Cutting-edge tech for new-age curriculum at Pearl Academy
With campuses across many cities, Pearl Academy, a leading education institution in fashion, media and design, has proactively made significant investments in technology. Prof Nandita Abraham, President, Pearl Academy, shares how the academy has chosen the highest quality technology to create a thriving academic atmosphere for its students
One of the leading education institutions in the fields of fashion, media and design, Pearl Academy with campuses in Mumbai, Delhi, Noida and Jaipur, has been a pioneer in delivering tech-driven, experiential learning to students. “Design and creativity lend themselves to innovation, and a substantial part of our curriculum is digitised and taught online. We have proactively invested a lot on technology platforms to provide a competitive edge to our students. As part of the new-age curriculum, the academy has chosen the highest quality technology to create a thriving academic atmosphere for its students,” says Prof Nandita Abraham, President, Pearl Academy.
The academy has collaborated with Coursera, giving students access to more than 3,600 globally renowned online courses at no additional fee, informs Prof Abraham, adding further that through this partnership, they offer a mix of creative courses like Design Thinking, Fashion and Design, and Introduction to Typography. Also, tech integrated courses, designed to impart skills for the digital age like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and introduction to UI Design, among others.
“We use the world’s leading online teaching platform called Blackboard Collaborate that creates an active and productive learning experience for our students. Blackboard Collaborate is a sophisticated yet simple platform that is used by leading universities like the University of Leeds, University of Derby, The National University of Ireland, and the University of Westminster. The classroom lectures are synchronous/live and recorded to be available on the Blackboard platform so that students have unrestricted access,” states Prof Abraham.
As part of its 360 degrees learning module, Pearl Academy stays connected to the student community via other technologies like Zoom, where the experts provide personalised mentoring sessions. Prof Abraham informs that the academy is amongst the few educational institutes to have a mobile app that allows an ease-of-access to an array of modules and activities just with a press of a button.
In 2019, the Mumbai and Delhi campuses unveiled a unique, state-of-the-art Media Centre, which combines the best technology in sound, video making, editing, and broadcast news. The media lab is equipped with a sound studio, an editing room, and a newsroom with a three-camera set-up and a green screen so that students can have the best and most authentic learning environment.
“Additionally, our partnership with Adobe to launch India’s first ‘Adobe Digital Technology Academy’ has resulted in a unique program designed to help students leverage technologies and tools for skill-building. It integrates critical Adobe technologies as part of our unique academic overlay, the ‘Pearl Total Learning System’, providing new-age employability skills to all our students,” says Prof Abraham.
Speaking about new projects and technology implementations Prof Abraham points out that in an endeavour to impart skill-based education to their students, Pearl Academy has been introducing the latest innovations and technologies to make the curriculum advanced and better than industry standards. “Technology is a strong pillar of a design curriculum and augmented reality, and virtual reality are a part of most of our curriculums. Using technology to study and innovate user experience is another focus area. We are also looking at developing engaging fully-online courses for people who cannot come to our campuses to learn face to face,” she mentions.
Given the new reality, Pearl Academy has now taken 100 per cent of the classes online until the Covid-19 situation is under control, through an array of new technologies like Blackboard Collaborate, internal meetings and sessions via Zoom link.
Reminding that at Pearl Academy, they take the health and safety of their students, faculty members, and employees very seriously, Prof Abraham says, “We firmly believe that unprecedented situations should not curtail the learning and education of our students. Technology plays a very vital role in realising this commitment. The most impactful part of technology is the ease of access to education, improving availability across regions. Technology also enables real-time remote participation so that students can watch videos and participate in discussions through chat windows, which help them to learn engagingly.”
Post the lockdown, the first day of online learning itself saw: 260+ live classrooms, attended by 3296 students, 30+ Zoom mentoring sessions, meetings and huddles for faculty and students.
Pearl Academy has launched its application wherein students can get details of happenings at the academy along with an access to latest trends, leadership articles, inspirational videos, one on one interactions with career advisors and connect with the alumni. Students can book appointments with councellors, attend webinars from faculty, and reassure their career decisions by reading articles authored by the subject matter experts.
Taking into consideration the unprecedented times ahead, Prof Abraham believes that mobile learning or M-Learning will be a significant force to reckon with as it will enable learning through personal mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, or even a laptop. “Mobile learning allows flexibility, allowing students access to education anywhere, anytime. Artificial intelligence will also play a significant role in the education sector. One of the most important and impactful things that artificial intelligence can do is that it can speed up and simplify daily administrative activities. It can also potentially help in personalised learning, finding the best course material for you based on your identity, interests, and your way of learning. Furthermore, AI can help create smart classrooms using real-time sensing and machine intelligence that will enhance the learning process and seamless communication between students and teachers,” she says, adding that if implemented correctly, AI will be capable of providing real-time suggestions to teachers and students to improve upon their capabilities.