Education 4.0
Education 4.0

Education 4.0 : Parent’s Role

Ullas Ponnadi

Ullas Ponnadi

Education 4.0 will combine the rapid explosion of digital content, the future needs of the workforce, the changing economic models, the need to learn on the fly, and the fact that children are very comfortable with the digital medium, to provide an anytime, anywhere, on demand mode of unstructured learning. As that happens, the roles of everyone gets impacted; frameworks, government, policies, teachers, parents, students, and also the current mode of assessments and certification.

In the first part of this six-part series on Education 4.0, let us look at how a parent’s role can change, and how technology and digital information can act as an aid, in doing so.

In today’s exploding world of Digital content, where content is available at the fingertips of everyone, the need for deeper exploration, curated content, simple content, and need based content and learning is definitely an area, where an informed parent can play a crucial role.

Parents can act as guides/facilitators, moderators, and also content creators. As things move more towards project and phenomenon-based learning, a large percentage of learning will happen outside the classroom. All this means that the traditional way of parents outsourcing learning to formal and structured schools can taper and vanish, and a new form of collaborative learning and peer to peer learning can evolve.

Let us look at a parent’s testimony, corroborating the above:

We find Khan Academy e-learning sessions very helpful for our 5th grader to understand and learn math. Every learning module has a video tutorial that is explained in a simple and detailed manner. The child gets an opportunity to practice what’s taught at the end of each session making it a thorough and enjoyable learning experience. – Dinesh Divakaran, Vice President, Kirchoff Automotive, Canada.

Here is a recent experience, from the Author’s perspective, via a direct learning engagement, as a facilitator:

The author’s son is currently a Grade 10 student. His social sciences subjects now has economics, and so to a great extent, the son has learnt debit, credit, debt, cash, and currency ,and the purpose of these.

The flood of Kerala has certainly stuck a chord in him. He hears that in the media and possibly via his Facebook and WhatsApp posts. Kids’ natural inclination is to find ways to help.

During a recent road trip, as this topic came into discussion, and veered on to how the government is trying to help the needy, his question to the me was : In such a crisis, why can the government not print more and more cash, and distribute to the needy? Isn’t that a simple solution? For he has seen money (cash) as a means to purchase goods and services! (And we sincerely hope that he has not heard Donald Trump say the same thing, to solve the debt crisis!).

My initial explanation that the government and RBI has guidelines to print money and how much of it, did not appeal him. He did not understand the rationale. And to be honest, I did not have the right answer at that point!

Well, time for the parent to turn and become a student! Learning Economics of Money, from open sources. Most sources were complex; they brought mathematical models, and complex terms. Quora and Wikipedia did help to a great extent. And finally, I was able to put something together for him, possibly a little diluted, but one that satisfied him.

The analogy I used was he having lots of free money (I used 1 lakh as a reference), and he wanting to purchase a black forest cake. That is his favourite, and the neighbourhood store had only one cake left. Now in his neighbourhood, many such kids were given free cash (1 lakh again), so they all start bidding for it. So a cake that costs possibly about Rs 500 could get sold for 5K to 10K, via bidding, since free cash loses value, almost instantly!

Well, he said he is wiser, and will stop bidding at Rs 1000.00! But he understood the analogy and the message, and I believe he understood why cash cannot be printed just like that.

What were my sources to build this? Here are a few:

I did reiterate that this was a simple analogy, and that how much money to print is decided by a fairly complex set of parameters, and one that I myself am not fully aware of. He appreciated that. Hopefully, at a later stage, when faced with a similar question, he will have the curiosity to seek the answer for the same, on his own.

Lessons learnt: The 55 year old author must seriously unlearn, and give up his accumulated learning baggage. And that Economics might sound simple, but is not! And cash at hand is easier to understand than the method to print cash, at the press!!

In the next part of this series, let us take a look at how a child can explore and learn on their own, and solve some real life challenges. Stay tuned!!!

( Ullas Ponnadi, currently Director and CTO of GRAHIK LEARNING, an India-based Education & Learning Space Start-up, has been in the Engineering & IT Industry for the past 30 years, having worked in the USA and India at Wipro Technologies, CMC and HP; with a decade long experience of working with K12 schools, undergrad institutions, corporate training and its associated methodologies and pedagogical backdrops.)