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India Today School Summit 2017: Accelerating innovation, technology and education

The second debate of the India Today School Summit was on accelerating innovation, technology and education. The speakers, Gavin Dabreo, CEO, Mind Champion Learning Systems, NIIT's subsidiary, Lisa Heydlauff, Founder, Going to School and Sashwati Banerjee, MD, Sesame Workshop India talked about how the digital age has empowered children as agents of change.

The panel discussion was preceded by a presentation on the work and achievements of Sesame Workshop India, a not-for-profit organization leading the movement to change the educational paradigm through its innovative projects that puts children at the center of development. Banerjee said that the biggest challenge for all educationists is affordability and access to devices and data. "Most educators these days are not equipped to address this change. We need solid policy adequacy for proper infrastructure and need to understand how digital education can be a supplement and enabler," explained Banerjee.

Taking the discussion forward Gavin Dabreo discussed how teachers and most adults today are a little awkward with technology. "We need to conduct experiments and accept that technological advancement has the capacity to deliver new academic outcomes. This needs to start with small schools because millions of children at the base of the pyramid are still struggling with virtual reality," said Dabreo.

In this highly polarized inter connected world, knowledge is more about application than access. Artificial intelligence is taking over the untapped aspects of the education industry. A child born in 2017 will be in a different environment than the children of the 80s or 90s.

Talking about the technology-heavy future, Heydlauff said the Indian hardware is not up to the mark. "It's all moving so fast that there really is a hardware gap. We need to ask what we want and what we are looking at. With massive potential in the digital age, we can't and don't want to replace local role models; it must revolve around developing open systems and apt mediums," explained Heydlauff. Banerjee added that content plays a major role because in the end technology is just a mere platform.

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