Embrace the change

Sinny Mole started her career as a primary school teacher in 1992. She took to her role of a teacher as a duck to water. Teaching little kids maths is her primary interest but she also is equally enthusiastic about training teachers in newer and innovative techniques of teaching maths. Chemistry is another area of interest. Although she doesn’t teach it, she keeps herself up to date in chemistry by teaching her daughter at home. In her spare time Sinny likes to read, listen to music, experiment with modern cookery, do gardening, and travel with her family.

The ‘smart board’ is the hot topic of discussion in our staff room these days. Before its installation there was a sense of anxiety and anticipation in the air. What was this new technology? Will we be able to adapt to this change? How are we to teach now? And the tension mounted because while there was a lot of talk, nothing seemed to be happening. When school reopened in June and we walked into our classrooms, imagine our surprise when we saw the smart boards waiting for us! Monica was furious about the lavish spending of the school funds. “It’s mere wastage of money,” she said. Pushpa countered her and said, “We have now been using the smart boards in the classroom. I have seen many ways in which they can be used to enhance teaching and learning.” Soon this discussion attracted more teachers and each had supporters for their cause.

Monica has had a lot of trouble with the smart board in her classroom. The practice lessons we were given before we began using smart boards in our classes didn’t seem to have helped her. She honestly believed that she was spending more time learning to use the smart board than on doing her job, which was to teach.

Monica’s trouble with technology is nothing new. Any new initiative will have teething troubles. If things aren’t working for you ask for suggestions or seek help from your peers. Admitting to not knowing something and showing a willingness to learn is one of the best signs of a good teacher.

For instance, your students will probably laugh when you accidentally write on the smart board holding the eraser end and thus don’t write at all. Take it easy, laugh with the children and keep going. A lot of great learning moments will happen when you discover things together. I continue to learn new ways to enhance the implementation of the smart board in my classroom. Feel free to play and learn alongside your children.

“My students are very naughty and I keep them away from the smart board,” Monica said.
“We must consider ways to involve students in what is happening at the board,” I said.
Monica reacted, “The board is very expensive and the children may damage it.”

But can it be termed an interactive smart board if the teacher is the only one to use it? We must encourage students to be creative and to share their ideas using this modern tool.

Monica is a good teacher and proficient in the conventional teaching method. But she was a little apprehensive about using smart boards because she hadn’t used it before. Our counselling worked well and Monica attended the professional development training in the use of both interactive whiteboards and effective teaching.

Slowly, she developed an interest and started using the smart board in the classroom. She also started using other kinds of technology in school. Progressively, she started preparing lesson plans and worksheets on the computer.

There are a large number of teachers in service, who are experienced but lack the expertise in using the new teaching and learning methods. If one is committed and perseveres there is nothing that one can’t learn. Monica proved it.

Good teachers will not see technology as a barrier. Through e-mails, websites, and blogs, teachers and parents can become equal partners in nurturing children’s progress. PowerPoint presentations, videos, and interactive lessons bring a classroom alive.

Teachers and school coordinators must accept the challenge to create a supportive condition, which will foster an innovative use of technology in education. In fact, the concepts we teach are the same as they always have been but technology will make the delivery much better. It is essential for a teacher to keep pace with the technological advancements on a continuous basis. There is no reason to become disheartened about the invasion of technology in education. Remember, change is the law of nature. Let us embrace it.