We live in a very interesting time.
The rate at which things around us are changing is unimaginable and we can actually feel it.
More than ever, the role and adoption of technology in teaching and learning is increasing which was inconceivable just a few years back. With technology in education, we find that learning, understanding, realizing is becoming more accessible than ever.
However, it is the experience of teachers handling various types of educational technology to enable 21’st century learners’ meaningful learning that matters.
In order to understand the comfort & ease, choice of tools and obstacles that teachers face in using edtech tools in pedagogy, EdTechReview recently interviewed Ms. Sonia Wadhwa, Head of The Department ICT at Sanskaar Valley School Bhopal.
The Transcript of the interview is below
1. Does your school use edtech in classrooms across classes 1-12th?
Yes, we use Edtech in classrooms across classes 1-12th. The technology is leveraged and weaved into the lessons across the classes for better engagement and enriching class transactions.
2. Do the teachers in your school feel stressed or does it excite them to practice technology enabled pedagogy? Do you see the students enjoying the mix of traditional and technology enabled learning?
Three years back when we pushed Edtech into the classrooms there was some anxiety and stress among the staff. The change was not welcomed easily especially by senior staff as people didn’t want to come out of the comfort zone to learn and practice new ways of conducting classes. But now gradually after a lot of teacher training and hand-holding the staffs are comfortable. The teachers now naturally follow, and practice technology enabled pedagogy. After using formative assessment tools like Kahoot and Forms, learning management software like EDMODO, collaboration opportunities using office 365 they felt that their life has become eased out to a great extent and also the students have more fun and better engagement in the class-room. Students really enjoy this blend of traditional and technology enabled learning as the learning has now become more personalized also we are making them learn the way they want to learn. Elements of Gamified learning, Internet based research, flip teaching and students working on collaborative projects are few techniques that have been proved fruitful.
3. What kind of training do you offer to teachers in your school to enhance their technology skills and start using various technologies in pedagogy?
The training involves lot of hand on sessions and few reflective sessions on the topics below:
- Role of technology to foster 21st century skills.
- How to create opportunities for students to do collaborative projects using technology? (Using Padlet, Office 365 tools- Office oneline, OneNote, OneDrive, Sway, Forms etc)
- Formative Assessment Online Tools- Kahoot, Hot Potatoes, Forms
- Brand building for educators/Opportunities for Professional development online.
- Online image Vs Offline Image of students and role of social media to enhance student teacher connect.
- Learning Management Software- EDMODO
- How to effectively use Word, Excel and PowerPoint to do various day to day Jobs?
- How to conduct Polls and Surveys in the classroom using online tools?
- How to Create/Curate Digital Content? Downloading and editing of PDF/ MUSIC/VIDEO etc.
- Plagiarism- ways to avoid plagiarism. Academy Integrity and Digital Citizenship.
4. What challenges do you face in integrating technology in the teaching approach?
- Internet Speed.
- Software Firewall as System Administrator blocks almost everything and at times you are unable to get the content that you may wish to show.
- You need to prepare well in advance to search and collect desired resources as you can’t waste student’s time in class while you look for appropriate content online.
- Lack of funds at times to bring latest Edtech in class.
5. Do you only rely on free web tools or rely on subscription based Edtech tools too?
We not only rely on web tools but also take on some subscription based Edtech Tools. For Example we have cloud campus agreement for Microsoft Office 2016 which is renewable annual subscription. We have taken paid subscription of some websites that we require to get resources to teach IGCSE. Tools/websites like Lifeliqe, teachict.com, padlet, Minecraft in Education, Mindspark, digital literacy planet etc are some good websites for which schools need to invest very nominal amount but the content/utility is great.
6. Any message that you wish to share with the other teachers related to the use of education technology.
Teachers need to take an approach which is more engaging and experiential for learners. We need to teach in a way this generation wants to learn. The kind of family structure we have in society and the kind of exposure the students have through technology, demands educators to have much better and deep connect with students beyond the four walls of class-room. Students are now looking at teachers not only for academic needs but also as facilitators for career and pastoral needs as well. By weaving technology into pedagogy the objectives can be achieved to a great extent.
Technology can help us establish a better student teacher connects and to make learning more personalized and fun. Educational technologies when used effectively not only allow us to get adequate data on learning patterns but also help us analyse critical areas of improvement. Teacher and taught may get instance feedback and can build on that. Latest concept of gamified learning when implements in class-room using technology, excite and engage all students. Consider a scenario- To conduct a formative assessment after a topic is over, you give students a sheet to solve 20 MCQ’s, they solve it on a paper you check it later and return it the following day versus a situation wherein your students have devices, you play with them in real time in a KBC like software e.g. Kahoot and they all are alert and super excited to answer correctly and speedily, and they get instant feedback and teacher also gets immediate feedback about the areas where students need help.
Technology help we educators to practice skills of collaboration, communication, content creation, decision making, problem solving and critical thinking with ease and prepare our students for a better future.
“Let’s Embrace the change to empower our students to be Future Ready”.