The Next Generation Campus

“Next Generation Campus: How Technology is all set to transform future of Education”

Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘ tipping point’, phase transition or disruptive innovation, call it what you may, but technology driven education will transform over the next few years to a vastly improved and superior model meeting the twin goals of inclusive mass education and high quality personalised effective, self-directed and deep learning.

The tectonic shift started a few years ago with several initiatives notable among them being George Siemens and Simon Downes with their CCK08 course, Salman Khan with Khan Academy and several MOOC initiatives such as Coursera, edX, Futurelearn and evolution of Flipped learning which decoupled the information/instruction part from the interaction/learning component of the traditional lecture.

These innovations in pedagogy were supported by rapid evolution of access devices, connectivity and enhanced user experience giving rise to an ‘always connected’ cloud based learning environment with the following elements:

The first and the most important element is the handheld access device ( Tablet and Smartphone) for both the teachers as well as the learners.

The second is the wireless Internet to connect them
and finally the ‘Educational Apps’ to create a new engaged learning environment.

Generic Educational Apps to enhance productivity and provide administrative services will be supplemented with Generic podcasting, video streaming, Screencasting and specific modular course Apps, which may be considered as a nano-learning implementation tool. Storification and Gamification are also being seen as important ways of getting learner engagement in a highly distractive environment. Both teachers and learners would be able to create mobile Apps using non-programming tools.

Learning Lounges will provide the much needed space for human interaction and in-person group conversations to supplement the Cloud based learning anchored on ‘heutagogy’. A heutagogical learning environment facilitates the development of capable learners and emphasizes both the development of learner competencies as well as development of the learner’s capability and capacity to learn. It is also expected that such an environment will also aid in the development of what Guy Claxton calls ‘learning power’ stated more simply as the ability to know what to do, when you don’t know what to do.

The Library resources too will be fully accessible with the mobile device. The reading ability gets enhanced because of this easier access to a variety of textual material to read. As they say, you first learn to read, then you read to learn.
For proctored assessments for certification of learning achievement, learners will report to a specified ‘Test Centre’, which may be the Learning Lounge itself available at pre-booked timings. The practice of same time same date examination for all students would be history. Once examinations are over, the awards and qualifications would be kept in a de-materialised form in the data warehouse and badges may be used for micro-credentialing.
The learning cohorts can become much larger than the present limit of around 20 or so ordinarily and about 10 in premium situation. In a connected classroom,deploying ‘flipped learning’ the size of the learning cohort may be kept at 150,the Dunbar number. To provide synchronous interactions for such a possibly globally dispersed cohort, one may use tools such as Wiziq, Skype, Yugma,Webex or Google Hangouts. For asynchronous interactions, a combination of personalised e-mails, blogs, social bookmarking such as Pinterest and tweets can help create a very participative learning experience. Well implemented fast asynchronous learning may emerge as the preferred learning style of the new age multi-tasking learner. A social app that is a successor to WhatsApp or Facebook, especially designed to facilitate social learning could be the next billion dollar educational product.
Mobile and Ubiquitous Learning Analytics Model (MULAM) for analyzing Mobile learners’ data will help in greater degree of personalisation. The 5 step model of Capture, Report, Predict Act and Refine of MULAM helps in studying the interactions between learners, learning devices and learning materials.

But most important is the goal and purpose of education. What would be the attributes of an educated person in the age of mobile ubiquitous technology? The relevance of the traditional curriculum and examinations becomes questionable. They will probably go the way of the dinosaur or the Dodo. If not they will certainly become the ‘protected species’ like the erstwhile king of the jungle.
New attributes like ‘ computational thinking’ are being sought in addition to the traditional Mathematical thinking and Scientific temper. Creative Innovative Design Thinking, Tinkering and Making will be the new qualities expected from the youth. The trends are already visible in the erosion of opportunities for traditional B.Tech and MBA.

A very important question often raised by policy makers, implementors and the planners is how long will this take and how much will it cost ? What are the other barriers to implementation? The short answer is: ‘it depends’, but it is much less than you could possibly apprehend. Of course there must be a strong leadership at the helm wedded to the spirit of embracing change.

Let us make a modest beginning by permitting the Tablet and Smartphone to be used in the classroom for teaching-learning instead of banning them. In 2 words, the motto should be ‘ Mobile First’. This is the BYOD ( Bring Your Own Device) philosophy.

When I was at school having something on your finger tips was a metaphor to denote that you knew it ‘by heart’. In the future knowledge at one’s finger tips would become quite literal and simply mean that one has a tablet or Smartphone with a wi-fi Internet.

And in India this will go a long way in implementing not only the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan but to a large extent the RMSA ( Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan)as well. And the UGC is also coming around to accepting the possibilities of MOOCs and related developments to increase the GER as well as provide higher quality.

It is said that when Archimedes discovered how the lever works he remarked, “Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth”. Today’s Indian educator can say ” Give me a good Tablet, mobile Internet and tech-support and I can educate the whole world”.

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One Response to The Next Generation Campus

  1. pantatul says:

    Prof Pant, I think examinations will be replaced by ‘portfolios of understanding’ (a student writing a blog, making a YouTube video, an animation, podcast etc to demonstrate their comprehension) and ‘portfolios of applied knowledge’. Proving pedigree by having a degree will not remain very relevant. – Atul


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