The Smart Shift: From Knowledge to Skill
27th Rajagiri Round Table got off to a stimulating start with several voices in
support of smart changes in the education scenario. Tech experts, academics,
journalists, parents and students opened up on their vision of a smart future nurtured by education with a
world-view which would ideally be a combination of the best in technology and
the finest in human values. The meet was jointly organized by Pallikkutam and
the Rajagiri Public School.
The spark was set off by Dr. Santhosh who said the topic was very relevant in a changing scenario of teaching and learning. We live in a gadget-driven world. The need of the hour is to integrate technology into all learning processes. The advancements in Information Technology coupled with high speed connectivity and evolution of smart gadgets at reduced cost have paved the way for smart education leading to smart thinking. (Former Jt. Commissioner for Entrance
Dr. Varghese Panthalookaran said he could find a paradigm shift in education. The nature of education is radically changing. And this is where the question comes up: What’s the role of a teacher? It also has to undergo shift. Technology may make rapid strides in progress, and a total revolution is education may evolve, but the core competence will remain. Only teachers can kindle a spark in students. Institutions with a legacy in education shall not fail to perceive this paradigm shift. Learning for knowledge will be shifted towards learning for skills, values and attitudes in the near future. It is the duty of present generation to make techno facilities accessible to all. (Dr. Varghese Panthalookaran Managing Editor, Pallikkutam)
Joining the discussion was via skype was Dr. Anvar Sadath, whose long association with IT@school convinced him of the need for an ICT enabled educational system. At the same time, technology should not override academia. To be updated with emerging trends in technology and keep pace with an ever-changing educational scenario, the importance of ICT-based learning has to be reinforced. He spoke about the very popular High School Kuttikoottam project, a collective of students to promote an interest in IT and ITbased learning in schools. It aims at bringing one lakh students into the network this year. (Dr. Anvar Sadath, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of Kerala Infrastructure and Technology, KITE)
We need not reinvent the wheel. What we need is an appreciation of what’s all been done. All things practical emanate from therein, said Dr. Job Kuruvilla. IT is not all. Ideally, a combination of five key components, behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, connectivism and networking should bring about a balance in the learning process. (Dr.Job Kuruvilla, Director, Thought Links, Institute of Education and Life Skills)
What sort of a “smart” education are we envisioning, asked Mr. Vincent N. P. The last three decades have been great for India. The world is in the grip of a tech revolution. The age of memorizing is over. Brainstorming sessions in classrooms, innovative thinking among students, “different thinking” and character formation should be the core of the new smart education. Students and youngsters are naturally inclined to being influenced by the culture of their milieu, be it a professional setup or otherwise. (Mr. Vincent N. P., Director HR Suyati Technologies)
Prof. Mary Fatima Cross said the core of education which would remain unchanged would be: Thinking skills and learning to learn, cultural competencies, communications skills and self-expression, taking care of oneself
and everyday skills, multiple literacies, work life skills and entrepreneurship, ICT competencies and readiness to build a sustainable future. (Prof. Fatima Mary Cross, Asst Prof, SCMS School of Technology and Management, Kalamassery).
The tenet of education is not to create people for jobs, said Dr. Ramkumar Knowledge, skills and attitude are the three pillars of education. One cannot create employable people. Classroom experience sharing is an integral part of education and blending wisdom and skill, the hallmark of true education. The extent to which technology is being put to use is unimaginable. When Jules Verne came out with his Sci-fi novels like “From the Earth to the Moon, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea”, “Journey to the Center of the Earth and around the World in Eighty Days”, people thought it was the stuff of fiction and a fetid imagination. It’s all happening today. (Dr. Ram Kumar, Principal, Muthoot Institute of Technology)
Mr. Bruce Mathew said as in all other domains, education also has been influenced by technology to a great extent. Technology is advancing and teachers and learners must have the potential to harness it. The focus has shifted from the teacher to technology. Instead of focusing on outdated models of brick and mortar colleges and universities, we need to create educational delivery mechanisms that can actually take the wealth of human knowledge to the masses. (Mr. Bruce Mathew, Head, Dept of MCA,MES-Advanced Institute of Management and Technology, Marmpilly, Kochi).
Mr. Thomas George brought out the importance of SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. https://swayam.gov.in/About. This is an initiative by MHRD Govt. of India & AICTE in association with Microsoft to set up an Indian version of the online learning MOOCs platforms like Coursera, Udacity, Edx, etc. IITs & IIMS plus other experts from Indian academia have been roped in to offer these courses free and for a small fee for certification. What is important is that the University Grants Commission has a Regulation in 2016, whereby credits can be transferred on to the academic record of the students for courses done on the SWAYAM platform. (Mr. Thomas George, Simplification Consultant- HH Motivations)
Mr. S. S. Sreejith said researches show it’s time for a paradigm shift in our education which encourages active participatory learning from passive listening by students in classrooms. Only 25% of learning happens when a student passively sits and listens and 50% learning takes place when discussion forums, assignments and facilitations are used as methodologies for classroom delivery and 75% of learning occurs when students are given projects and encouraged to participate and apply their knowledge which is shared by teachers technologically and scientifically. The final 100% learning happens when students teach and teachers become students and ask them questions. (Mr. S. S. Sreejith, CEO, Global Institute of Integral Management Studies, Kochi).
The Round Table was anchored by Mr. Das Mammen, Rajagiri Media.