Dr Kanak Gupta Q&A
1. Who/what do you want to see at Bett Middle East 2017?
Education and globalisation have become more than buzz words; however, most people who come to important events such as BETT are engrossed into networking and academic administration. I want to see fellow academicians come together and understand the difference between being literate and being truly educated. And that too, in the global context. I want to see that instead of discussing the how of processes at schools and colleges, let's discuss what’s next in education.
2. What do you see as the biggest opportunities when it comes to igniting excitement in education or boosting motivation (student and/or educator perspective)?
We live in very exciting times. Finally, there is focus back on student, and student alone. Gone are the days when the ego and centricity of teacher was the "Holy Cow" of the education system.
Technology has made sure that a student, irrespective he or she is in a large global city or a remote town or village, has access to the best possible educational tools in the world. Now that, is exciting. Reimagining the trodden path, unlearning to relearn: that is motivating.
3. Who or what inspires you in education?
There are many who inspire when you look around. As cliché as it may sound, I have been most inspired by my late grandfather. A poet, philosopher and story teller, he educated himself in multiple languages. A progressive man, he had a keen eye on how education is not merely an extension of urbanism but a transition of life and culture itself.
4. How can social media be used to engage student learning?
Social media is all encompassing in the world. It's becoming more and more important tool for collaboration, discussion, and research. It's making communication easier, faster, better. Most importantly, it's given voice to a lot of people who didn't have a voice.
I strongly believe education is no longer restricted to information sharing. It's not even about analysis, but more about point of view and progression. So, what social media has done is given the information gathering and even analysis and opinion sourcing power in the hands of the student. And this enables them to go beyond the realm of grades and assignments. Also, ease of use and familiarity ensures that the student learns what they like doing. I strongly feel that if a student doesn't understand what's been taught by the teacher, it's the teacher who needs to learn the language which will help student learn. Social media is that language that helps students connect to. Collaborative projects engage students for the long run.
5. Why do you think it’s important for schools to think education first, rather than tech?
Technology is the tool, the enabler for making optimal education happen. Who is learned? A person who can make any kind of transaction-be it business or emotional transaction -happen in a win/win situation for one and all. And, this would need critical thinking skills. Tech can be the enabler of the thought; the thought cannot be enabled via tech!
6. Why is Bett Middle East so important for educational transformation in the MENA region?
Bett Middle East gives an avenue to understand the situation in the region, and help key decision makers come together. For the longest time, there has been a question mark on methods and practices of the MENA region in terms of education and management. Now, the advent of technology has ensured that there is equivalent exposure for the twain of the advanced and upcoming world meet. This is why BETT is a wonderful platform for worlds to meet.