The indicators of a smart school

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Sanchita Verma
Principal at Indian School Sohar, Sultanate of Oman

Education has moved from Palm leaves to Palm tops. Care, caution and discretion are important in applying technology to understand that creativity and imagination are necessary for learning and integral for eventual success.

Sanchita Verma, Principal at Indian School Sohar, Sultanate of Oman
Sanchita Verma, Principal at Indian
School Sohar, Sultanate of Oman

Generally perceived, a smart school is a technology-based learning institution. In smart schools, teachers take help of a wide array of multimedia tools including movies, photos, audio, slides etc., to make the teaching-learning process more effective and efficient. To maintain the system and processes, a smart school also has ERP and option of storing data on cloud.

In my opinion, indicators should not only be technological but also the one which foster a classroom with different learning strategies. Thus, smart schools differ from other schools in technology used, pedagogy, teaching –learning material, delivery model, class environment, ERP, LMS, cloud based data storage and tech savvy teachers.

Seeing aids learning…

Visualization has always been a better way to understand and learn things. For making abstract concepts real, visuals play a powerful role, which may not be possible in chalk and talk method of delivery. Technologically driven, technologically supported, ubiquitous learning contributes to smart learning in terms of visuals and interactivity it offers. Multimedia, animations, 3D modeling, augmented reality, virtual reality; touch screen boards are some of the tools used by the teachers, which stimulate learning in today’s information age kids.

Some complex phenomena can be made simple, especially concepts which students must know in reality. Where there is no scope for imagination, presentation in the form of films or videos boost learning. Learning becomes interactive and enjoyable. Better understanding results in improved performance. Visuals aid in higher retention.

Other benefits…

  • Classes can be recorded also which may be helpful sometimes.
  • Learning becomes effective, engaging, efficient and personalized.
  • Collaboration is possible with learners in other parts of the world.
  • Lessons can be carried home and visuals can be played and replayed, thus making learning self directed.
  • The interactive nature of smart board allows learners to participate in the process.
  • Students can also access rich online resources.
  • Digital learning empowers sharing and collaboration.
  • Assessments can be checked immediately and feedback can be provided promptly.
  • Students have access to study material, so they can plan their studies and revisions at their pace and convenience.
  • Data storage is not cumbersome. Cloud technology offers easy access to data.

Challenges with technology and how to handle them…

Technology poses some challenges. The learners of today are more familiar with technology than their teachers are. To keep pace with the changing technology, teachers must raise their awareness about today’s learners, who are digital natives. The mental readiness of the teachers is very important as most of the time it is thought that the technology is for the young. Considerable attention should be given to change the mindset of the teachers.

The general problems are handling the technology and integrating the technology in their lessons. Judicious use is very crucial. Technology should not remain under utilized due to technophobia as well as overuse should be avoided. For instance, online virtual labs are available but in all such schools where demonstrations are possible and students can learn “hands on,” multimedia should never be used. Teachers should decide when to use audio, video, both or none.

Teachers should be smart to develop their knowledge and skills. Attitude is very important in this transformation. Teachers training programme in pedagogy and technology can help the teachers in confidence building.

Education has moved from Palm leaves to Palm tops. Care, caution and discretion are important in applying technology to understand that creativity and imagination are necessary for learning and integral for eventual success. Any model will be good for a particular type of learners. In our system, learners are diverse and heterogeneous. Therefore, role of the teacher is very important in understanding the needs of the learners and modifying teaching strategies as per the individual differences is important.