Quality education is an essential requisite in todays competitive environment. Technology has affected us in every aspect. This paper discusses the smart classes as a modernized method of education in Indian education scenario which provides quality education to students by helping them in better concept formation, concept elaboration, improvement in reading skills and academic achievement.
Technology benefitted us in every aspect of our life right from communication to education. In ancient days students were taught in a gurukul where they were taught by the gurus. But this system was replaced by modernized culture. New methods of teaching have been introduced which is known as smart class. It uses instructional material, 3D animated modules and videos, and all the renowned schools are using this concept. Now the students are thrilled at this concept of innovation and interactive learning process. The concept of digitized classroom has not only made education interesting but a chance to students to enhance their performance.
There has been a lot of buzz about this technology. Smart class was launched by EDUCOM in 2004. In the initial stages a soft launch across a few select geographics confirmed the phenomenal acceptance amongst private schools of all categories. It was developed around the ideology that for technology to become an integral part of day to day teaching and learning practices in schools, it needs to move right in to the classrooms where the students and teachers spend 80% of time. At the very initial stage of launch many Indian reputed schools like Takshila, DPS Pitampura in Delhi and Cambridge- Chain of schools were the first to adopt the programme. It has been now adopted by 1000 schools across India and helps in a rapid transformation of moving technology into classrooms in india. (Corporate Diary, 2007)
A smart classroom is a classroom that has an instructor equipped with computer and audio-visual equipment, allowing the instructor to teach using a wide variety of media. These include smart interactive white board, DVD's, PPT's and more, all displayed through a data projector. Smart class is a digital initiative of EDUCOMP, which is rapidly transforming the way teachers teach and students learn. With the help of school curriculum, smart classes bring in technology right next to the blackboard for teachers in the classroom. This makes learning an enjoyable experience for the students while improving their overall academic performance in school.
Smart class has a unique delivery model for schools. A knowledge center is created inside the school equipped with the entire library and smart class digital content. The knowledge center is connected to the classroom through internet. Teachers get relevant digital resources such as animations and videos, interactive virtual labs tool etc and use them as a part of their lesson plans in every classroom period. The classrooms are equipped with custom designed electronic interactive whiteboards, projection systems, PC's. The smart class program is implemented in schools by educomp completely on a turnkey basis, per student basis, per month basis. Smart class is powered by a vast repository of digital instruction materials exactly mapped to meet the specific objectives laid out by different state learning standards. This is continuously populated through the development of Educomp's digital products and solution group. The content repository consists of thousands of highly animated, lesson specific, 3D and 2D multimedia modules. These are built with an instructor-led designs that allow the teacher to effectively transct the lesson in a classroom, the modules help the students to understand the concepts easily, interact with other students. Teaching learning process becomes joyful and useful. Educomp has also entered into partnerships with discovery education, design mate Eureka and crocodile clips adding world class digital content resources 3D educational videos and perhaps the world's interactive virtual lab software to its repository of content for teachers to use in the classroom. The modules are embedded in a template that allows the teacher to teach a chosen lesson in a class, frame by frame, with engaging and instructionally sound animated set of visuals while retaining complete control on the pace of delivery. The curriculum reach unfolds from kindergarten to twelve grade covering subjects like mathematics, science, English, EVS, social science, physics, chemistry, biology, history, geographer, economics and business studies.
Teachers can also create their own smart tests and use them in the class for assessment. For this purpose, a test authority tool has been added to the smart class assessment application. Students are equipped with a hand held remote answering device that now forms a part of their pencil box. At home, smart class system works as a virtual school, where parents, teachers and students can communicate with each other. Teachers can upload assignments and make important information available for parents to view.
SMART CLASSES FOR IMPROVEMENT IN COMMUNICATIVE ENGLISH-
In the modern era there is hardly anyone who can keep away from the mainstream technology. English speaker's smart class is the first of this kind making use of 21st century's technical revolution in education by digitalizing classrooms as the real substitute for traditional classrooms. As a part of linking language with technology smart classroom helps students to set up activity room for English to acquire accent and fluency. It minimizes the work of teacher. Along with the software, books, audio visual equipment furniture and trainer some activities to increase speaking skills can be arranged. This helps to have interaction. In an audio visual room of this sort learning is in a new environment enjoyable and sometimes funny without formal textbooks. There is no need of expertise to handle a smart class, but a teacher with even less knowledge can do it profitably as the handbook supplied along with it guides and eases teaching. Finally, the smart classroom is not simply meant for English alone but can be a classroom for teaching other subjects too.
Language is the basis of all communication that has made possible all the advancements. As far as language is concerned English is playing an important role in our system as well as in national life. It has greatly contributed to the growth of knowledge in India. English has 4 important skills. Listening and speaking can be learnt from the environment, reading skill requires efforts and it is important from academic point of view too. But, these skills must be practiced at primary level. It is commonly experienced that if child don't learn to read by third grade, then he can't read to learn. Earlier researches in the field of linguistics reveal that nearly 8% of children suffer from reading difficulties who remain under-achievers.
Smart classroom are good to overcome this problem. Through proper audio-visual presentations, students get maximum sensory experience. An independent study by Eugene Research Institute reveals that 5th% graders who participate in smart classroom are 60% more likely to reach state reading benchmarks than those who do not participate. According to Lincoln(1992) without the images to create meaning in the words, children will not read. Glasser (2001) states that children only understand 10% of what is read but 80% of what is experienced. It can be improved by giving students the opportunities to work with or experience the reading passage.
Moreover, reading skills and academic achievement are related. Smart classrooms through various interactive modes, present different topics from different subjects. These are easily understood by the learners and academic achievement is affected. Trifonas(2004) argues that a text is a set of "lexical or visual signs" that acts as cues to guide the reader's mental decoding and meaning-making operations. Sevindik (2007) determined the effectiveness of smart classrooms on academic achievement of nursing students. The finding showed that lectures given through smart classroom increased academic achievement. In another study, to measure the effectiveness of Educomp smart classrooms, D and B street information service India Pvt. Ltd. (2010), it was reported that the educomp smart class program has a larger impact on two of the three key learning goals of all students-comprehension and retention. The Educomp smart class program has an over all positive impact on students more in terms of generating curiosity and grasping complex concepts rather than capturing attention, while it help teachers in managing time better. Becker (2005) argues that the kind of active learning necessary to master principles and concepts and explain student work is easier to implement in a technology-rich environment where "students have a rich array of information to work with, when communications structures enable students to pose relevant questions to appropriate individualsâ€¦and when technology based tools such as databases, analytic software and composition software help them to extract understanding from information".
BENEFITS OF SMART CLASSROOMS
Introduction of concept in a thrilling and exciting manner.
A student's better engagement with the content on a smart board is dynamic and visually more appealing.
Storage of teachers written notes.
Voice recording is possible.
Teaching skills can be enhanced by showing various videos to the students.
Scope for the integration of different types of technology and other novel ways to the teachers to present lesson.
Educomp smart class brings about a complete transformation in classrooms. This results in faster and accurate understanding of the concepts in class and helps improve the overall academic performance of students. Teachers are able to keep students engaged in the learning process and also get an instant and accurate assessment of learning outcomes achieved at the end of the class.
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Corporate Diary (2007). Smart Teaching and Learning inside the Classroom.
Dun and Bradstreet Information Service India Pvt. Ltd. (2010). Study of Effectiveness of Educomp Smart Class Program.
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Lincoln (1992). The humanist tradition. In P. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Curriculum. New York: MacMillan.
Sevindik, T. (2007) Future,s learning environments in health education: the effect of Smart Classrooms on the academic achievements of the students at health college.
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