The pandemic has made every stakeholder in education start thinking about technology in schools. This in itself is a remarkable shift from just a year ago. But will having a smart classroom or an ERP solution solve for a school’s needs beyond this time? Will it truly move the needle in terms of quality that many students and their highly aspirational parents hope for?
In India, education is viewed as a silver bullet – a hopeful endeavour that parents across socio-economic classes embark on with very high aspirations for the kind of future their children can have. This explains why despite India’s wealth distribution, we still have over 50% of children studying in private schools with parents spending a significant portion of their income on their child’s future.
A study by FSG, titled Understanding the Affordable Private School (APS) Market in India, shows that 86% of children from low-income households in urban India attend APSes, largely because of the aspirational quotient associated with such institutions. However, limited by infrastructural and technological constraints and access to quality manpower, these institutions have often struggled to provide the education the students deserve and their parents aspire for.
To be clear, this is not a question of will, as everyone concerned—parents, students, teachers, administrators—is eager to enable their child’s progress. It is instead a question of finding the right kind of solutions that enable administrators, teachers, and learners to work in synchronicity towards a unified goal.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a fresh set of challenges as technology has become not just an aid but the essential medium through which the entire institution functions. The question is not merely about tech as a medium of delivery of lessons but an enabler that can transform the whole teaching-learning process and school operations reorienting them towards improving learning outcomes for the child.
Many schools have experimented enthusiastically with technology, only to find that the available solutions address certain needs or offer disparate services even as the task of integrating all these elements is left to the already overburdened teachers. From basic smart classrooms and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, to learning management systems (LMS) and digital content providers, schools seem to have an array of options but repeatedly face the challenge of getting these systems to ‘talk to each other and, more importantly, getting these systems to deliver meaningful outcomes for them.
Solutions sans silos
Schools deserve something more than solutions that work in silos: they need solutions that offer an integrated approach where all stakeholders have their work streamlined so that the focus never veers away from the essential process of learning. Simultaneously, they also need solutions that enable prompt remediation and follow-up as learning gaps may be much harder to identify and resolve while operating in the hybrid mode.
These are some of the factors that have driven LEAD School’s approach. With the vision to deliver excellent learning to every child, we at LEAD have created an integrated system where students, teachers, principals, coordinators, school owners and parents can all pull in the same direction seamlessly to deliver quality outcomes for the child. Teachers, for instance, do not have to stitch together various components of their content as they are provided with a clear lesson plan, along with the necessary linked resources and teaching/learning material as well as the support they need to prepare and deliver a high quality engaging learning experience for the children. Students, meanwhile, get to experience a multimodal method of learning with instruction in a variety of formats that suits their learning needs. The sheer amount of data collected by the system enables focused remediation at the level of students, as well as periodic training of teachers. Finally, for administrators and school owners, the solution provides a snapshot of the entire institution, enabling them to make interventions whenever necessary.
LEAD School’s integrated solution also ensures parents have a better idea of what is happening with their children’s education. The realities of the pandemic have ensured that parents are more involved in the education of their children.
The school that was a blackbox is now a lot more open to parents. Schools now have the opportunity to continue that conversation and co-opt parents as partners in driving learning outcomes.
Connected learning in a hybrid world
This integrated approach becomes all the more crucial as schools start to reopen and need the support to operate in this complex hybrid mode. Learning will not be entirely in school and it is critical for schools to be able to ensure continued student learning both in school and at home. LEAD School’s interventions work towards an end-to-end personalisation of education enabling all stakeholders involved to have the right data, information and enablement to drive learning focus at school and beyond. The vital last-mile support in the form of highly personalised academic support to the school, training teachers and overall enablement is provided by LEAD School’s Academic Excellence teams, who are able to work with the school to bring alive the potential of LEAD’s integrated system in every classroom of India.
At LEAD School, we see hope and achievement in these difficult times. Our school partners have shown not only exemplary resilience but also extraordinary insight in converting this crisis into an opportunity that will radically transform the face of Indian education. Working in tandem with them, we are confident that the path ahead is more hopeful than ever before.
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