As far as digitization is concerned, education is one of the unique sectors where priorities can be unified across the domains. Technology can play prominent role in education institutions regardless of the country or region that they are in by reconstructing the institutions into systems.
Tailored, accelerated, effective— these summarize the services of any sector today. Such is the end result of digitization that, different sectors have been forced to churn out, if not all, the potentials that can be reaped out of it.
The education sector has been considered to be the last in the chain of these development. There have been various debates and reports that studied the lowly impact of digitization on the education sector. While some blamed the legacy pedagogy, that did not allow the role of the teacher to be usurped by technology, to be the hindrance; others simply questioned the investment pattern that are unwilling to change.
Talking about the GCC region, things have definitely taken a positive turn for the education sector. Though not in its entirety, digitization and digital technologies have definitely shaped the education sector to be able to be at par with the global counterparts.
WELCOMING A NEW GENERATION OF STUDENTS
Today, it is inevitable that a school or any other educational institutions would be operating on the mere legacy models of papers or physical identity. From boarding the bus, to marking attendance to enrolling in the curriculum, the next generation of students will need the ability to take information one step further by applying it creatively in a number of situations. The earlier or legacy models of listen and learn have made way to explore, create and learn. Virtual education and mobile technologies have put the world at the fingertips of the students and they have access to not only the text books that hold in their hands but to the entire world.
Fady Younes, Deputy Managing Director and Operations Director – East Region, Cisco Middle East says “The role of technology is to give students an expanded experience with a superior outcome. Cisco enables these approaches with solutions such as Cisco LectureVision to capture, transform, and share video anytime, anywhere in any format. Colleges and universities can deliver blended and online learning with solutions such as WebEx, Mobile Learning, and the Cisco TelePresence solution.”
MAJOR ARENAS FOR INVESTMENTS
The region would see a great inclination towards virtual classrooms and mobile learning. According to reports, the next stage would require a unified framework in preparation for the comprehensive development which needs a common, unified education system that can deliver national higher objectives of 2021.
Sirish Kumar, CEO and Co-Founder, Telr.com makes a very interesting point here. According to him, education is a true way to attract different nationalities. Just like medical tourism that attracts patients across boundaries because of their advanced technology, education tourism should also attract students from different parts of the world.
“Education is at the heart of strong economic development and social equity. The network must be stable, scalable, reliable, and capable of handling the increased rate of traffic from the explosion of mobile devices, the use of video, and the implementation of new applications for communications and collaboration. It must be safe, secure, wired, and wireless, easy to manage and administer, and it must be designed to meet future growth requirements,” says Fady.
SETTING UP THE PRIORITIES
As far as digitization is concerned, education is one of the unique sectors where priorities can be unified across the domains. Technology can play prominent role in education institutions regardless of the country or region that they are in by reconstructing the institutions into systems. Studies have testified the role of technology as an enabling force behind globalization, knowledge work, and entrepreneurship, and thus students must understand the role it plays in transforming political, social, cultural, civic, and economic systems around the world.
Condo Protego identifies the key role played by the channel partners in enabling the institutions to leverage their digital models. “Channel partners can play a key role in supporting educational boards to develop their digital transformation plans, prioritize the technology solutions, and train educational IT staff to free them up to focus on innovation. Condo Protego works closely with leading Middle East educational institutions on their digital transformation, with enterprise storage, cloud, Big Data, and data protection solutions.
ITS PLAYFUL TOO
Interactive education has always proved effective for teachers as well as students. The introduction of educational games have been aiding the teachers to conceptualize topics. Vendors are incorporating features of artificial intelligence in games to enhance the interactivity element. These games embody the adaptive learning feature so that students can be given frequent and timely suggestions for a guided learning experience. These games improvise adaptive learning features while deploying machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence.
USHERING A SECURE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
While technology opens a whole new world of opportunities to the students, it is equally important to make sure that the new world is secure to be visited. Principals, teachers and parents put a lot of trust in technology and software providers to do the right thing, but we might not be doing enough to ensure that this trust is earned. The circle of trust is further complicated when you realize that many providers rely on their own business partners to deliver security — companies that the school doesn’t deal with directly and into which they have no visibility. “Cisco Connected Learning is leading this new world of education with visionary technologies that make it possible for students and educators anywhere to do almost anything. From safe, instant communications to blended learning experiences, worldwide collaborations, and rich, online media experiences, Cisco is developing the visionary technologies today to create a better tomorrow,” says Fady.
GOING WITH THE EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
To make that a more flexible and adaptable process, van Rooijen points to the benefits of using ‘learning analytics’ and ‘adaptive learning’ technologies, from companies such as Knewton and Smart Sparrow. These analyze how students navigate the online components of courses to see, for example, if they need additional support or the course itself needs to be improved to make it more accessible.
For one of the UAE’s leading higher education institutions, Condo Protego designed and implemented an innovative data storage and protection project. “Now, the institution can centrally manage data recovery and retrieval from its 17 campuses, with full disaster recovery to a second data center,” says Savita Bhaskar, COO of Condo Protego.
Sirish says, “As a payment service provider, our view is that digitising payments stands to make a significant difference to educational institutions – improving the level of convenience for fee-payers and removing administrative issues with collecting fees in cash or by cheque. Payments technology also has a role to play in the lives of students, with regard to their on-campus spending – reducing the burden for both the institution and students of operating in cash, and allowing for innovative schemes to instill financial literacy into students.”
There also has been a lot of skepticism from the academia who considered themselves as a separate entity from the management, according to few reports, in initiating a joined-up approach. Its time for a change, a serious change that brings the education sector to the forefront of this digital chain.