Effective technology can add 1000+ mins of teaching time in classrooms.
Tablets are today what TV’s were for us when we were children and the Radio was for our parents when they were small. They are all disruptive innovative technologies that have and will alter the way we consume information. I recall a conversation I had with my father recently who was telling me how my grandfather had taken away their access to the radio when his teacher complained about poor performance in the class. It brought back memories of my own childhood when my father would not allow my sister and me to watch TV when we did poorly in our exams. And coming to think of it I was doing the same with my son, with his access to the iPad or laptop when his focus on schoolwork was waning. The irony of parents preventing children from accessing these gadgets is that they finally end up using these same devices because that is the world they are growing into.
While each of the devices provided us entertainment they were also mediums for disseminating information, it was just that we did not channel it properly. Take for example, the ipad; most kids use this for playing games or surfing the internet. Some children do use it to for Educational apps or games and for looking up topics that interest them. What I do see missing though is that they rarely use this for doing all their schoolwork.
One of the main reasons for this is that there has never been sufficient focus on bringing effective technology to the classrooms. In the past decade there has been a lot of focus on getting educational content onto the digital space. While this has helped teachers introduce concepts in the classrooms, it hardly helps them figure out the learning gaps for each student or cater to each child’s learning needs.
Technology becomes effective only when it makes someone’s life better. To become more effective technology in schools should not only focus on delivering education content through smart boards, websites, apps or tablets but should help the teacher in a lot of the mundane work that takes up their teaching time. Teacher’s I spoke to mentioned that they spend a good 7-10 mins every class to get children to note down homework. They then spend a lot of their after school time correcting homework. Another bane for teachers is drafting, printing and distributing circulars. Based on my calculations a simple change such as introducing a homework platform in a school will add ~1,260 mins of teaching time in the classroom for each teacher in a year. This is roughly 42 extra periods. Imagine the kind of attention that the teacher would be able to provide.
Effective technology in classroom is one that automates these tasks, identifies learning levels for each student, makes it easier for teachers to focus on developing learning strategies for students based on their learning levels and involves parents in the entire process without any additional effort from the teacher.