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Updated: March 31, 2013 17:14 IST

10 trends schools should look at when adopting ICT

SITARAM VENKAT
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The education system in India, just like every other sector, is progressing. Technology is also slowly gaining momentum in leveraging high-quality education. Government and private schools alike are trying to facilitate world-class infrastructure in schools to optimise knowledge delivery. The creation of an interactive experience for students is imperative. Similarly the new-generation teacher must be technologically enabled to meet the demands of the student. Establishing technology as an enabler instead of a disruptive force will create a teacher-led pull for technology adoption.

Additionally, uniform access to world-class content is essential. The opportunity is available now to build such an ecosystem. This could meaningfully complement infrastructure initiatives in the education sector. Here are 10 key trends that schools must look into while adopting information and communications technology (ICT) in education.

Personal computing

The trend in classrooms around the world is to provide an information device to every student and create learning environments that assume universal access to the technology. Classrooms in India too should prepare for the universal availability of personal learning devices, be it a personal computer (PC), laptop, or smartphone.

Better content creation

The PC is a better enabler of good, solid content creation in terms of projects and assignments (designing, graphics and animation) as against other portable devices.

Anytime, anywhere

All around the world, school systems are trying to provide students an opportunity to learn anytime, anywhere. This is owing to the increase in connectivity infrastructure and cheap and easily available portable devices. This trend requires a rethinking of traditional classes. Apart from hardware and Internet access, it requires the virtual presence of teachers, and/or opportunities for student-to-student learning and learning at one’s own pace. Smartphones are also contributing to this end. With their ability to multitask and serve as handy means of information, it is very likely that these devices will enable anytime, anywhere learning.

Learning made personal

Education systems are increasingly investigating the use of technology to better understand a student’s knowledge base. After this, lesson plans are customised to address learning gaps as well as learning styles.

Cloud computing

Applications are making their way off a device and on to a server that can be accessed from anywhere using the Internet. The implications of this trend for education systems are big; they will make cheaper information appliances available that do not require the processing power or size of the desktop. The challenge will be providing the connectivity to access information while on a cloud.

Game on

Games are a tried and tested method to garner attention and interest. Technology-enabled interactive games with a focus on active participation, built-in incentives and interaction aim at stimulating the learner.

Teacher-generated content

Teachers are constantly encouraged to both identify and create the learning resources that they find most effective in the classroom. Many online texts allow teachers to customise material for students.

Smart portfolio assessment

The collection, management, sorting, and retrieving of learning-related data will help teachers better understand learning gaps and customise approaches. Tools are increasingly available for students to gather their work together in an online portfolio. Whenever they make an addition to any online service, it will appear in their personal portfolio, which can be both peer and teacher assessed.

Teacher’s role

The teacher’s role is no longer just about being in the forefront of knowledge but, rather that of an instructional manager, who guides students through individualised learning pathways, identifying relevant learning resources, creating collaborative learning opportunities, and providing insight and support, both within the classroom and outside.

Learning spaces

Schools, now, are also paying attention to the learning environment in order to foster collaborative, cross-disciplinary, student-centred learning. Concepts such as better use of light, colours, and individual spaces for students and teachers are increasingly emphasised.

In conclusion, there is a need to create world-class content mapped to student learning across categories and made available to every student at the click of a button. Interactive learning systems, content ecosystem, proliferation of different access devices and evolving telecom infrastructure will ensure learning and skill development in tune with the demands of today’s world. These initiatives can potentially bridge the knowledge gap in students, capability gap in teaching, and overcome the issue of scalability in education.

(The author is Director of Enterprise Solutions Group for Dell’s Public Business Organization)

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