The roots of the word ‘educate’ can be traced to the Latin ‘educare’ which means ‘to train’. The essence of the education system is to empower individuals to lead their lives. And classrooms are places to transform the young into adults capable of leading their lives.

Educational systems have evolved over time from India’s ancient Gurukul system in which students lived near or with their teacher to more modern brick-and-mortar schools with a fixed curriculum.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, education is changing even further to stay relevant to current times. In recent years, Education Technology, popularly known as Ed-tech or digital education, has become a big disrupting force in education.

Technology has had a deep impact on our lives and it is hardly surprising then that it has entered our classrooms to give them a breath of fresh air. While the specific nature of the disruption by Ed-tech is yet to be determined, it has given us a chance to refocus our attention on the purpose of education and classrooms at large.

Online education provides space for all of us to learn at our own pace, thus providing the most enriching experience so far. Moreover, location, financial ability or caste are no longer limiting factors in the world of education technology.

Steven Spielberg, Hilary Duff, and Venus Williams, for instance, are some of the celebrities who have been able to get back to studying years after they left school thanks to ed-tech.

While a lot has been written on the difference that education technology has made to the classroom, it has also preserved some virtues of traditional classrooms.

For example, we all remember hearing stories from people about teachers in school who answered their queries. Ed-tech might not have the physical presence of a teacher but has made it possible for every one of us to have a digital teacher instead who is always available online to answer your questions.

And if you’re missing the fun of old-fashioned brick-and-mortar education, no worries. Ed-tech still has exams to satisfy your inner nerd. The only difference is they’re not traditional pen-and-paper exams but use cooler methods like gamification and interactive audio-visuals.

The question that many are asking is: will digital education edge out traditional teaching eventually? Probably.

Mrinal Singh is Manager, Learning Impact at Harappa Education

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