By Mohit Bansal
Teachers, schools and parents always deal with some fundamental questions: How can we prepare children to realise their full potential? How to put them on the right learning curve? With the growing relevance of technology in our lives, digital skills are as important as language or behavioural mathematics. Therefore, schools have the best chance to impart these skills in children at an early age and make them future ready. Here are the reasons for this hypothesis:
Schools are the first formal learning ground and test lab for children. Knowledge and experience attained here at a tender age forms the bedrock for all the life skills. Therefore, small but carefully designed interface with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data analytics, and coding at the school level could set the tone for a digitally empowered future. For instance, an AI-powered online learning and examination solution could assess the learning curve of a child and customise the next modules. This makes the learning a fun experience. At the same time, whatever these children become in life, they will be able to appreciate technology and leverage it to the best of their advantage.
According to a 2017 report by Dell Technologies, 85 percent of future jobs have not yet been invented. A couple of decades down the line, today’s children will invent future tools, technologies, and these unknown jobs. They need to develop ideas that can address the challenges of their times. This requires skills of an engineer, a developer, and not a consumer. School time exposure to high-end digital technology not only inculcates tech skills but also inspires kids to be curious about what more can be done with it. Jack Ma, founder and chairman of one of the fastest growing technology companies Alibaba has this advice for educators: “We have to teach our kids to be very, very innovative, very creative…In this way, we can create jobs for our own kids.”
Children never needed any motivation or push from outside to climb trees or roll down in the muddy lawns. It is very natural for them to engage in any activity that comes to them as a game and tests their skills. Education technology today offers a gamified experience for school kids. While playing with technology they can absorb and learn it without any conscious effort. Think of an augmented reality game that lets kids visualise the future when IoT takes full shape. They can see connected cars ordering grocery supplies and setting the temperature of bedroom on the way to home. It can excite them to explore more about connected devices, killing two birds with one stone. In a different scenario, children could compete in a virtual quiz against their friends and classmates. Every phase of the game rewards them with competitive ranks, online rewards, and some motivational quotes. This gets the kids excited about the knowledge race with their friends.
In the initial years of their life and schooling, children rely more on intuition and less on information. This is where intuitive ed-tech solutions could be extremely effective. These solutions not only make it easy to learn but also to strengthen the intuition and imagination. Hence, an intuitive, decision based video may not only tell kids when did Columbus reach America but can also help them understand the challenges that he may have faced on the way. Isn’t it something we always missed with textbooks? Not anymore perhaps.
The world around us continues to experience something new every day, thanks to the massive digital wave. Today’s children will grow with this wave and take this to the next level. Therefore, it is important to give them a taste of it in their school lives. However, schools also have the responsibility to apply digital technology with a lot of consideration. They need to ensure that the digital learning solutions implemented by them push the thinking envelope for students.
(The writer is Founder, iChamp.)