World literacy Day 2020 Education

An Apple in a virtual classroom

Students of Anita Methodist School, Chennai, with the iPads for their learning experience   | Photo Credit: Anita Methodist School

Educators have had to swap blackboards and/or interactive whiteboards for video-conferencing among a host of other technologies. Coming on the heels of Teachers’ Day and on the occasion of World Literacy Day, we cannot help but know that they have been a different kine of frontline worker. We have seen G Suite, Adobe eLearning Suite and Apple Education which have taken learning to a digital space with almost no glitches.

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Dan Herbert from Chennai’s Anita Methodist School is a believer in the power of a technology ecosystem to empower both students and teachers. A technologically-savvy educator, he says Apple Education was a no-brainer; in fact, it took just a couple of hours to bring together the tools and resources to enact fluid teaching and learning online. They also had a comprehensive teaching training with iPads, foreseeing that tablets would be more of a gadget-to-the-rescue for the lockdown. “There are ways in which the iPad makes e-teaching easier using the Whiteboard app and students formulating feedback in ways laptops do not,” he explains.

Teacher training at Anita Methodist School, Chennai, using iPads

Teacher training at Anita Methodist School, Chennai, using iPads   | Photo Credit: Anita Methodist School

Anita Methodist School has also embraced gamified learning in the form of Kahoot, an e-learning-made-fun experience — and Dan recalls how the students were eager to get this into their syllabus. “Even before we kicked off the programme, the kids were excited for Kahoots. They were asking us when it would be available,” he recollects, acknowledging that Kahoots offered students a way to socially interact while still maintaining physical distancing.

A. Lakshmi Priya, a physics teacher at TRIO World Academy in Bengaluru is also an Apple Distinguished Educator. She explains, “We use shared model with younger kids, one-on-one iPads with Grades 6 to 10, and 11 and 12 Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). We adopt a heterogeneous approach to embrace technology to make it an active component in our teaching learning practices.”

A physics teacher primarily, Lakshmi does miss the organic setting of a classroom and lab but adapting is must. She understands that her fellow educators feel the same way. She puts forth, “I create training modules for my fellow colleagues, which include tips from the Apple Teacher Learning Centre, and a sharing forum to share their best classroom ideas. I also showcase how simple features like screen recording can be used to explain a sequence of steps like geometry construction, diagram in sciences. By sharing the video with students we provides equitable access to all learners to revise their learning even after leaving their virtual classrooms.”

What of screen time?

Both Dan and Lakshmi insist screen time is a vital aspect of e-learning that many cannot help. Dan explains that the value of screen time is best calibrated when one is aware of the type of activity underway. “If the experience is very passive and engaging only to a certain degree, it’s deemed unhealthy screen time. However, if the activity itself is interactive and imbibes critical thinking, then it’s not about the hours but what one takes away from it,” he points out.

Lakshmi conducts technology orientation programmes every year to students’ parents and guardians “to help the learners manage their digital exposure and to monitor usage of their child’s device. We also suggested tools like screen time, app downtime will help them manage digital distractions effectively. The orientation also covered why it is essential to maintain positive digital footprints and how can our students be safe online.”


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 5:53:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/apple-education-schools-in-south-india-during-lockdown/article32550140.ece

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