Creating a smart learning environment…
Chairperson, RPS Public School, Rewari, Haryana
What can a school do to adopt the concept of smart schools? What kind of changes need to be proposed in the current system? These are a few questions which every school wanting to adopt smart practices face.
Smart schools are becoming reality but reforms are needed in the ways of teaching and learning to benefit from it. There is need for reform so that schools can use the innovative uses of emerging pedagogical approaches and technologies, share and promote the best practices, leading to the evolution, design and implementation of smart learning environment. Here, Pavitra Rao, Chairperson, RPS Public School discusses ways to adopt the smart learning environment.
Q: What do you think is a ‘smart learning environment’ in a school? How should school shape in to provide such an environment?
Pavitra: A smart school offers an arena that allows exchange of thoughts with no existing boundaries. It also means enriching the existing pool of knowledge and leading the vision to reach the horizon supported by 21st century technology. It is possible to attain the above said when school prefers a flexible curriculum to a rigid syllabus, a problem is thought before a solution, the child approaches scientific enquiry under the guidance of good teachers.
Q: Is it possible to contextualize a ‘smart learning environment ‘within the parameters of a normal ‘lesson plan ‘delivered by a teacher? What kind of changes, if any, need to be proposed?
Pavitra: It is possible to incorporate smart learning environment in a normal lesson plan with smart alterations. The learning objectives should be fixed but not the pedagogy. The progress of a pupil is not measured under rigid scheme of assessment and evaluation rather it should be pupil centred that not only taps hidden potential but utilizes innate abilities and aptitude.
Q: What kind of modification should be brought in the delivery models in a classroom to achieve this goal?
Pavitra: For establishing smart learning environment, the teacher should take the seat of guide instead of a leader. The problems or puzzles shall be introduced into the class not by teachers but pupil and multiple solutions are derived involving scientific inquiry, projects, case studies etc within the peer group.
Q: How can ‘smart schools ‘help in empowering individualized learning of the students and to address differentiated learners in a typical classroom?
Pavitra: Chalk boards being replaced by smart boards have given wings to the imagination of pupils. 2D boards, 3D classes, language labs, e-books, tablets empowered with different software, e-labs, windows 365 have provided multi-dimensional tools at the hands of the teacher that empowers him/her to address different kinds of learners. Student can learn from visual, sensory and kinaesthetic – all at the same time.
Q: Do you think teachers deserve more freedom along with accountability in a ‘smart school’ environment? How?
Pavitra: Absence of freedom in hands of a teacher will hinder the process of learning as shackles of rigid lesson plans will entangle the teacher and will hinder the teaching strategies and ultimately the outcomes. “The Road Not Taken…” will be accessed by teachers if they enjoy the liberty to innovate and lead his/her class to the destined goal.
Pavitra Rao is a distinguished academician and chairperson of RPS group of educational institutions, which has been established with a sole vision of education to all.