In the present day and age, there is a variety of technology that is available to us. But how much of it do we use in order to develop our education? Ladies’ College has taken this step forward as it launched the Smart Classrooms on Monday, October 16, funded and organized by the Old Girls Association (OGA). The initial stages of the smart classroom is the setting up of a smart board. The smart board includes a smart interactive display, a UPS unit and also a set of desktop speakers. “When you say smart classroom, it’s a full fledged solution. At the moment we are in the process of enabling the teachers, which is why we have put this smart board only. Much later on, the students will have their own device and certain software and collaboration tools will be included which would enable all the students to connect with the teacher and with the device and they would be able to complete problems with interaction,” explained Preethi Adhihetty, President of the OGA.
“Everything is changing and in Sri Lanka in particular, we are not really using the technology that is available in order to improve our teaching and learning.”
– Preethi Adhihetty
She further said that it is a ten point touch enabled device so two or more students will be able to interact with the board at the same time. “The teachers can also upload their own content for the benefits of teaching. The board is capable of connecting to any network. You can even connect it to an access point in terms of having a local area network, like an intranet where for each classroom you can have an access point where the students are able to connect, which is part of the full fledged solution.”
Enlightening us on how the project was started off Adhihetty said, “When our OGA decided to have our dance I met up with Eesha and since she is refurbishing areas of the school, I told her that I am not interested in giving money for buildings but I want to do something else for the school. It was then her idea and her vision and far thinking which got me going for this. All she asked me was for a screen and a laptop for a few classes because teachers waste time walking to another classroom transporting the laptop, setting it up and finding connections. Then I got a few old girls who are knowledgeable in that area to get involved and they are the ones that introduced me to EWIS. They came on board, they showed and demonstrated their product which we were actually quite impressed with.”
In terms of collecting funds, she said that the money came from sponsors and old girls and parents supported and contributed. All in all there was a good response to this project.
“I never imagined that I would be able to get it for the whole school. I was adamant to collect enough money for the entire school. And within January to September we managed to collect for the whole school. 54 interactive boards are being installed in school. From Kindergarten to the Upper School. And this is the first time in Sri Lanka that a whole school has got interactive smart boards,” said Adhihetty.
She further said, “Everything is changing and in Sri Lanka in particular, we are not really using the technology that is available in order to improve our teaching and learning.That is why we need to have this technology in our classrooms, in our schools in order to enhance the teaching and the learning experience. So to start off with the current set up which is the normal textbooks, blackboard and the white board, which traditionally was in use and is still in use. That is not going to change, that has to be there because that is a fundamental component. These interactive devices and this sort of a solution in our smart classroom only enables them to enhance their experience.”
“I believe that all of us should be able to adapt ourselves and learn to change”
- Eesha Speldewinde
“There are different types of learners, some are visual learners, some are auditory learners and some are tactile learners. So if you have the existing set up and on top of that if you have the interactive devices you basically cater to all these different styles of learners.” She added
Preethi Adhihetty further said that this would improve teaching methods and styles.“We are also enabling the teachers to teach in a more effective way using the current cutting edge devices. With the smart interactive boards, concentration and engagement in classrooms are much more than the conventional method of teaching.”
Explaining on how the teachers will adapt to this, Adhihetty said that a training programme is in place. “We will start from the basic level on how you can use the device in terms of hardware. What you can do with it, how do you use the ports, what each port does, how to switch it on and off etc. Then we move on to the operating system. The next stage would be the software and the latter stage would be on the content. We can train the teachers to build their own content. They will make use of these software and they will build their own content and in that manner they will themselves learn. In addition there are so many communities online where different teachers from different parts of the globe contribute to these communities so when they build their content it can be something like a knowledge bank where they can share their content and they can get from others.”
Speaking of what they hope to achieve through this endeavour, she said “We will be motivating our students and I think we are revolutionizing the school into the digital world.”
“I am ecstatic and very proud to be able to do this for the whole school. It was not just me, the whole executive committee of the OGA was behind it and they were all very supportive.” Adhihetty proclaimed