This article is one of the shortlisted stories/essays submitted for Reflections (a writing contest for teachers).
Last year when the education board announced Sanskrit week celebration in all CBSE schools, we also planned to celebrate the week in a grand way. Some methods to celebrate the Sanskrit week, as suggested by the Board, were to use new technology, like creating software applications (language based games, learning tools), WhatsApp and also video/audio recording and editing. My children were so excited to be involved in this kind of activity that they participated with enthusiasm. They created new learning applications and games; they recorded short speech using WhatsApp application and they sent that to CBSE Board contact.
This made me think how technology plays an important role in teaching. I am very much interested in using new technology! In my school, I conducted two sessions about ‘The Effective Usage of Technology’. To see the overall usage, I gathered some important information about technology-based teaching. I found that many digital training materials have been created, but the developed materials are not widely and effectively used by teachers in the learning process. There are many reasons for this, such as no access to the Internet, slow Internet, and lack of compensation for creating media, and so on. However, one of the main reasons is that teachers are not prepared to actively include e-learning in the curriculum. Some teachers do not have the necessary skills or the understanding of the advantages of e-learning, despite the fact that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training workshops for teachers on how to use and work on computers have been held for many years.
Teachers should remember the different modes of using computers in their classes. The first is administration; computers can be used for creating timetables, planning courses, and so on. The second is testing; computers can be used to ascertain students’ knowledge of the language, including everything the teacher has in mind. The third is using technology as classroom teaching aids, for example, using a CD recording to start a lesson. In this mode, computer-introduced material leads to discussions and activities to which the computer itself is not central. Thus, the computer presents a piece of grammatical information, or a text that can be discussed by the students and the teacher, or a set of information for a logical problem or a role-play. The fourth mode is direct teaching by using the computer for teaching some aspects of languages.
This new generation of students is the user of social networking sites (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and is able not only to socialize, send and receive e-mails and browse for information, but also create and maintain sites and blogs by filling them with photos, videos, and hyperlinks.
In conclusion, the key to successful use of technology in language teaching lies not in hardware or software but in ‘humanware’. Based on human capacity, teachers should plan, design, and implement effective educational activities.
Mr. S. Ananthanarayanan teaches Sanskrit in BVM Global Karapagam Campus, Coimbatore, TN.
To know more about Reflections, visit http://reflections.reportbee.com/