Covid-19 has brought us at the cusp of a grand digital revolution in the education sector! With the online education market alone projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025 , Ed-Tech has certainly redefined the way we view education and has now permanently impacted every aspect of it. The most important role of an Ed-Tech is the the ability to leverage on technology to enhance both teaching and administrative capabilities of a school.
There is absolutely no doubt that Ed-Techs have brought a sea change in the education landscape by bringing technology to various aspects of the learning system. But in the process, are we giving in too much to the enigma of technology? Perhaps, yes. EdTech or technology, in general, is meant to be an enabler, i.e. have us achieve the milestones that are otherwise not possible. The purpose of EdTech is not or must not be to take over traditional schooling. Ed-techs offering alternative resource pools of knowledge acquisition are unable to customize the usage of it as students find it difficult to discern between the glamour of fancy content and the joys of true learning that happens with the guidance of a teacher.
Should technology be used to replace schooling, as we know it? Certainly, not. Each time a new revolution surfaces in any sector, it takes some time for the consumers to derive at a state of neutrality. And this state in the education sector is a well-designed blended learning model that retains the importance of traditional school with a strong thread of technology underlining the processes.
Here is why a blended curriculum works-
Retains the human connect
A blended curriculum that limits its use of technology maintains the interpersonal connect that enhances learning. A teacher spends a chunk of his/her time to plan a teaching strategy that involves human connect, be it for the younger students or older. Technology is used to augment this strategy, as it cannot be the facilitator of knowledge that a teacher can be.
Customized teaching methods
Consider learning from a commercially available educational videos on a particular topic .It assumes the learning capabilities to be at par for anybody accessing it. But classroom teaching does not work the same way. A teacher often customizes the lesson to suit the learning abilities of the students, and that is something a commercially available content cannot provide. What it can do in a blended curriculum, however, is supplement the learnings of the student or act as a reinforcer.
We do not want to breed silos
Imagine a world without the heart-warming stories of teachers to tell or one where the students do not know how to interact with peers. There is no doubt that excessive use of technology reduces interpersonal interactions to an unhealthy level. The result will be socially detached adults who do not have the skills required to work in a team or manage professional expectations. With the help of a blended curriculum, schools can help students in learning these skills as well as the technological aspects, because the future requires both.
The education ecosystem is going through a revolution. Eventually we will see a new system evolve which is not totally unrelated to the traditional schooling model and yet much more evolved through an astute use of technology. We need to find a balance such that children have the technological edge while at the same time they do not miss out on the benefits of the traditional schooling methods.
That calls for Ed-Techs that empower schools through collaboration instead of competing with them by providing an alternative source of content and engagement. Ultimately it is important for all stake holders to understand where to draw the line.