While all hope seemed to be lost when the pandemic took over, Edtech stepped in to rescue schools, colleges and universities.
It allowed educational institutions to create means for students to chase knowledge, grades and growth. Since then, a conventional classroom setup has effectively been replaced with virtual classrooms across several platforms, and real-time interaction between teachers and students have diminished, whereby, in most cases, teachers are struggling to maintain the optimum quality in lecture delivery.
The theme of this op-ed is not to hit on the flaws of teaching or learning online, it is rather an approach to understanding if students and teachers are ready to let go of completely digital education when the time comes.
With surging use of internet and cloud teaching, students have become normalised to learning from home, and at a time of their convenience. Furthermore, universities have invested in finding feasible means of providing online education under their institutional framework.
For example, Brac University has created and led its students under a state-of-the-art education platform, "Bux" – allowing faculties to upload lectures with ease and students to access these lectures anytime they wish to. The platform also has embedded features to facilitate taking quizzes, assignments and ungraded pop quizzes.
While all of it seems to be paving the way into a dream, in reality, digital education itself poses a threat for students and education itself. The view is justified under the context of the pandemic not ending anytime soon.
Very few students do online classes with full focus and honesty. The majority simply turn off their cameras and microphones; submerge themselves within the depths of sleep.
Moreover, assignments and quizzes have become easier to cheat on since in many instances, there is no one to invigilate. This applies to all students ranging from schools to universities.
As a result, average grades have become higher. It is further disheartening that younger students from playgroup till grade 5 have normalised themselves with doing classes online.
It is also very unfortunate that a void has been created for those who are not able to access online education for having little or no access to technological instruments required.
In the event of the institutions reopening, there would be a significant transitional lag between re-normalising classroom-learning, especially for younger students whose minds have become wired to the thought that schooling is the same as being homeschooled.
Many students would surely find it difficult to go back to their institutions, attend live exams, quizzes and spend a great amount of time out of their homes, affecting initial studies and grades.
It is evident that there are several concerns surrounding education in a post-pandemic world in Bangladesh. While Edtech has opened doors to distant learning, it has also led to significant issues such as inflated grades, lack of focus and a threat to re-normalising with classroom learning. Of course, the effects would definitely vary from student to student.
Is Edtech an opportunity or a threat for you? You decide.
Mohaimenul Solaiman Nicholas is a student, Economics and Social Science Department, Brac University.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard