Dr Rajeev Kumar Singh Associate Dean, Academics, Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence

The education sector is undergoing a paradigm shift with the adoption of new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and the internet of things (IoT). This transformation is enabled by 5G networks with significantly high bandwidth and low latency. Industry leaders share their views on the use cases of these technologies, challenges in deployment and upcoming digital trends in the sector…

What are the use cases of technologies such as AR/VR, IoT and AI/ML in the education sector? How will 5G drive the adoption of these solutions?

AR and VR have been proven to drive im­pactful educational transformations. Th­ey are instrumental in the “gamificati­on” of the teaching-mastering process. At Shiv Nadar University (SNU), the design de­partment is at the forefront of this ch­ange, actively developing various VX skills across different subject domains. Students receive training in Spark AR studio, where they learn to create AR effects from scrat­ch. This involves importing assets, canvas, face tracking, patch editor and generating test links. This cutting-edge technology positions SNU as a leader in this field. We also have a design studio with an AR/VR set-up, where students create 3D models to un­derstand the syllabus comprehensively. In addition, the Dassault Systèmes Centre of Excellence at SNU aims to fuel research, innovation, design and entrepreneurship through problem-solving industry-based projects by utilising Dassault Systèmes’ acclaimed 3DExperience platform.

The university houses a metal 3D pri­n­ter from 3D Systems, US, a prominent fa­cility funded by NITI Aayog. This ad­van­ced manufacturing facility will support start-ups in developing functional pr­o­­totypes and customised designs tailored to their requirements. Our open architecture system enables the exploration of materials not yet accessible for 3D printing, while also improving the ex­is­ting options. The facility is also aiding the research at SNIoE, focused on the de­velopment of energy-efficient and environment-friendly solutions.

What are the ICT solutions deployed by your organisation? What are the main challenges faced while deploying new-age technologies?

Our student data and processes are automated end-to-end by utilising the People­So­­ft software. Additionally, our learning ma­­­­na­gement system, Blackboard, is globally recognised by top QS-ranked uni­ve­rsi­ties. We also have an in-house app deve­lo­ped within the campus that serves the university’s purposes. The university is en­gaging faculty members in discussi­ons to ex­p­lore the impact of language mo­dels like Chat­GPT on teaching-learning, particularly in the humanities disciplines where ass­e­ssments predominantly rely on writing abilities.

How will the rise of various AI tools impact teaching and learning? How will it influence learner-instructor interaction?

In recent years, AI has gained significant momentum in various industries, including education, transforming the teaching methods and student learning experiences.

With the ability to analyse data on student performance and preferences, AI can help educators develop customised lesson plans and assessments that cater to the in­dividual strengths and weaknesses of each student. This can improve student engagement and motivation and lead to improved academic outcomes. For example, Chat­GPT can analyse a student’s learning history and offer customised learning materials based on their interests and strengths. This personalised approach enhances student mo­tivation and engagement, ultimately le­a­ding to improved academic performance.

It also plays a crucial role in grading and assessment, effectively saving educato­rs’ time and effort, and allowing them to focus on other aspects of teaching. This can lead to the implementation of automa­ted grading systems to reduce the workload for teachers.

What are the three key digital trends to watch out for in the education sector?

Recent trends in the education sector have entirely changed the sector dynamics and are expected to remain prominent in the foreseeable future. Over time, we are getting accustomed to absorbing information in ultra-fast, attention-grabbing, bite-sized chunks. The convergence of reality, AI, AR, and VR will impact all areas of human ac­tivity, including education. The inclusion of AI and metaverse technologies in the education sector is leading to transformative ch­anges, enabling individualised and in­ter­active learning experiences for students. Blockchain technology is also poised to revolutionise the education industry by re­shaping how academic data is managed and enhancing interaction between teachers and students.