A Message from the Managing Trustee

Ms. Poonam Gundecha.

As we advance further into the 21st century, technology is becoming more and more integrated into our society. Smart phones are now commonplace, tablets are replacing or substituting for computers and laptops, and social media has become second nature. The rapid and widespread adoption of these technological innovations has completely changed the way we conduct our daily lives, including how knowledge is digested and taught in our classrooms – but is it a positive change? Should we be worried about teachers and students using technology in the classroom?

As new technology speeds into the classroom at an unparalleled pace, educators have to adapt their methods and practices to keep up. From the ubiquitous interactive whiteboard at the front of the class and the school’s online virtual learning environment, to the smart phones, laptops and tablets used by pupils, technology is driving pedagogical change like never before.

There is a tremendous push to create student-driven classrooms using technology. Technology seems to be the solution to a persistent problem that is faced in schools: how to get all students to participate in classroom discussion?

Even though many schools may still not have technology-rich classrooms, the rapidly evolving education landscape increasingly requires us to incorporate technology to customize student learning. Learning, with its mix of technology and traditional face-to-face instruction, is a great approach. It combines classroom learning with online learning, in which students can, in part, control the time, pace, and place of their learning.

Many talented teachers, both new and experienced, are finding themselves increasingly empowered by—and excited to use—technology.

Aspiring to big goals is laudable, but when you first attempt to weave tradition and technology into a practical, durable education fabric, it needs to be taken in small steps.

The multitude of web tools, computer programs, and learning management systems that are now available can be overwhelming. To find one piece of technology that will complement the class, needs some amount of experimentation. While doing so, one can make mistakes, experience success, and build confidence to use technology.

Technology shouldn't be just a frill. It shouldn't be something else you have to add to your already full plate. Instead, technology must be used to replace and improve what is already done. Posting a discussion topic not only saves time, it also yields a more meaningful product.

Weaving media together makes learning stronger. To truly blend learning, teachers need to weave together the classroom and virtual educational media. It's crucial for students to see that the work they do in the online space drives the work they do in the classroom so they recognize the value of the online conversations.

Teachers can use online discussions and expert group investigations to seamlessly weave together online and classroom work. When we talk about online discussions one question that seems to pop up often is:

Does this mean we are On Call 24/7?

Some teachers think that incorporating online work means they have to be available 24 hours a day. This is not the case. When students are connected online, they have a network of peers they can reach out to for support, and they begin to see one another as valuable resources in their class community. This important shift in perception needs to take place if we are to engage students in active learning in the classroom and online. It is also important for students to know where they can get online.

“What if students don't have Internet access?" The answer is "we need to get them access."

Students nowadays are portraying a lack of focus and studying skills; many researchers claiming it’s caused by technology overuse.

So, put simply, parents and guardians need to be better adept at managing their child’s technological intake. The internet, and all technology for that matter, is amoral: neither good, nor bad. The user, depending on how it is used, ascribes a morality to the action performed with the tool.

From an administrative perspective, including technology presents the opportunity to enhance an institution's reputation, expand access to an institution's educational offerings, and reduce operating costs.