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Technology will aid learner-centred education — Expert

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By Elizabeth Osayande

WITH the economies around the world recovering from the effects of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, an expert has said there will be a shift to a learner-centered system that will marry continuous learning with technology at all levels in ways never seen before.

This is because the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore fault lines, particularly within the education space requiring educators, learners and parents alike to be aware of the realities that existed across the spectrum before the pandemic.

Angela Nganga, Education Lead, Middle East & Africa Emerging Markets at Microsoft who revealed this at a recent event said: “Educators and institutions need to realise that the one-size-fits-all approach to education that existed for hundreds of years has to go through an ‘unprecedented shift’ from a culture of teaching to a culture of learning. The reality of it is that educators were and have also been placed into unfamiliar territory where more societal and technological factors to easing learners into the new normal needed to be explored – a first for many.

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“Governments, institutions and individuals began to band together, navigating the ‘unsettled zone’ where issues and questions involve getting access to the right technology, communication management and equity i.e. access to devices and connectivity – through to the ‘learning zone’, where issues include enabling continuous learning, providing support to students who lack independent skills as well and providing support to parents of students as well. The global response we have seen within the spheres of education at all levels has demonstrated how technology can help transform how we teach and learn. This powerful shift to a learner-centered system will be amplified by technology and driven by education that is steeped in purpose and meaning.”

 

“While many institutions still find themselves in the two previous phases, some have started entering what is the ‘growth zone’ where it becomes clear that technology is a crucial part of the solution during the disruption and beyond. What also emerges here is recognition that it is time to move beyond a blend of traditional teaching and online instruction to something more.

“In other words, moving to a hybrid learning model -one that combines the best of in-school and remote learning with digital engagement. It is more than a quick fix. It is a way to enhance and accelerate learning by providing student-centered approaches to meet diverse learners’ needs.

“But what does this mean for all involved: Ideally, for students – they will become empowered to learn for themselves in flexible, collaborative ways, both inside and outside classrooms at their own pace. They will also be able to follow their own interests and be challenged as appropriate.”

“Teachers will have access to individualized real-time data on how well each of their students is progressing – scholastically and emotionally – enabling them to devise new challenges and offer appropriate support for each child to move ahead.”

Lastly, parents will be better connected to, and involved with, their child’s education with certainty, detail, and confidence.

“In an effort to make this a reality, we have continued to invest in helping students in primary, secondary, and higher education gain the skills to be successful in the future and are committed to ensuring educators are equipped with the tools and curricular resources to teach digital skills and prepare students for in-demand jobs across cloud, data, artificial intelligence, coding and even quantum computing,” said Angela.

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