be very wide and varied. Assessment tools help in evaluating the work of the students and give instant feedback. This frees up teachers from tedious and routine tasks and gives them time to focus on core activities. AI can also be used in gesture recognition. It can help capture an individual student’s emotions and ascertain his/her attentiveness in a virtual class and take corrective action in real-time. The use of AI is not limited to any dimension, and its inclusion in the EdTech industry has benefitted everyone significantly.
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
AR and VR have already positively impacted several industries. By using VR and AR in EdTech, the student turns from a passive observer to an active participant who can interact with the learning environment. The use of these tools means access to visual information and the opportunity to practice learned material in a simulated environment. Virtual reality and augmented reality not only enable teachers to capture students’ attention but also help them to teach in a more engaging and productive way, which simplifies the process of conceptual explanation. This, in turn, makes the learning process more interactive and immersive. When a student engages more, he understands and learns the concept better. AR and VR have promising potential to enhance learning capabilities.
There is another umbrella of reality called XR (Extended Reality), which combines VR, AR, and MR (Mixed Reality). It either immerses you in the virtual environment or adds/augments the user surrounding it or do both. These technologies can fill in gaps that traditional textbooks are not always able to provide. E.g. it will make students experience the history book live.
- Teaching and learning through Robotics
Robotics is increasingly being used, especially in imparting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. It helps students to develop their knowledge through creating things from scratch and practically understating the concepts. It also helps them in developing problem-solving skills. Schools have already started incorporating Robotics and AI in the school curriculum (thanks to NEP 2020), which will enable the schools to be more practically oriented rather than just teaching theory.
Another use case of robotics is in the classroom, where robots become a teacher’s assistant. Teachers will be able to delegate their routine tasks to robots and they can focus on their core i.e. teaching and interacting with students. Robots can be programmed to cater to each student’s needs. Children with autism, for example, can be supported in learning communication and social skills, interacting with special devices that adapt their answers and responses to students’ reactions. Students with attention disorders can take advantage of a constant companion, learning how to stay focused. Robots can also help students in learning coding skills.
Importance of EdTech learning today and in the future
Although learning through technology existed before the arrival of COVID-19, now it is no longer just a choice but has become a necessity. According to various reports, it has been observed that online learning increases student participation, improves discussion quality, enhances retaining power, and fosters online interaction. It has also been observed that EdTech learning directs students’ attention to important knowledge and enables them to take part in collaborative learning activities. Thus, EdTech learning mitigates the chances of students’ unproductive learning sessions.
Now as the offline spaces are opening up, the world will no longer be 100% online, but a hybrid. The world is again at the cusp of change. This is just the starting point and everyone will have changed expectations for the new world. Teachers will still continue to play an important role using technology tools. However, the challenges will be around providing real-life experiences for things such as science experiments, lab simulations, hardware projects, and other in-person hands-on activities from the comfort of home. One of the solutions is Metaverse (combination of Virtual Reality (AR), Augmented Reality (AR), Gesture Recognition (GR), Haptic Technology, Wearable Devices, and Speech Interfaces) which helps create an immersive learning experience for students in virtual environments.
Various technological innovations are continuously happening around Metaverse. Metaverse coupled with Artificial intelligence and Blockchain opens up a whole new world to create a seamless hybrid environment for increased learning engagement. Metaverse will enable your avatar to walk around and interact with other avatars, and in fact, even teachers, giving the students a feel of being in an actual classroom.
Maybe, in the future, all schools/universities will have a digital twin campus with all real-time conversations happening in a spatial 3D world. A student in the real world might be in a village; however, his avatar in the virtual world could be in Mumbai or USA and be part of the same 3D space as a student from Russia. Or, imagine a PTM (Parent-Teacher Meeting) happening in the virtual world where teachers and parents meet in spatial 3D spaces!
So clearly all this, and many more use cases (gamification of content using AR/VR, etc.) will further emerge which will allow educators and educational institutions to create more personalized experiences based on an individual student’s needs in a fun, engaging, and easy way.
The EdTech industry has already witnessed massive technological innovation, and there is so much more potential yet. The future technological innovation in education should be affordable for the masses so as to be able to really transform their lives by providing them with great learning experiences. It is now evident that continuous Innovation in EdTech will be the New Normal, truly embracing the idea of anywhere and anytime, real and experiential learning.