How can Technology, AI and Coding Skills help a woman gain leadership skills and confidence?

Gone are the days when women used to face challenges in terms of employment and equality as compared to men. Women of the 21st-century are now moving into paid employment outside the home – something that their grandmothers and mothers could only dream of. There is now an increased number of high-profile women executives in the industry. Women are becoming presidents of nations, going on space expeditions, acquiring high-profile jobs and whatnot. Women are also taking up jobs that used to be done only by men and are now more independent to make their choices and take decisions of their life.

 Despite the progress being made by women in the industry, it is even more important to motivate women to take up tech-related jobs and provide their contribution to the tech industry. Only 25% of all the IT jobs are held by women. And only 5% of tech leaders are women, which is significantly low. Not only their indulgence in the tech industry will bring an uprise in the sector, but tech-skills can also help women to gain leadership skills and confidence. Since childhood, girls are expected to show perfection and are not encouraged to learn from their failures. This instils a lack of confidence in them, which ultimately is a big blow to their budding leadership qualities.

In this ever-advancing generation, technology is not only helping mankind to thrive but also is motivating folks to take up good decisions and grow in their career. On the same page, technology, Artificial Intelligence and Coding can help a woman to handle their failure, inherit confidence and leadership skills and make this world a better place to live.

Here are some ways how technology can help a woman gain leadership skills and boost confidence –

  • Teaches how to handle failure –

When you learn/start coding, you experience a lot of bugs and glitches in your code. Many a time, you run out of patience and are not able to solve the task/project being assigned to you. Coding is an art, which helps you become resilient. In the technological sector, you have to work on design cycles – which again is a process requiring intelligence and resilience. The industry expectations remain the same for all the genders, and it only cares about the timely completion of the project. This notion helps women to work with dignity and they feel motivated and confidence as there are no gender-specific expectations.

  • Brings perseverance and audacity.

Working with technology and coding related jobs makes the professionals perseverant. Starting a career in the tech industry requires a willingness to take risks, be curious and put maximum efforts. As you keep on thinking out-of-the-box, you look for more ways to reach your full potential, and eventually as you grow, you learn to deal with a lot of people. This directly works on leadership skills.

  • Critical Thinking

Learning to code and working with technology helps improve critical thinking skills. A good leader is one who can foresee potential problems even before they happen. Anticipating results and situations is a quality of a leader and is especially important in mitigation.

  • Taking Initiative

Stepping out of comfort zones and challenging yourself to improve is something quite common in the tech field. You learn how to volunteer to take on more initiatives at your current position, which ultimately takes you to higher positions.

Though technology, coding and artificial intelligence have an enormous scope in terms of job opportunities, it is even important becoming a part of the global disruption as coding can be used to enhance 21st-century skills like Logical thinking, creativity, computational thinking etc. Women should also adopt learning and acquiring technical skills to set new benchmarks in the industry. As it is rightly said by Steve Jobs, “Everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think”.

How the rise in the uncertainty of Class 12th examinations affects students’ mental health in this pandemic

The second wave of the pandemic has again brought clouds of uncertainties over the Class 12th examinations. The board examinations of Class 12th hold an important value for a child as after completing their Class 12th, the students have to choose the right career path for themselves. They have to appear in many competitive examinations as well, where the marks secured in the board examination are also taken into consideration, like Delhi University, where you get admission in the UG courses based upon the merit achieved in Class 12th examinations. Delay and uncertainties in the examination is developing a sense of insecurity and anxiety among students, as they too want to complete their examinations successfully and look ahead towards their future. The mental status of a child is affected if he/she is put under tremendous pressure conditions. Many other countries are now looking for alternate ways to have the examinations conducted, so that the students are free from mental pressure and take a sigh of relief. The students who might have scored good marks in their pre-board examinations, must be looking forward to score even better in their board examinations. The students who have scored relatively low in their pre-boards must be acing up their preparation to get a good result in their final examinations. The government should now take an action to get the examinations completed for Class 12th, so that students can overcome their sense of insecurities in terms of their career.

