No wonder there is a haze between the present and the near future, but the haze must eventually give way to the sun. And, a good mix of mist and sun can make a rainbow. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, teaching, learning and assessment became online, which for many was hazy or unclear at first. At the same time, the visuals of the immediate future of work and life have become blurry. Therefore, the craving for physical spaces is very similar to the sun after a prolonged haze phase. The envy finally led to a beautiful thing – the blending of offline education with online education, like never before, and thus inviting the Rainbow of Mixed Education (BL).
Such an example of just mixing can be seen in the past; with IT and communication which “invited” IT, also BL’s raison d’être. The beauty of BL is its anytime, anywhere ability, self-chosen skills, and multimodal ability to exchange, assess, express and experience face-to-face teaching and learning. It also helps extend learning later with post-product value additions. In addition, it makes room for flexible and dynamic routines to adapt to international time zones and educational diversity.
Today, companies are working tirelessly for crazier disruptions in the zest of offering new solutions. Well, they also spawn new problems. And, problems or failures are the seeds of education and research. In the words of Einstein and Edison, “Success is an ongoing failure “and” I will find the path that will work”. Arguably, from a digital natives perspective, these seeds create the right diversity in the education ecosystem where they can thrive in BL spaces. They witness new situations, new challenges, new skills and new choices as they progress. They want their type of education to be progressive and adaptive to their aspirations aligned with their choices. According to Nathan Wei Chen, three-time world figure skating champion and himself a digital native, “It’s crazy how time flies and things move forward.” Here, the madman would involve the mixture of the fantastic and the blurry.
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A recent World Economic Forum study on the skills of tomorrow clearly showed that the world is changing – and some jobs are changing faster than others. According to the latest research, we will soon be as good as the skills we have. In this regard, BL will play an active role in transforming traditional education with adapted technologies, extended learning based on choice; space; and a pace to foster and maintain a thriving ecosystem for learners.
They will learn to collaborate, co-create, engage and love to become the best versions of themselves.
Imagine that the building blocks of the BL system are codified in the future. Something similar to systems of alphabets and numbers which provide unlimited possibilities for all types of learners across generations to express themselves; to be universally understood and connect with like-minded people everywhere. Flip BL, for example, a learner L chooses to create a product P. In this way, L wants to learn better by solving problems and obtains a personalized P with a higher return on investment. In this pursuit, L exercises the BL choices of codes and combinations to derive the required knowledge, skills and abilities. Additionally, L is able to easily connect with a community of good mentors, co-creators, and mobilize resources to move forward with problem solving. Throughout this, L chose outputs and learning outcomes under a range of assigned bloom taxonomic levels (L1-L6); and L’s decisions. Now L can also fail. I can try again. And even. With each of these added values, P eventually turns into Pn, a better version of P! “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal ”- Anonymous.
BL-based outcomes and outcomes should be supported – with ongoing assessment and evaluation of project management and problem solving – for learners in groups and in individual capacities. To increase BL, educational institutions need to innovate in their approaches to create activity-based curiosity, relevant inquiry, creative and critical thinking. Frankly, BL needs to be focused on experiencing the active learning journey every step of the way! This is how a beautiful spirit in the educational journey can see a rainbow.
“Learning about the health management information system was rewarding despite the woes of the pandemic. There were 80 odd numbers in 4 groups, each with an assigned theme to explore, organize, evaluate, report, improve, and share. We mainly used digital spaces with the exception of a few on-site surveys, thanks to some of us doing internships in hospitals. Our group mentors made it easy for us. Overall we learned a lot with engaging participation and without any fatigue online ” – Debarpita Ganguly and Danish Ahmed, Class Representatives, MHA 2020-22, NSHM College of Management and Technology, Kolkata.
This article is written by Krishnendu Sarkar. He is a senior scholar at the NSHM Knowledge Campus, West Bengal, India and can be contacted by email at email@example.com.