Much of the energy that drives the global economy in the 21st Century will be brain power generated in the classroom. Wherever we live and whatever we do, we all have a personal stake in quality education.
India, with a large percentage of its population between the ages of 15 and 25 yearsholds a unique position in the world. This group is a representation of enviable economic prospects for the country if tapped and nurtured well.
Curricula that focused on equipping students for the last century are redundant today and for beyond. Emotional and social skills are essential and integral to interpersonal communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, empathy, negotiation, conflict resolution, dialogue, and relationship building. These will offer the most powerful keys to success in a changing world, replacing the narrowly focused, repetitive skills that are the earmarks of an age gone by. Every knowledge worker will have to be trained to think creatively, innovate widely, and use technology-based collaboration tools effectively in order to earn a livelihood.
New challenges and opportunities have emerged for educators, parents, and students to look at learning in a technological, social, and emotional context.We have a great opportunity to build a completely new understanding of learning but for this, we need courageous leadership that will develop mind-set, skill-set, heart-set and reimagine what can and must be learnt.
The first global crisis of this century has led to a complete disruption of the world. Imparting of education has been dramatically impacted during this period. How do we view, review, and reshape ourselves in an uncertain post-pandemic world?
Three important questions to ask ourselves are:
- What might not return to schools in “the new normal?”
- What will schools do now that they did not before?
- What does this mean for teachers, and what change do they want to see?
We have to develop a plan for “continuity of learning” which is critical to the stability and success of schools.Our approach will have to shift from the notion of a singular path towards a more elastic understanding of making schools technologically alive. This crisis requires us to recreate learning platforms across the world. All crucial skills will have to become teachable and learnable anytime and anywhere.
Schools need to respond, accelerate change, rethink the role of a teacher, develop capacity building models, redesign systems that affect each child and prioritize future development by creating a culture of research.
We have to consider a child in the context of a 4 dimensional learner: length, breadth, depth and consciousness. The teacher has to nourish meta-learning and metacognition along with a growth mindset which helps in building student advocacy and choice.
The same technologies that created the Internet and the information revolution will have the power to transform education. What we now see on the horizon is Education 3.0, a new phase in which educators will develop and implement a transformative template for the coming years. Education 3.0 will build on the Education 2.0 reforms, but add the power of cutting-edge communications, the latest pedagogical tools, and collaboration technologies to equip learners for work and life in the present age. This will adequately prepare students for the future. We must give them the digital tools required to find, select, structure, and evaluate the information that already permeates the life of this century.
Students will learn in a variety of delivery modes i.e. face to face in a blended format and fully online to facilitate the development of flexible skills. In the event of a crisis, learning can carry on at home with short and intense sessions, when they come to school.
This will help in keeping the content current.Students need to:
- Develop independently of fixed curriculum.
- Incorporate quality practice from resources.
- Understand both local and global concepts
- Learn and take responsibility of their own learning
- Understand how knowledge is self-constructed.
- They will be encouraged to try different processes of learning and become active in their own communities and learn beyond academic study.
Independent learning should be encouraged, which will help students to analyse, evaluate and negotiate information. They will be free to select their own material from digital media, open resources and utilize the information to create animations, stimulations and apply knowledge in a variety of ways.
Learning will become innovative, experiential and self-orientated through research, 100 page projects, process books, portfolios, self-made films, videos etc.At all levels children will find their own knowledge. Teachers will source out these projects to other teachers for observation.
Synchronous and Asynchronous learning
To ensure learning continuity, education needs to be delivered both on and offline i.e. synchronous (on real-time basis) or asynchronous (in a pre-recorded mode).A balance has to be struck between synchronous and asynchronous engagement and peer engagementby creating a model of design thinking.
Schools need to ensure that all activities connected with holistic learning (such as music, art, craft, drama, theatre, sports, and laboratory-related work) need to be delivered either virtually as projects or if possible, in the schools of brick and motor. Thinking differently and reimaging learning for practical work involving social, emotional, and physical development-related aspects is the requirement of the decade.
Synchronous lessons will be taught both live and remotely, at the same time.Synchronous learning systems will help in classroom activity as groups of students are engaged in learning at the same time. In asynchronous learning, homework, materials, assignments, assessments will be provided which can be accessed by students at their own time and pace through a digital medium.
The nature of education and learning will become hybrid by default. It will integrate the best personalinstruction along with specialized aspects of online education. Trends that were in their nascent stage earlier i.e. flipped classrooms will take on a more important role.Technological practices will be used for building a sense of community. This will ensure engagement.
Hybrid learning in the coming decade will see improved flexibility, greater learning options, mentoring which goes beyond boundaries, accessibility to systems across the world and enhanced peer learning. Greater usage of e-proctoring tools will help to assess and ensure feedback in a fair environment, create newer approaches to make learning impactful, relevant and engaging.
Challenges of hybrid learning model
On one hand maintaining learning continuity is critical for school-going students through hybrid learning on the other there seems to be a sense of urgency in the general idea of returning to schools of brick and motor.
Learning consistency, routine and developmental learning windows are very important factors for children between the ages of 3-14 years. The whole child approach to teaching supports and nurtures all areas of child development i.e. values, skills, abilities, competencies through a face-to-face mode where they learn about social, emotional and cognitive skills to literacy and building a scientific temper which helps in transition of children as they move up in school.
The world has changed irrevocably. Along with it, all aspects of human development to which education is the most central. Classroom transformation is where the teacher will continue to be relevant, with an emphasis of ‘teach-nology within technology’.
Today more than ever, the dilution of boundaries has created bothinterdependence and insecurity. All learning systems have to give out a clarion call for partnerships and alliances to move from a self-centered existence to co-existence, from confrontation to interaction, from alienation to collaboration. To achieve meaningful education, we must enable our children to live together in mutual empowerment.
Dr. Ameeta Mulla Wattal
Principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road
Chairperson, Global Inclusive Education Network (GIEN)