Technology Can Make Learning More Efficient (Connected World Series - III)
Naresh Wadhwa, President and Country Manager Cisco, India and SAARC
For students of classes seven and eight in the remote villages of Bichali, Talmari and Tungabhadra of Raichur, learning English is no daunting task because they do not have to leave their villages and go far to learn the language. They instead connect virtually with their teachers in the nearby cities employing collaboration tools (interactive audio, video, web collaboration, and instant messaging (IM) tools) to learn English using the local vernacular language (Kannada) as the medium of instruction. Thrice a week, teachers from the city utilize the Internet to deliver high quality supplementary courses remotely to these students.
Similarly specialized, remote intervention teaching is being offered to students in two government, pre-matriculation, social welfare boys’ hostels in Vidyanagar and Shikaripura of Shimoga district using technology architectures like the Cloud. Through this project the Government of Karnataka is working to provide nearly 450 students of classes six to ten, training in English, Math, Social Sciences and Science through after hour class sessions that will make them ready to face board exams without anxiety.
Within a school environment also collaborative technology tools such as rich media conferencing, telepresence and video help to extend the walls of physical classrooms in both space and time. They help to conduct interactive classes from one room to the other, which can be viewed by the students of other school branches. Recorded classes can be posted online to be accessed by the absentees. Parents can be provided access to view recorded classes online from home and teach their children using the same methodology.
In the Bapatla Engineering College, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh for example, classrooms have been virtualized and remote broadcast of lectures helps ensure that learning materials are available on-demand. Collaborative technologies help to stream live lecture sessions conducted by visiting professors and subject matter experts into the classrooms and can be viewed online simultaneously in both physical and virtual class rooms.
In addition to helping educational institutions reach out to new students and communities, attract the best faculty, enrich coursework, and create an immersive learning environment, collaboration tools are helping to facilitate better management of campus infrastructure, streamline operations, drive energy and building efficiencies, contain costs, and increase the safety and security of the institutions. Combined with good architecture, relevant applications and efficient services, they help to provide a dynamic collaborative learning platform to both physical and virtual groups.
Education is fundamentally a collaborative and interactive endeavor and the intervention of technology can make learning more efficient. In order to provide enhanced learning experiences educational institutions can blend audio, video, web collaboration, and instant messaging (IM) tools to create comprehensive distance learning solutions. When integrated into a single platform, they unlock a world of new opportunities for learning among students and staff bringing about innovation and media literacy.
Virtual learning can be impactful when educators learn new teaching methods facilitated by technology. Sustained development efforts that involve hands-on, minds-on training can help educators undergo that transition easily. A holistic transformation of the educational system can be brought about using the network as the platform to create solutions which allow students to interact with each other and their teachers anywhere, anytime.