The use of AV in the classroom

LCD monitor in each classroom but do costs outweigh the benefits, wonders Ian Chambers

I have been constantly struck by the willingness of Indian schools to use AV in the classroom. This is an encouraging sign as technology is always a useful teaching tool. Presentations can really bring a subject to life and the use of interactive whiteboards means that those precious notes which the class gathers on the board can now be saved and handed out. As a teacher, I have used AV in my classroom — to look at up-to-date information on websites, to introduce concepts in new ways, and even to play games. 

However, it must be underlined that AV is only a tool to facilitate learning and it is not the objective of the teacher to cram as much technology into a lesson as possible. Like a textbook, a flashcard, a newspaper or a particular apparatus, technology should be used where it fits well. It should enhance the lesson rather than lead it. A great number of schools in India proudly claim to have an LCD monitor in each classroom and I often wonder if the cost outweighs the benefits. After all, investment in the professional development of teachers is typically low across India — and without adequate training, the use of AV becomes questionable.

Many schools have a resource room where AV is prepared so that it can be simultaneously beamed to classrooms. This initiative to lessen the workload of teachers, especially the less tech-savvy, is commendable. At the same time, I believe that teachers should have full ownership of the lesson and providing an AV blueprint is not always the right solution.

This brings me onto the subject of eLearning. The Cambridge International Curriculum stresses the importance of autonomous learning and independent research —  and this inevitably leans towards technology. There is a seemingly limitless wealth of materials available on the internet but finding the right websites with the right materials pitched to the right level can be tricky. Teachers do not always know which websites their students are using for research, and this makes their job more difficult. Teachers need to be able to help students navigate and choose the correct information from the mass that is now open to access online.

It is clear that technology is and should be an integral part of the classroom. The critical discussion from this point is how we should manage it effectively.

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