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Leveraging next-generation tech, how K-12 educational institutions can make students future-ready

From AI in boardrooms to AI in classrooms, futuristic technology truly holds the power to revolutionise the world in ways unknown. Emerging technologies are predicted to resolve common classroom issues like student participation and engagement, data tracking, and increasing student achievement. Also, closer home initiatives like One-Class- One-Channel, digital labs, digital universities are set to benefit learners, educational institutes across the K12 and HEI (higher-educational institutions) segment in the times to come.

To delve deeper into the next-generation technology, industry experts – featuring Yu-kai Chou (Gamification pioneer, and creator of the Octalysis), Manish Maheshwari (Founder and CEO, Invact Metaversity), and Santosh Kumar (Co-founder and CEO, 21K School) – discussed why K12 educational institutions should adopt new technologies to make students future-ready.

Virtual learning: the new pedagogy

Technology could be an accelerant factor for improving accessibility, inclusion, and equity, according to Manish. “Realistically speaking, it’s practically impossible to put everyone in schools/colleges physically, considering India’s population. Technologically, we can always create virtual campuses for everyone, and that’s exactly what we are doing with 3D immersive education at Invact Metaversity,” he said.

Blending entertainment with education, gamification as an educational approach motivates students in the learning environment. Talking about the best ways of resorting to gamification for ensuring proper learning outcomes, Yu-kai feels that the most important outcome of education is retention and usage of knowledge to create a difference in the world, and technology has made education accessible while making the content right. “Besides appropriate content, engagement and experience are also other essentials. So, along with proper technology, engaging teaching methods, and great content are important to keep students engaged,” he added.

While virtual learning has emerged as the new pedagogy, it is critical to understand and analyse its benefits and challenges.

To this, Santosh feels that to be able to reach education in every nook and corner of the world, online platforms are an unparalleled match. “However, while we pay heed to the ongoing debates concerning the effectiveness of online education, we would like to strongly resort to engaging content like making the learning system gamified, so that every kid would learn in a personalised manner,” he noted.

Metaversity for online classrooms

“Today, with technological advancement, we can create the impression of embodying the internet, while we can feel ourselves in an immersive space, sitting next to each other, even if miles apart. Thus, we are trying to create the same shared virtual space in the context of learning,” said Manish. The process, he said, has three core pillars. The first one is the virtual identity in the metaverse, where users can take their form factor and embody that out to their colleagues/friends. The second one would be the whole virtual experience piece, including engagement, gamification, and the sense of presence, and the third one includes virtual ownership of credentials which includes projects, assignments, and all the others in a virtual format. So, all the above, when solved for a student’s learning outcome, paves the way for a game-changing outcome, and that’s what Invact Metaversity aims to achieve.

While the idea of ‘campus from couch’ is attractive, how can global innovation be roped in the process, banking on gamification? To this, Yu-kai feels that children should first realise their passion. “Students need to decide the kind of game they want to play, and then map out the skills required, and which classes to enroll in. Connecting the purpose of education to the current experience is the way of forming a bridge between the starting point and destination, thereby making them strong players in the game,” he added.

“Gamification has a metaverse-like interface, and the rewarding mechanism instantly works like an incentive for a learner. Various rewarding mechanisms have evolved with Web 3.0 like points, credits, or gifts also work best while making learning fun, effective, and easier,” said Santosh from 21K School.

Keeping this thought alive, Manish envisions roping metaversity for online classrooms.

“Education is about content, experience, and countability. In metaversity, we create the context for students to make them understand better. For instance, if we are talking about a case in a shop-floor, or factory, we transport students there where they can experience things first-hand. So, that’s the metaverse content we are dealing with,” he explained.

Global educational advancements

Delving deeper into the global examples that have advanced the sphere of online education, Yu-kai mentions how online math resource Khan Academy has eased the course on advanced mathematics, and language learning app Duolingo has emerged to become the best possible means of learning a new language.

“We are trying to develop cross-functional skills-based learning in the sphere of academics, like introducing algebra in an English class, or grammar in a science class. Secondly, as far as interaction is concerned, we are also venturing into the Web 3.0 space, where we would love to put our students on a blockchain avatar to give them a digital identity, and of course, a metaverse, where they would have a completely immersive learning experience, and lastly, the AI tool that would work on personalising the learning experiences of a child,” shared Santosh.

Metaverse is a completely new learning experience that 21K is working on, that involves rewarding students to ignite their interest in attending classes. “In India, we were the first to rope in learn-to-all. The more they are engaged, the more they would come to class, participate, and the more they would be rewarded by coins. These coins bring in a different kind of perspective to learning, where every child feels like a winner,” he added.

The road ahead

Education is like the last frontier that has been disrupted, according to Manish. “Future comes in when you ask the first principal’s questions, and then leverage technology to make things a reality in the current form,” he added.

Yu-kai feels that every industry would be impacted by education, because human beings are at the centre of every sector, and they owe their growth to education. “As people like us try to make education more accessible and engaging, we would rock every single boat that humans would touch in the future, thereby reinventing it,” he said.

“Online learning is socially interactive and an evolving process, and is here to stay, and we are sure that we are following the right track,” concludes Santosh.

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