December 7, 2009

Technology In Education

Filed under: Education,Tamil Nadu,Technology — loggers @ 10:50 pm

Building a strong knowledge economy is a very important aspect of a developing nation. Hence, visiting educational institutions has been an important and frequent agenda of our travels. We have been attempting to understand some characteristics of the education (predominantly school) system across various states and identify shortfalls/possible lessons, if any. From Assam to Mizoram to UP, we have interacted with educators at institutions from a variety of backgrounds. The southern states have historically led the way in reducing illiteracy and providing quality schooling, and we embarked to try and find out why.

The use of technology in education is part of an explicit effort by the government to encourage schools to introduce such teaching methods. Educomp, one of the leading educational service providers in the country, identified this potential early and has experienced exponential growth as a result of schools increasing adopting these technologies. Adwaith Secondary School in Coimbatore is one such school that has taken this step, and reaped the rewards. Even though the equipment and maintenance costs are relatively expensive, the principal unequivocally pushed for its use in some of her classrooms. This was mainly due to the agreement of the management (trustees) of the school, who were willing to provide additional funding for this purpose. This was done without increasing student fees significantly since the students were mostly from lower to middle income families.

The setup itself consists of a central server that needs to be housed within the school premises, which is then connected to individual operating systems in each of the equipped classrooms. Each classroom has its own CPU, mouse, keyboard and LCD TV, with the help of which teachers can conduct lessons. The digitization of content and conversion into presentation material is done by Educomp, by sending them the relevant course material prior to the start of the academic year.

Equipment in the classroom

Initiatives such as these can go a long way in improving the quality of education at our schools. It is important to note here that this should be utilized as a compliment to teachers and not a substitute where students can simply learn from the material presented visually. To this end, teachers should also be adequately trained in these new technologies in order to make the delivery even more efficient.


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