Time to learn, teachers!

Tech in the classroom
Last Updated 30 November 2011, 13:32 IST

Technology is the livewire that educators need to use in order to cater to the learning pace in schools today. Students of the new millennium, growing up with mobile phones, iPads, iPods and the Internet, are undoubtedly tech-savvy and have excellent navigation skills. They multi-task, have inquisitive minds, share learning experiences, and are team players and leaders, all at the same time. Teachers must, therefore, adapt to their needs, and identify new learning models that can engage students in a meaningful way in the classroom.

Hence, a multi-pronged approach is essential to realise the goals of this framework. This calls for serious deliberation on how to plan, implement and deliver it effectively. My perception of looking at technology as a tool for transforming vision into reality is focused on the four pillars of pedagogy — curriculum, learning environments, teaching strategies and assessments.

Keeping in line with the emerging trends of the 21st century education, Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), an initiative by the Central Board of Secondary Education, is a welcome measure. The paradigm shift in pedagogy, competencies and skills are evident in the new framework of education that is characterised by flexibility and experiential learning. Core curriculum is intricately woven with interdisciplinary subject approach to offer ample opportunities to engage learners in meaningful experiences.

As a tool for curriculum

Curriculum is the academic manual that defines the learning objectives to be achieved by learners within a specific time framework. Technology can be of great advantage not only to deliver the core content, but also to enhance learning through interactive activities on interdisciplinary themes. Technology as a tool can facilitate curriculum — the pivot of the education system.

For learning environments

Current trends in education, as projected through CCE, transform the pedagogy by a shift from “instructivist” to “constructivist” education philosophies — a move from teacher-centric to student-centric learning activities, from a focus on local resources to global resources.

Audio-visual aids, simulations, virtual media, multi-media and online resources can be used to create learning environments that engage learners in experimenting, exploring and applying skills of analysis, interpretation and synthesis to create new concepts and validate their experiences. Technology can help create environments that support differentiated teaching and learning.

For teaching strategies

Changes in the learning-related attitudes and values of today’s students call for the changing role of a teacher. The teacher, as a guide and mentor, is expected to be the facilitator in the learning process. Technology transforms the teacher from an authoritative knowledge expert into a facilitator.  The teacher has to be aware of the needs of her students, and know how to plan and deliver lessons as per curriculum and learning requirements. Technology can help the teacher to innovate ways to demonstrate concepts, assign projects, and assess progress.    

For assessments

CBSE Chairman, Vineet Joshi asserts that classroom assessment is a form of communication and should be seen as an integral part of learning and teaching.  Assessment can be diagnostic, formative or summative. The overall goal of assessment is to improve student learning.  Technology can facilitate the teacher to become an effective evaluator by continuously tracking the progress of every learner and that too through multiple ways.

For teacher development

Effective implementation of technology needs a strong support system, especially by way of intensive training programmes for all stake-holders to develop a positive outlook towards embracing technology into education. Professional training programmes on merging technology with education will help:

*Identify the particular learning styles, strengths and weaknesses of her students
*Illustrate how a deeper understanding of subject matter can enhance problem-solving, critical thinking and life skills
*Develop the teacher’s ability to use various strategies to reach diverse students

In school management

E-governance is gradually becoming the norm in every organisation. Technology has helped keep and maintain almost every aspect of administration and related functions and education institutions are no exception. An extensive range of ERP solutions, even customised ones, are available to reduce the work load of the administrative and support staff. 

The priority now is to tune teachers to the needs of the 21st century learner and equip them with employability skills for the global economy.

As educators, it is essential to understand how technology should be used in pedagogy. Technology, if used effectively, can be a magic wand in the hands of teachers for effective learning. The challenge, therefore, lies in planning strategies to integrate technology into our daily classroom routine.

(The author is Head of Academics, Next Education India, Hyderabad)

(Published 30 November 2011, 13:31 IST)

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