The world in the classroom

World in Classroom
A G Lakshmi Sujatha

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our students of their tomorrow
John Dewey

The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done
Jean Piaget

In my opinion, integrating technology into classroom teaching is a great way to ensure this. I have used technology successfully in my classroom and have realized that this kind of teaching helps my students better understand what I teach. Any kind of technology helps

  • bring a student into direct contact with objects and things
  • make concrete what is abstract
  • bring near what is distant
  • bring the world into the classroom

My experiences with technology in the classroom
PowerPoint presentations are the order of the day. So when I decided to use technology to teach my class I first tried the PowerPoint. Once you show your students what a PowerPoint presentation is and how it is done, you can actually get your students to develop presentations that will help impart concepts and ideas to the entire class. I got my students to form teams of two or five and develop PowerPoint presentations on various concepts in the English language (the subject I teach). I found that learning this way:

  • Helped make language practice lively.
  • Reduced dependence on mother tongue.
  • Helped in the formation of language habits by repetition, drill and constant practice.
  • Increased students’ knowledge of the English language by providing better quality language material.
  • Boosted students’ self-esteem and confidence and improved their presentation skills.
  • Encouraged team work and harmony.

As a teacher, I too benefited from this kind of teaching.

  • It helped me save time.
  • Reduced the strain on my vocal cords as I could revise a topic by repeating the presentation.
  • Difficult terminology is easily taught using technology enabled graphics.
  • Gave me scope to give out different home assignments.

Besides developing PowerPoint presentations, I have encouraged students to use Microsoft publisher to design greeting cards, pamphlets, news letters, brochures and posters with useful slogans. Microsoft excel allows one to create drag and drop exercises, word search, and puzzles. These exercises are a much better way of assessing your students’ comprehension and understanding. I have also used audio and video files in my presentations to teach music and songs.

Technology has proved effective to promote a variety of 21st century skills such as healthy competition, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills.

My innovative use of technology led me to win INTEL National award 2004 for Best Integration of technology and project based learning for the topic: Neighbourhood-At Our Service.

When you talk about integrating technology with your classroom teaching can the internet be left behind? I have encouraged students to use internet resources to collaborate with the global community using teacher monitored websites like through www. Think.com, www.epals.com, www.intel.com/education.

You could also get your students to do interesting projects using the Internet. In order to generate interest in philately, I got my students to first use the Internet and do some research on philately as a hobby, its history, etc. My students then visited philately exhibitions and post offices, spoke to post masters and people who worked in the different departments of a post office . I then got them to put all the information they collected on slides and create PowerPoint presentations. To encourage my students, I sent the best presentation for the 2005 National Graphic Championships. Two of my students and I were declared the first runner up at the national level.

I have also used online thinking tools in my classroom like the visual ranking tool, seeing reason tool and showing evidence tool which helped my students think critically and act globally. Five students participated in the web-based Volvo adventurer environmental programme under my guidance and they received a diploma from the United Nations Environmental programme for their project “Hospital waste-Our concern”.

A teacher is a life-long learner and so I updated myself with the usage of macromedia flash software which helps the teacher present his or her lessons with best animations that are useful for the concepts.
I am now able to do web designing and have participated in an International web designing contest along with my students on the topic Culprit Chemi VS Omni Organi.

My next project is to use Windows Media Player to develop presentations and this is turning out to be an enjoyable learning experience.

My journey of using technology helped our school to recently win ICT enabled school of the year in the 5th India’s Largest ICT event from digital learning held at Hyderabad International convention centre.

I strongly believe that learning can not only be made easy, but also an experience that is rewarding in itself. The joy, we trust, is not only in acquiring knowledge, but in the very process. Thus, we strive, in every single endeavour of ours, towards enabling the learner to not only learn effectively, but also discover the inherent ‘joy in learning’.

The author works with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Public School, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. She can be reached at aglsujatha@yahoo.co.in.

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