My Rendezvous with Technology

maya

My rendezvous with technology started in 2000 when I was heading the Mathematics Department in a reputed school following the CBSE curriculum. We had to undergo a training program conducted by Schoolnet. I enjoyed learning the usage of technology for effective teaching. Besides integrating technology with Mathematics, I prepared a credit system for Mathematics from class 3 to class 12 in a span of 10 months along with a number of worksheets for every grade on CDs. After that amazing start, I hadn’t made much progress. Then in 2012, I got an opportunity to be trained by Google on Computational Thinking and became an active Google educator and ensured all my teachers were trained on Computational Thinking.

In 2012, we were introduced to an organisation that imparts STEM education to students. Until then I had read a lot about the importance of STEM Education in the curriculum. Integration of subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and other Art oriented subjects was already being followed in school. Integrating technology and engineering along with Science and Mathematics was unheard off, in our city. Hence, we became the pioneers in imparting STEM education as a part of the curriculum in middle school. Later we integrated Arts to STEM & started imparting STEAM education to students.

In 2014, I submitted my research papers on ‘Reconnecting the past with the Present form of Education’ at an International Conference held at IIT Madras.

It’s important for all school leaders to always be open to learning. I had a vision for ‘Blended Learning’ to be the futuristic learning for teachers in order to make learning effective for students. I got an opportunity in 2015, to be a keynote speaker at the Google office in Hyderabad and my topic for the address was ‘Blending Learning’.

In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic was responsible for bringing about profound changes in the education system. Disruptions to the education system have resulted in substantial losses and inequalities in learning.

Starting March 2020, it has been a time of uncertainty for all educators. There was an immediate need to adapt to a new process of online teaching, quick thinking, and perseverance particularly when the entire student body shifted to online learning. We were equipped to try all alternatives to face-to-face instruction in order to ensure that the child’s learning process was not stunted. Our training in the usage of various tools, and effective teaching through Google Classrooms became a regular feature. Not only did we adopt online teaching on an unprecedented scale but also helped other schools by training their teachers to adopt online teaching. We used various tools like pptx, flashcards, videos, PHET simulations, online whiteboards etc. For practicals, we used Science buddies, Mystery Science & Microsoft Chemistry. The assessment tools like Google Forms, Quizziz, Ed Puzzle, Go Formative, Screen Castify, WebQuest, etc were also used.

I strongly believe that the teacher’s enthusiasm ignites the curiosity of students and boosts their motivation to learn. Enthusiasm and passionate involvement in teaching is the best teaching strategy. This kind of teacher becomes energized about his/her students as well as his/ her subject. As school teachers, it is very important for us to cultivate this enthusiasm for learning and adapting to any changes that come our way.

Now after heading back to campus, after a gap of two years, our teachers have planned the transition for students by making strong connections and establishing new routines for students.

Our teachers combine the best of both traditional and online instructions to offer an engaging and learning experience for students. We provide optimal learning for students by offering hybrid or blended forms of the teaching-learning process.

The online interactions in the hybrid medium of instruction can be completed by synchronously using real-time meeting sessions or asynchronously where students interact at different times, using artificial intelligence for personalised learning. This is another requirement for the post-pandemic period.

Using coding in teaching is an important area that we are focusing in. The use of stimulation also leads to learning being available beyond the bricks & mortar and the four walls of the classroom. All these learning experiences have a high return on investment over the obsolete traditional teaching method.

We have to reduce the gap when the students are learning in the traditional way and revamp the workplace with the use of technology. We educators should look at technology as an enabler of great methodology. It is the only Master key to the future.

The amalgamation of artificial Intelligence, augmented reality, automation, robotics, virtual reality, etc will revolutionise the education sector.

Hence an innovative, smart, and dynamic curriculum is the best investment a school can make to prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges.

Maya Sukumaran, Principal, Gitanjali Senior School, Hyderabad