It is the age of technology! Automation, digitalization and artificial intelligence are entering every sphere of life, including classrooms. There was a time when the blackboard, the chalk and the duster was everything required during a lecture. But those days are gone when Biology teachers in schools would literally draw a toad or a cockroach on the board to teach the anatomy of the organism. These days it can be done with a click of the mouse – thanks to digital blackboards! That is not all! From access cards for attendance to mailing homework to going on virtual field trips – the classroom scenario has come a long way. What irks some parents and educationists, who themselves have received traditional schooling, is how much of technology is too much inside a classroom? Will it turn out to be evil in the long run?
CCTV or digital tools to demonstrate topics in the class have long been introduced. But today, even junior students of private schools would not be able to finish their homework without their iPads. There are apps like Edmodo which is used by teachers to send homework to students. Using the same app, busy parents are also able to keep track of their child’s academic progress.
When asked about the use of gadgets, principals and teachers opine that the usage of iPads or similar gadgets is under strict supervision in their schools. For instance, studying Literature can never be done using the iPad but it can surely make a Chemistry class a little more interesting. Some teachers also say that it is way easier to make students understand trigonometry or geometry using audio-visual tools as they enable a life-like perception of the subject matter.
Technology-based applications are starting to dominate day-to-day life. Some argue that it is important to introduce technology as part of the child’s learning process. Another point defending the use of technology in schools is the fact that children learn to use smartphones right from their toddler-days.
Some schools like the Blue Bell Group of Schools or Cambridge Court High, Jaipur, make sure that students limit the use of technology in their lives. While these schools, too, use email and apps to send and receive assignments, they insist that students submit hard copies of their work also.
Another factor in favour of the use of technology is the fact that augmented reality helps in giving students the real-life view of theories taught in class. This definitely enables a better understanding of the topic. This is a practice incorporated in higher studies too. Application-based learning can be enabled in schools only through the use of virtual reality.
Educationists like Archana Sagar, Principal, Ridge Valley School, are afraid that technology might take away from the human element in schools which is very important for the overall intellectual growth of a child. She insists that the internet is only an aid. It should not create a barrier between the student and the teacher.
While technology should be used to maintain security in schools or even monitor the progress of pupils, too much of technology may restrict the physical activity of a child. Education advisor, Madhulika Sen, says that use of too much technology in schools is not the best thing always. Moreover, in a country like India, the system also does not support inclusive education which is crucial to the development of the educational sphere of the country as a whole.
A highly debatable topic – use of technology in classroom education – is a reality in many private schools across the country. Only time will tell if the practice is here to stay!