Did you ever notice that we become nostalgic about our own experiences in school whenever the kids today talk about what they are doing in theirs? For instance, a lot of schools are providing students with iPads, Kindles, or any tablet so they can get access to the school archives at home. Then this prompts us to look back at a time when we had to learn the Dewey Decimal System so that we would not have a hard time looking for the right document in the library.
Of course, with news of tablets being used in school, feeling a bit taken aback is going to be the initial reaction. The first argument we make is that kids should learn to look for resources themselves, and that one of the ways a love for books is cultivated is through physically going to the library.
However, we need to realize that schools need to keep up with the times. Just like hospitals and government offices, institutions for learning should be able to find ways on how they can take advantage of innovations to teach students better. This is definitely not about putting books aside, but about giving students access to peer reviewed documents whenever they can.
Exploring how one school combined traditional learning with available technology
To understand how schools are maximizing the use of available tools in learning, let us take a look at Singapore private schools like the Global Indian International School (GIIS).
The schools is known for their globally recognized ‘Nine Gems’ educational framework which focuses on giving their students a holistic education. The goal is to be able to produce students who are not just academically excellent, but who are also socially aware. But they also assimilate advanced tools and equipment to support their framework.
Let us look at some of their initiatives.
Extensive digital archive of published journals and electronic media
Students of GIIS have access to a library of journals and electronic media whenever they need it. So if they need to look something up for their homework, or find articles to research for writing an essay and are unable to go back to school to check it out in the library, they can just access the school’s digital archive.
What GIIS wants to do is to make it convenient for both students and teachers to retrieve learning materials that they will need for their class discussions. They can even get access to materials that from a decade ago so they can explain how ideas have evolved throughout the years. Everyone in campus are given access to Encyclopedia Britannica’s 34 ebooks and 11 CDs. They can also view about 2.5 million images from Image Quest.
Updated laboratory software and hardware
Scientific concepts discussed in class are better understood through experimentation and observation. Hence, GIIS has equipped their laboratories with only the latest apparatus and an updated simulation software. The schools has partnered with globally recognized e-class programs like Microsoft IT Academy and HeyMath! These programs provide students with e-learning modules and tools to assist them in recording and analyzing results of their experiments.
Installing Smart Boards
Smart boards are interactive whiteboards that helps educators teach lessons in a more dynamic way. It is a creative tool that is perfect for learning mathematical topics, especially Geometry, Trigonometry, and Chemistry.
myGIIS mobile application
Through the myGIIS mobile application, parents and teachers now have a way to communicate each other about the needs of the kids. It will also allow teachers to consult with parents regarding a student’s behavior or academic needs.
This is also the perfect way to help kids schedule study time. All the test schedules and school events can be accessed through the app. A simple calendar of school affairs will help keep everyone updated with what’s what.
Identifying gaps through the 7s Analysis
Because International schools use a holistic style of education, there is a need to perform a detailed assessment of each student. In this way, teachers can identify the gaps in learning of each child. Through the performance report, they can now create a learning plan that will address those gaps and help each child perform in school without falling behind.
Technology should enhance learning
All kinds of technology have both good and bad effects. And even if these tools were made specifically for school, when used incorrectly, can still harm learning rather than improve. Which is why the hesitation to allow kids to be in a learning environment that uses advanced tools is understandable. However, schools like GIIS has shown that through supervision and through proper instruction of how to use these tools, it can help enhance a child’s learning and keep the child motivated to learn more.
Together with their Nine Gems educational framework and their holistic education philosophy, the tech and applications used by the school has ensured that their students will have a competitive edge.