Digital Classrooms transforming Education

 

Bill Gates rightly said, “Imagination has its own form of courage, and technology gives us the wings that help us fly to that dream”. Education nowadays cannot be confined to a specific topography, culture or system. We are citizens of a world which is shrinking with every passing breath. The world of today’s child is multi polar and beset with complex problems. These can be solved only when they have an in-depth understanding of our pluralistic society.

 

EXCELLENCE AND ACHIEVEMENTS: 

At Delhi Public School Ghaziabad it is our endeavour has always been to position DPSG as a frontline leader in providing new focus and direction in building new paradigms in quality and futuristic education; preparing students for ‘Life beyond School’.

  • Delhi Public School Ghaziabad has carved a niche for itself by being India’s top ranker day boarding school in term of academic rigor for two consecutive years as per the ‘Education World’ survey.
  • The school is ranked as 8th , in the ranking of India’s top CBSE schools
  • MICROSOFT chose DPSG as one of the five schools in India to be a Microsoft Showcase School.

 

TECHNOLOGY:

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We, at DPSG understand that the changing world economy is redefining the way children need to be taught. We are a technology oriented institution.  All processes, from the admission process to the assessment reports of the students are computerised.  The school provides laptops to all teachers. All classrooms in the school are equipped with smart boards and the teachers create their own E-learning material with the help of various on-line tools available. The school houses a centralized server where all the data is posted and available for the real time access. The students can log in to ERP for updating themselves about the daily activities, if they are absent due to some reason. ICT skills are the most pivotal skills in today’s  times and Microsoft indeed plays an integral role in its efficient application  – Win, Office 365, Surface, Windows XP Professional, Office 2007, Onenote 2007 and 2010 are now being widely used by the teaching staff and students alike enabling an  integrated teaching-learning experience.

We understand that the teaching paradigm of the teacher as the transferor of information has now shifted to a new paradigm of the teacher now being more of a facilitator and coach.

 

CLASSROOM OF THE FUTURE: 

It is a matter of great pride that out of 25 elite schools that were shortlisted for Microsoft’s Pilot ‘Classroom of the Future’ project, DPSG was the only school chosen from India.

 

 

 

 

The deployment of Windows 8.1 enabled tablets with office 365 tools has made it possible to implement the one on one learning model successfully at our school.

 

 

We had to bring about a few radical changes in our approach towards classroom transaction and embrace the innovative pedagogical change in all its earnestness. Training was imparted to all the teachers and students of the school on One Note, Office 365, Windows 8.1. We completed the Classroom Experience Design and were able to successfully collaborate with each other using office 365.

Preparing ourselves for this phenomenal wave of change in pedagogy has been a learning and liberating experience to say the least. We left no stone unturned to ensure that our students receive the best that this world has to offer. From training the teachers, Parents’ and students’ Orientation to the upgradation of our school bandwidth….we have taken assured, steady steps to, adopt the new pedagogical practices that would facilitate in empowering the 21st Century learner.

 

 

All the six dimensions of 21st century learning design – collaboration ;  knowledge construction ;  self-regulation ; real-world problem-solving and innovation ; use of ICT for learning ; skilled communication….were effectively interwoven in the classroom activities and the Project Based Learning project ‘Township of the future’.

 

The deployment of the 1:1 initiatives has strengthened the roots of collaborative work. Our students were engaged in the 21st century learning modules of collaborative learning to work on the project ‘Township of the future’ an integrated project in Science and Maths and forms a part of my 21st Century based Project “Sustainable Development”. The jigsaw technique was adopted by the facilitators that divided the class into different specialised groups for this inter – disciplinary project. The technique helped the students to work real life problems of the urban lifestyle : Space management, energy management, water management and waste management….  that they later collated into a final outcome.

 

As you can see these are a few reflections of the students of our school had had hands on experience on the new innovative pedagogical transactions that they were introduced to.

 

Highlights 

 

Let us take a look at the different phases of the project to get a better understanding of its impact:

 

The project commenced with students being selected on the basis of their I.T skills. This was followed by implementation of one-on-one learning under the Microsoft Pilot project ‘Classroom of the Future – Let’s move with technology’.

The students were then trained on the basic fundamentals of Cloud Computing through Office 365. Students and teachers were educated on the myriad uses of OneNote, Sway, Office Mix and OneDrive.

Students communicated with their classmates in the form of Presentations and workshops. Students then started to conduct surveys in their localities and compiled the surveys in the form of Excel sheets.

 

Thereafter, the solution making process for a sustainable future of the city started. The teachers started incorporating the project with class activities and documentations were saved on OneDrive. Discussions were held on forums such as Yammer, Skype, OneNote Class Notebook Creator and Lync.

It was ensured that the future possibilities were taken into account, and the surveys done on Excel were shared with the authorities through OneDrive.

 

The project has gained great momentum and has been successful in attracting many students to participate. As of now, we have covered around 20 localities and every documentation has been put up on OneDrive. There are more teachers and students who are now in the training process to take the project further.

 

IMPACT: 

Let us look at a few videos and listen to the stakeholders voicing the impact that this project has had on them.  

I would take this opportunity to share that the student you see in the video is Pranav Agarwal and he had been struggling with the instructional design that laid emphasis on rote learning and pen and paper assessments. As a child learning to cope with dyslexia, using technology as an intrinsic part of the curriculum transaction has helped in enhance his performance and thereby boost his confidence.

This I believe is the indelible impact of technology and Microsoft has been a true enabler.

 

 

LEARNING:

This experience has empowered us to extend education beyond the physical confines of the classroom and also beyond the fixed time periods of the school day.  It has enabled us to access content from home, communicate with teachers and work with other people online. Most importantly it has given our students an impetus to connect, communicate, collaborate and create using rich digital resources.

Understandably so, the 21st century learning environments require transformation in the objectives of education, a revolutionary change in the curricula & pedagogies adopted by the schools and the incorporation of innovative pedagogical tools to ensure effective classroom transactions.

 

How can schools scale up?

The 21st Century Learners need advanced skills to succeed in the world of today. Schools must invest in professional development of teachers and provide them with technological tools which would help in redesigning their existing lessons and aid in improvising the learning activities to build the 21st century skills of the students.

 

The Road Ahead

  • We have adopted Office 365 in our education model and are working on embedding this in our school system.
  • We are working on the enrollment of all our teachers  on the new Microsoft  Educators Network so that they can avail access to courses, badges and resources that are available for free.
  • We are on the road to exploit the potential of Skype in Business, wherein we will provide Skype lessons, Skype helpline before and during exams to our students

 

 Conclusion

I believe that having an effective instructional design allows us to be proactive and purposeful , help us think through and utilize all the components needed to create significant learning environment that inspire, foster and facilitate deeper learning. And this is why I would like to congratulate MICROSOFT for being the pioneers in this revolutionary initiative.

The deployment of one-on-one initiative has helped to empower teachers to individualise instructions for every child – thereby to truly leave no child behind. I believe empowering students is something collective –it would mean valuing their diverse imaginations, observations, opinions, hopes and dreams.

It is rightly said that the learners we are teaching today will be entering the jobs that are not yet created and they will be using the technology that are yet to be discovered. As educators, I’m sure you will all agree with me, we are working assiduously to empower the future workforce and provide a learning environment that will prepare our children for a future that we are unable to predict and thereby equip them with the necessary tools to address problems that don’t yet exist.

I reckon we must all take John Dewey’s advice seriously, ‘If we teach today’s children like we taught yesterdays, we rob them of their tomorrow!’.

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