DIGITISING the Learning Experience

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Rachna Pant
Principal, Ramjas School, presents an insightful case study on the outcome of implementing digital initiatives in the school

Ramjas School has taken up several unique and pilot projects. One is being Hewlett Packard – NETA – computer aided (digital learning of Maths & Science). A one of its kind project in India.

HP-NETA has been running for two years and met with success. Ninety students were handed a laptop, each along with six teachers. The project trained these teachers to disseminate Maths and Science through computers. The teachers were digitally-enabled and the school provided high speed internet for all the students to aid them in this endeavour.

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Since, we are viewing the impact of this case study with a global dimension in mind, the following points emerged as fall out.

Exposure to digital world – learning through technology which is an essential requirement for present era. They came in contact with new styles of pedagogy and learned to adapt. Achieved parity with schools across globe as this project is also being run in two other schools, one in the USA and the other in South Africa. They learnt responsible use of technology and internet and became adept at imbibing through different mentors and technology. Parents involvement was enhanced. They were excited and willing to monitor the Internet usage and learning. It eventually brought students, parents and schools closer as they shared a common goal.

Reservations & Observations
Initially, there were niggling doubts and apprehensions in the minds of all stakeholders.

Principal – Staff
Apprehension regarding ability to run it successfully, support it technically as well as in person. The problem pertaining to accommodating students in classes to enable it to happen as it required section and time table adjustment. There were worries regarding safe and right use of the internet – putting checks in place and offering guidance. Questions regarding content delivery as per standards required and capability of being able to cope with any other eventuality were some of the reservations that we had.

The students were assailed by several misgivings. To begin with, they wanted to know if they would be able to do it. They were over excited about free internet and less supervision. some of The challenges faced by the students were: Distracted due to free access to internet coupled with a different style of teaching; the difficulty in shifting from traditional to a digital method; challenge of device compatibility; interference of filters placed with work; time lag in Internet connection while testing and delay in assessment submission.

Parents had misgivings about access to the internet and their ability to monitor it. The distraction it could prove to be. Whether, it will be substantially better than traditional method/style. To be responsible for the laptop and ensure its safety. Finally, if it would accrue any benefits or translate into better learning solutions.

After running the project and tackling each problem as it cropped up, we felt that we are getting better each day in ire lighting and dousing. All the hiccups were taken in our stride and we emerged successful and wrote a new chapter in digital/technology-based learning.

We now have a class which is cyber secure, knows safe internet usage, is net savvy, better exposed to new pedagogy, in sync with changing global culture and times, a strengthened teacher, student and parent bond and a sense of achievement in having overcome all the setbacks.

We are sure, it will have a far reaching effect on their growth and its reverberations will be felt throughout their life.

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