It has been promised for a long time that technology will change education for better – make it more affordable and accessible. The promise of educational technology is more important in Indian context because we have a massive deficit of access to high quality education at the primary and high school level due to a number of seemingly insurmountable challenges, ranging from geographical distribution to socio-economic condition of the learners who attend a majority of Indian schools. Also, the cost of educating one of the world’s greatest populations has been steadily increasing, and there is expectation that technology may make education affordable for those who are so far unable to benefit from the same.
Classroom based technologies:
The earliest innovations and successful edtech business models were created around providing softwares and hardware to make the classroom experience better. A lot of this is about making multimedia based study material, and having computers and screens in classrooms where audio-visual material can be used to teach. However, progress in ed-tech has led to much more than just multimedia content in the classroom. Let’s take a look at some of the popular technology in use today.
Educational Resource Planning – schedule and communication management:
Education Resource Planning or ERP softwares have been adopted in private schools, but government schools are yet to make any meaningful use of these softwares. This can be a very important source of growth in efficiency and resources utilization in government schools as far as India is concerned. There are several indigenous ERP softwares developed by Indian entrepreneurs that can be roped in for this purpose. The major efficiency gain can happen in terms of scheduling of classes, planned budget allocation and continuous communication with students through mediums like email, automated calls using cloud telephony and SMS. Mumbai University was an early adopter of this technology.
Performance management and tracking systems:
One major fault of the school system is that it does not measure progress of students systematically. The progress report is a tool of the past, much more innovation has taken place in this area. For example, if a student is performing well in every subject except Geography, the school authority and parents should ideally be able to see all the data (exam scores, continuous evaluation performance, class participation, attendance etc.) related to the student’s performance. It is very easy to collect such data and create automated reports, graphs, alerts and action points for the benefit of principals, education policy makers, even individual teachers. Students who need special attention can be easily identified, and performance of teachers can become measurable as well. As management guru Peter Drucker said, what can be measured can be rapidly improved.
Homework and assignments tracking system
Getting students to do their homework is probably the most difficult thing for a teacher. Much of punishments are doled out for failing to submit homework or not doing assignments, and is a serious reason for concern. What if homework could be made more interesting, such games for young kids to be played on internet and smartphones? Even for senior students, reading, retention and application can be tested online, and data over the year can be collected to measure the track record of a student if assignment, correction and doing the homework can be taken online on a software based platform. This is what many software have achieved. Even several Indian edtech entrepreneurs are working on this aspect, and many private schools have adopted such systems. Such systems can also be part of an ERP or broader performance tracking systems.
Sources: http://startup.nujs.edu/, SchoolMate