Education is the greatest equalizer. It provides equal opportunities to all. Noble educators always played the role of great levellers. Like Savitribai Phule, India’s first female teacher. By achieving such a feat, she not only broke the pre-established social barriers but also paved the way for future generations to follow up on this path of excellence.
In our quest to celebrate women like Savitribai Phule, in our current edition of ‘India’s Most Admired Women in Educational Sector’, very luckily, we came across Swati Mishra, who is more than just a Sales Head at AcadPrime, an online EdTech platform.
In an interview with The Knowledge Review, she has shared her amazing journey as an educator in her own words. Here are some of the highlights from the interview:
Please tell us about your journey throughout the education sector right from the beginning of your career.
I have started my journey as a tutor in CBSE board school APS Allahabad, where I was allotted classes 9th std to 12th std, as a Physics-Chemistry-Biology teacher. After that, I was a researcher in CSIR-CIMAP (Central Institute of Medicinal Plants Lucknow), where I was associated with Prof. Ram Raja Sekharan (presently the Director CFTRI). I also did my internship at CDRI Lucknow. This was till 2010 when I went to Japan and later to Taiwan, with my spouse, as he was doing his post-doctorate, where I met a lot of people/researchers.
Coming back to India in 2015, I joined Jaganantha Vidyalaya CBSE school as a tutor for 11th and 12th std students, for a month as I had a small child to take care of. Then, I joined a start-up I2Global School, in Kelambakkam, Chennai. I was appointed as a Centre Head of this Preschool where I worked till February 2018.
Then I joined Mount Litera zee school, Chennai as a Relationship Manager, which was also in its post-launch phase at that point. Before COVID-19 happened, I was working as a Centre Head in Kidzee Padur Playschool & Pre-School till May 2020. In June 2020, I joined uFaber Edutech Pvt. Ltd., as an IELTS Trainer. In early August 2021, I worked as a Senior Sales Consultant in Oasis Global Technology Centre, Chennai.
Finally, I joined AcadPrime EdTech start-up as an Academic Counsellor in late August 2021, where I got promoted to Sales Head in January 2022. I have learnt a lot about pedagogy in innovative learning as well as the holistic development of a child.
What inspired you to step into the education industry?
My inspiration is my goal to bring gender equality and the right to education for all. I had started giving tuition classes in the early stages. I felt that there is a change required in our education mentality set up. We always categorise weak and bright students, but they should be slow and fast learners. Personalized attention is required for slow learners.
If we give kind of personal attention to students, we can see a lot of improvement in them. I always believed that every child is unique.
Tell us about AcadPrime and its mission, vision, and core values.
AcadPrime is an interactive online education platform that enables students to learn LIVE from India’s best educators. It provides a platform for connecting the 3 DOTS (students, parents, and teachers) online. We aim to deliver a fully transparent, secure, and easily accessible educational service digitally. With our tutors in India, we cater to both Indian and Global students and bring in global education standards and learning practices across our student base, which is one of our unique contributions to the Indian education sector as a start-up.
What are the priorities of AcadPrime in terms of course objectives and learning outcomes?
Following are our priorities to make world-class learning outcomes:
- Our programs are truly unique and innovative. Our learning programs are designed (personalised and premium) to cater to any type of learner.
- Our classes are truly interactive during the class (tutors and learners talk to each other), with a rich learning experience, unlike other peers that provide online platforms that do not have that 2-way video voice interaction between tutor and learner.
- Our foundations are built with best practices and processes that cater to both Indian and international customers from the beginning.
- Our feedback and intelligent progress tracking process is a built-in solution in the platform
- Our teaching platform offers end-to-end tech solutions for students, parents, and tutors to make the learning fully integrated within the platform.
Kindly share your views regarding interactive, online educational content and how it is redefining the ways we learn.
While designing an online course, a course developer has a general idea of the required readings and resources that need to be reviewed prior to the assessments. But how should the content be delivered to students, and what’s the proper sequence? One of the ways this can be addressed is by presenting students with interactive lessons. In today’s online classroom, students have opportunities to consume content in a myriad of ways. Streaming video and audio, online lecture text, and engaging interactive web content are general methods that students can access at their leisure and revisit to check for understanding and comprehension. With the right combination of outlining and planning, students will be presented with the most current learning technologies and strategies available to them.
- Benefits of Interactive Content
Online learning is convenient for working students. Students can do their learning anywhere they have an internet connection and a device to access the content. By compiling all the lesson materials into one simple package that’s mobile compatible, students can digest them much more easily. Most students will be looking at their phones anyway; they might as well pop open the next lesson and get ahead! If you make the content engaging and interesting, they might even prefer it over other mobile activities.