Tech Trends to Watch in 2021

Despite the unprecedented challenges put forward by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is inevitable to see how every aspect of our lives has been transformed amidst the digital disruption. The year 2020 has brought significant progress in FinTech, IT Sector and the way education is being imparted. There has been a tremendous acceleration in the use of technology to amplify the student’s learning experience, which makes edtech sector a good place to jump over and provide an impactful experience to all the students globally.

As per DataLabs analysis by Inc42, the total valuation of ed-tech startups is estimated to be worth $1.3 Bn by 2021.

Tech trends to watch in 2021

Virtual Learning: The paradigm shift observed in the education system from traditional classrooms to online learning methods is being accepted by a majority of parents, teachers and students. This learning is not only restricted to academics, but also other important and crucial skills like coding, project-based learning, virtual labs etc. All such platforms have ensured the involvement of students in positive learning and exploring new methods for recreation.

Gamification: Enhancing the experience of learning is the foundation for the existence of edtechs. As technology continues to advance more aggressively than ever, it has become a matter of concern to keep the student’s engagement intact. Thus, the adoption of gamification technology will be a more viable option to involve students in learning and enhance the experience. This can be possible by replacing usual toys with DIY Kits and involving high-end graphics in the platforms being used by students for learning online.

Experiential Learning: Learning by doing is a popular concept, where students can understand the subject more immersively and can connect with real-life. Use of DIY Kits, STEAM methodology and Robotics in imparting education may witness an exponential rise in the upcoming year.

The introduction of NEP 2020 will also play a significant role in channelizing focus towards EdTech, as it promises to deliver informal education, vocational skills, or technology-based educational courses as an additional tool to formal education.

Why STEAM practices are useful for innovation?

Right from the invention of the Wheel, Man has been continuously thriving. The thirst for development and upliftment of technology has never been stopped, and mankind continues to flourish through the advancement in technologies. Our educational system is tasked with preparing the next-gen leaders to succeed in life. But somewhere, we are failing in incorporating critical-thinking skills and an innovative mindset in our children.

STEAM Education is an interdisciplinary fusion of multiple fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) that aims to strengthen the core skills of the students and help them recognize their inner potential. The number of schools incorporating STEAM principles has increased exponentially in the past few years. According to a joint survey conducted by NITI Aayog and AIM, more than 6 million students have access to STEAM education facilities in their schools in India alone.

STEAM Education is recognized by various scientists, researchers, and Educationalists as a more complete model of the education system, providing a holistic development of 21st Century skills. It is an interdisciplinary approach, leading students to adapt to a rapidly changing social and professional environment. STEAM Education supports students to understand the fundamental laws of nature in a multi-disciplined way, transforming the mind of the student in the form of centralized innovation, and fostering their ability to solve problems. It gives students the right tools and approaches to explore new and creative ways of problem-solving, tinkering, pattern recognitions, and adjoining multiple domains.

STEAM Education is mainly based on activity-based and project-based learning as the main mentoring approach to make students understand team-working skills, accomplishing realistic goals, and solve problems encountered in life. STEAM Education is not only enhancing the 21st-century skills of a child, but also bridging the gap between the existing knowledge and skills and the requirement of digital skills like Innovative mindset, creativity skills, problem-solving skills, etc., boosting the students’ competitive nature.

STEAM education when unfolded, explains a relationship with multi-disciplinary fields – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. In STEAM education, science enables people to understand the fundamental laws of nature, comprising of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology primarily. Engineering and technology are the tools to transform an idea that can be leveraged by the society as an asset. Wherein art helps to portray your innovations and imaginations in a presentable form. Mathematics is useful in preparing analytical models, followed by a structured approach. All these parameters are the essence of Innovation and Creativity. With all these tools we can engage more deeply in research and development. We can focus on how to form an analogy using the interdisciplinary knowledge and link it to explore the application in the real world. STEAM education is a medium to adopt an interdisciplinary fusion of learning to solve practical problems.

