As I watched a nine-year-old child stand up in front of the class and present his own animated version of the fable ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’, It wasn’t only the smart board or tech-proficiency of the girl that fascinated me –there was also an awe as to How a teacher uses smart board to entice students to be ‘part of the show, ’how the teachers and students had embraced this technology and used it to push the boundaries of pedagogy, determined to instill a love of learning. 

In 2014, schools exist in a world radically different from the world that existed when the system of schooling currently in place was invented. The lens through which they look at the world is different than the lens I grew up looking through. It’s more expansive. Since teenagers are particularly peer oriented it is no surprise that they make abundant use of social networking and other Web applications that involve participation and collaboration. Technology’s role in the lives of students has been widely debated but the fact is that the overall benefits of using social media far outweigh the detriments. So now the key question for us was: Can we take a full measure of benefit from these resources to make our schools work better for our children? We decided to face the challenge in securing a full measure of benefit from the incredible opportunities that digital media provides for creating relevant and vibrant learning environments in our school. They have been attuned to expect their next assignment on Face Book. Boy! The things have changed for our younger generation.

A broad range of our school activities are supported by information technologies (IT) like, Teaching and learning in classrooms using interactive digital whiteboards, screens-projectors and computers in the classrooms, global exposure through video-conferencing, e-projects, Communication to teachers, students and parents (for example, using email, SMS, Messaging or the announcements functions of learning management systems), Simulations and knowledge-building activities by using World Wide Web’s functionality, Mailed content provision (for example, Resource materials accessible over e-mails), the voting software that supports ‘clickers’, which are devices designed to allow students to anonymously answer multiple-choice questions during conceptual discussions and gain instant feedback on their own response in relation to their classmates. Teachers create and upload videos to YouTube for classroom use. Dictionaries, virtual libraries and electronic books can all be pulled on to the screen in a multimedia classroom. 

Multimedia classrooms provide a combination of visual as well as audio stimulation that greatly enhance the learning experience. Teachers even encourage the students to make power-point presentations and short films on social issues or concerns around the lives of students like bullying, road-safety or cleanliness etc. It has had a great result. We cannot prevent the children from media exposure and usage, however, gradually; they are realizing the other constructive importance and usage of technology and social media. It has certainly added value to education.

More advanced technology is fundamentally changing our relationship to information. Children are now surrounded by answers, with Google, Yahoo and others all retrieval systems for that information. The educational value, however, lies in guiding children to ask the right questions and giving them the critical thinking skills to discern the right answers from all the noise.

As we continue to build upon our technological age, the use of the internet and different gadgets in the classroom will only become more and more prevalent. The classrooms that survive and thrive will be those that aren’t afraid to push the envelope and integrate current technologies into their curriculum.

Anuradha Govind

Sector – 6, DWARKA, New Delhi