GAPS AND MAPS
When Ayush Jhawar , popularly known as ‘Appwala’ was invited as a guest speaker for an Education Conclave organised by two progressive organizations University Connection and Study Apt in Chandigarh, he chose his topic ‘Re-thinking Ed Tech’ along the lines of an unfamiliar title of the conclave, Gaps & Maps. Gaps & Maps was born out of the recognition of the immense value of transferable skills for a generation which will hold multiple careers over their lifetime.
Career Decisions are life decisions but at the same time, it’s important to understand the dilemma that a student goes through-whether it’s about choosing the right stream to study in Class XI or selecting an undergrad degree. One needs guidance at each step. Mrs. Charushilla Narula (Founder Director & Key Mentor, University Connection) highlighted this aspect and urged schools to indulge in Career Counseling and Mentorship. She also discussed that there is a paradigm shift from conventional methods to technology based education and how technology plays a pivotal role in amplifying the impact of education on seekers.
Gaps & Maps is a theory about the gaps that exist in the practical Indian Education system and drawing maps to find solutions to these existing gaps and loopholes.
Ayush discussed about the means and ways to employ technology in order to make schools more effective in terms of their functionality.
He took practical examples to describe the nature of beings at different positions in the same institution and at the same moment. However, the difference in behaviour could be clubbed under the same section titled, Problems. His argument drew attention to the equal importance of technology and how it is significant to give the generation Z access to technology for a stronger and brighter future.
“If we teach today’s students what we taught them yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow”
This was correctly explained by Ayush, who drew a simple comparison between generations. He narrated a story about an individual belonging to the generation where the only means to survive was through Education. However, today’s generation Z is intelligent, smart and creative, the credit for which goes to their ancestors. This enables them to be solution oriented and use technology in a way which empowers their career choices and help them make informed decisions pertaining to their college planning.
“I have no special talents, I am passionately curious.”
There was a buzz in the room when Ayush asked what a hashtag is? Someone from the audience, probably a tech savvy student, cross questioned and said “Is it a pre-processor directive?” Ayush smiled and explained through the examples of popular hashtags (#extralargebahu, #iphone7, #staystartedetc.), that a hashtag links a social media post to groups interested in a similar topic. Thus updating a group of like-minded users on the topic in real-time. If properly used on the famous social media platforms as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, hashtag could make a post go viral.
Learning – Understanding- Engagement
Appwala’s approach to these three key principles is a map to the gaps. Learning is fun, easy, and interactive and acts on various sensory nerves, hence opening potential to recall things faster. So, he advised students to learn something new, every day. He discussed how it’s imperative to understand that all students aren’t same. Individuality is important as it enables students to be creative and unique in their own way. Lead by example- engagement begins when great stories start unfolding and YouTube channels are just the right platform among several others for the same. Above all, navigating along the lines of curiosity puts these three principles in their place.
“Stop focusing on academics.”
This is a very powerful statement and it urged audience to think that academics were important because of the Industrial Revolution. However, in the contemporary world, we need to shift our focus towards Liberal Arts Education which promotes multidisciplinary approach. Sports should become an integral part of evaluation system. If we continue adopting our conservative approach, we will kill originality.
“Evolving from 2D to 3D”
Moving the session towards offering some relevant solutions, Ayush laid emphasis on the underestimated virtual and augmented reality. He suggested schools to take imagination to the next level, –for instance, glancing through a gadget at Disney land from your home or to use AR for reducing the costs of material which will actually engage students.
“Brick & Mortar is a 100 times expensive than building a Portal of your own CCTV footage.”
It was strongly encouraged that we needed to expand our teaching lessons at schools through an online platform-videos and extensively promote these in the remote corners of our country.
To make this theory of gaps and maps a success apart from the quotes it’s necessary for teachers to understand that they just don’t need to pass on information. Students learn on their own if we encourage individuality. One-on-One interaction and individuality can be achieved successfully through the internet and that too when we build curiosity in the children by giving them research work in an interactive environment and method. This would see a fall in the dropout rates each year. Ayush brought the pieces together by concluding that gaps or problem, including lack of resources, interest and paraphernalia can be helped by Re-thinking along the terms of technology in education.