According to PWC’s Innovation Benchmark 2017, 54% of innovating companies struggle to bridge the gap between innovation strategy and business strategy. This is the reason why big giants like Cisco, PepsiCo, Microsoft, and Google are owning initiatives to encourage STEAM education and skills development globally. In a survey conducted by the Education Commission of the States, STEAM jobs are likely to grow up by 13%, whereas all the other jobs will grow only by 9%. The hike is certain because many industries are embracing the concept of STEAM education and the need for innovative programs is rapidly increasing. The industries are focusing on long-term strategies, by hiring candidates with potential STEAM skills, which is far better than training and educating the workforce on occupation-specific skills.

 In this rapidly changing world, we need more innovators, tinkerers, and creators to provide sustainable development and better future alternatives. STEAM education is a proven model of accelerating the mindset right in the direction of crucial skills like Logical thinking, Computational thinking, Analytical skills, Critical thinking, and Creativity. All these skills put together will lead towards an innovative mindset, which will help students to have a better understanding of past and present cultures and aesthetics, moral values, and human nature, which in turn lead to progressive social development also. STEAM education teaching is not to impart content-based knowledge, but to develop students’ problem-solving ability and looking up for innovative solutions as an end goal.

Why Coding should be inculcated in children at a young age like a hobby for increasing analytical skills & understanding of a complex subject?

The main role of the educational system is to prepare children for future challenges, make them responsible human beings and teach them to be productive citizens of society. With rapid technological advancements, it has become mandatory to equip the students with the skills and knowledge needed for them to sustain and excel in the futuristic jobs accelerated by these advancements. Recently, the Education Ministry has introduced the New Education Policy (NEP) where coding is being introduced from class 6 as a 21st-century vocational skill. This integration is a very calculated step as the need for analytical skills, creativity, logical thinking etc is increasing exponentially. The introduction of coding and increasing exposure to technology at a young age will expand the horizons for the youth, as they will be able to explore a new world of innovation and creativity.

Coding: Basic literacy in the digital age

Over the years, the definition of literacy has changed significantly. Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. In the 21st-century, literacy is being defined as the ability to program and work with computers. In this world of Artificial Intelligence and Automation, the nature of jobs will be completely changed. The machines and robots will be doing most of the work, and we humans will be optimizing, instructing and moderating their work. This paradigm shift is happening mainly because of the digitalization. According to data provided by the World Advertising Research Centre, around 2 billion people currently access the internet via their smartphone alone. These figures indicate the increasing use of internet and technology. With this ever-rising usage of internet, technology, more companies are coming into action providing services and products to enhance the user experience, which is a reason why there is an upsurge in coding based jobs, as compared to the other jobs. According to a report by the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), beginning from next year, the tech industry will add another three million jobs in the upcoming years, which will result to the size of 7 million tech-professionals by 2023.

Learn through coding – A global phenomenon

Coding is a proven tool to enhance 21st-Century skills like Logical Thinking, Creativity, Analytical skills, Computational Thinking etc. Understanding computers and learning the basics of coding helps children develop a comprehensive understanding of how things work. Critical thinking, a fancy way of saying good thinking, is a skill that can be developed with the help of coding. With the help of block-based programming, kids can understand the cause and effect relationships and can explore a whole different list of options. Creativity, the most sought skill of the 21st-century, is also a skill that can be developed with coding. One of the key processes in creativity is experimentation. With coding platforms, students can communicate their thoughts on the canvas, and experiment with the different tools to achieve the best output. The purpose of introducing coding at an early age is not to make future techpreneurs and software engineers. Coding is a medium for students to understand the underlying concepts of science and mathematics as they continue to build solutions inspired by their surroundings. Coding also involves understanding and application of mathematics, which boosts our performance in academics and increases our analytical skills. While learning to code, students utilise different skills like pattern recognition, sequencing etc to solve complex problems. This is the reason why coding is being introduced as a vocational subject because the students will be able to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom and see the practical implication of it. This will also help realise the importance of experiential learning in schools. The world needs more problem-solvers and innovators than consumers. The ability to solve problems is a trait that would be required in the years to come. Coding, as being introduced at an early age, will help identify the round-pegs in the square holes, and motivate students to become thinkers and tinkerers. This will help our youth to be prepared for any challenges and adversities they might face in the future.

