Using Technology in Classroom: Why and How? A School Leader's Opinion
‘Technology’ is a big word that came into existence ever since the human beings discovered ‘fire’.
‘What is technology?’ — It is the collection of techniques, skills and methods used in the production of goods. And when we talk about technology in schools, the thing that comes to our mind is laptops, computers, iPads, smart classes etc.
We say we are turning digital. Various workshops are being organized for the teachers in schools on digitalization. How far and how long do we benefit from it?
A question quite often comes to mind, Is it worth using technology in our schools? Or should we go with age old method where all the students in a classroom are sitting in a set pattern facing the teacher standing in front and actually spoon feeding the learner? This is not the requirement of the present world today. If our children have to excel in the fast changing global society, we must harness them with the latest technological resources.
We think we are doing a good job by uploading modules on smart classes, getting the children learn the same details. Actually, we are not changing with the changing world by sticking on to the prescribed curriculum and not being different to what is the need of the time.
But if I put a question, ‘What is the need of incorporating technology in the schools? ' the answer to this may be –
It prepares the student for future:
A change should always be welcomed
Brings newness in the teaching – learning process
Supports changes in the school structure
Prepares the future digital citizens
Adds variety to the teaching process
Provides a child with the digital wisdom
It’s the right time to switch over to the latest technologies that are taking a lead in the world. Thus making our own schools involved with these technologies is the need of the hour, and making each child benefitted and be trained as a global citizen.
One such new technology is ‘CLOUD GRANNIES’. We all use Skype, an effective way of using in the school is through Cloud Grannies, which is a collaborative approach to learning. We take the help of retired professionals mentoring groups of children exchanging thoughts over various topics via skype. This really helps to break the monotonous classroom teaching.
Another one is ‘FLASHNOTES’ – it allows the student to upload their notes and sell them to other students in need.
One more popular technology that I would like to share is ‘FLIPPED CLASSROOMS’ that are very much accepted in the US and now in the UK too. Some of the Indian schools are getting the benefit of the Flipped Classroom strategy, where the teacher in the evening or when on leave can record his lecture or the main points to be taught and can send online through the web portal or on YouTube. The children need to go through the online lesson at their own pace whenever he is free. The next day, the teacher simply recapitulate whatever has been seen by the students. This way, the child develops interest, is more enthusiastic in doing experiential learning, takes part in the discussion in the class, becomes more interactive, develops listening skills and it also saves class time. And on the other hand, with this technology, teachers turn guides become facilitators and thus spoon feeding is discouraged. this also stresses upon that adult intervention is a necessity and not a luxury. Some such flipped classes include Khan Academy, Byju's and various other lectures on YouTube.
In future, teaching and learning is going to be social. What is the future of technology? Is it the iPad? No, for me, it is not one specific device. It is about access, anywhere learning and collaboration, both locally and globally students can connect to each other not only across the country but also across the world. Things have already started to move this way with the emergence of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course).
Schools will only need one major thing to be prepared for future - it is not the software, servers, but a fast robust internet connection.
About the author:
Ranju Malhotra is an academic co-ordinator at Jodhamal Public School, Jammu. She started her career as a CCA Co-ordinator thus managing various seminars, workshops and activities at state level as well as national level. With a decade long experience, had also conducted workshops on English Language with teachers and believes in building profile by going through various online courses by British Council on Effective Teaching and Exploring the world of English Language Teaching. She is also heading the Trinity College London Exam in Jammu.