Teachers are a great source of knowledge for students and are instrumental in moulding a child’s life.
The essence of teaching has been the same since it started, though the medium has changed from scriptures to books and now we have the digital media which includes CDs, Internet, interactive whiteboards, computers and projectors. These devices are often used nowadays in schools.
Naomi Moir, senior teacher trainer from Oxford, UK was in Chennai recently for a teacher training workshop for around 50 teachers from different schools in Chennai, organised by Oxford University Press. The workshop was held to mark Oxford University Press’s 100th year in India. New innovative digital solutions that can be used in schools was discussed.
The crux of the workshop was how to use digital media in schools.
“When students know how to play with technology and enjoy it, then they can enjoy and learn using the same technology,” said Moir, explaining that there were two sections to be covered during the workshop. The first was about integrating digital tools into teaching and the fact that teachers have to keep up with the changing world and bring in digital devices when needed. The second segment was on learning needs and teaching of primary and middle school sections, the need to motivate students and methods to engage them.
Using Information Communication Technology (ICT) for teaching can be a great help for teachers, said Moir and added that ICT at schools can increase the attention span of students and using it for assignments or homework can ensure maximum participation. “Students now have access to the Internet. If teachers assign them work online, they can take a look at it immediately and give feedback online. This will make it a learner management system,” explained Moir. Teachers have to invest time to master digital media as the benefits of using this media are plenty.
“Digital media can be helpful in finding out what a particular student is weak at, create motivation and reliability and bring dynamics to class,” she says.
“Students know how to access information on the Internet, but we as teachers need to teach them to select the information, analyse and evaluate the information,” said Moir. She emphasised the fact that digital devices can be useful tools to add to the teachers’ toolkit. She said teachers should always be asking themselves ,‘What are my intended learning outcomes and what is the best tool to help me achieve them?’ Sometimes the answer might be a digital device, but sometimes it will be a book or another device or resource. Teachers should take some responsibility to find new ideas, resources and materials for professional development online through the social media.
Her advice to teachers is that they need to be respected, and be respectful of others, “They should know how much influence they have on students and they can impact positively or negatively on their willingness and ability to learn,” she said.