Gurugram schools warm to laptops, tablets in classrooms
With the changing technological landscape and increasing use of tech-driven devices in everyday life, the nature of educational technology being used across schools is also seeing a shift. Seeking to seamlessly integrate technology with pedagogy, many private schools in the city are warming up to the idea of one-to-one computing initiatives, under which laptops or tablets with internet access are provided to students for use at school.
In April this year, Shiv Nadar School, DLF City, started such an initiative for students in classes 6 and 7 on a pilot basis. It entailed giving devices to individual students as a direct technological intervention inside the classroom. “We have given Apple iPads to students. Our focus is on ensuring that learning is made fun and engagement levels sustain,” said Mark Nelson, head of the school’s IT department.
Nelson explained that technological intervention at the individual level allowed educators to differentiate learning as per the needs of particular students. “In a class of 20-25 students, each student has different individual needs. It’s very difficult to differentiate the class without technology. Differentiating teaching allows us to make learning personal for the students,” he said.
Other private schools in the city are embracing the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), in which students are allowed to bring their own devices like laptops and tablets to the classroom. BYOD is aimed at increasing engagement in class and hopes to facilitate a seamless transfer of work between home and school.
Heritage Xperiential Learning School in Sector 62 is following the BYOD model for students in class 9 and above. “Students in class 9 and above can choose to bring their own devices to school. Our idea is to provide one-on-one technology interfaces for learning, which could be a tablet or any other handheld device or a laptop, depending on which grade the student is in,” said Vishnu Karthik, director, Heritage Schools and CEO Xperiential Learning Systems.
The school provides specifications to the students for the devices that they decide to use. The school, said Karthik, continues to focus on making students digital creators rather than digital consumers. “It’s no longer about reading articles or presentations; it’s about creating knowledge. The focus of the devices is to create digital assets rather than passive consumption,” he said. The school has plans of expanding the scope of BYOD for younger classes on a need basis.
Pathways School also allows students from class 6 onwards to bring their own laptops, the specifications of which are provided by the school. “Parents are in awe of the system when they see that their child, who was probably not so familiar with technology, is able to create designs through technology in the class,” said Varuna Punjabi, communication coordinator at the school.
Not all parents, however, are excited by the concept of one-to-one computing and children being allowed to carry their devices to schools. “They are making things very easy for children to consume. Children need to be taught through a combination of both digital and traditional assignments. Everything cannot be done on digital devices,” said Tripti Singh, whose children go to two different private schools in the city.
Some parents were of the opinion that gadgets not be allowed to be used to the extent that children are occupied with them the whole day, and learning outside the classroom takes a backseat. “Children are using these gadgets all the time anyway. How will they value books if everything is to be consumed through web-based platforms and digital devices,” Singh said.