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Lakshmi Kumar
Director, The Orchid School, shares the challenges in imparting new-age education and the approach of the school towards overcoming those

Today’s learners need extensive knowledge of the world, the skills and dispositions to engage with people from many cultures and countries. Keeping this in mind, The Orchid School, Pune, has embarked on a path of imparting education for the 21st century learners.

We responded to this challenge through a three-pronged approach:
Systemic changes: For anything to change, the larger eco-system must be readied – as a school system, we put all the administrative and academic process digital and online. Be it admission process, teacher recruitment drive, lesson plans, parent– teacher communication, student performance report, teacher performance appraisals, ICT-enabled, blended learning in classrooms etc, we built our system, tools, and IT infrastructure that would facilitate our initiative to go digital. Apart from going green and saving paper, the school became ‘modern’ for the right reasons. Stakeholders could access information anytime and from anywhere. These crucial processes are open and transparent. This transformative, technologyenabled process has given us an edge – that is cost effective, reliable and time–eficient.

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People Changes: Most teachers have not experienced learning, much less teaching, in environments, especially when facilitated through technology. Induction and orientation programme for all new recruits begin with an intensive training for all the digital demands that lie ahead for their role. Service staffs too are given lessons on computer literacy so they can access their mails, enter data in the ofice, manage security systems on line and keep track of processes relevant for each role. Our students have been the most inspiring role models, enablers and teachers for us in this endeavour. With smart boards installed in classrooms, this learning was not an option. Moreover, all lesson plans had an embedded aspect of online resources, YouTube, TED Talks, Khan Academy Lessons, Teacher Page, Google‘s Education Apps and Resources etc, which are mandatory.

Learner-centric changes: Judicious choice of technology, matching age with appropriate technology and providing suitable technology are some of the on-going debate and discussions we have with our students.

We believe that it is crucial for students to be able to navigate the digital world around them without fear. Our role is to help students make sense of the deluge of information online — to learn what to trust, what to dismiss, how to be safe surfers and how to be able to ind the relevant information that exists in the ininite number of Google searches, with speed and accuracy. More importantly, our role is to prepare our students on how they can enrich and contribute to the online global community, to be responsible digital citizens and culturally competent person.

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