Digital boards to replace blackboards in Kerala schools

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Traditional blackboards, where tutors have to labour themselves with chalkpiece and dusters, may soon go into oblivion, if the public response to the digital boards being introduced by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan school is any indication.

The Bhavan is implementing what it calls the 'smart class' technology in all its three schools in the district in a bid to make education more interesting and also to enable the teachers to dedicate more time for teaching. Bhavan's Kozhikode Kendra has entered into a five-year contract with Educomp Solutions, which provides a variety of digital teaching aids, including graphics and working models that promises to herald a new era in the field of education.

'We first introduced the technology in our schools in Kochi last year and the overwhelming response from the parents to the scheme has prompted us to bring it to Kozhikode now,' says Bhavan's Kendra Secretary, Col (retd) M P Gopinath. According to him, parents feel that the system has helped to better the overall education process in the schools. 'Apart from improving the effectiveness of teaching, the technology is also expected to boost the performance of the students,' says Bhavan's Principal Lalitha Nair. As a first step, Educomp is now imparting intense training to a select group of teachers at the Bhavan's higher secondary school at Chevayur near here as a forerunner to launching the digital teaching upto class XII in CBSE syllabus from next month.

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However, each student will have to bear an additional Rs 900 as annual fee for digital teaching. The amount would be utilised to instal necessary machinery and also to impart refresher courses to the teaching faculty on a regular basis, Gopinath said.

The system is so designed that a single server will cater to plasma television sets in all the class rooms which the teachers can operate with a remote from any corner of the room. 'No doubt, this will not only encourage the students to be more attentive but also allow the teachers to relax a bit,' says Kamal, whose two children are studying at the Bhavans. Besides graphics, animation and video clippings, diagrams and 3D images will also be processed by the server to make available all information as sought in the syllabus.

'The technology also provides for additional information that is not in the syllabus but required as supplementing material for the students,' says Nair. However, she said the blackboards will continue to find a place in the classrooms for the time-being to serve as substitutes during exigency.

'The blackboards can also be used to describe certain matters in subjects like Mathematics and Economics that may not be readily available in the digital set-up,' she said.

The Bhavan's management recently held a series of discussions with the parents of the students before finally deciding to implement the scheme, she said.

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