Blended learning the best of both worlds
Principal, Delhi Public School, Vadodara
Quality education is the need of the day and technology has changed the way we do things and education is no exception. The smart class is a modernized method of education, helping students in better concept formation, concept elaboration, improvement in reading skills and academic achievement.
At DPS, Vadodara, teachers and students are happy with the new kind of teaching-learning experience – via the smart classrooms. The classroom environment has become more interactive. Students participation has increased. Teachers are also very excited with this new way of teaching. Teachers are upgrading themselves and latest is being delivered in the classroom now. We are looking for creating an international forum online where students, parents and teachers from various places on the globe unite and share their teaching-learning experiences.
Smart Classroom command following merits:
- Smart board provides a helping hand to the traditional methods.
- Smart board adds fun to monotonous classroom teaching.
- Smart board materials are combination of audio, video and animations making the learning process interesting.
- Smart boards are very user friendly and easy to operate.
Empowering individualized learning of the students…
When the teachers are teaching in the classroom with the traditional methods, in subjects like Mathematics and Science, students may need to imagine many things and understand. Now, what students are imagining, that’s not in control of the teacher. It is quite possible that student is not imagining that topic in a right way, interpreting the lecture wrongly and ending up in a wrong understanding of the topic taught.
But same topic if being delivered through the smart board using animations and other stimulation techniques, there is no scope for wrong imagination as it is displayed on the screen the way it happens. This is an advantage to the students who are slow learners and having low grasping power. So, indeed technology is a great help not only to the differentiated learners but also to the regular learners.
Gearing up teachers for change…
Since smart classrooms needs a different skill set of teachers, schools need to prepare their teachers for the same. Here are a few tips to make change over easier for teachers:
- Teachers should have basic understanding of the computer operations.
- A software-specific training may be required to be given at initial stage.
- Teachers should develop a kind of inclination towards this technology in the classroom, keeping in mind that this is to make their work easy and not to burden them with extra work.
- At initial stage, teachers may require to devote some extra time to understand the system and to practice the system.
- When teacher is planning to use any technology in classroom, she should ensure in advance that the equipment is functioning properly and the material that she plan to take up in the class is up to date and relevant to the topic.
- Teachers should verify the authenticity of the digital material before it gets delivered in class.
Key elements that lead to success in an online learning environment…
The key elements for success in an online learning environment include:
- A quality audio-video material.
- Readily available reference material in the form of audio, video or graphics.
- Saves lots of time of teachers as figures and diagrams are available in electronic form which they otherwise need to draw on board.
- Facility of recording the lecture (audio and video both) – so that the lecture can be delivered by the co-teacher in absence of the main teacher.
- The interactive exercises make the lesson summary and conclusions interesting.
Benefits of a blended learning approach over a fully online approach
It is seen that a blended learning approach of traditional and online learning methods if far better that a fully online approach as:
- Presence of teacher in class is mandatory to solve the student specific doubts.
- In subjects like Mathematics and Sciences, teachers’ explanation is required along with the audio visual.
- After/during the session, teacher interacts with the students and ensures that each one of them have understood the topic in a correct manner.
- Teachers’ experiences are important source of learning for the students which cannot be ignored.
However, sometimes a fully online approach is a boon for the students. For example, a fully online approach has its advantages when student is not in a physical condition to attend the school. He can go for online learning and attend the audio-visual lectures and can mail his/her queries and doubts to the teacher. Besides, online approach can be utilized for the difficult territories where geographical conditions are abnormal most of the time, the places where law and order is always an issue – like riots and terrorism affected areas. Students of such territories can learn online and complete their schooling.
With the educators having adequate skills and passion for the field of teaching, the blended learning approach is having a bright future. With the span of time, the technology for the education may become cheaper and come within the reach of lower middle class segment of the society. With the use of technology, education institutions would be able to cater to the individualized needs of the learner. With online approach, the other stakeholders, like parents, guest lecturers, subject experts, counselors, psychiatrists may get involved in teaching-learning process and help to achieve the desired results.
A.K. Sinha, Principal, Delhi Public School, Vadodara, has extensive experience in education. He has also been Principal of various overseas schools prior to joining Delhi Public School.