Laptop & Internet: The New Backpack Of Students, Are We Ready For The Paradigm Shift?



As a COVID-19 pandemic effect, the world experienced a complete lockdown situation. Various industries, departmental stores, cinema halls, shopping malls, etc., were shut down for the good of humans. However, the worst happened with schools and universities. The education sector has always been an exceptional backbone of our society. But, during these unprecedented times, almost 60% of the world’s student population was impacted by institutional closures. 

Bricks and Mortar being the foundation of these education institutions since ages, they are now experiencing a revolutionary change in the teaching methodology. For both, students and teachers, education was rebooted worldwide, with virtual worksheets and lectures. Digital learning was always a part of our education system, however, e-learning was never the approach until now. 

Unfortunately, in this digital age, we still rely on old school teaching methodologies. However, it took a global pandemic to appreciate the importance of digital/ virtual/ e-learning. The internet being the support system of everything and anything in the world, we still emphasize on education being the same as centuries ago. As stated by Tom Hierck, Education Consultant, “21st-century kids are being taught by 20th-century adults using 19th-century curriculum and techniques of an 18th-century calendar.” 


Quality Education Is Always The First Priority

There is no fun being educated if the quality is missing from it. Whether learning happens at home or school, quality is one thing that every parent asks for, and a child deserves. As the education institutions opted for an e-learning approach during Coronavirus, providing quality education became the first benchmark for teachers. According to Jordan Catling, Associate Director of Client Technology at the University of Sydney, “During these times, they are facing some unique challenges that they have never faced before.” However, despite that, quality is one thing that they are focusing on completely. This is the reason why during the last three months they have increased their usage of the Zoom Application by over 20 times. 

From virtual lectures to co-curricular activities, everything is being done through e-learning mediums. 


Is The Internet Accessible At Every Indian Home? 

As private schools are comfortably providing online learning, there are other sets of schools that have low internet facilities. Not only this but, according to the data collected by the National Sample Survey, “On an average only 12.5% homes of the Indian students have internet access.” Another report conducted by Quacquarelli Symonds cites states, “Nearly 72% of 7600 respondents rely on mobile hotspot, 15% of 7600 respondents rely on home broadband services, approximately 9% out of 7600 respondents rely on WiFi dongle, and nearly 2% of respondents have either no internet or poor quality internet connectivity.” 

This is challenging because the newest model of education stands on the basis of internet connectivity and digital mediums. However, there is a positive side to it, as well. According to Mrinal Mohit, COO of BYJU’S, “This pandemic has lead to a paradigm shift in the education sector. Students are fully relying on online classes for their learning requirements.” During the lockdown, some institutes that have seen tremendous growth in new subscribers, around 6.5 lakh, according to a report. 


Is E-learning For A Certain Segment Of Students? 

E-learning is no more a choice, it is a necessity. This means, from kindergarten to higher education, every student needs to adopt the virtual learning module. Gone are the days when books, backpacks, and institutional structures were associated with learning. It is time to turn over a new leaf for the education sector. Today, learning is beyond the scope of traditional methods. From laptops to mobile learning, parents are providing their children everything and anything to make them smarter. 

With the newest technologies, companies like RDP are bridging the gap between real and virtual learning. They are known for creating an environment that ensures that the child receives the same comfort of studying at school while learning from a remote location virtually. The younger the child, the easier it is for them to adapt to e-learning strategies. With digital learning, a student can work upon their self-learning skills. They  are no longer dependent on teachers and parents. This gives the child a sense of achievement and boosts their confidence and curiosity. 


How To Strengthen E-learning Or Virtual Learning To Narrow The Gap Of Lack Of Smart Teachers In Our Country?  

Digital learning undoubtedly is the future of education. This means laptops, smartphones, desktops, and tablets are the new forms of digital books that every student will be having. To make the e-learning more productive for students, one should keep in mind the following things:   



Connecting offline and online learning: 

One cannot understand something until one does not see it. This means that visual learning is better than reading from a book. A child’s imagination plays a crucial role in their understanding skills. Converting the old stories into video lessons, aids in comprehending the subject better. With e-learning, it is possible today to study everything in the form of stories or visuals. From nursery rhymes to organic chemistry, one can get access to their virtual chapters in no time.  


No more backbenchers:

Classrooms are divided into several rows and columns which does not give the teacher scope to pay attention to every student individually. However, with digital learning, it differs, there are no backbenchers. Every student is the same, and the teacher has the advantage of focusing on every student simultaneously. Sharing individual screens gives the teacher the leverage of connecting with every student one-on-one, virtually. Moreover, a lot of digital platforms provide the teacher with the authority of muting and unmuting as many students they want. 


Generating feedback:

Digital learning platforms provide the advantage of generating feedback from students regarding a class or a topic. Not only this, but from suggestions to grievances every input is welcomed. This makes learning better for the students, and the teacher also understands what the students are looking for. Moreover, the teacher can always record the session and send it to the students. Therefore, whosoever is not present during the virtual lecture can, later on, get access to what the teacher taught. 


A direct thread between students, teachers, and parents: 

Once the parents leave their children at the school gate, the responsibility of their children lies in the hands of the school management. They do not know aptly what their child is doing in the class, and how they are performing. However, with E-learning, the parents, teachers, and students have all connected. The parents have access to whatever the teaching is teaching and how their child performs during a lecture. Therefore, virtual learning brings real-time education experience with a real-time understanding of what the child is doing. 


A mixed learning approach: 

According to research, a mixed learning approach is beneficial for students in the long run. It enhances their retention power and ability to understand the topic through and through. To ensure the students’ learning curve improves, digital learning can be clubbed with podcasts, documentaries, and online worksheets. It is time to look at learning beyond the scope of books alone. The more dynamic the learning approach is, the better are the cognitive skills of the child Digital learning is paramount for strengthening the education system.


Everything revolves around technology, and education is no exception

It took a pandemic to introduce virtual learning to our lives and mark its importance in the digital age. There are several cases where traditional learning mediums have not proven to be successful as compared to digital learning. In fact, with the advancement of digital learning, 3D apprenticeship is aiding students to understand critical concepts and topics. Indeed, it is an amalgamation of practical and theoretical knowledge that the students need today to fulfil their curiosity readiness. 


The ease of learning from anywhere without giving up on your comfort 

Today, digital learning has provided the advantage of learning almost everything without compromising on comfort. Students have the leverage of assessing themselves by taking self-assessment tests, courses, and also maintaining a track record of the same for their reference. This way, a student knows where they lack and what their strong points are. Not only this but, they also understand what they needs to do to improve their progress. 


Conclusion: 

Due to the spread of COVID-19, staying at home has become a compulsion. However, as soon as the world gets back to its normal pace, the dynamics of everything are going to transform. From industrial sectors to hospitality to education sector, nothing is going to be the same again. Laptops and the internet will be taking over books and workbooks. Therefore, it is no longer a question of whether we are ready for this paradigm shift or not, but what are we doing to adapt this shift in the education sector? Believe it or not, the dimension of the education system is changing, and it is high time we raise our learning standards to catch-up to these new learning norms. 



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