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‘The current global pandemic poses a challenge, but the journey of learning must continue’

Kangaroo Kids Education Limited (KKEL) is one of the largest home-grown education chains owning and operating Kangaroo Kids International Preschool (100+ centres), Billabong High International School (35 campuses) and Kangaroo Kids Institute for Teachers Training Development and Research (7 centres). Seshasai KVS, CEO, KKEL, speaks about leveraging the power of technology to continue the academic progress of students, in the times of a global pandemic

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How are your technology implementations creating an interactive and effective learning environment for students?
At KKEL we believe, the current global pandemic poses a challenge, but the journey of learning must continue. As unpredictable circumstances confront us, as an educational institution it is our duty to provide safe, engaging and productive learning environment to our students at home.
As we leverage the power of technology to continue the academic progress of our students and begin our new academic year, our schools have initiated the following actions:
• All Billabong High international schools continue to adopt a 360-degree approach to learning – not limited to academics. Keeping this in mind, in addition to virtual classrooms that provide academic sessions, we have joined hands with partners that offer the best tech-based solutions to our students and parents in areas of sports and physical fitness, music, design and creative thinking.
• Our schools that follow the April session have conducted online PTA meetings and parent orientations to orient our parent body about our Virtual Schooling Plan.
• Our teachers are trained and have started conducting online classes for our students. A structured timetable accompanied with the code of conduct has been sent to parents on our student management platform. These daily online interactive classes will be conducted across all grades from Pre-K to G12. Teachers share learning resources while teaching and assign assignments for home. Students are thrilled to see their teachers online and parents have appreciated and applauded these efforts.
• We have our own Learning Management App ‘Billabox’ (for grades 1 – 8) and ‘Skippy Tech’ (for Pre-schoolers’) that serves as an effective tool for both teachers and parents to make learning fun and engaging for our students at home.
• Our Virtual learning experience allows students to play musical instruments online, engage in indoor physical activities as well as develop their creativity and imagination using technology- based projects and online lessons.

Schools and teachers are agents of security, growth and stability for students and at times such as these, absence of these reliable anchors can leave the young ones confused and lost and the elder ones directionless. We will continue to create a sense of routine and permanence for our students and parents through our Virtual Schooling Plan.

Any innovative implementation which has helped in streamlining operations at your institutions?
At KKEL, since the past few years we have invested significant resources in adopting high-quality technological solutions and build capacity of our organisation at all levels. Our endeavour has been to strengthen our back-end operational capability and efficiency. With our integrated School Management System (SMS), customised online Learning Management System (LMS) and a robust Customer Relationship Management System (CRMS), we have been able to ‘normalise’ our operations for all our employees, partners, parents and students at the time of this crisis.

How can education institutions leverage technology for dealing with unprecedented situations like the coronavirus outbreak?
Personally, I see technology as an enabling tool that allows educational institutions to continue to impart personalised and engaging learning opportunities to all students in the comfort of their home in times of crisis.
Educational institutions can adapt several technology-driven pedagogical practices such as flipped classrooms, online learning lessons, adaptive assessment for learning and of learning to name a few. These technology-based solutions enable schools to extend learning beyond classroom and school walls. They also help students take ownership of their own learning and provides them flexibility to achieve learning outcomes.

What have been your initiatives in this direction?
At KKEL we have curated 2 customised online Learning Apps’. For our K-12 Billabong High International schools we have an app known as ‘Billabox’ (for grades 1 – 8) and for our Kangaroo Kids Preschools we have an App named ‘Skippy Tech’ (for Pre-schoolers’). The content for both these apps has been curated by our in-house subject matter experts and the content and the practice is aligned with what is taught to students in classroom. Every Billabong High International school student and parent is assigned a unique login id. Students can login anytime to revisit and recap topics at their own time and pace which leads to better retention of concepts. Students can take/retake quizzes and attain mastery of concepts as they get better understanding of their strengths and areas of weakness. This self-directed learning promotes growth mindset and promotes self-study. Parents have always been our partners in education and this technology-based approach helps them actively engage in their child’s learning. Parents can login and monitor their child’s progress on each topic, understand the gaps and help their children gain subject matter mastery.

Which, according to you, are the emerging technologies that will make a significant difference in the education sector in the future?
Every student learns in a different way and at a different pace. I see personalised learning approach based on competency-based assessments as two tech-driven learning approaches that will redefine the future of learning and schools. They help customise learning opportunities based on individual student strengths, needs, skills and interests. Students work with their teachers to set both short-term and long-term goals. This process helps students take ownership of their learning. It’s the opposite of the “one size fits all” approach used in most schools across the globe.

Are there any new projects / tech implementations you are looking at in the next few years?
For the next few years, we shall continue to invest in high-quality technology-based solutions that help us provide the best learning tools to our students and parents. We will also focus on standardising our franchise management and school management processes to be able to provide scientific, scalable and sustainable solutions to all our stakeholders.

Any other significant factor you wish to highlight.
The current age is an age of ‘disruption’ in education. Several remarkable ‘disruptions’ continue to evolve globally impacting the pursuit of improving student outcomes. Advances in technology are enabling new instructional models that include a much broader view of student needs that focus on developing students’ socio-emotional competencies in addition to physical and cognitive competencies. Learning can no longer be limited to conceptual knowledge and understanding but must help students apply, synthesise and create new possibilities and solutions to real-life problems. Technological advances are creating new opportunities for personalising learning and providing deeper insights into student learning

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