Education paradigms are evolving in the digital age. Even with its current scale of use, technology is still vastly under-utilised; it presents unprecedented transformative potential for how we work, and connect as we step into the future.
If harnessed properly, technology can be the transformative force that defines the future of the education sector. Such a transformation can help us address concerns related to educational reach, access, availability, quality, control, cost and other key aspects.
In the wake of the pandemic, universities and colleges (higher education institutions - HEIs) moved to online education. This sudden and unplanned shift left educational institutions with no time to set things in order. They couldn’t provide the necessary training for students and teachers to familiarise them with online pedagogy and technology. Institutions with ICT/IT & technical training departments were able to make a swifter shift, but those who didn’t have struggled.
Per UNESCO, schools and HEIs were closed in 185 countries on 1 April 2020. The immediate shut down of education institutes affected 1,542,412,000 (~1.54b) learners, constituting 89.4% of enrolled learners. At the beginning of May, some countries experienced decreasing cases and mortalities, leading to the lifting of restrictions. However, on 7 May, schools and higher education institutions were still closed in 177 countries that affected 1,268,164,088 (~1.27b) learners, constituting 72.4% of total enrolled learners. As for India, over 320 million students in Indian schools and colleges got impacted.
A survey was conducted by the international association of universities on the impact of COVID-19 on higher education worldwide. This global survey received inputs from universities across Asia & Pacific, Africa, America, and Europe. The findings are as follows:
- Almost 91% HigherEd institutes have the infrastructure in place to communicate about COVID-19 with their students and staff. Despite this, respondents reported that they faced an immediate challenge in ensuring clear and effective communication streams with staff and students.
- At almost all HigherEd Institutes, the pandemic affected teaching and learning. Almost two-thirds of the institutes reported that classroom teaching had been replaced by distance teaching and learning. This shift came with many challenges, primarily the unavailability of required technical infrastructure, inefficient competencies and unfamiliarity with pedagogies for distance learning, and specific fields of study requirements.
- The report highlights the impact on international student mobility at 89% of HigherEd Institutes. The type of impact is diverse and varies from institution to institution, but it has been negative everywhere.
Moving out of the comfort zone and embracing change was the only solution. EdTechs came to the rescue and made sure that education didn't stop with closed colleges and universities. However, scalability, security, unpreparedness, unavailability of required resources, training, unfamiliarity, and many other concerns came to the surface as key challenges. In a way, the pandemic was a wake-up call and illustrated our current education delivery system's loopholes, even at institutes that considered themselves “future-ready” or “tech-savvy”.
Internet based learning solutions played a key role in keeping education going uninterrupted. In the last one year, many web tools and platforms have come up, catering to the evolving learning and teaching needs. However, with colleges shut down for over a year, we require modern products that are all scalable, cost effective, yet compatible with each other.
An ideal solution would ensure online, remote, and on-demand learning continuity; a platform capable of efficiently providing engaging educational content in: audio, video, AR, VR and gamified formats. A platform capable of conducting exams online with all required measures in place in addition to offering campus management capabilities with multi-way communication for students-teachers-parents-institution is the need of the hour.
With the pandemic’s uncertainty and increased adoption of online solutions, Amazon Web Services’ state of the art technology and platform prove to be a go-to solution for HEIs for all educational and administrative needs.
The future of learning with AWS:
- Develop capability of uninterrupted quality education with the right learning environment. AWS ensures a quick & smooth transition from offline to online with minimal challenges. AWS helps you to plan and deliver lessons and track engagement effectively in real-time for thousands of students It lets you use advanced algorithms, text-to-speech technology and artificial intelligence to provide an ideal teaching-learning environment.
- AWS offers dynamism and scalability to setup and conduct live interactive online classes for thousands of students in just a matter of days.
- AWS also offers video encryption technologies to deliver exclusive educational video content.
- Universities with tech solutions in place were able to make the sudden switch to online learning better than those with no solutions in place at all. Early preparation ensures a disruption-free environment so you can focus on more important things as the need arises. With AWS’ agility and scalability, you'll be prepared to make a swift switch as and when required.
- Collaboration and communication are key pillars in the smooth and transparent working of an institution. Build a one-stop platform on AWS that brings everyone together by leveraging AWS Cloud’s scalability and anytime-anywhere access capabilities that offer seamless communication and collaboration for all: institutions, teachers, parents.
Learn how HEIs are using AWS Cloud for building online capabilities.
The future of examination with AWS:
- An examination & assessment solution built on AWS cloud is capable of promising authentic, consistent, and fair online examination and evaluation environments. EdTechs in use by HEIs today that run on AWS ensure detection of any unauthorized web resources or mobile phones for fair assessments.
- With online education becoming the norm, online tests & invigilation is the new normal. AWS Cloud can offer a platform to build proctoring solution to ensure continuity in education by offering fair and rigorous assessments.
- With AWS, you can deliver authentic and consistent online assessments that meet institution demands as and when required. AWS offers scaling options that can handle video intensive streaming activities like online invigilation without worrying you about the hardware, infrastructure, network, security, and other associated tech hassles.
Learn how colleges, institutes and universities are running assessment on AWS Cloud
The future of education has technology at its foundation. To be future-ready, it's crucial to have reliable solutions on your side. AWS and its solutions partners offer cloud-based EdTech solutions to fulfil all your teaching, learning, assessment, campus, and staff management needs. They use advanced technologies like AI, AR, & ML that were once used only in enterprises to ensure the latest and most effective solutions for your needs of collaboration, group learning, gamification, online assessment, on-demand teaching-learning, etc, making education more effective than ever before. AWS can help you build and deploy your one-stop solution for all university and college needs. We will discuss AWS’ student services, smart campuses, media services, content delivery, & gamification in our next piece of the series.