Teaching is going the ‘smart' way in many colleges and universities with conventional classrooms being converted into smart classrooms.
The ‘smart' factor so far has been in infrastructure rather than in technology. Changes in seating arrangement, the type of material used in making furniture for the classrooms, whiteboards in the place of blackboards, marker pens in place of chalk, overhead projectors for PowerPoint presentations, a Wi-fi enabled environment, besides other gradual changes, have created the smart classrooms.
A few colleges in the city have even acquired the ‘IQ Board,' also informally called the ‘smart board' to go along with the smart classroom concept. Nirmala College for Women have been using the ‘IQ Board' for teaching its science and mathematics students.
The ‘IQ Board' resembles any other whiteboard that can be written on using a marker pen. But the similarity ends there. It is connected to a computer loaded with the ‘IQ' software that has all the tools related to science and formulae related to mathematics.
Once a teacher switches on the computer and activates the board, she has to choose the subject that she intends to give a lecture on from the icons that appear on it.
For example, if it is a class in chemistry, she has to click on the associated icon and then choose the link to enter into the chapter she wishes to deal with. Once she enters the link, all the related tools and terms related to that chapter appear on the left side of the board.
By using a special pen she can drag a pipette or a burette into the centre of the screen and make necessary diagrams of her own and also notes to go with it. Once the explanation is over, instead of erasing the screen to go to the next part of her lecture, she can save the page as a file.
Whatever is written or drawn on the board can be saved as files that can be re-used by the teacher for revision or can be copied on to CDs or e-mailed to students. There is also a virtual keyboard which can be used for typing text instead of writing.
The faculty of the college say that they have begun to use it for science and mathematics classes.
Once they become familiar with it, they plan to use it for other subjects too.
According to B. Mahesh of Viksha EduServe, who are the pan-India distributors of the ‘IQ Boards', the concept of smart board is slowly catching up in Coimbatore.
There are only a handful of colleges using the technology now. However, many schools in the State are using the board that comes in sizes of 80 inches and 100 inches.
The Government College of Technology (GCT) and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) are the two other institutions that will get smart classrooms soon.