The Coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on human lives and the global economy as a whole. Nations across the world have borne the brunt of this deadly virus. It has made no distinction between rich or poor; caste, creed or religion. There has been a lockdown in most parts of the world with social distancing in place. In such a scenario, the academics of students have been the hardest hit.
This pandemic has brought forth many challenges before us, something that none of us have ever experienced before nor foreseen. With physical movement barred, we have to depend upon technology to connect with one another. Educationalist have also taken the challenge head on by employing various tech tools like Skype, Zoom etc., to connect with their students and ensure that student learning is in no way affected, thus breaking down the chain of physical barriers.
The current pandemic has compelled us to rethink and re-strategize, in the way we teach our students. Earlier, the traditional classroom teaching was a given and digital learning was a supporting tool in the hands of academicians. But now, given the lockdown, digital learning is the only tool available in our hands, for us to minimize the effects, try and continue with our student academics unhindered.
Blended teaching is an innovative method adopted by many institutes towards education that combines traditional classroom learning with online learning and blends them together. In this method, the physical presence of both student and teacher is required and offers flexibility in terms of time and place. Blended learning ensures a high degree of student- teacher engagement, where students receive the attention, support and resources needed.
For instance, ASM IBMR has tie-ups with global renowned institutes like Harvard Business School online and IIMBx initiative of IIM Bangalore. These tie-ups provide students with study material from these institutes, but ably supported by faculty of ASM. Students are taught through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, google classroom and using various social media tools for communication. Students get access to interactive webinars, class sessions besides face to face support by faculty of ASM.
Technology is going to play a major role in future and it is important that our students are prepared to make the best use of it. EdTech Tools is one of best ways to bring technology into our classrooms. This will help students to get more focused and make studies more engaging and relevant.
There is a growing and high penetration level of the internet usage which has led to EdTech reaching a wider audience in our country. EdTech has brought classroom into one’s own home. It has removed the physical barriers and not restricted by location of geography, earlier imposed by traditional education system. EdTech offers students a choice of options to learn. They can do so through smart phones or the internet and these EdTech tools can be personalized according to one’s requirement.
So, digital learning is nothing new. But the question is how we create the right mix so that our students benefit by improving their employability and skill sets. Reputed educational institutes employ best education practices that mould the student in such a way that they are corporate ready and can get absorbed in any company and cope under any given situation.
Even though digital learning has its own perks, classroom teaching cannot be discounted from the way teaching is evolving. There is no substitute for field trips, cultural and social life on campus, academic exchange etc. Digital learning can never replace these experiences.
The right mix of classroom teaching and digital learning is the perfect recipe for improving academics and skill sets for students. While digital learning is the most appealing and interesting to the students, discipline and practical experiences through traditional form of teaching is equally important for sustaining the quality of education. The pandemic shouldn’t blur the balance and importance of both.
(Authored Article by: Dr. Sandeep Pachpande, Chairman, ASM Group of Institutes)