Education is all about giving children the opportunity to experience a variety of things and definitely, the world of technology and all its associated paraphernalia is an important experience that every child must undergo. This is especially important when we realise that with the knowledge explosion that has taken place in modern times, education is no longer perceived as a medium for content transaction but one in which students are taught how to continue with lifelong learning. Putting this at the backdrop, Annie Koshi (firstname.lastname@example.org), Principal, St. Mary's School, New Delhi, India, shares her experiences of integrating technology into the school system by giving a wide spectrum of the use of Information and Communication Technologies in St. Mary's School, starting from inside the classroom to the neighbourhood community.
St Mary's School ventured into e-learning in the early 90's when we were first introduced to information technology. But while we admire the breath and versatility of technology we have not allowed it to replace the human element in the classroom. We have used it to enhance classroom transaction by integrating it into the curriculum. Word Processing programmes (MS-Word), Internet, CD-ROM encyclopedia, software developed by the computer teachers, etc. are used in the regular curriculum to reinforce lessons taught in class. For example: Class I had the topic 'Animals' as their theme in September. Children did various drawings on the topic “Things we get from animals,” and identified wild and domestic animals in Kid Pix. They heard the sounds of different animals on related websites, and also played a computer game which involved tabulating animals under wild, domestic, or pet animals. On a similar note Class II had the theme 'Plants'. Children saw an animation of a growing plant and thus were able to visualise the different stages of a growing plant. Teachers designed a worksheet on software called Dream Weaver on the Intranet for recapitulation. Students also had fun completing a crossword on Plants which was designed using Visual Basic. IT has thus helped to break the monotony of normal classroom teaching and has brought in the excitement of real life into the classroom. It has also enabled students to understand concepts, which would otherwise have been difficult to comprehend especially in mathematics, science, biotechnology, etc.
The School has 4 computer labs with 20 to 25 computers in each lab. When children come to work in the lab one computer is shared between two students.
The computers are well connected to the UPS. The school has 6 UPS of 2.5 K.V each which gives us a secure back up for 30-40 minutes. In addition, the school also has a generator of 100 K.V. Thus the labs are well equipped to face any power failures.
All work in the accounts department as well as in the administrative wing is computerised. All computers are on LAN and are connected through the day to the net through cable. Children are encouraged to use the net. Care is taken to ensure they understand the dangers as well as the advantages of using the net.
The School Management Software (SMS) is a web based software being developed by the computer department which in turn will give administrators, educators and families the power of information with a simple point and click .The software integrated solutions and real-time access to data lets school spend time on their number one priority, their students. SMS will give teachers and administrators easy access to records about each student in their class.
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