The IT bug bites educational institutes

Last Updated 10 November 2010, 10:40 IST

For a 16-something Shilpa Bhardwaj, the use of technology in classrooms comes as a boon as it extends her imagination to the maximum. Admitting that it has benefitted her to an extent in coping with her subjects, she termed technology as “a need for tomorrow.” This Class 10 student of Delhi Public School is all praise for technology and said that with the help of technology, things seem a lot more easier.

Echoing similar views, many more students like her said that they have indeed benefited with the wonders of technology. Be it multimedia for lower classes, learning through ipods and games, Math-lab, recorded lessons posted on the server for the absentees, online examinations... You name it and educational institutions have it.

Interactive learning

In this technological era, it hardly comes as a surprise to see schools and colleges using technology to enhance learning among students. What’s interesting are the different technological models used to explain complex concepts. And, as institutions put it, technology has made classroom learning more interactive.

Take DPS for example. It has introduced a wide array of technologies for students. To begin with, they have initiated Cisco Webex collaborative cloud where two-way interactive classes can be held from one room to other rooms in the school. Similarly, this can also be viewed by the students of other DPS branches located in different parts of the city. Further, recorded classes can also be posted on the server for the absentees. “Login and password would be given to parents. Since parents also teach their children at home, viewing recorded classes will give them an idea of the teaching methodology used in the school,” said Mr Mansoor Ali Khan, trustee, member of board, DPS.

Teaching goes techno

Smart Boards, a popular technology tool, is also used “smartly” in many educational institutes where they record and air news related to the school through smart boards. The entire school watches news on smart boards. In addition, it is used to explain concepts, documentaries and some interesting facts besides messages or greetings from the principal.

 “An experiment can be taught in the classroom as well as in the lab through smart boards. The one taught in the classroom will have a 3D effect. For subjects like history, if a teacher has to explain World War II, then he/she can show some interesting documents related to it. Once a student sees the picture, it will be retained in his/her memory for a long time. As they say, pictures speak better than words,” Mr Mansoor added.

Another novel concept used in most schools is the NIIT e-Guru Math Lab which enables students to learn mathematical concepts. Students can also verify mathematical facts and theorems using tools such as Geometer’s sketchpad. The lab is used mostly for students from Class 1 to 12.

Many schools have also introduced multimedia for lower classes. Principal of Bethany High School, Akash Ryall, said that multimedia gives in-depth information about the concept. “For example, if a child wants to know the functioning of the heart, it can be seen through this technology. Here, a student can see the size, shape, sound and colour of the heart. This is used for all the subjects up to Class 2,” he said, adding that it’s just an enhancement tool used after the teacher has explained the concept. Meanwhile, the school is considering several options for the middle and high schools too.

Complementary aids

This is not all, there are some schools which have embraced the latest technology through add-ons like ipod or games. But they say that internet and laptops take the top slot. At Indus International School, every student, from Class 6 onwards, has a laptop. Next year onwards, the school is planning to introduce laptops from Class 1 onwards.
“Laptops help in self-study and formative assessment. Teachers are responsible for 30% of learning such as introducing a topic, its relevance, values involved, etc. The idea is to make students more responsible for their learning. It serves as student- centric learning. Here, students become their own teachers,” said Lt. Gen Arjun Ray, CEO, Indus Group of Institutions. “Technology’s primary role is to enable student-centric learning. This kind of learning facilitates life-long learning,” he adds.

“However, ipods and games are encouraged for students to learn the lessons only. These add-ons are complementary aids of teaching and not substitutes,” the CEO added.
At Christ University, technology is used at three different levels: projectors and power points are used in classrooms which allow teachers to use visual aids to explain the concept. In another level, according to Anil Pinto, assistant professor, Department of English and Media Studies, staff can use laptops and they are financially supported by the university to a certain extent. “Further, institutes have introduced a technology called Moodle, an integral staff component. Through this technology, teachers can post their notes, lectures, conduct online examination and evaluation,” he said.

New-age tools

The professor also said that the introduction of online technology at individual level is the third step. “I have my own blog, where my students post notes. I also put my power point presentation, essays, syllabi, course plan and links on the blog. As of now, I have people from 78 countries as followers. I am also trying to use the Facebook but it is still at an early stage but blog has been a huge success. If a student misses a class, he/she can access the lecture, ask questions, which I answer regularly,” he added.

Inspired by the effectiveness of technology, Seshadripuram First Grade College, Yelahanaka, is planning to introduce active boards in the college from the next acad-emic year for all degree classes. The college feels that it will be mainly helpful for Science students.

 “These active boards are attached to laptops/ com-puters. Visual aids can be played in these active boards. Previous classes can also be recorded and viewed,” said Mr M Prakash, principal of the college. They also have a laboratory for B Com students.
Indeed, technology has made a lot of difference in the present education system, but the presence of a teacher in the classroom is what everyone votes for. The chorus heard is: “There is no substitute for teachers.”

Tech-trend in classrooms

*E-news letters,
*Online examination
*SMS alerts to parents and students on important issues
*Introduction of CCTVs
*GPS system in buses
*Taking exams and attendance on mobile phones

(Published 10 November 2010, 10:35 IST)

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