“Technology can create very powerful student experiences”

What are the biggest challenges you foresee in the education fraternity and how are you readying yourself for it?

We face twin challenges in the Indian education scenario. The first is how do we provide education opportunities and access with appropriate affordability to all of our children. Even today, there are large number of children and youth around the country who for various reasons do not have the opportunity to pursue a viable education avenue. The second challenge is how to keep improving the quality of education and providing each child an individualized, customized education experience so they are able to develop their own unique talent and pursue their particular interest as opposed to being in a system which is a cookie cutter model. To address these issues requires a development of various models of education ranging from vocational training and skills to high-end research oriented programs, and utilizing technology to both countries for reach of education as well as to improve the student’s experience while at campus.

At Amity, we are focusing on several innovative initiatives in education, blended model, online and distance education model be a part of institution going forward. The further major problem particularly in higher education is that our universities are not sufficiently focused on developing new bodies of knowledge, conducting research that can be spun out and utilized to solve the big problems of our life. There is a requirement to train and sensitize faculty members and researchers on how to conduct relevant research in their area and to motivate them for further research.

At Amity, for example, our faculty have filed more than 1200 patents many of which are being commercialised and various centres of excellence are focussing on areas that are beneficial to society.

In today’s fast-paced and extremely competitive world, how can we design comprehensive learner – centric curriculum to develop leaders of tomorrow?

To achieve this, we have to first focus on what is important for a person to succeed in a fast-changing world where technical skills may be obsolete in a short period of time and job profiles themselves are changing day by day. Skills such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving abilities, teamwork skills, communication have to be core aspects of the curriculum and teaching pedagogy. We have to teach students how to keep learning throughout their lifetime and give them the foundation to keep adapting over a long period of time. To do this effectively we must also realize that every student learns differently and at a different pace from others. Our academic systems have to provide every student the ability to walk their own path.

How can we harness the latest in education innovation to improve student experiences?

There are an incredible number of educational tools and technologies now available which allow for a student to have a very different educational experience which includes open learning courseware, MOOCs, BYOD, adaptive learning, mobile platforms, ERP systems, simulation, cloud storage etc. when combined and utilized effectively and also when institutionally adopted, some of these technologies can create a very powerful experience for a student.

How can educators evolve their pedagogy and curriculum to meet dynamic global realities?

Educators have to realize that their role is changing from an instructor to a facilitator.  Most of the information which used to be disseminated in a classroom now students have access to on their own.  Educators have to therefore evolve their teaching learning process towards the application of theories, peer discussion-oriented learning, group work and problem-solving based projects. This requires much more work from the teacher to remain up to date with latest concepts and the ability to draw from real world examples in their teaching. Continuous upgradation of a teacher’s skill set through faculty development programs and continuous research and publication has become the norm.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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