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Digital Education - Impact and Growth

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO & Co-founder, Next Education India Pvt. Ltd.

Digital education is the most rapidly-growing segment in the education industry. The paradigm shift from traditional teacher-led, printed-resource classrooms to smart classes took place only in the last decade. This has not only revolutionized the method of teaching but also changed the way students receive knowledge.

Mumbai, the most populous city in Maharashtra, is the education hub for central India. Interestingly, there are 2500+ registered schools in Mumbai out of which barely 550–600 use digital content / interactive boards in their classrooms. There is an immense growth potential in this sector considering the positive feedback schools give once they have experienced the product. Next Education is present in about 55% of these schools with its product TeachNext.

How do digital solutions benefit students?
For most parents, quality education is something that prepares the child to succeed in the rat race called career. In a world where science and technology play a major part is almost everything, a technologically sound education is considered to be the best. Digital education gives access to information anywhere and anytime, it protects the environment by cutting down the usage of paper, chalk and boards.

Pros of digital education

  • Independent learning for students:  One of the best features of digital education is that it promotes self-learning and helps students become independent learners. Teachers can assign tasks to students in groups and encourage them to complete it on their own while only responding to their academic queries. This also encourages students to work as a team and exposes them to hands-on learning (practical knowledge)
  • Visual illustrations make learning easier: In a digital classroom, every topic of discussion is presented in visual/3D format which takes the learning to a whole new level. It allows teachers to experiment more with the pedagogy while exploring students’ imagination. It, thus, makes learning more efficient and reduces the learning time
  • Technology can take care of a lot of your tedious tasks: Automated grading of students can help teachers keep a track of students’ performance. Also, there are  tools that can help a teacher streamline grading of writing assignments, discussions, and participation, as well as answering of students’ questions, which otherwise may seem quite daunting due to their objective nature

Cons of digital education

  • Technology could be a distraction: Technology can be distracting, especially when students use it for personal reasons even in the classroom. Such issues can be tackled by laying down a specific set of rules and regulations for use of technology in the classroom 
  • Disconnection with society: Excessive use of technology can take away a student’s ability of verbally communicating and destroy their social skills. However, if the teacher creates assignments which need to be done using technology but presented orally, it would enhance the caliber of students. Moreover, group learning activities would help them develop their social communication skills
  • Forgetting the basic ways of studying: Digital education might take students away from the basic ways of acquiring knowledge. They no longer rely on books to study. They are inclined to enhance their knowledge through the use of technology. Even the simple problems and homework assigned to them are solved through these means
  • Students do not have equal access to technological resources: Everyone cannot have equal access to technology at all times. While some students can afford expensive IPads or tablets, others still rely on traditional resources such as the school library. Therefore, it can create a difference among students in the classroom.
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