Essential Education – Virtual round table: Innovative ed-tech on the frontlines

As the COVID-19 lockdown continues across the country, people have been bound to their homes, for good. As all operations lean to the virtual world amid the lockdown, we embraced the same as well. Taking our industry-academia engagement event forward, Adobe along with AnimationXpress – a part of Indiantelevision.com Group presented “Essential Education” – a virtual round table conference to discuss the importance and various ways of creativity which can be imbibed early in a student’s path. The attempt was to bridge the creativity gap and discuss the importance of specially curated creative curriculum to increase the skill ability and employability of students. The virtual round table took place on 4 April, 2020. It was attended by principals, decision-makers and heads of various renowned educational organisations from across the country. Starting off the conference, AnimationXpress.com founder and CEO Anil Wanvari welcomed the attendees and shared an anecdote on how creativity had helped him through his college days even when he departed from the traditional norms of education and sought advice and ideas from the speakers and attendees on how to use new-age technologies to further the cause. Finally, he concluded by saying that the world post the Coronavirus pandemic will be in need of innovation ed-tech more than it ever did. Following that  Adobe head education, digital media – India and South Asia Supreeth Nagaraju emphasised on the sectors that Adobe is currently focusing on, which is expected to further give a boost to the education sector by bringing creative solutions for the students and institutions alike. He further stressed that consumers now spend on experiences rather than products and hence every brand should come up with specially curated solutions that provide users with an optimum experience. SOC films CEO Aashish Rego talked about how he made his career in the music industry. He focused on points-how guidance in music has been taken up by multiple colleges in the country now, but still, a lot needs to be addressed in terms of creative curriculums and technology. Opening the discussion to the attendees, multiple other issues and prospects were discussed. One of the major points discussed was the urgency of a practical-heavy curriculum rather than a theory-heavy one. The attendees who hailed from respected institutions of the country shared that for a student to succeed in the industry a practical-oriented course would be of optimum importance. Given the current pandemic scenario, evidently the topic of ed-tech, that is the use of innovative technology for educational purposes, came up strong with all the attendees and the speakers pitching in their views. Everyone more or less agreed to one point which proposed the importance of the matter now and how the learnings on the lockdown will only further boost the ed-tech industry’s prowess and urgency post the pandemic. The event was attended by the likes of, Anant National University director, master of urban design and vice-principal, school of planning Ashima Banker, CEPT University deputy provost (academics) Chirayu Bhatt, Parul University faculty at Parul Institute of Law Dr.KalpeshKumar L Gupta, Adamas University & Group Institutions Kolkata vice-chancellor Ujjwal Chowdhury, WBUT-West Bengal University of Technology head dept of emerging technology Samir Mukherjee, G.L.S. University director Anil Sinha, Symbiosis Kolkata PhD Researcher Sayak Pal and many more. The institution heads further discussed how to make courses more appealing to students. Following some examples of how talented students are sometimes not pleased with the traditional ways of courses which did not appeal to them, the gathering proposed on bringing courses which are for smaller batches and are contexualised and experiential. Furthermore, there were suggestions of providing students with knowledge and anecdotes which are not necessarily always from textbooks or the opening pages of popular online search engines. While ed-tech remained the hot-spot of discussion throughout the session, other topics including Adobe’s finesse in the sector of emerging ed-tech and creative implication of knowledge sharing in the curriculum dominated the conversations. Overall, the virtual gathering concluded on a curious note with the attendees wanting more such sessions to discuss the progress on things that were discussed in the event. This event was the second in line of a series of industry-academia events, the first one being in Pune on 28 February, with more to come in the near future irrespective of mediums.