How can coding platforms assist government school students in learning vocational programmes?

Although Coding and Computer Programming was once considered as a skill reserved for tech-savvy and computer geeks, it has now emerged as one of the crucial tools for the development of overall personality and 21st-century skills among students. Coding has now become an integral part of learning at the school level. Under NEP 2020, Coding has been mandated from grade 6 onward, considering and realizing the necessity of the same in this competitive world. Coding is now being realized as a mindset, rather than a subject. The sudden emergence of coding as a learning tool is a consequence of innumerous technological developments that have taken place in the past few decades.

Understanding the demand for coding and related platforms, it is now being adopted by a majority of students across the globe. Yes, coding is a well-known concept in economically sound countries like the USA, UK, Canada and many more. Talking about India, students coming from metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai have easy access to all the learning resources, but the students belonging to aspirational sections of society face hindrances in having access to quality learning tools and platforms. It is high time where coding platforms should be taking initiatives to set a path for government schools belonging to developing and underdeveloped cities to be able to have access to digital learning platforms.

Coding platforms and organizations should come up with initiatives where student from underprivileged sections can also have access to coding. Here are some ways in which government schools can be assisted in learning vocational programmes –

  • Specialized campaigns

Coding platforms should come up with some specialized campaigns that aim at the reinforcement of vocational programmes in government schools. One such campaign is launched by Tinker Coders – Online Coding & Experiential Learning Platform, called as De<Code> the Future campaign. The campaign aims at providing free courses to students coming from underprivileged sections of society. Such campaigns will not benefit the end users, i.e students but also create awareness around the development of educational resources being provided to government schools.

  • Collaboration with NGOs

Coding platforms can collaborate with NGOs working around the welfare of child development, and can also tie-up with big corporations, utilizing CSR funds for providing exposure to digital learning platforms to students from aspirational sections of society and government schools in remote areas.

  • Providing competitive opportunities

Competitions focusing on key 21st-century skills like Creativity, Critical thinking, Problem-solving skills etc are great ways to engage students and provide them an opportunity to showcase their mettle. It also helps the students have a sense of motivation and boost their confidence to explore more about vocational programmes.

The government and education ministry are leaving no stone unturned in the development of educational infrastructure and providing quality resources to students coming from developing and underdeveloped regions. Coding has also been introduced at the primary school level considering the importance of the same. But due to lack of proper resources, not all the students are able to have access of it. There are many challenges that are faced by students coming from such areas. For example, Language barrier is a major issue in a country like ours. There are 21 regional languages that are spoken in different parts of the country. And English language is used as the medium for instruction of such programs. Therefore, the coding platforms should work around providing courses in regional languages to the students in various parts of the country. This will broaden the reach of coding platforms, helping them to cover a larger number of students across the country. The second big challenge that comes is restrictions on students to stay at homes due to the spread of Corona virus. This can be tackled by providing mobile friendly courses, so that students are do not have availability of computers or laptops at their homes can easily access coding courses. This challenge can be further overcome when the schools will reopen, and students will be able to join the regular classes. The students can then learn coding at the computer labs, or in the Atal Tinkering labs, which has access to Internet as well as computers/laptops.

Following all these steps can certainly help coding platforms to provide ample opportunities to all the students. The development of educational infrastructure should be at the grass-roots level, which will definitely add value towards the empowerment of the youth of our country.