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5G – TIME FOR EDUCATORS TO ‘GET, SET AND GO’


G. Balasubramanian is a doyen of school education in India. He has held several positions of leadership at CBSE, including Director Academics. He was the brain behind the introduction of several innovations at CBSE, which included frontline curriculum, communicative approach to language teaching, Information Technology, alternatives to homework, etc. He is also an author, poet and a sought-after speaker at educational conferences world over.

 

Yes, it is just arriving – knocking at the doors - any day, any time! The passing over of every generation of the spectrum has been ushering some changes which were not designed or thought of. Every time as the technology arrived, we were able to foresee possibilities, opportunities for new perspectives, newer thought structures, newer methods of processing knowledge and its delivery systems. 5G is no exception, but it could be exceptional. The speed it could provide to data mobility is something which is very impressive. This could impact several fields of human activity. With an estimated 29 percent increase in data handling in smartphones, the expected revenue increase is around 67 percent according to some authentic estimates. The contribution of 5G to education sector is likely to be mindboggling if one could just visualise and if the ‘edupreneurs’ catch the opportunity to deal with it.



The impactful contributions it could make would be through – the speed, the high quality and less lag, and connectivity. All these things could help redefining the education process and bring some organic transformations.


Curriculum management

The overemphasis on textual content could be easily replaced by imaginative digital content accessible at extremely high speed. The visual content could facilitate extensive support for provoking curiosity, imagination, real-time experiences and field knowledge. It could help in empowering the teachers to deal with inter-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and integrated approaches to learning by bringing content and context together. Helping learners to expand their universe of search for problem solving, the teachers should be able to redesign the classrooms to the specific needs of each learner with an unimaginable speed and facility, which otherwise is not possible. The availability of videos, audios and the opportunities for podcasting can really facilitate schools for better learner engagement both within the school and among the community schools. The inter-school transportability of data at high speeds, could help in developing shared vision among schools in curriculum architecture and management. The singular opportunity to design a learner-centric curriculum will be high and will provide positive engagement.


Pedagogy

The use of AI, AR and VR on a 5G platform might open newer windows for extension of learning, deep learning and for designing innovative pedagogies. The learning curve could be programmed for each learner be negotiating with their individual speed and quality of learning. The 5G platforms could provide unlimited self-directed learning, purposeful collaborative peer learning and joint ventures in projects and research. This could provide a boost to the idea of research-based learning and participator approaches to project designs and management. The opportunities for virtual laboratories might encourage skill development more purposefully and with better accuracy. With adequate online engagement on anytime anywhere basis, the teacher-pupil engagement can be enhanced more formally and informally. It can provide immense scope to facilitate peer learning and collaborative learning.


Assessment

One of the biggest advantages I foresee is in its application to the field of assessment. Several of the roadblocks in the administration of assessment due to lag can be rectified with ease, while it would also help in transporting data across several centres with speed, accuracy and quality. It would facilitate online assessments better with possibilities of immediate reports to the candidates. It would help in articulation of better visual questions with the help of AI and rticulation of learner specific question papers. With the support of other technologies, the learning deficit, the learning gaps, the learning challenges could be identified with better accuracy and addressed. Possibilities do exist to address some of the abstract learning domains which have otherwise not been possible.

Assessment of language competencies including speech, artistic expressions which were otherwise assessed based on perceptions, assessment of skill sets with perfect proficiencies could be explored using the blend of 5G and other technologies. As such it would be a good trigger to quench the learnability of the learner.



Virtual laboratories

There is every possibility that 5G in association with other technologies may help in making virtual laboratories a reality. The need of virtual laboratories as a tool for improving analysis, research, investigation and acquisition of skills has been often repeated. For reasons of non-supportive technologies, it has gathered time and has been rested. Time to work on virtual laboratories as a need for informalising learning of skills.


Anytime, anywhere learning

The idea of self-directed learning, blended learning, personalised learning and anytime, anywhere learning has been addressed in the current national policy both directly and indirectly. The 5G network might give immense opportunities for informalisation of learning by breaking down the walls of the classroom. The recent research in neuro-cognitive sciences has emphasised the opportunities that exist for empowered learning even beyond the classrooms and the curricular architecture. The speed, the quality and the universe of 5G networks might open the gateways to realise this dream


What should edupreneurs do?

The competition in the business domains has often made the edupreneurs to safely opt the treaded path in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment for a level playing field in the business. Oftentimes, such competitions have negative results. The opportunities for innovation in educational content delivery, pedagogical strategies, assessment management systems are many. It is time to grapple with some of those challenging fields and deliver more interesting business models which would capture the imagination of educators. The current spectrum might offer enough opportunities.


What should educators do?

It is time educators and educational administrators to come out of the current patterns and provide what the future needs. The thinking gap between the digital immigrants and digital natives needs to be bridged. The educators need to be able to bring a change in thinking in their approaches to learning. The idea of facilitating learning rather than the idea of teaching would go a long way in realising the future goals. For future readiness to their classrooms, the educators need to GET SET AND GO!


This article originally appeared in the TeacherTribe.world e-magazine, October 2022 edition.

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