Using tech to teach

Vandita Sharma

With the advent of technology everything has become fast paced, there is a push to become tech-savvy and today’s generation has become smarter. If our generation was pioneers of technology, today’s generation is living it. Before they learn the formal alphabet or even speak, they already know how to operate smart gadgets. Technology has brought the teacher and the taught on the same platform in terms of knowledge and yet the teacher still has an important role to play. Just as you require expertise to separate the wheat from the chaff, a teacher has to guide her students in using technology to the optimum.

With this paradigm shift in the role of the teacher, the pressure has mounted, it is desirous that the teacher too becomes tech-savvy like her students. While younger teachers are easily adapting to technology, Using tech to teach there is a tussle between ICT in teaching and the age-old traditional method. Teachers, whether young or old, have to accept that ICT is here to stay and the quicker they adapt to the change, the more comfortable they will be.

ICTs can make teaching engaging. In the old days teachers spent their time in libraries gathering different kinds of knowledge to help their students. Why then can’t they spend some time today learning how to weave technology into their teaching practices? Such practices will not only keep the students engaged but will also help slow learners to process the knowledge. Instead of dreading technology, teachers should accept it. If as teachers we falter with the use of a particular technology, our ever eager group of students will be happy to help. Both learners as well as teachers will be happy for the change because here creativity will be challenged, innovation will take the front seat and drudgery the back.

Teachers needn’t be threatened by technology, it is only an accessory to make the students skilful in terms of knowledge and communication. They need to realize that they are now facilitators and not simply teachers.

Today all of us have adapted to 4G and Android, then why is it difficult for us to come to terms with technology in education? As teachers we are supposed to be learning all the time. Is it difficult for us to set aside our misgivings and learn how to use technology?

In fact, today we are living in a time where apps like Edmodo and Socrative make it easy for those of us who are not much into technology. These apps not only engage students but can also help teachers. These apps help evaluate the students and share knowledge and experience with fellow teachers.

The class can turn into a Kaun Banega Crorepati show and a boring lesson can become an enjoyable learning experience through Kahoot (a free game-based learning platform). All one has to do is to enter the prepared questions and answers into the app and the app creates an instantly playable game. Another app, Seesaw, can help prepare a student’s portfolio which can be shared with teachers and parents alike. Thus concrete examples of a student’s strengths and weaknesses can be provided during parent-teacher meetings.

Technology helps educators and students to connect in a safe social environment where they can collaborate, share digital content and educational applications, access homework, grades, class discussions, and notifications from any computer or mobile device. Technology not only helps in designing assignments and quizzes but also in evaluating them.

A teacher can also use technology to encourage students in their reading and communication skills as well. While it is widely believed that students these days lack reading and communication skills because of ICT, ICT is actually encouraging them to read and communicate through book clubs, cultural exchange programmes, foreign language practice, etc.

With intuitive features and unlimited storage, a teacher can quickly create groups, assign homework, schedule quizzes, manage progress, and more. With everything on one platform, these apps reinforce and enhance what a teacher has already been doing in the classroom. Not only this, they give students new ways to engage, participate and express themselves. One can post discussion topics, conduct polls, award badges to foster communication and make learning social.

Earlier the teaching-learning process was restricted to classrooms. Today, emails can be used to submit assignments. The evaluation process has become easier. Neither the teacher nor the pupil has to carry bulky notebooks or projects. They can be submitted anytime and from anywhere and the teacher can assess them in leisure time. Moreover, comments or suggestions can be written wherever necessary. Google Classroom can help not only in distributing and grading assignments but also in storing materials on Google Drive.

I believe that every teacher has to walk that extra mile to integrate technology in classroom teaching and learning. It will make the students eager to learn. Technology not only helps in learning but also in skill development as the students are able to showcase their learning through PPTs, web designing and use these skills to their advantage.

Technology is here to stay. It doesn’t mean that teachers cannot teach. It just means that teachers have to adapt to a new style of teaching. Too much of anything is bad and so is excess use of technology. Technology has to be tasted, chewed and digested according to our requirement, and to add in the best flavours, a teacher needs to be well-versed in it and know the pros and cons of using technology. It is said that there is no age for learning, and teaching is always a learning experience. It is limitless as with each passing year, the students are different and it is the teacher’s expertise that helps her become a part of her students’ world. A teacher’s experience and teaching skills when combined with technology can go a long way in a fruitful teaching-learning process.

The author is an alumna of St. Mary’s Convent, Allahabad. She is PGT English at Birla Balika Vidyapeeth, Pilani. She has been teaching for the past 15 years. She can be reached at [email protected].

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