To see the future, we have to visit a few things from the past. The order to see/read/experience one can decide, but I believe my inspiration to write this blog has come from these
- The Tipping Point – Read the PDF here – (https://binyaprak.com/images/blog_articles/123/the-tipping-point.pdf)
- The Talk by the Great Mr Sugata Mitra
- The early signs of Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
This list could be endless. With the changing reality during the Corona crisis, I believe as school Promoters, Principals, Teachers we have to think hard about the times to come. This Pandemic or others could come and go but the invasion and immersion of digital in our lives is here to stay. I had a chat with few parents and I discussed about these green shoots, online classes, web based repository, real time assessments, adaptive learning, majority of them believe PHYSICAL SCHOOLS have no substitute and shall always stay relevant. I strongly argue against this and let me express why do I say so;
- Reverence and Value are directly proportional : The more we revere a brand/service, our mindset to pay high value goes along with it. Premium Brands, Healthcare, Expensive Houses etc. The School Education used to be one such area, where the Teachers some 3 decades back used to be the end all be all, but that perception has eroded and from the only source, teachers are slowly becoming facilitators and this has certainly resulted in the reverence quotient coming down. Couple of more factors like Few children per household, Modern Parenting, Rising Education levels have accentuated this slide.
- The Quality Debate: In some mofussil India a parent knows despite paying the money, their kids are not able to get the education delivery his/her child deserves. What will he do? what can he do? Not much currently, but digital platforms and a new digital education policy is soon going to pave the way for future for kids in any part of the country getting lectures from the very best.
- The ‘Social’ factor – Schools will keep showing that schools are not all about academics, what will happen to Sports/ Activities/ Team Building / Learning Community Behaviour etc. Fair enough, Schools win here but parents can ask schools to condense all these activities in 2 Days time and save their children from all those atrocious hours of travel in the school bus.
- The Convenience Factor: The readers of this blog should look at Google Classes, Softwares like BYJUS, resources like Google BOL, CBSE’s online initiatives etc. Isn’t that convenient, written word is dead, more haptics, more IOT, more intuitive more Tech coupled with AR & VR is going to be the new classroom. Uniforms, Heavy Schools Bags, Danger of being on the road, exposure to communicable diseases, nutrition. Imagine the good things which come with Online Classrooms.
- The Cannibalisation: Today the best school in town cannot adjust students beyond their capacity, once they have seats filled, they can’t even take any more students, so what is up for them. They can always offer parents with the option of Online Classes and Weekend Activity at School with almost half the cost. The schools who are finding it difficult to attract are going to die if that happens.
What can schools do?
- Understand the Medium / Learn about Technology – Do weekly meets, subscribe to Podcasts/Blogs etc. Hire a digital consultant
- Upgrade Infra – Invest in technology, Bandwidth, Start using G-Suite for Education etc
- Train teachers – Make E-coach among teachers, create a robust module for teacher’s training in technology
- Don’t be Cynical – Anything can happen, staying relevant is the only way to survive
- Amalgam Online & Offline : Grab opportunities like PTM online, Doubt clearing for students during their Preparation leave days through online classes, Conduct school full virtual on coupe of days in the month, Conduct Schools on the election days/ Days of general strike/ Non-Scheduled breaks like Panchayat elections etc
Always remember these words from the great Master Lao Tzu – The founder of Taosim – Resisting change is like holding your breath, if you persist, you die.