By Sandy Hooda
Technology is conquering all physical boundaries. The last century has witnessed a massive increase in physical global connections. Thanks to technology, people have been able to travel freely across the world. Companies, professionals, entrepreneurs and freelancers, all are now increasingly working across the world.
The last two years have seen a dramatic shift towards virtual learning and virtual work. The trend is set to accelerate. This means employers can now hire talent from across the world. Freelancers can offer their services anywhere in the world and students can attend classes across in the global education marketplace.
The future will witness yet another major disruption, the ‘metasphere’. When Facebook renamed itself ‘meta’, it brought the future changes into the mainstream. Simply put, metasphere means a ‘virtual world’ which will be accessed by anyone through use or virtual reality and other cutting edge technologies. Most of us will have access to a virtual world and to the possibility of creating a virtual ‘avatar’ in that world. This means that our next generation is likely to live in a world with practically no boundaries.
This presents a new challenge to parents and educators. We now have to urgently expose our children to other children across the world. Our children need to imbibe the ability and skills to connect with, to understand and to work with other children from across the world knowledge of other cultures, languages and customs will give our children a big eldge in the world of tomorrow.
How can we best enable this?
We need to create opportunities whereby our children naturally (and virtually) will connect with children around the world. The connections need to be beyond the superficial and need to be designed in terms of projects and problem-solving exercises. Ideally they could be weaved into the age-appropriate learning needs of the children.
Schools are in the best position to do this. They can embed virtual connections and projects into the annual curriculum. This is important so that the connections are deep and relevant. Student exchange programs where a few students are selected need to give way to more comprehensive connections where all children get these opportunities. Virtua learning platforms have made this possible.
It is the responsibility of schools to identify and connect with like minded schools around the world. Parents also have a role to play, and that is to ensure their child’s school does this proactively and regularly.
Schools also need to focus on teaching the major global languages. English and Spanish, along with Mandarin, are the most spoken languages that will help children communicate with almost the entire world. Millions of Chinese students are now learning English making it possible for our children to communicate, as long as our children speak English and Spanish.
Indians, lingually and technologically, are in a unique position to leverage our natural advantages of being comfortable with both the English language and technology. Add Spanish to the mix, we will have it all.
Schools in Gurugram, and in other parts of India, need to take their global connections urgently. Be it a nursery school, a kindergarten, or a primary school, with technology it is now possible for all children to connect globally, in a supervised and safe manner.
Sandy Hooda, Co-Founder, Vega Schools