Trendspotting: Why Things Matter, a collaboration between the India Habitat Centre and Hearth Advisors, presents discussions about an evolving future. The series will connect the frontiers of academia, research, societal concerns, technology and evolving thought with issues that matter to people’s lives. Discover insights and predictions to be prepared for a thriving tomorrow by breaking down silos between education, employability, research, technology, and sustainability.

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26 September 2023 (Tuesday), 7pm

Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

“Ed-Tech: The Revolution That Is Always Arriving Yet Never Arrives”

Ignoring the growing number of ed-tech start-ups that have faltered is nearly impossible. India is ed-tech’s second-largest market globally, and the middle class is drawn in by the allure of a new, technologically-driven education that replaces an ‘obsolete’ traditional education system. However, the critical question arises: Is ed-tech a thoroughly evaluated and impactful method of learning, or is it merely a well-oiled marketing machine that perpetually defers the dreams of ambitious parents to the next big invention? The panellists embark on a journey to explore and dissect the enduring promise that ed-tech is on a mission to replace traditional education as we know it.


Shikhar Malhotra (Trustee, Shiv Nadar Foundation, Director, HCL Tech, Chairman, Shiv Nadar Schools & Chancellor Shiv Nadar University IOE)

Sabina Dewan (President, JustJobs Network)

Dr Anupama Mallik (CEO and Managing Director, Vizara Technologies, an IIT Delhi startup)

Dr Jagjit Kaur (Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Digitisation, AI and Society, Ashoka University)


Shashank Vira (Managing Director, Hearth Advisors Group, & Global Advisor to Cambridge University’s Digital Education Futures Initiative)


The United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the right to education urged the global community to frame digital technology around every person’s human right to public, free, quality education (April 2022). The realm of education has been inundated with promises of transformative change through integrating educational technology, or ‘Ed Tech’. As we navigate the unprecedented acceleration in technology and as countries endeavour to identify the optimal entry and investment points in Ed Tech to leapfrog over continuing challenges to respective national education systems, questions abound regarding its appropriateness, relevance, and cost-benefit. Has Ed Tech lived up to the hype, or is the long-awaited technological breakthrough still around the corner, as always, almost attainable but not quite there? The significance of equipping learners with technological skills to thrive in a world propelled by an excessive rapidity of social change cannot be overstated. However, there is a distinction between learning technology and learning through technology. What concrete and unbiased evidence supports the notion that learning through technology is imperative for students? What educational challenges are we striving to address, and is Ed-Tech the ideal tool for solving these challenges?


The Ed-Tech landscape underwent a seismic shift due to the pandemic, bringing it to the forefront of global and national education policy discourses. Was this an emergency necessitated makeshift, or would traditional educational methods and the role of educators never be the same again? Despite the proliferation of remote learning, the pandemic exposed staggering learning losses and a decline in the socio-emotional well-being of students. This raises critical questions about Ed-Tech’s promise of democratising and personalising education.


In this comprehensive exploration of Ed Tech, our panellists endeavour to shed light on these multifaceted questions, aiming to unravel the paradoxes surrounding technology integration in education and raise questions for our audience to reflect on a more informed path forward.


Download or read an annotated bibliography for more details