While parents try to get their wards the best possible education, schools go in for ‘smart’ classes to keep up with competition
Schools in the city, irrespective of their student strength or syllabus, are rushing to get ‘smart’ to woo students. As parents try to get their children the best possible education, smaller schools in the city are also going in for ‘smart’ classes to keep up with the competition. While many schools have installed a few computers in special classrooms, a few have taken the step forward by computerizing every class. The focus here is on improving the process of teaching as a whole.
Bindu Jayakumar, principal of a CBSE school in Kakkanad with around 500 students, says her school first brought in computer-aided teaching two years ago. Two computers, along with projectors and interactive whiteboards, were installed at the school. Students above Class VI get at least two hours a week in the smart class, where they are taught different subjects through interactive slides. “Students are first introduced to a topic by their teacher in the classroom and then they get to learn more about it in the smart class. The children said they were able to understand complicated subjects better after learning about them through the smart class,” says Ms. Jayakumar.
Many government schools in the district have also opted to install smart classes to supplement what the children learn in class from their teachers. The classes also offer the advantage of familiarising students who do not have personal computers at home with the operation of computers.
Schools that have installed computers in every classroom insist on the systems being used as a teaching aid continuously, thereby reinventing the teaching process itself. The software has modules specially designed for students of different ages. “The smart class system has been installed in most of our classes. Teachers can access the content relating to each subject from a central server and teach the material to the students,” says Fr. Babu Manissery, principal of an ICSE school in the city. “Children are thrilled about smart classes. Where a teacher would earlier have to draw diagrams on the board to explain subjects, in the smart class every subject is explained in detail through interactive diagrams,” he says.
The programme, however, has its flip side too. Ms. Jayakumar says students get bored with the system as soon the novelty wears off. “Some students started getting bored of it after the first term,” she says.
The problem here, parents feel, is with the way teachers use the smart class modules. Though the system has improved, teachers still rely on traditional teaching styles to impart information through the ‘smart’ system.
“Schools are not exploring the huge potential of the smart class system,” says Ebenser Chullikkat, whose children study in a CBSE school in the city that has implemented the system. “Teachers sometimes simply switch on the computer and continue teaching the same way they are used to doing. The smart class software actually has plenty of ways to teach children in an interesting manner, and also to test how much they have learned. But teachers also have to improve their teaching methods according to the new system,” he says.
Latest smart class software comes with Internet access for parents to gather information regarding their child’s progress in class.