Abhay Gurkhi, a 12th standard student from R.N. Poddar School, Mumbai is extremely pleased with the flipped learning concept that has been introduced in his school a few years back. Gurkhi, who had missed his lessons for certain medical reasons said, “I couldn’t cope with what was happening in class because there were lot of backlogs. But videos available as part of flipped learning was what helped me as I could use them and understand what I missed and consequently follow the lessons in class.” Textbook teaching and learning is becoming old school. From calculators to computers in classrooms, we see fundamental changes coming over.
From rote to tech-learning
Rote learning is learning or memorizing technique by repetition. Rote learning is an integral part of traditional classrooms, where teachers explained a lesson, drew figures on blackboard, and used colourful illustrations on chart papers to teach a subject. Today, with the penetration of technology there is a change in teaching-learning process. The schools are gradually inching towards tech-based education system, endeavouring to do away with rote learning method
Narendra Kumar Ojha
Director Symbiosis International School, Pune
Technology has changed the style of teaching in the classroom. Now we have smart boards, we have got LCD screens, projectors and various applications used for teaching. Digital classrooms are the need of the hour. They are going to be there and digital classes will be there
Evolution of tech in schools
Technology came into schools when microcomputers were invented. A number of tasks like access to information, information storage, transforming classroom lectures into an interactive session have become automated with the help of technology. The shift from passive learning and pre-defined norms of teaching to tech-based education is clearly evident with the advent of smart boards and applications of technology in schools. Priyanka Bhatkoti, Principal of Maxfort School, New Delhi highlights how technology has evolved in school education. “The first game changer was inroad of computers. Initially it came as a subject, but with advent of Internet it has become a source of knowledge dissemination, record keeping and the most efficient channel of communication nowadays.
Digital learning is a type of learning facilitated by technology. Digital learning is a blend of audio-visual aids used to instruct pupils. It can be e-learning also, where e-books are used. In digital learning, Skype, webinars etc. are used as modes and tools in teaching- learning process. “Digital learning is learning by using technology beyond the walls of a classroom. Internet and a proliferation of Internet access devices have given students the ability to learn anywhere and everywhere. Digital learning involves combination of technology, digital content and instruction,” says Neelu Lamba, Principal of Hiranandani Foundation School, Thane.
A flipped classroom is totally opposite to teaching which takes place in a traditional classroom. Another student of R. N. Poddar, Avirath Parekh said flipped classroom is a very reputed way of learning and it’s been implemented in various universities abroad like Standford and Oxford. “In the flipped model, a concept is introduced to us in the form of a video, which we watch at home, prepare and the classroom hours are devoted for interaction and discussions. A flipped classroom allows learning to be self-directed, self-paced, personalized, and customized.” Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane has flipped classrooms.
Impact of technology
Technology and its application is slowly replacing textbooks with laptops, computers and iPads in schools. For example in IB programme, certain subjects are taught online and the answer scripts are e-evaluated. According to Vinod Singh, Head of the school, TRIO World Academy, “Technology has a positive impact in the learning process when used responsibly and used to complement the learning process. Teachers are encouraged to use the overhead projectors as well as the iPads that the school provides as part of its iPad programme. By the implementation of iPad learning programme in the Middle School, the classroom brings education to life. Children have endless access to valuable information such as a dictionary and thesaurus, which previously were only available in printed format. The main advantage of everyone having an iPad has been the improvement in communication between teachers and students.”
The usage of innovative techniques of teaching has facilitated students’ academic performance as it caters to involvement of various faculties leading to better retrieval of content, development of photographic memory and retention and classification of information. It has increased classroom participation. Documents can be emailed straight to students during a class. It has also eliminated space and time constraints. However, everything has uses and misuses. At a school level, the challenge which teachers face is handling classroom distractions with the use of technical tools and social networking sites. If not used with proper policy in place it can lead to cyber bullying as well. It can also adversely affect writing skills of students.
Teacher Vs Tech
What is the role of a teacher in a classroom? A teacher plays a crucial role in the development of students. A teacher instruct students, prepare lessons, grade papers, manage behaviour of students, assess and evaluate students’ progress in class, conduct classroom activities, meet parents etc. Now what is the role of technology in class? With the integration of technology in classrooms, it has enhanced facilitation of information and knowledge to students. Thus, technology in school education system has given an opportunity to teachers and pupils to explore new methods of teaching and learning, respectively.
Tech-enabled learning is not a substitute for teachers
Technology is an enabler in learning. It’s never a substitute of a teacher. The fact is that the 21st century child is a digital native while all of us 20th century educators are digital migrants. So at the macro-level, we believe technology is an enabler. We also understand that the teaching faculty is something we need to work on. So there are many ongoing workshops on tech for the staff.
We are a Wifi enabled campus. You must have good infrastructure to back it all. Our labs are all Apple-based and we have moved to e-library. We use a lot of open source like Koha, which is a software for library, considered as amongst the best in the world but yet it is an open and free source.
We use technology to conduct online workshops for critical thinking skills for students, parents. Research, which is an ingrained aspect of an IB programme, for the higher grades cannot be done without technology. All the examination papers are also e-evaluated. So, you just have to live with technology and recognize what is necessary. You can’t escape it. If you want to move with learning patterns and styles of a child, that’s the way forward.
Tech is only getting miniaturized day by day, so we have to prove us faster. However, all this has to be done within cyber space, with safety in mind. Like you have etiquettes you have netiquettes. It must be within the safe environment that we create in the school.
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