This article one of the top-three stories/essays submitted for Reflections (a writing contest for teachers).
A child who comes to my class with different psychological wound will definitely get medicine through my Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage in the classroom. Students are very much attracted towards me because of the ‘tech tools’ that I carry to my classroom, like a college student. They get a lot of exposure towards the recent trends in ICT field because of my usage. And they develop a lot of 21st-century skills, like creativity, collaboration, critical thinking etc. Students from Government schools are more interested in using ICT. I have come to know this as a result of my M.Ed. research. Students frequently use Android software for their learning; they also use computers, laptops and internet for surfing the net. I dub the English videos downloaded from YouTube into Tamil for my students to easily understand their subject. Let me share some details in the following paragraphs.
Smart Phone Usage: Android software, such as Tamil dictionary is very useful in my class as an E- dictionary. Instead of carrying a big dictionary in their hands, students find this e-dictionary very easy to use. I normally give my smartphone (which has this software) and my students find the meanings smartly and write them in their notebooks. This software has a special feature of Tamil to English Dictionary which helps me to find English parallel words for Tamil words. One day, one of my students asked me, “How do we say ‘avarakka’ in English, Sir”? Without postponing, I searched in this software and replied, “Lentil”. Kingsoft Office, which is a free Android software, helps me in creating presentations easily using my mobile. I have taught my students to create engaging presentations using this software. They also create presentations easily by clicking pictures from their textbooks with the camera in my mobile, add text and then project them using our LCD projector.
I must definitely mention the Android software, Yosi, which is very useful for my class prayer. Students find Puzzles, Proverbs, Thought for the day etc., in their mother tongue (Tamil) with this software every day without an internet connection. Word Search is another free Android software which helps my students to increase their word power by searching words from the grid. Sketch Free and other drawing tools from Android help students to draw pictures necessary for their presentations. WhatsApp, a social networking software, which is very popular Android software, helps me in sharing classroom activities immediately with my friends. We Chat, Viber and Hike are also on my mobile which helps me in reaching out to many teachers in Government Schools in no time; they learn many classroom activities which pave the way for the betterment of students.
Laptops in my Class: My students use NHM writer or Kural software to type Tamil words using Unicode. I assign them tasks like small words in Tamil, then they construct small sentences in Tamil and then they try to translate it into English. This helps them to learn the phonology of English as they type using the sounds of English equivalent letters. I use software called Snipping Tool to take a snapshot of the computer screen and add the snaps to my presentations. Microsoft Power Point 2013 (for creating engaging power point presentation) also allows many new animations with which we could create a very lively presentation. We can also save this presentation as a movie! Macromedia Flash 8 (for 2D animation creation) software is very useful for creating new animations which could be used in any platform. Software like Photo Story Creator (for photo story creation), Audacity Gold Wave (for audio editing), Windows Movie Maker, Power Director, Adobe Premiere (for movie creation), MS Word 2013, and Corel Draw X5 (for text editing) have helped me to create many e-contents for subjects like English, Science, Social Science etc. I have also downloaded useful educational videos from YouTube and other popular video channels and I have written scripts for those videos in Tamil. I mute the original voice, record my Tamil voice to the videos and play the videos in my classroom with the LCD projector. I use Free Mind, a mind map creation software which helps a teacher to create mind maps and concept maps for any lessons as our methodology ALM has an inbuilt step of it. I use Unicode to type in Tamil. I have used the software Camtasia studio to record the process of mind map creation; I had given Tamil voice over and uploaded it in Facebook and many teachers have learned to create mind maps using the Free Mind software.
Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social network sites aim at connecting people and their contributions. I have accounts in all these four social networks and I have learnt many things through my friends’ posts such as equivalent Tamil words for English words used in our day-to- day life and Tamil letters for Roman numbers. Several of my friends post many short poems which arouse instinct of interest towards writing poems.The Groups in social networking sites also help me learn. I am a member of more than 15 groups and I have created more than 8 groups. I wish to quote two of my groups which are very active in information sharing. The first one is ICT Tamilnadu group which has 133 members that use ICT tools effectively in their classrooms and they share their innovative practices online and other teachers come to know about them and they also follow the same in their classes.
Connecting Classrooms: This is a beautiful way to shrink the world into four walls of the classroom. I have connected my class students with other districts of Tamilnadu and also with Karnataka, Gujarat and even with Japan and USA. My students have interacted with all those class students and have developed strong communicative skills. Their active participation has built self-confidence in them to survive in any part of the world.
Tamil Literature using Software: There is a lot of difference between the Tamil language used for speaking and for typing in internet using Unicode software or with Tamil fonts. When we use Tamil in computers, we could develop our own Tamil literature. Tamilnadu government also conducts a competition to encourage people in creating Tamil software by providing one lakh cash prize to the best software.
I wish to conclude that ICT usage is drastically increasing nowadays and we must take certain steps to develop more software with Tamil interface so that it will reach all the Tamil speaking community and enlighten the learning community by providing exposure to first hand concrete experience. It also reduces hard work of the teachers and makes them smart workers.
Mr S. Dhilip teaches English in GHSS Sathiyamangalam, Gingee Taluk, Villurpuram District, TN.
To know more about Reflections, visit http://reflections.reportbee.com/