Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday said that the Delhi Model Virtual School announced recently during the budget, will strive to provide education to students remotely through personalized teaching-learning, effective assessments, and the use of cutting-edge technology.
“This school will have regular teaching-learning activities, assessments, and all other education-related facilities. It will operate with the principle of ‘anywhere living, any time learning, any time testing’,” Mr. Sisodia said.
The Minister added that the virtual school will cater to a cross-section of students, including those interested in studying from home, sportspersons and artists who need to devote adequate time towards honing their skills, school dropouts, and other youth who want to complete their education.
“Teaching-learning in the virtual school will comprise of two elements- synchronous learning, in which students will connect with teachers through live online classes; and asynchronous learning, in which students will refer to audio-visual and textual content to enhance mastery over their subjects of choice,” it further stated.
The schools will be governed by the Delhi Schools of Specialized Excellence Society and will be affiliated with the newly formed Delhi Board of Secondary Education (DBSE), which had recently signed a collaboration agreement with the International Baccalaureate board to develop its course curriculum.
Under DVMS, the document said, the evaluation of learning goals will be conducted through “technology-assisted assessments, which will be conducted on the LMS and, if necessary, at designated assessment centers across the city”. Students will also be assessed through quizzes, assignments, live assessments, and proctored examinations.
According to the plan, the education department will set up a scalable LMS platform that can be accessed on various devices, including phones, tablets, and laptops.
It will also host an array of teaching-learning functions, ranging from live-streaming sessions which will be saved in a virtual library along with other learning content; creating and sharing documents like worksheets, slides, and projects; assigning and evaluating paperless assignments; maintaining the class calendars; conducting virtual conversations; and creating an artificial intelligence-based interface to create a personalized flow based on the learning level of each student.
The plan document said that all teachers and students will have a unique ID provided by the school administration which will be registered on the domain.
“All student devices should have AI-enabled applications for online content. This application should have an LMS system to track the learning growth of students,” the document stated.
The teacher training program will include elements on the usage of online platforms and IT infrastructure; lesson planning, content and assignment creation; incorporation of multimedia content in teaching pedagogy; and soft skills for conducting online classes.
A senior official of the education department said, “There will a combination of senior experienced teachers of the Delhi government schools as well as external experts who will be roped in to conduct classes for the students. While we will start with 200 students, it can go up to any number in later stages. Admission process will be finalized once we rope in our partner organizations.”
Educationist Meeta Sengupta said the Delhi government will have to work on the credibility and acceptance of the school. “The idea behind virtual schools is to create a legitimate option for those students who cannot opt for mainstream education. However, the outcome from the virtual school has to be good enough to attract students who are looking for opportunities after school. The government should also focus on teachers’ training as teachers will have to shift their mindset and value the multi-lens approach of teaching-learning. The government could also link these schools to the new Skill University so that various choices can open up for students,” she said.
Officials aware of the development told ET that the members also discussed the existing models of virtual schools in the US and New Zealand.
The development comes as the Delhi government has decided to shut all schools until further orders and the schools will commence digitally for the academic session of 2021-22 as well. The order noted that students of class 9 to 12 may only be called to school for providing academic guidance and support for exams.
Remote learning and edtech solutions gained tremendous momentum in 2020 as all physical institutions had to shut during the lockdown. Edtech startups like BYJU’S, Vedantu, Unacademy, and others noted a spike in their user base as well as got a deep interest from investors.
According to Studykeeda.in estimates edtech startups raised more than $1.43 Bn across 100 deals in 2020, becoming the fourth biggest segment that year. Interestingly, edtech wasn’t even considered in the list of top five segments, when it came to fundraising amount or deal. Our estimates reveal that edtech was among the least funded segments across 46 deals in 2019.
“Online learning is certainly the more effective option for students, but it’s also better for the environment. It has been found that online courses equate to an average of 90% less energy and 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than traditional in-person courses.”