At the recently organised, ‘Digital Technology Senate 2021 – Education Track’ by Express Computer, several panel discussions, fireside chats and keynote sessions took place. The two-day online conference was organised on June 09, 2021 and June 10, 2021 to discuss the implications of the changing education environment and seek technological innovations to enhance our digital learning platforms.
The second day of the conference began with a keynote address titled, ‘Setting benchmarks with leading-edge technology in education’ by Dr. Ajeenkya D Y Patil, Chairman, Ajeenkya D Y Patil University. He emphasised that quality education is still a privilege for many.
“Data should be open sourced, free and easily accessible. Technology is acting as a catalyst and drastically transforming the education system in India. Today, online courses provide a global interacting platform to students. Analytics based LMS are used to help students to reduce mental fatigue,” commented Dr. Ajeenkya D Y Patil, Chairman, Ajeenkya D Y Patil University.
The next session was titled, ‘How Technology can support Education Sector in managing growth’ by Ram Prasad NV, Senior Manager, Solution Engineering, Salesforce India and Samvit Khadilkar, Lead Solution Engineer, Salesforce India. They spoke about personalised learning experiences for student engagement and similar channels in India.
According to Ram Prasad NV, Senior Manager, Solution Engineering, Salesforce India, “India is the home to the second largest edtech industry in the world. Proliferation of smartphones has helped education to reach remote corners in India.”
“Levering the power of AI and automation for digital learning solutions can engage more students. Automation can further help in administration operations like student onboarding,” commented Samvit Khadilkar, Lead Solution Engineer, Salesforce India.
Bakshish Dutta, Country Manager, India and SAARC, Druva took the conference ahead with his session namely, ‘How cloud data protection helps education providers scale and save on TCO’. He highlighted that data breaches are becoming more prone in India, impacting the education sector as well.
Dutta emphasised that the best way to protect data is backing up the data and cloud backup with long term data retention should be the priorities for data protection.
The next session at the conference was a special address, ‘Leveraging Future Technology in Education’ by Dr. Pradeep Pendse, In-Charge Director University Programs and CTO, Weschool. He drew the attention of the audience towards the technology that should be used to educate the millennial generation, keeping their attention span in mind.
Dr. Pradeep Pendse, In-Charge Director University Programs and CTO, Weschool expressed, “We need to build confidence among students to use immersive AI/ML driven educational platforms. Create AI driven bots that can guide the students at any point of time. Experience and exposure to technological tools in education can develop a better problem solving environment. We should learn from edtech platforms and develop the same kind of experience for students.”
Further, Dr. GK Prabhu, President, Manipal University Jaipur spoke at a special session titled, ‘Changing Education Landscape of the Future’. He said, “Quality of education and cost of education are the major challenges in India. AI and ML will reduce the traditional learning via bot mentors. Learning is moving away from classrooms to ongoing working operations. Degrees will become less important; higher education offers short courses related to growing business demands driving the education institutions.”
The last session of the conference was a panel discussion namely, ‘Is digital education enhancing employability skills for students?’. K G Suresh, Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication; Rahul Puri, Head, Academics, Whistling Woods International; Aditi Srivastava, President, Pearl Academy; Dr. S S Mantha, Former Chairman AICTE and Chancellor, KL University; Siddharth Chaturvedi, Executive Vice President, AISECT and Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder, Great Learning participated in the discussion.
It is commendable that digital learning is opening employability dimensions globally but in a country like India, digital divide still remains a major concern. All the esteemed panelists discussed the implications of the edtech industry and digital learning in great detail.
“Digital education has become a fad after Covid-19 pandemic. Teachers are adapting to platforms like Zoom, Blackboard, Webex, etc. Students are getting exposure to international teachers globally. Teachers are themselves pursuing international courses because of digital learning. But it is evident that our country is still facing a digital divide. People cannot afford broadband connections and gadgets. There are also issues with proctored examination which can make cheating easy. Online learning is taking away the experience of hands-on learning,” mentioned K G Suresh, Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication.
Rahul Puri, Head, Academics, Whistling Woods International said, “Digital learning is bridging the gaps between skills and employment. Large number of students can be educated. Technical skills can be taught via the internet. The challenge is to introduce technological platforms in the education sector. Implementation of technical skills requires detailed mentorship and understanding of technical horizons.”
“Digital education has become a way of life. Blended learning with peer interaction and industry live projects is the way forward. Experiential learning, student reliant systems and deeply monitored feedback should be the approach while introducing digital education to various corners of India,” stated Aditi Srivastava, President, Pearl Academy.
According to Dr. S S Mantha, Former Chairman AICTE and Chancellor, KL University, “Hybrid learning will take place but competency and hands- on skills would need content that can be done personally. Content is the heart. There needs to be two ways communication between teacher and students. AI and ML must make digital learning interactive. LMS systems are proceeding towards the same. At the end, there should be someone to guide and mentor with the support of the technology. Skiing, reskilling and upskilling will generate employment.”
“Digital learning is introducing the concept of lifelong learning and increasing employment opportunities. Digital education came to the forefront for working professionals as well,” commented Siddharth Chaturvedi, Executive Vice President, AISECT.
“The biggest benefit of online learning is that it provides equal access to everybody. Digital education is often boiled down to a set of recorded videos. Instead, experiential learning has to be a two way conversational process. Technology is an enabler and not the exact solution. The industry needs a certain set of skill sets. Core of edtech is learning and not technological innovations,” expressed Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder, Great Learning.
All the panelists came to the conclusion that digital learning can emerge as a great boon for students. Skilled based courses will not only generate employment in India but it will also connect the various businesses across the globe.
With the Salesforce Digital Technology Senate Awards Ceremony at the end, the second day (education track) of the conference concluded with valuable takeaways such as, there is a need to unlearn traditional methods of learning in order to learn the digital education methodologies.
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