COVID-19 outbreak made it mandatory to use the online system for teaching and learning. Though the situation is improving, it is evident that the “Work from Home” and “Learn from Home” scenarios are here to stay. While EdTech was already growing, Covid-19 brought it more momentum, $1.4 Bn invested in the last 9 months. When the online live tutoring Indian company Vedantu, raised $100 mn (about ₹752 crore) in funding, led by a US-based investment firm, things changed, and the industry saw a huge transformation. The EdTech market is estimated to grow 3.7x in the next five years, from $2.8 bn (2020) to $10.4 bn (2025). With growing adoption during the lockdown months, EdTech services and products are expected to have an addressable base of 37 mn-plus paid users by 2025.
Some Free Online Teaching Tools and Resource Platforms from the Government which existed from before but became quite significant in these challenging times:
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are developed under the aegis of MHRD-GoI by various National Coordinators like, AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) for self-paced and international courses, NPTEL (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning) for Engineering, UGC (University Grants Commission) for non-technical post-graduation education, CEC (Consortium for Educational Communication) for under-graduate education, NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) for school education, NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) for school education, IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) for out-of-school students, IIMB (Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore) for management studies, and NITTTR (National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research) for Teacher Training programmes.
All these courses follow the 4-quadrant approach and are being hosted on the web platform of SWAYAM. Now the new version of SWAYAM 2.0 for hosting MOOCs is available, more exciting features are added in it.
NROER (National Repository of Open Educational Resources)
The NROER has the feature of theme mapping based on National Curriculum Framework, which are learning resources for teachers, providing an opportunity for critically assessing the curriculum and aiding the construction of their own unique learning themes for their classroom practices. These digital resources are mapped to themes and concepts and enables access to a library from which teachers can choose appropriate resources.
The SWAYAM PRABHA is a group of 32 DTH channels devoted to telecasting of high-quality educational programmes on 24X7 basis using the GSAT-15 satellite. These Channels were launched on 9th July 2017. Every day, content of 4 hours which is repeated 6 times, allowing the students to choose the time of their convenience, is telecasted.
With a view to realise the goals of Digital India in the school education and teacher education sector and to reach out to all the people of India, NCERT took the initiative of providing its resources on the web and mobile platforms. Through a special license, it has liberated access to all the digital contents including e-books.
Diksha Portal is another initiative of GoI which houses QR coded energised content. more than 80,000 e-Books for classes I to XII created by CBSE, NCERT and States/UTs are available in multiple languages.
The content is also accessible through scanning the QR codes or visiting the Diksha mobile app as well as the website.
Few other platforms that played an important role all this while and became the buzz:
A free application of Google for Education where a teacher can create an online classroom, all the students of a course can be connected with the teacher using their Gmail account. A teacher can share study materials, distribute different individual or group assignments and even can send her feedback to the students.
A free communication web platform which can bring communities together and give them the tools, ideas and motivation to participate and improve the education of children. It can connect teachers, parents, administrators, and students all together in a virtual classroom.
A powerful learning management system which intends to unify the classrooms and keep learning going in any emergency situation like the one arrived due to COVID-19. It allows teachers to create a private social network for their students, parents and colleagues. This is perfect for schools, with more than 200 study tools integrated with the system, can be very helpful in the present situation.
This Indian firm started from Chennai and became an instrumental player in online learning. Through the app, teachers can interact with their students via live classes, students can upload their assignments while teachers can upload worksheets and study material. The app will be offered free of cost to all government schools as part of a campaign.
Most of the times the teaching fraternity is in favour of face-to-face teaching-learning process, which is no doubt irreplaceable. But ICT at times becomes the only solution to keep things going. Hopefully the situation created throughout the world due to COVID-19 gets over at the earliest. It was always desired that in the age of continuously evolving technologies the ICT tools get absorbed into everyday teaching, though its actual practice came in a weird way. The various projects, websites, repositories, tools, software, and platforms can prove to be instrumental in this situation. Although a lesson is learnt now that we should go hand in hand with the conventional teaching methods and online methods regularly so that the students can have affinity towards their use. Even in normal conditions we should give some place to online methods, the etiquettes of online work should be taught to all of us so that the inhibitions and hesitations to use online methods can be removed from the generation which holds the key to the future of a true Digital India!