Hyderabad: All aboard the wired-ship is the motto for schools this academic session. From smart classrooms to digitally enhanced learning experiences, a net of experiences await students as portrayed by clever ad-libbers of fun-learning methods.
We hear complaints against increasing load of school bags and high stress levels on students. The switch to tablet-based learning material will help in overcoming that. Also, in the demo-classes I have seen students paying more attention than they ever do in a conventional classroom, says a teacher of mathematics at a premier school in the city.
In Hyderabad, Oakridge school as well as Meridian School are on the verge of introducing learning platforms which work on touch screen devices. The aim of the experiment is to achieve a better teaching-learning experience, explains Lalita Naidu, principal of Meridian School, Madhapur.
We plan to introduce tablet-based education for classes 8, 9 and 10 from next week. The objective of this programme is two-fold. Firstly, gadgets are always more interesting for students and generate a healthy interest and attentiveness. Secondly, we plan to use the educational platform we are going to use as an effective tool for assessment as part of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) as mandated by CBSE. The teachers can use the results of each examination conducted on the educational platform to narrow down on remedial measures and focus on those who lose out on the classroom set up, says the principal.
The smart experience is, however, for a select few as the introduction of the digital learning mode comes with an overhead of close to Rs 12,000 to the annual fee. Further, while the tablets supplied by the educational software providers is available at a moderate cost of Rs 4000 to Rs 7000 with pre-installed software, updating the content for progressive classes costs as much as purchasing a set of new text-books or more. We do not compel children to purchase tablets but it is mostly voluntary. In fact, some parents already have bought tablets for their wards and they can bring those to school instead of procuring a new one, says Lalita Naidu.
The parents are not too happy with the added costs but have little say given the prospect of an enhanced learning process for their children. As a parent I am against the introduction of these devices to young children as it is a potential health hazard due to the amount of radiation it generates and harm caused to the eyesight of the students who spend around 8 to 10 hours with it, additional to the TV-viewing. Further, the students are missing out on a peer-to-peer interaction provided by a conventional classroom model. It affects their interaction with the society, observes N Subrahmanyam, whose daughter studies in Delhi Public School.
For the students who are ever-ready to experience new technology, a gizmo in hand might prove to be better than the lone PC at home.