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Learn Earlier and Educate Everyone

 2022-01-17 By: Elroy Yao



Over the years many questions have been raised in regards to education and its impact on the future; especially in terms of relevance. What is taught today might not be relevant or even may have been found to be demonstrably false in the near future; before the learners even have the chance to practice it. At the same time, education is in a dire need to change and adapt, both due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the requirements to prepare the students for the future.

There are general trends that apply to education in general as outlined by EHL Insights that includes: integrating technology, training soft skills, facilitating learning, lifelong learning, and more. At the same time, an article published in Forbes listed 5 ed-tech trends that will be relevant in the near future such as personalized learning and gamification. Combined, the 2 trends can outline some key points for education in the near future: technology will play an important role, gamification can be used to encourage students to learn, the importance of soft skills will grow, and education will not be limited to the classroom & school only. In this edition of the InnoVEX Editorial, we will discuss startups who provide education technology that aims to provide students with alternatives in learning.

Braille to Build Inclusive Communities

The braille writing system is the most common method to help the visually impaired read text information in addition to screen readers. While screen readers might be more user friendly, there are some limitations to its usage such as: battery life, linguistic limitations, connectivity issues, uncommon jargons, etc. In addition, devices with screen reader capabilities might be considered a luxury that people cannot afford or maintain. As a result, users might not be able to use them or might get the wrong/ mistaken information. In addition, it is important to note that braille is not universal and some transcriptions might be used differently in different languages. For regional languages whose speakers might be monolingual, screen readers might not even be available for their language.

One important thing to remember is that technology should help those it can, not just because it is profitable. For Pakistan's Boltay Huroof, they are serving a niche that will benefit the most with their innovation. Focusing on regional languages, their solution of written text to braille converter will benefit a great number of visually impaired people. The software developed by the Boltay Huroof team can convert multiple languages into braille, including English, Arabic and regional languages such as Urdu, Sindhi, and more. Their internal dictionary currently has 130 thousand words with correction and word suggestion features. In addition, the software can also include both text and braille in a single document to help both sighted and visually impaired individuals to read from the same book and document to build a more inclusive community.

Robotic Tutors

Education should not be stopped during the pandemic, especially as the world will have to catch up to the time gap created by periodic lockdowns. Adult students such as university students and above are more likely to have an easier time adjusting to remote learning. However early learning students such as kindergarteners who will need constant monitoring and guiding might have more difficulties as they lose interest or concentration in their learning. As remote work also becomes commonplace, parents and guardians might not be able to keep a constant vigil over their children as they also have their own responsibilities.

Early education generally contains simpler materials, but requires greater degree of constant and continuous effort as well as supervision to correct the students before the mistakes turn into habits. NUWA Robotics' approach uses an AI-powered social robot to create an interactive learning and joyful experience for children by displaying the education materials on their screen. Their Kebbi Air S focuses on STEAM and English education programs through its display screen and which have now become prerequisites and necessities in early education. For the more advanced students who are interested in building their own robots, they can consider the Robot Creator kit that allows customers to assemble and customize the hardware. The included Biz Tool can be used to further customize the robot including its facial expression, movements/ actions, dialogues, etc. For the advanced users, they can also use graphical programming tools to link with micro:bit and Arduino to create IoT functional applications.

Conclusion

For many people, the goal of education is often to prepare students & learners for the future and to provide them with the necessary skills to be successful for the future. On the other hand, the rapid changes happening throughout the world today means that what was taught to students might not be relevant when they enter society as adults. This does not mean that education has become irrelevant; instead it is more important than ever as the quantity and quality of skills needed will continue to grow. This means students cannot delay learning and educators must prepare to teach younger students. For learners, soft skills such as communications, languages, etc. as well as basic sciences have become more significant to build up more highly specialized skills and knowledge.

Learn more about Boltay Huroof, NUWA Robotics, and other InnoVEX Online Exhibitors here.

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