- Accommodating Diverse Learning Styles
Interactive content doesn’t have to be a complex and properly sequenced web of video, interactive animations, and sequenced check-for-understanding questions. It could be as simple as a text page with question fields included for students to respond and receive instructor feedback. It does, however, open the door for different student learning styles to be met. To do this, online lessons may contain lecture text, video, and check-for-understanding questions. To make for a streamlined learning experience, interactive lessons can combine course content into a single and efficient presentation-style activity.
- Adding Formative Assessment
Interactive content opens the door to including frequent check-for-understanding questions, which can be used as formative assessment, to help your students understand their progress toward mastery of learning objectives. Additionally, these questions can be used to loop students back to the content they need to review, meaning the experience can be tailored based on each student’s progress toward outcomes and understanding of course content.
- Resetting the Attention Clock
By employing different types of media, breaking longer pieces of content into smaller ones, and including check-for-understanding-type questions, interactive content helps ensure that students stay engaged in course material by intentionally resetting their attention clock. Instead of passively watching a video or reading a written lecture, students click through content at their pace, check their understanding of it, and engage in various forms of media, helping them stay engaged.
What are the biggest challenges and struggles faced by educators in general?
Teaching has increasingly become more difficult with time and student success is falling at an alarming rate.
Based on my experience, below are listed a few of the most common challenges faced by teachers today:
- Inspiring students to be more self-directed
Teachers are having a tough time getting students to be more self-directed. They are looking for a way to ease the pressure of students by keeping them interested and making sure that lesson practices and the homework delivered are fun, accessible anywhere, targeted to improve their weaknesses and ensuring that learning takes place in a more conducive, less-tense, less-pressured environment.
- Improving learning outcomes
Designing learning outcomes that mean something and are an effective way to measure student potential and success is a big challenge. Meeting those learning outcomes and having solid indicators to prove this, all the while easing the paperwork and the excel sheets of the teachers have become unthinkable. Even if these are done well, teachers still don’t get that 360° view of how good their students are as a whole. In addition, finding the right way to automate this process in such a way that real-time results are what’s needed is of prime importance.
- Differentiating and personalizing teaching
What works for one student, does not work for another. Teachers have recognized this but have very few ways to test and make sure that different skill levels are being evaluated. A new wave of assessments and how teaching is conducted is important. Newer question types, media-enhanced exams and the like are what teachers are looking for; diversifying teaching and keeping it simple at the same time is a balance that is hard to find.
- Getting students to do their work outside the classroom
What students do at schools is just a fraction of the effort that needs to be put in for academic success. With this in mind, teachers have the extra added pressure of having students put in the extra effort outside of the classroom. Students still have found no proper incentive to deal with this issue. Teachers are looking for a way that they can encourage students to learn while they’re having fun and not make it seem like pursuing knowledge is a tedious task.
- Finding the time to keep up with administrative tasks
It takes a lot of time and work, to come up with a curriculum, teach, be engaged with classrooms, come up with questions for assessments, spend time (and sometimes weekends) correcting and grading these assessments, and then having to spend hours filling out reports, analysis, strengths, weaknesses, and other performance indicators. Teachers are looking for ways to be eased this burden so that they can focus on teaching and promoting the importance of education and learning.
- Understanding changing technology
With the advance of the internet and changing technology, teachers have been finding it hard to find easy yet effective systems and platforms to run their classrooms.
- Parental involvement
Having the parents of students informed and involved is one major area that teachers and admins are having a hard time keeping up with. Teachers are looking for an easy way to have parents be a part of their child’s journey and have a good understanding of their skills and monitor their performances on a regular basis.
Education is considered a tool of empowerment. What efforts do you and the institution take to make sure that education is provided to those who need it?
A truly, interactive online education has emerged as a main 21st-century education model that ensures an equitable and knowledgeable world, with experts from all over the world contributing towards learning needs from any part of the world. This borderless education model has taken different shapes in the last couple of decades and moving towards a better outcome. It is accessible by all. We have customized learning for all kinds of learners.
What advice can you give to those who want to step into the field of education?
This is a place that should be taken up by only those people who have a passion for shaping the future of the country. Consistent passion is required for this particular field. People with a fixed mindset should not acquire this field in a long run.
Please share what lies ahead for you and AcadPrime in the near future.
AcadPrime and I are mainly focused on ensuring quality content and engagement in learning is consistently improved. Also, our focus is entirely on how to ensure education provider shows results of improvement to parents and students and hold the accountability of the results, which is currently an area most of the EdTech companies are looking to address.
Awards, Accolades, and Accreditations
- Employee appreciation award for diligent staff from Kidzee
- Best teacher award -GLObal teaching excellence award
- Best Guru award-GISR organization
- Foxclues 100 women icon award by India prime awards
- The real superwoman-educationist certificate
- BBA-Gems of India-Bharat Achievers Award-2022-top 100 Legends.
- INNOVATIONS AWARD-Best Educator Award
- Raising Star Award -Ufaber edutech