Smart class: a blessing!


Mamta Wadhwa
Principal, Manav Rachna International School, Faridabad

The concept of smart class education is indeed a blessing to the students of the 21st Century. Technology is changing the way life functions and if it’s for the good, then why not go for it!

Smart classes use all interactive modules like videos and presentations and these visually attractive methods of teaching becomes appealing to students who are already struggling with the traditional method of teaching in a classroom. In fact, smart classes are almost like watching movies as sometimes, animated visuals are used to teach a point. This kind of visual is both eye-catching and young students can easily relate with them. This is because the audio-visual senses of students are targeted and it helps the students store the information fast and more effectively. And then, there is the advantage of utilising much of the time wasted earlier in drawing or preparing diagrams on board. Smartboards have all these information in memory and can be presented during the time of class lectures and thus, the time saved can be used in more important things.

It improves teachers’ effectiveness and productivity in the class. For every subject, there are numerous resources available on the internet which can be accessed by the teachers as well as the students at any time in a smart classroom. Internet plays a major role in learning process. Today’s students are curious to know about everything. They want to gain extra knowledge about the ongoing topic in the class. The student’s attention is also not divided in writing and listening to the teacher simultaneously. Now the resources are given to the students in pen drives, CDs, or they are emailed to them. In this way, the students do not have to write for making notes. Notes are provided to them and they can devote their full concentration to the lecture. As it is an interactive resource, it enables instant formative assessment of learning outcomes in the class. We all know how helpful it is to remember something that is taught visually to us rather than the one that is read through pages after pages. The new inventions in the fields of computer science and technology would definitely make teaching and learning even much better. It connects students, teachers and devices to turn lessons into enriching learning experiences.

Learning opportunities immense in smart environment…

A Smart School environment helps to democratize education. The Smart School programme provides equal access to learning opportunities. It may increase creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning. It may improve communication and collaboration. It teaches new tools for working such as ICT and information literacy. It will teach skills for life and career, and personal and social responsibility.

Once students realize that they can play a major role in their own learning without the constant guidance of teachers or tutors, they will explore new avenues; they may become entrepreneurs, inventors, think out of the box, develop critical thinking skills, learn to compare and contrast, analyze, develop curiosity to learn more and more and definitely be tech savvy. Today’s generation is already tech savvy right from childhood, through exposure to smart phones and tablets in the household. Continuing this tech savvy atmosphere in the classroom will be advantageous as the child is already accustomed to it at home. Here the learner can access such a vast storehouse of information that his knowledge will definitely exceed that of the regular school curriculum.

A classroom has students with varied power of understanding and learning, and studying from notes and other materials becomes difficult for some students. But the use of smart classes and modern technology eases the learning process for all students. Moreover, this kind of education in class promotes more interaction between teacher and student with more participation from both sides.

It is often seen that the students studying in a smart class get a better result than the students studying in a conventional class. This is so because the understanding ability in the students studying in a smart classroom is way more than other students. The use of technology in the classroom for teaching increases the understanding of the students. The topic becomes clearer and the base of the subject becomes stronger. Obviously, the students with better hold of the subject and with strong basic knowledge of the subject will score more in exams.

Empowering individualized learning…

Smart schools can help in empowering individualised learning through computer assisted instruction which provides immediate feedback to the learners as well as teacher for bringing necessary improvement. Such types of instructions cater to the different learning needs of the students prevalent in the class. In order to tap different learning styles, effective use of technology can differentiate our low and high students. The software’s and interactive games can be programmed from lower to higher level. One can select if they want information in visual form, auditory form or both audio visual form as per the individual need of the learner. Similarly, it gives a child flexibility to submit assignments on the basis of their learning type. For example, a project on pollution can be submitted by the student in form of presentation, write up (typed or handwritten), song, project (made on computer or handwritten).

To address the differentiated learners, the teacher can give clear and short instructions, be creative in lessons, using bright visuals but also keeping it simple. For example, putting entire multiplication table when you are really working on the table of 5 can be overwhelming.

The teacher can empower the child with homework, reminders, planners and to-do-list. This will help the child to be more organised and will help getting parents involved in the homework responsibility.

‘Smart teachers’: a must in smart environment…

A smart class room would involve using a smart board or white board instead of the traditional blackboard with its chalk and talk. Whiteboards allow many different forms of media such as photos, illustrations, maps, graphs, games, and video, to be displayed.

With smart boards, the teachers would have to familiarize themselves with all these resources such as knowledge databases, online video and news items to reinforce their lessons and be constantly online to ensure that they are up to date. All teachers cannot use smart technology for teaching. The teachers have to be trained before they can start teaching in a smart classroom. The teachers are to be trained to use the technology in an effective manner. They are also to be trained to handle faults in the gadgets. If the teachers are not properly trained, the technology would become a disturbing factor rather than becoming helpful.

All the electronic devices are prone to faults. If the equipments do not work one day, the day is considered as a waste. They require a lot of time to come back to their proper functioning state. No teaching can be done on that day. In this case, the teacher should always be ready for an alternative methodology for teaching that is, using the blackboard. But this would be very dull experience for the teachers as well as the students who are regularly participating in smart classrooms. The workload of the teachers is also increased as they have to prepare the topic as per two different methodologies of teaching.

A smart class is equipped with many gadgets. Inspite of ample training, the teacher might not be able to use its benefits to the fullest. Lack of technical expertise to maneuver these challenges may cause teachers to become frustrated and underutilized techniques.

Some teachers might not be efficient enough to catch up with the constant change in technology. It also becomes difficult to convince the teacher who has been following the routine method of teaching for years. Teachers would have to keep track of online learning software, e learning tutorials, online multimedia lessons, educational websites, online training, online two way conversation, online video chatting, high speed internet speed etc. It is an endless process. As soon as one masters one, another appears. They have to be well updated with the latest technology and its usage. Today’s generation is that of explorers, therefore the teacher will have to become the explorer too so that he /she can deliver with confidence and cope up with current challenges.

Mamta Wadhwa is Principal at Manav Rachna International School, Sector-14, Faridabad, since November 2007. She has also served as a Principal at Ryan International School, Faridabad and as a teacher at Laxman Public School, New Delhi. She has been awarded Shiksha Ratan Award by Private School Association of Haryana and Best District Principal Award 2016-17 by Science Olympiads Foundation. She has also been honored by The British High Commission for the commitment and service to the society in promoting better education using English.

Smart experience at Manav Rachna International School, Faridabad

Our school is well equipped with smart boards in almost all the classes. When initially it was adopted, it was a challenge for the teachers as well for the students. The white boards changed into ‘Smart Boards’.

A group of teachers was given proper training wherein they were taught to make its best usage. They were also tested upon making sure that its application would be fruitful and to the maximum. This group of teachers further trained their peers.

The various functions of the smart board were very mesmerizing. It not only saved a lot of time but also helped the teachers in acquiring the readymade material supported by 3D applications wherever required. This made the chapters interesting for the students. They were attracted to the new method of teaching. Now their focus increased many folds.

The chapters could be taught in many different ways. The internet connection made it easy for them to further appraise their knowledge right in the classroom itself. The topic was not restricted to the content printed in the book only now; it would turn into a healthy discussion involving all the students in the class.

While, the interactive board allowed different forms of media- including photos, illustrations, maps, graphs, frames and videos to be displayed. These tools not only enriched the class room experience but also expanded the nature of content that could be used in learning.