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Educational Technology- Strategies to Implement In Schools

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Technology is not power, but implementation and right usage of technology is definitely power.

There has been an upsurge of technologies for classroom teaching. Evolution of classrooms from overhead projectors to computers, interactive boards, digital learning to the world of tablets, ubislates and iPads is mind-boggling. The rate at which technology is intruding into our lives, it is impossible to think of classrooms with chalk and talk. Young learners of today, digital learners as they are called, are learning not only from technology, but also with technology.

“Books will soon be obsolete in schools. Scholars will soon be instructed through the eye.” What Thomas Edison said in 1925, seems to be most relevant for today’s learners.
Way back in 1996, in his book “Bold New World”, William Knoke remarked that technology that is not used and implemented quickly is worthless. “Cutting-edge technology is as perishable as a truckload of ripe bananas: it’s worth a fortune today, but if not used quickly, it becomes worthless.”

Lynda Gratton, in her book “The Shift: the future of the work is already here,” talks of the five robust forces that shape the future. Two of them are: Ever greater globalisation of innovation and talent, and the development of ever more sophisticated connective technologies. Talking straightforward the advisory tip to handle future is: Don’t be fooled into walking into the future blindfolded. Keep abreast of the forces that are shaping work and careers in your part of the world and think about how they will impact on you and those you care for. And Learn to be virtual; don’t let yourself become obsolete through lack of technical savvy.

Author Dan Pink, in his book “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future,” argues that the skills of the right side of the brain – skills such as creativity, empathy, contextual thinking and big picture thinking – are going to become increasingly important as a response to competition!

Thus, in this technologically advancing era, where technology is rapidly building bridges to connect people across the globe opening new vistas of learning opportunities and organisations, adapting to technology enabled education at all levels is indeed the need of the hour.

In the highly competitive techno savvy world, it is time for schools not only to accentuate the adoption of technology, but also to ensure that faculty is equipped to acclimatise to the scenario of accelerated change.

Turning Point: How to go about making school a tech- enabled institution? The enormous range of tech solutions for learning offered by industries in education leaves every head of an organisation bewildered as what to choose and how? It has become an intricate process with each vendor claiming to be better than the other. The customer is swayed by offers in every respect; may it be hardware, software, services or training support etc.

Initialising the process of adopting technology:

Every school needs to have a master plan for IT implementation. Investors, principals, academic coordinators, IT heads and parent representatives need to discuss and prepare this master plan. Some of the questions that need attention are:

  • What is the size of the school? If it is a big set-up, it is essential to decide the segment i.e. primary, secondary or senior secondary where you wish to start with?
  • What is the status of the existing technology program in the school?
  • Is the school capable of adopting the new programme with the existing infrastructure and support?
  • What are the competency skills of the existing teaching? Will they be able to carry on the new initiative?
  • Is the school IT personnel capable enough to handle the implementation, facilitation, update and maintenance of technology hardware and software?
  • What is the financial impact and resources for income?
  • Is it possible to implement in one go or do I need to plan phase wise implementation of the programme?

Crucial issues that Master IT plan needs to cater to are:

  • Objectives of implementing ICT
  • Impact of integrating technology
  • Capital and recurring financial liabilities
  • Sources of investment
  • Strategies for planning of IT program that will clearly state:
  • What is the programme chosen to be implemented?
  • How will it be integrated with the existing pattern?
  • Who all will be involved in this?
  • How much is the time involved?
  • When will it become effective for usage?
  • How will this be communicated to all stake holders?
  • Programmes for professional training of staff involved
  • Measures for assessing the effectiveness of the program
  • Structured designs for regular updates and maintenance.
  • Roles and responsibilities of all involved in the programme.

Making Right Choices of Class room technology:

The dilemma of quality vs. cost effectiveness prevails in the mind of educators for want of validation of any technology program in enhancing learning outcomes. In any case it is absolutely clear that no technology can replace the good teachers. And no under- performers will become superb achievers just by bringing in tech teaching in classrooms.

Technology is a tool to be used effectively by teachers to facilitate student-centred learning. Choosing the tech tools and content amongst the vast range available could be based upon:

  • Pedagogical approach to digital content development
  • Innovation in creation and usage of content offered
  • Appropriate use of technology in creation of content
  • Quality and relevance of content / visuals /support activities
  • Supports all /selected segment of school
  • Add on values for going beyond the text
  • Clarity of voice-overs and onscreen texts.
  • Ease with which the teachers can use the tools in the class room
  • Supportive tools for efficient delivery mechanism, recapitulation and assessments
  • Kind of technology the content works on
  • Ease of maintenance of hardware and support systems
  • Support services of the vendor
  • Regular up gradation and review of the content

Justifying investment for technology in education?

Investing in technology for teaching-learning will be justified only if the teachers can use technology as a tool to enhance the learning outcomes. Teacher training hence is extremely essential so that teachers use technology tools to develop skills of problem solving, critical thinking, analytical skills, comprehension and synthesis of ideas leading to creativity through collaboration and communication.
Benefits of technology in schools are multi-fold:

  • Professional development of the faculty
  • Enrichment of learning resource centre
  • Creative Learning Environments for development of skills of 21st century
  • Student-Centred LearningIndividual Learning Styles
  • Supports the constructivism approach to learning
  • Supports the administration in case of absenteeism, being on leave or non-availability of a specific teaching faculty

Action Plan for effective implementation of technology in classrooms:

Curriculum Redesigning The dynamics of change that technology creates forces the educational planners at every level to redesign the curriculum.

  • Mapping of the educational goals to the emerging global economy scenario
  • Identification of scholastics and co scholastic areas where IT will be effective is crucial.
  • Selecting the technology enabled content to suit the needs of learners is essential
  • Evaluation of IT impact and reinforcement measures too needs attention

Time Table integration: This is the most difficult part for the beginners. Effective technology integration can be achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals. In case of limited availability, it is imperative to plan Time Table to have a positive impact on teaching learning process.

  • Identify the subjects /topics that need technology support for conceptual learning
  • Set specific goals subject or class wise with defined learning outcomes
  • Monitor the progress and mentor the faculty

Teacher Training: Two very pertinent questions that all heads need to address are: What type of training and how much of training is required? Emphasis should be on quality teaching learning process with technology.
Training on Technology for class room teaching should focus on:

  • Integration of technology content and /or tools during the teaching process
  • Pedagogy based training to keep focus on training in skills to be developed- Knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis, creativity, critical thinking. Logical reasoning and problem solving
  • Collaborative efforts by faculty for creativity and innovation with tools provided
  • Team efforts to create, use and save to enrich the knowledge resources
  • Motivate the teachers to become part of learning organizations across the globe.
  • Regularity of usage to become confident to experiment, explore and enrich the teaching strategies for improved outcome.
  • Training on how teachers can and should become facilitators, guides and mentors to shape personas of life-long learning.
  • How technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun

Support Systems for continued positive results:
Operative technical support is needed in schools particularly new or experimental systems are involved or extensive use is made of computer and technology networks.

  • Providing training in how to use new hardware and software
  • Providing demonstrations and advice on how to incorporate technology into instruction
  • Providing on-demand help when software problems or hardware failures arise

Concluding words: Quality education is the best gift that we can give to our children for ensuring a better future in a rapidly changing world economy owing to technological revolution. Investments in education, therefore will give us the highest dividends for decades to come and future generations will look back with gratitude to 21st century struggles by educators.

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