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Mumbai schools get tech upgrade

From digital boards in classrooms and mobile apps to closed-circuit television cameras – Mumbai schools are doing all this and more to keep up with the changing tech-savvy times

mumbai Updated: Oct 05, 2017 16:15 IST
A video for a flipped classroom session being recorded at RN Podar School.
A video for a flipped classroom session being recorded at RN Podar School.

From digital boards in classrooms and mobile apps to closed-circuit television cameras – Mumbai schools are doing all this and more to keep up with the changing tech-savvy times.

A case in point could be Bandra’s Rizvi Education Society’s school. Here, teachers no longer shout out names of students to mark their attendance. The school has set up a biometric system — a device to register attendance using thumb impression – at the entrance. They have also introduced mobile application for parent-teacher interaction and gone paperless for the admission process. The aim is to reduce paper work, reduce administrative hassles and bring in transparency in the functioning of the school.

“Paperless admissions have made the process transparent. Parents, too, are at peace as they get daily updates on their child’s attendance without visiting the institute,” said AH Rizvi, president, Rizvi Education Society, adding all seven institutes managed by the group have got the system for staff and students.

In their second phase of digital revolution, the group will start online assessment of answer sheets, similar to other schools in the city.

The Children’s Academy in Malad (E) introduced online assessment for physics, chemistry and biology papers of Class 8 students this year. The new software is being introduced in phases to ensure it works smoothly. “Our teachers underwent thorough training. Once the assessment work started, care was taken to ensure the results are error-free,” said Rohan Bhat, principal.

The system allows students and parents to access the corrected answer sheets online. The school has so far received positive response from parents. “We want to introduce this system for other classes too, but the software is expensive. We will first consult with parents before going ahead with the plan,” said Bhat.

Meanwhile, RN Podar School in Santacruz has successfully implemented flipped classroom -- a new method of learning at home to give students respite from dreary lectures. Their science and mathematics classes are conducted using audio-visual aids delivered to students in the form of pre-recorded videos that they can watch at home. The exercise is then discussed in class using various activities to solve students’ problems.

“When students come to the classroom they already have knowledge about the topic being taught. As a result, teachers get more time to focus on problem-solving,” said Avnita Bir, principal of the school. “This has greatly reduced the need to go for extra tuitions,” she said.

The transition, however, wasn’t easy. Parents were initially apprehensive and students, too, were used to the old method of teaching. Soon, they realised unless they come prepared to the classroom, they would be left behind. The videos contain pop-up questions to make them more engaging for children.

Many schools in the city are using mobile applications to keep parents in loop about the progress of their children and happenings in the school. These applications, which are often connected to the school’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software - better known as school management system - provide instant access to details about examination, results, attendance record and notifications. The applications also allow parents to interact with teachers without visiting the school.

The applications also come with a host of other features, such as a Global Positioning System (GPS) to track children and school buses. The application even alerts anxious parents as soon as their children enter the school.

Some schools, like Smt. Sulochana Devi Singhania School in Thane, are developing their own in-house applications to connect with parents. The parents were provided access to the school’s ERP system eight years ago while a chat application ‘MTalk’ been facilitating interaction between the parents and teachers. “We are now developing a mobile app to keep in touch with parents,” said Revathi Srinivasan, principal of the school.

‘New ways help students understand subject better’