Technology Empowering Education – Strategies to Implement in Schools
There has been an upsurge of technologies for classroom teaching. Classrooms have evolved by leaps and bounds from what they were a decade ago. Today, classrooms are all about overhead projectors, interactive boards, digital learning, and tablets. Technology is connecting people across the globe opening new vistas of learning opportunities. Organisations are also adapting to tech-driven training programmes for their staff.
Amidst 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 handle the scenario of accelerated change.
Critical issue: How do we make a school a tech-enabled institution? The enormous range of tech solutions for learning offered by industries in education leaves every head of an organization bewildered about 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, be it hardware, software, services or training support.
Adopting technology: Financial aspects of adopting the new program depend on the size of the school and the status of the existing technology program in the school. The competency of the existing faculty to carry on the new initiative for effectiveness is a crucial factor.
Every school needs to have a master education technology plan that should focus on:
• Objectives of implementing technology program
• Impacts of integrating technology
• Capital and recurring financial liabilities
• Sources of investment
• Strategies for planning of TEE programme that will clearly state:
Programme chosen to be implemented
Procedure for integration with curriculum
Time for training of faculty and implementation
Communicated to all stake-holders
• Programmes for professional trainings of staff involved
• Measures for assessing the effectiveness of the programme
• Structured designs for regular updates and maintenance.
• Roles and responsibilities of all involved in the programme
Quality Vs. cost dilemma: The challenge of balancing quality and cost effectiveness is perpetual for the educators and managements across schools. Let’s be clear that no technology can replace the good teachers. And no under-performers will ever turn into superb achievers merely because there is tech-driven teaching available in classrooms. Technology is a tool that teachers can use effectively to facilitate student-centered learning.
Criteria for choosing the tech tools and content could be based on quality of content, teacher training and service support of the vendor.
Quality of content should be judged vis-à-vis pedagogical approach and innovations in creation. Presentation of content with appropriate use of technology to facilitate conceptual clarity, high resolution visuals, clarity of voice-overs and on-screen text is vital.
Facility of online connectivity for usage beyond classroom hours with add-ons to go beyond the text is critical. Extensive range of activities to enhance learning, honing of skills and assessment of learning must be part of content. Regular updating of the content should be mandatory.
Technology tools for content usage should be user-friendly for easier integration into classroom teaching. Teacher’s freedom to conduct the class shouldn’t get restricted. Maintenance of hardware should be easier and cost effective.
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.
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.