When do we begin to see students as our primary customers?

Sesh Seshadri, CEO & Partner, Overleaf Books LLP shares his views on the importance of technology in education and making learning better, easier, and more productive.

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The focus of this issue of All About Book Publishing is to showcase the innovations in 2022 in the school education space, calling out trends, concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted.Technology is rapidly changing the way we live and interact. I’ve been impressed by the growth of audio books. This is an important vertical for regional language publishers to explore and invest.

Technology in education…

But the field of education is lagging in terms of technology adoption. Many still do not see the introduction of technology in education as essential. As such, access to online learning tools quickly became a necessity within the education system. Collaboration is key in developing an effective digital transformation plan. This means making larger changes within the organization that all work toward achieving the greater goal.

Online assessments…

Assessments using online tools will grow to ensure that there is no scope for human errors and remove any possible biases. Assessment will also help maintaining students records online and help the student showcase the lifelong learning.

Practical vs theory knowledge…

In the coming years, there would be more focus on practical and hands-on aspect of studies. The evaluation of student would also be based on their practical knowledge which they have acquired of particular topic. Theory exams will slow down and would be reduced while the amount of experimental, on the field or non-theoretical education would increase.

e-Book and e-Book licenses…

While the printed book always carried an MRP in India and an RRP in most parts of the world, the e-version has the luxury of selling at different prices to different users/customers. Will this change for the better? This should be addressed because e-books are typically offered under more expensive and limited licensing agreements, unlike print books that libraries can typically purchase, own, and lend on their own terms. Most licensing agreements, with terms set by individual publishers and e-book aggregators, often include restrictions on lending, transfer, and reproduction, which may conflict with libraries.

Challenges…

Innovations will bring challenges too. I would like the readers to be aware of such challenges.Digital poverty has become more visible since the pandemic.Families with lower incomes may struggle to afford some of the tools and technology used for learning, and could result in children being left behind in studies and struggling emotionally with being left out. It’s no secret that there are health-related risks when using technology. Staring at a screen for extended periods of time can have major effects on eyesight or cause headaches, and sitting at a computer for a while can also cause back pain for some. Since people often use screens in their spare time, introducing heavy periods of technology use during study time too could put learners at risk of some of these health issues. Cybersecurity threats and incidences are increasing globally. What investments educational institutions are making to avoid this happening in their campuses, with their students and teachers? One such an incident can cause loss of reputation, loss of educational opportunities for students. Recruitment of teachers will have a change in focus. Teachers should have digital fluency to provide creative, equitable and innovative student engagement. On the content front, licensing agreements and a description of restrictions will have to be revisited and redrafted. How do we protect occurrences of data breaches in a classroom environment? To support more equitable literacy across all grade levels, authors and publishers should work together to create more inclusive and representative curriculums.

Road ahead…

The best part is in the fact all of this is just beginning. New advancements, systems,capabilities are going to make all of this interesting. Many of you are going to become a part of it and learn to enjoy it. The final goal is to learn better, easier, and become more productive while eliminating downsides. The advantages are massive and let us embrace it.

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