Is technology in the classroom productive for students? For Ishtapran Sahoo, assistant professor at DSCE, the challenge is to cater to the needs of first-year engineering students in a way that doesn’t limit the learning experience to the classroom.
The traditional method of evaluation and assessment of a large number of students leaves no scope for the teacher to uniquely understand a student’s needs, says Sahoo. As the majority of a teacher’s time is spent in setting test papers and evaluating answers - it limits the scope for personalized coaching.
Sahoo realized there was a need for an inclusive and cognitive approach, which addressed the needs of each student according to his or her capabilities.
The institution rolled out a pilot with a Bangalore-based company, which provided the digital framework for the first year engineering class. The platform incorporates a unique online classroom infrastructure with capabilities such as a collaborative whiteboard, multi-user desktop/screen sharing, video/audio conferencing, instance quiz, etc.
“This form of adaptive learning allows the teacher to prepare tests and quizzes according to the capability of each student - instead of a mass evaluation method which overlooks the comprehension levels of an individual.”
According to MarketsandMarkets, the smart education and learning market size is expected to grow from USD 193.24 billion in 2016 to USD 586.04 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 24.84 percent.
Digital transformation is changing traditional models of education but roadblocks like bandwidth and infrastructure remain to be tackled. For the framework to work, Sahoo had to ensure that the coursework was available in a digital format and the institution's internet connectivity could cope with the new system.
Speaking about the benefits of adopting digital, Sahoo says, “It allowed me to extract analytical information about each student’s comprehension levels and how each one is coping with the coursework.” This form of adaptive learning allows the teacher to prepare tests and quizzes according to the capability of each student - instead of a mass evaluation method which overlooks the comprehension levels of an individual.
The new system also enables easier delivery of course content in various formats such as PDF, Doc, PPT, HTML, etc.
Ramesh Babu, professor and head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering at DSCE, echoes the importance of a creative learning environment, “Today, it’s very challenging to keep everyone engaged in the classroom.” By encouraging students to engage online, we are trying to shift their focus to online certification and opportunities, he adds.
Sahoo highlights that the new digital framework provides analytical insights, which enable him to track each student’s progress.
Will digital classrooms be the future of education in India? Only time will tell. But for educators looking to personalize coaching to make it truly inclusive, adopting data-driven insights seems the right way to go.