No Limits to Digital Tools in Classrooms

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Norina Fernandes, Principal of Smt Lilavatibai Podar High School leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that the school delivers the best ICT based learning experience to students. Shares her insight to Sharmila Das.

How has ICT helped you to achieve the targeted quantum of success?

The ICT e-content has been generated in Lilavatibai Podar Senior Secondary School (LPSSS) to supplement both teaching
and learning and we have been the pioneer for the same. We have won the best ICT enable school. All our classrooms are fitted with ICT, ‘Starboard’, from (STD I to XII).

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We have achieved our targeted quantum of success after six years, with all our stakeholders very comfortable. All our e-content is developed in-house in our IT hub where academicians, technologist and IT media managers coordinate and work on the syllabus for the subject assigned. The content gradation is done timely and in-sync with the latest technologies. [Smart boards, Visualiser].

The School Heads review the lecture produced and certify its correctness academically. The lectures for each subject comprise of objectives, subject mapping, summary, text, case studies, FAQs, videos to enhance learning (eg movie clips for English, Hindi language and Marathi language) and audio (use of songs to teach concepts in language), assignments, quiz, tutorials, references, glossary, links, blogs, contacts.

How do you train your teachers to adopt e-content in your classes?

We have regular weekend training programmes to ensure that teachers are comfortable in using the required e-tools. Training sessions are held to refresh teachers on the effective use of Star board and subject wise. A hands-on training is then followed to monitor the teacher’s competencies with ICT. Teachers are then asked to prepare presentation on topics in subjects that they tech to check their command with ICT and effective usage in the classroom. Mock lessons sessions are held to make the teacher comfortable with its use. All their lessons include exercise, simulation,
questionnaire, diagrams, graphs, index, tables, narrative text, exam, experiment, problem statement, self assessment and lecture. Both our student-teacher and student-parent community have a positive outlook.

Give us an example of using e-Content system that has solved your students’ issues.

The biggest problem that learners have with Shakespeare’s plays in their inability to understand a play by reading it. Our teachers felt that the plays were meant to be seen and not read to bring about deeper understanding of the period in which it was written. To approach Shakespeare’s complex languages, teachers at LPSSS us a multimedia approach in our classroom, watching a particular scene from a particular act on one screen and then reading the text of the play on screen. The pedagogical approach serves both as a model for teaching Shakespeare and as a site for discussion of the various ways to teach Shakespeare. The use of multi media has erased the fear of discussion of the various ways of teaching Shakespeare. The use of multimedia has erased the fear of learning classics like Shakespeare and his works. It also creates opportunities and develops strategies that permit students to demonstrate through their own work, the influence of language and visual images on thinking and composing like minded matter.

To approach Shakespeare’s complex languages, we use a multimedia, watching a particular scene from a particular act on one screen and then reading the text of the play on screen. This serves as a model for teaching Shakespeare

What is your strategy to emphasise the need of sports development in the overall education of the student?

A sport has a critical role to play to improve the lives of people. Sports builds bridges between individuals and across communities providing fertile groups for sowing the seed of development and peace. At LPSSS we understand the need and importance of physical and mental health of our students. The regular Time Table offers our students weekly two periods of

  • PT
  • Aerobics
  • Yoga

Besides this the school encourages and coaches our students in many sporting events like Table Tennis, Lawn Tennis, Cricket, Football, Chess, Swimming, and Gymnastics. LPSSS students participating in interschool sporting events at the state and national level.

Can you tell us the nature of investment the school has made in the sports infrastructure.

At a distance of three furlongs from the school building, we have Podar Sport Academy and ground, where students are taken regular for their Physical Education Class and coached for athletics cricket, football, basketball, table tennis, and throw ball. Indoor sporting activities like gymnastics, karate, chess, carom, table tennis and skating are also taken care off.

What kind of challenges do teachers face while dealing with CCE system?

Introduction of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation has bought about a sea-change in the classroom. The main aspect of this change is the fact that assessment has become an integral part of the teaching-learning process.

There are not many challenges with regard the CCE system as we have seen a progressive growth curve with its introduction. The one off area of challenge in this system is dealing with student absenteeism. Especially with long sick leaves where the student has missed out on a whole concept.

The other challenge teachers face while dealing with CCE system is that they have to be on the go all the time. They have to continuously upgrade themselves and assess themselves. It also requires all teachers to be more interactive and have a sound knowledge of the students as applied to the various Bloom’s Taxonomy Process. Understanding and knowing every student should now be their priority.

What is your take on CBSE guidelines for CCE?

CBSE introduced the CCE Scheme for doing a holistic assessment of a learner which also includes co scholastic area of Life Skills, Attitudes and Values, Sports and Games as well as Co-Curricular activities. The CCE scheme aims at addressing
this in a holistic manner.

At LPSSS we do not outsource for any assistive software for CCE. We have our own well planned formative and summative evaluation throughout the year incorporated within the e-report card developed by our own IT Centre. For 2012, we are taking the Detailed Assessment Program offered by Educational Initiatives, Ahmedabad they will be conducting at least 12 Formatives for the students, working jointly with our teachers on the lines of the syllabus covered. Being the first year, we have opted for only Std VI, VII and VIII for this program.

No doubt CCE can help in citing or learning problems and corrections/remedial for individuals, but the biggest challenge of the CCE is the grading system. The student scoring 90 marks and 99 marks will both score A – so it may seem unfair for some students.

Also a huge pool of students will be grouped together. A scenario emerges where all students scoring say above 91 per cent in all subjects will have the same cumulative grading. How can one rank them? The grading system may actually lead to more stress and disincentive to performance for many. Though with CCE, we are able to identify progress of students at regular time intervals on small portions of content.

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