What sort of technology do you use in your school?
We use technology in three main areas: Technology within the curriculum, to support the curriculum and to deliver the curriculum.
Within the curriculum, students are taught about technology, both hardware and software.
To support curricular goals, we use software such as MS Excel or MS Paint to help students grasp concepts such as equations or diagrams. To deliver the curriculum, we use different audio-visual aids to present study material in a stimulating manner.
What kind of investment does this involve?
We started using a basic computer in our classroom 17 years ago. Even then, pre-school children would use the keyboard to learn the alphabet. The use of technology has increased significantly over the years.
Introducing technology requires a huge investment. We need to upgrade the software every year. Nearly 30-35% of the school's annual budget goes into technology upgradation and purchase. Next year, we're looking to bring in tablets.
The budget depends entirely on the fee-structure.
What are the main benefits of technology in classrooms?
The first thing is active involvement of all. As teachers, we come in and hook students within their learning space. Children no longer sit in class as passive learners. Teachers also learn every day. Some teachers take longer to grasp technology, but once they see the kind of engagement they get from the students, they are keen to learn more.
What are the shortcomings?
There is a negative side to everything. There are a lot of social and ethical issues such as hacking, so we try to teach our children about cyber crime and cyber safety. In addition, the investment required is an inhibiting factor. Also, the industry is moving very fast. By the time teachers grasp a software, there is a new one in the market.