While a school’s physical infrastructure holds an all-important role in providing a conducive environment in a student’s academic journey, another key facet is Digital Infrastructure, a key differentiator among schools that has truly transformed the delivery of educational content in schools, writes Ahmad Shariq Khan of Elets News Network (ENN).
If world over, online education is gaining popularity, so is the idea of IT-enabled learning in schools. In the last few years, across India, digital classrooms have gained prominence. These technology-enabled classrooms foster opportunities for teaching and learning by integrating learning technology, such as computers, specialised software, audience response technology, assistive listening devices, networking, and audio/visual capabilities are said to have met great success. And the trend is poised to gain further strength in the times to come.
Unlike traditional chalk and board methods, digital classrooms as medium of providing education are proving quite effective and visually attractive. While attracting audio-visual senses of students, digital classrooms have a better appeal among students.
Use of digital technology in education is steadily transforming whole concept of education delivery, making the very concept of ‘Show me and I understand’ a reality.
Following are the other important modes in which digital technology has been transforming the delivery of educational content in Indian schools in recent times.
ICT Labs/Multimedia Centre
State-of-the-art ICT laboratories/multimedia labs can play an enabling role in harnessing the use of technology for improving the learning outcomes for students. These also serve to create opportunities for latest styles of learning, and ways to create and collaborate on cutting-edge IT-backed paradigms.
With the use of interactive whiteboards, a teacher can now project any subject on the touch-sensitive whiteboard surface with the help of a projector and a computer, they can conduct lessons using their finger or with a pen or stylus. Thus, whiteboards have replaced the whole idea of a traditional blackboard nowadays.
The interactive projector, which is a portable solution, helps to convert any surface (existing projector screens, whiteboards, or wall surface) into an interactive surface. Along with it, an interactive pen which can be used to draw, point or click just by touching the screen directly is now becoming popular in many schools across the country.
Big Interactive LED/LCD Panels
These days many schools are implementing big Interactive LED/LCD Panels to help enhance the digital learning endeavours of their students. Since digital learning often involves audio and video presentations, 2D and 3D animations, graphics etc. a smart classroom that is digitally equipped with big interactive LED or LCD panels come very handy for this specific cause.
A digital podium is a modern-day lecture stand that comes equipped with various media components/devices that enable an uninterrupted learning session. Some of its sub-components are a public addressing system fitted with amplifier, speaker and mic etc.
Digital Library and Automation of Libraries
Digital libraries and e-books have facilitated access to a wealth of knowledge available online that can now be accessed with the help of a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, anywhere, anytime, with an Internet connection.
E-diary: Connecting Parents and School
Such an online portal which is available 24 hours a day, keeps parents up-to-date with their children’s activities and progress, and also in touch with the teachers concerned.
In many instances, games as a means of teaching, especially video games have been found to help develop students’ creative thinking, their ability to deal with complex situations and their successful resolution, as well as help enhance their critical thinking. These days, a number of schools are using such tools to enhance students’ learning capabilities.
Classroom Activity Management Software
Introduction of such software facilitates the teacher-student communication, because it makes it easy for the teachers to see on their computers what the students are doing on their devices, or share their screen with them and vice versa. Along with this, an SMS notification system, usually connected to the e-diary, provides the parents with the possibility of receiving timely information on their children’s performance, activities. This bolsters the communication process between parents, students and teachers too.
Homework Submission and Review Software
This software makes it easy for teachers to assign tasks, keep a record on them and of each student’s performance, while at the same time enabling students to organise their activities, do their assignments and submit them to the teachers – all of this can now be carried out via internet.
To increase the access of digital content among students, a number of educational institutions these days are transforming their campuses into Wi-Fi Campuses that not only enhances the e-learning habits in students but also gives them an option to access Massive open online courses (MOOCs).
Cloud-based E-learning Initiatives
To expand the horizon of sharing knowledge with students and teachers on the same online education platform, cloud-based systems offer the perfect environment for a digital/virtual classroom as they offer seamless access to information, easily shareable data and foster a means for tracking multi-user collaborations. Besides, there are a host of benefits that a cloud based system offers. Firstly, since cloud based applications run on web browsers and are compatible with most mobile devices, there is no need for expensive hardware and schools and students need not own specific computers or laptops to access material. Even a cheap smartphone can allow students to access relevant academic applications. Furthermore, there is no need to invest in external storage devices since there are several platforms available that offer free cloud-based storage services.
Bio-metric Attendance System
Thanks to a bio-metric attendance system being implemented across many modern-day schools, much ease and transparency in the attendance system of not only students but also teaching and non-teaching staff is now being achieved. Given the very important role being played by digital technology in speeding up learning in schools and in transforming the delivery of educational content across schools and the phenomenon’s subsequent growth and acceptance across schools, it could certainly be said that schools that successfully join the bandwagon now and harness the technology for their advantage, hold a greater chance of enjoying the early-mover advantage in this segment.