There is this ongoing debate about how much technology is good for education specially in the Indian context. Will it help the student increase their knowledge or does it make the teacher redundant – so on and so forth. There are very strong views on both sides of the debate which we wont go into.
We have a different take at Million Lights. Having seen colleges and schools in semi urban settings at close quarters this is what we have learnt:-
1. Even if technology can help 1 student in 1 class in 1 college it is a start. Our parent company is working with some states in India to establish labs and certification programmes in these colleges and universities. The students there currently do not have access to the basic content/ labs / certifications / industry interaction which can help them gain knowledge. They are eager to learn and absorb and put in the extra effort to get the most out of the programme. Supporting them and making sure they get access is done through technology.
2. Certification HELPS:- Anyone who says that certification is not important has not visited colleges and spoken to the students. It is a critical part in the sequence of the programme. Without certification from a recognised body the university wont pay for it, if they wont pay then the student wont get access to the accreditation. This has been our experience specially if you want to work with the government in large scale project implementations.
3. MOOCs / Hybrid Courses :- Anything which helps give access to the user is good – period. We do both hybrid training and purely online teaching through Million Lights – there is no “One” path. It depends on the implementation and the ground reality – for eg if there is low bandwith then having a facilitator on premise helps. We have our own studios where we beam live lectures which can be accessed on the mobile, tablet or desktop – these lectures are scheduled and we give open access to all students in the programme – across the board.
This is the beauty about technology – we can afford to do this because the per user cost to beam lectures is inversely proportional to the number of users on the servers. The higher the users the lower the cost for us. We will now be setting up studios in colleges and universities to help them beam lectures to their students directly. Again we leverage existing technology to help reach our goal of 1 million students a year. We could not even dream of this scale otherwise.
We do not have all the answers to the problems but we have some solutions that have worked for us and have pushed us to spend more on R&D and we will keep creating solutions which are suited to the Indian palette
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