By Anoop Verma
The NDA government under the leadership of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was responsible for implementing some of the most landmark policies and schemes, which have over the years brought innumerable benefits to people. Shri Vajpayee wanted India to be ambitious in its developmental goals. The initiatives that his government took in the telecom/IT and education sectors testify to this. The huge rise in the number of mobile consumers in the country is primarily because of the reforms enacted by the Vajpayee government.
With the objective of revolutionising education in India, Shri Vajpayee started the visionary scheme called the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). But Vajpayee’s dream of creating a national infrastructure under SSA, that ensured that every child, howsoever poor he may be, was not denied quality education, cannot be fulfilled until there is some policy action from the UPA government at the Centre. New innovations in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) must be used to expand the reach of education system in a seamless and cost effective manner.
2012 could as well be a “momentous” year for ICT in education. The revolution in technology will continue, and in order to bring maximum benefits to the students, the government-aided schools must invest more in ICT infrastructure.
Here is a list of ten top trends that might drive ICT in education in 2012:
(1) In India the popularity of tablets and smartphones will reach a much higher level. We might have a situation where a large majority of users in urban areas are using smartphones. There could be a more empathic movement towards bringing tablets and other devices to classrooms. A large number of educational institutes in India will start encouraging their students to use tablets in classrooms.
(2) As more users start using their handheld devices for data related work, 3G and 4G networks would gain momentum. There can also be a massive surge in the number of fixed line broadband users.
(3) Internet will move beyond the world of laptops, PCs, and the handheld devices and we can have a host of net connected devices. From the interactive teaching boards and overhead projectors in schools, to refrigerators and TVs in homes, everything will get connected. It is possible that students might start receiving their educational material on their cell-phones.
(4) There will be a surge in the popularity of cloud computing. Teachers and students will start using tools available in the cloud space to further the process of learning. A number of new online cloud based learning tools, which are especially targeted at Asian schools, could come up. There could be a big movement towards having regular online examination or evaluation of students.
(5) The communications between the student community and between educators and teachers could become richer, more collaborative and increasingly move towards the cloud.
(6) As the connectivity infrastructure becomes more robust and there is proliferation of cheaper computers, schools will start exploring the possibility of “anytime, anywhere” learning. In some schools teachers and students have already started interacting on the social networks. Websites like Facebook might become the new hub for education related interactions and the delivery of study material.
(7) Online multi-player gaming enjoys huge amount of popularity with the younger generation. Schools and higher learning institutes could start using gaming methodologies to explain difficult concepts in science and mathematics to their students.
(8) Telecom companies could start experiencing more revenue related pressures, and this could lead them to focus on high-quality content for shoring up their margins. With the intention of gaining hold of quality education related content, RIL, a player in the nation’s 4G space, has already made investments in Extramarks, a company that is at the forefront of the digital education revolution in India. There could be similar moves by other telecom companies in India.
(9) Instead of depending solely on the teacher to present educational material to them, the students might start exploring the Internet for knowledge. This could lead to a change in the role of the teacher. Instead of being the ultimate source of knowledge, the teacher might start playing the role of an instructional manager whose job is to guide students through individualised learning pathways.
(10) Finally developments in ICT technologies might lead to seminal transformations in the concept of traditional learning space. Normally we conceive of a classroom as a room with thirty to forty desks and chairs arranged in neat rows. But ICT might lead to a more collaborative kind of classrooms where there are lot of gadgets, which enable the students to make a tryst with a very broader range of ideas.