Mayank Dhingra – Bridging The Digital Divide, One Student At A Time 

HP | Mayank Dhingra: Bridging The Digital Divide, One Student At A Time | The Enterprise World

As traditional classrooms blend with virtual spaces, and students become digital natives, the role of technology in education has never been more critical. Amidst this educational evolution, HP is championing digital equity offering a wide range of educational programs and driving positive change. 

To understand more, we caught up with Mayank Dhingra, Senior Education Business Leader for SEMA region at HP, who has been spearheading a multitude of novel education programs that intersect pedagogy and technology.

Tell us a bit more about HP and its sense of purpose.

HP is a technology company born of the belief that companies should aspire to more than just make a profit. They should strive to make the world a better place. Our commitment to sustainability, human rights, and digital equity exemplifies our unwavering dedication to this.   

With over 80 years of actions that back our intentions, we have the conviction to imagine a world in which innovation leads to remarkable contributions to humanity. Our technology, comprising a range of solutions and services spanning from commercial PCs, workstations, and peripherals to our sustainable printing solutions has been meticulously designed to enable such meaningful advancements.

We know that thoughtful ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time. And all it takes is one to change the world.

That sounds wonderful. How does HP embody this philosophy from an Education perspective.

HP has an unwavering commitment to Education and Digital Equity. We set ourselves two audacious goals related to education which act as our North Stars. The first one was to enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025, and I am delighted to report that we achieved this milestone two years ahead of schedule. We also pledged to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030 and have set in motion a range of activities and programs to achieve this objective.

What are the changes you have seen in the Education Sector in the last few years?

The pandemic had a tangible impact on Education, a sector that is going through a period of ‘creative destruction’ or what is termed as ‘Schumpeter’s Gale’ by economists. Education is being assailed by formidable external and internal forces that are driving innovation forward.

The effect can be demarked into two separate categories.

Enhancing the current model:

The initial effect has been to expedite developments which were in the peripheral vision of educators but hadn’t managed to become mainstream despite the known benefits. This will however not shift the present matrix of education; it will only make the current pedagogical processes more digital and less friction filled. Admittedly, there will be the welcome transfer of some ownership of the education journey onto the student, but the fundamental building blocks won’t be drastically altered.

Creating a new model:

The second phase of innovations will however transmute the landscape of the sector. The current mechanics of the exchange of knowledge – the mediums of transfer, relationship longevity and dynamics between acquirer and provider, the role and nature of credentialing authorities – will all undergo massive change.

You spoke about the changes afoot in the industry. One of oft repeated phrases we hear in new-age education is ‘blended learning’. Could you explain your understanding of this phenomena to us?

Hybrid learning is the intertwining of pedagogy with technology hardware and educational software to create more impactful outcomes for learners. It is now truly becoming centre stage in the classroom and addressing the needs of the constituents of the digital class – Student, Teacher and the IT arm of institution.

The prerequisite for this blended learning model, a mix of in the classroom and remote teaching, to be able to move forward from the starting line, is for every student and educator to have access to a personal computing device. There has been a surge for demand in hardware from the education sector as a result.

Pedagogy e-solutions – either as standalone software’s or as an integral part of a robust Learning Management System – are capable of assisting every classroom function from lesson planning to attendance management. The Brick & Mortar school can now truly transition to a Bytes & Pixelenvironment. 

The pandemic enforced the digitization of learning pathways. Hybrid Learning was an oft repeated term but rarely adopted in practise. That has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. The amalgamation of the above components is creating fertile ground for hybrid learning to blossom. And for teachers to transition from being ‘Sages on the Stage’ to ‘Wizards of the Web’.

What are the programs and solutions HP has brought forward to support the education sector through its current journey of transformation?

HP has a range of educational solutions to help accelerate digital literacy, build capacity and equip students with future-proof skills. 

Within the classroom, our solutions such as HP Classeasy, HP Classroom Manager and Reinvent the Classroom are helping create digital pathways, enabling governance and modelling new classroom environments for better collaboration and learning outcomes.

HP IDEA (HP Innovation and Digital Education Academy), a yearlong program for educators is helping foster digital skills and an innovation mindset. Similarly, the HP-Cambridge Partnership for Education EdTech Fellowship takes policymakers on an intensive journey to support them in driving impactful national education transformation programs.

And our programs such as HP LIFE and HP Gaming Garage are equipping students with future skills from entrepreneurship to game design.

These are just a few examples but we have an even wider range of programs in our portfolio.

HP IDEA sounds like a very stimulating program which is at the right place at the right time. Tell us more about it.

The HP IDEA was launched during the pandemic to support teachers whose roles had radically changed in the remote and hybrid learning environment, where they were expected to embrace technology and keep the academic year alive, while achieving the same outcomes that were planned in the traditional brick and mortar classroom. 

The program helped them in bridging this gap by bringing in frameworks developed by Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero and University of Michigan’s School of Education. In addition the program is aligned to the education goals set out by UNSDG & OECD.

HP IDEA is now run in over 20 countries in EMEA in 7 languages and positively impacts nearly 40,000 teachers and 900,000 students.

It was gratifying to hear about the impact HP IDEA is driving across EMEA. What are the new programs that you are most excited about?

I’m particularly excited about two recent initiatives: HP Futures and HP Gaming Garage. Earlier this year, we unveiled HP Futures in partnership with the Global Learning Council (GLC). 

HP Futures aims to convene 100 thought leaders in education from around the world, representing a diverse mix of public and private sectors, to engage in discussions on five pertinent topics. The councils will meet at a regular cadence over the next year and the outcome of which will be to publish a report built around their experiences and contributions to driving education advancement, with recommendations and actions for driving systemic change. 

Through HP Gaming Garage, we introduced three courses available in multiple languages, encompassing a total of 67 modules. These courses provide students with valuable skill development opportunities in Esports Management, Game Design, and Programming, all at no cost. Crafted to equip students for careers in the gaming, media, and information and communication technology (ICT) industries, these courses are accessible on the edX platform. Upon successful completion, learners receive a certificate of achievement to support them in their career aspirations. 

What has personally been one of the most fulfilling moments for you?

I recently returned from the residency week of the HP Cambridge EdTech Fellowship hosted at the history and heritage infused Trinity Hall. Senior Policy Makers from 13 countries in Sub Saharan Africa, responsible for driving digital transformation in the education sector in their countries, are represented in that cohort.

The overwhelming positive feedback I received from them on how the program is supporting them in developing their strategies and thinking, was perhaps one of my most fulfilling moments at HP. Integrating our goal to accelerate digital equity for 150 million students by 2030 with the systemic change these policy makers are driving gave me a personal sense of purpose and contentment that is difficult to capture in words.

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