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Tag Archives: children

Technology in Classroom

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Today, learning has become techno-centric. Everything is available on the internet. It is hard to think of a word or a topic that cannot be googled to generate a long list of responses moving from most relevant to irrelevant. Google also calculates and share the time (in seconds) it used to generate such a long list of responses. Children get assignments from school in which they google information, note it down and share it in school. Children often get a lot of time in school to search for information on the internet. Surfing for information, which was limited to computer room now enters the classroom with ‘smart board’. So now teacher can use information from the internet arrange it in the form of a power point presentation and give a lecture to students. It is more appealing because of the visuals and speed. Exploring literature, discussing and questioning texts, writing, experiencing and thinking seems to be the elements of the bygone era.

So learning gets reduced to three things- information; rote-memory and speed. The faster and more accurate information you can find and the way present is what matters most. In a country like India, this has widened the gap between privileged and under-priveldged sections of the society. As the better technologically equipped you are the better you score, leading to better opportunities.

There are some positive effects of using technology too, such as sharing of information is easier. However, it is important to take a minute to think about what kind of information can be educative. In this post, I have only mentioned adverse effects of technology in educational setting because we have been advocating the importance of technology without giving it much thought. A ‘smart’ classroom is certainly good for corporate businesses but is it really good for our children? In what ways? And how can we judiciously use it in our classroom? These are some of the questions we may want to spend a minute or two at least.

The following link is a recently published editorial in The Hindu newspaper on this issue. It is written by Prof. Krishna Kumar, who teaches in C.I.E, DU. It is the only editorial published in India that I have come across that discusses the role of technology in classroom in the context of OECD report. Please see and do share your comments with us.

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Learning is fast

This is my second post in the series mommy learns – an experience sharing in my journey of parenthood. If just by reading the title of my post have you decided that my hormones (even after 1.5 years of child birth) are not back to normal and I am contradicting what I said just last week, then hold on….come on! Don’t be too quick to judge.

It has been only one and a half year since I have been blessed with a daughter. The best one and a half year of my life. One thing that I have learnt about myself in this period is that I am capable of loving somebody so much. I did not know this. My husband doesn’t accept this about himself and continues to say that I love you both equally, but come on! Who is he fooling! She is the most important and most loved person in our family. But this post is not about this.

I want to share about how much she has learnt in this time period and how amazingly fast this journey has been.

Let me start by pointing out some of the things that she can do at this point of time: (I know, I know it is an impossible list to make! But some examples can be jotted)

  1. She can walk, run but I don’t think she can jump.
  2. She can say complicated words, joins sounds and says word like and sentence like utterances.
  3. She understands most of the instructions given to her and also ignores when she wants to ignore.
  4. She can go up and down the stairs on her own and yet today morning itself she just lost her balance while taking a step on the plain floor.
  5. She has her likes and dislikes and “knows” what she wants to do or not do. Its not so easy to distract her now.
  6. She likes playing with friends and is unhappy and expresses that when they leave or I try and bring her inside.

And yes……the list can go on….and on….

But these are examples of her physical, cognitive, linguistic and social developments. She is becoming a person in her own right! With opinions, choices, tastes, an understanding and awareness of “I”.

Lets take the first example, physical development of a very complex skill of walking. Walking is often defined as a continuous act of preventing oneself from falling. As soon as you take one foot off the ground, you are in an unbalanced unstable position and then you bend forward and quickly place the foot to be stable again. But you don’t step there, you repeat the process again. Though we all want to be in a stable state and yet to move forward (both physically and metaphorically) have to leave the state of stability or you can say by will put yourself in a state of uncertainty and then reach stability again. So, when she started walking, now obviously I am speculating, but I would like you to speculate with me. When she started walking, her desire to reach a place or an object currently away from her was so strong that she decided to take the risk of falling and took her foot up from the ground. In those days, she would not walk…but run….why? I think because she was not confident of her ability to get the foothold again and was probably consciously doing the act of risk the fall- and get the foothold.

So, when I say learning is fast…very very fast….I see this small baby wrapped in a sheet unable to suck, not sure how to breathe becoming into a willful naughty risk taking communicative toddler in just a year and a half.

First Issue of the Magazine is Out: Reflections

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After much delays and hard work, first issue of the wall magazine was out amidst a lot of confusion. We are yet to decide the price of the magazine. However, while children were busy colouring the magazine, I began reflecting on our two month-long journey. There are many lessons to be learnt from this experience. I am listing some of them in this post:

1. We decided to bring out a monthly magazine using Nai Talim but this process made us realise that if we want to keep our costs to the minimum in order to be self-reliant; use machines as little as possible, in other words, do everything by hand; and if we only work for two hours every Sunday, then we cannot possibly bring out an issue every month. So, we had a meeting today and it was decided that we will publish an issue every two months. So, that we can engage with the process.

2. Today, there was a lot of confusion because we were working on two issues at the same time. Confusion leads to stress, which defeats the purpose. We are publishing this magazine to know ourselves better; to understand the process of publication and most importantly for the fun of creation. Thus this confusion needs to be addressed. I found that the fault lies with me and not with my group of children. I need to first prepare a calendar of activities and share it with children and then take their suggestions and implement it. Children need that kind of fixing of dates in order to work systematically. Since all of us are doing it voluntarily, it is the last item on our list. We remember it only on the day we meet. So, I have now decided to work on a calendar of tasks.

3. Collective Meeting: Meeting and discussing various issues is pertinent in order to engage children intellectually. This is another point I need to work on. I need to fix a time on every Sunday to discuss details of each process. This will help us all in making sense of the process and improving our work.

4. Task Orientation: As already mentioned, I need to specify a task for each Sunday, which I need to keep reminding children in the beginning and end of our Sunday activities. Secondly, we all need to work on one task at a time as a group. This will help us focus and on that particular process and will help us think together as a group.

Right now, these are some of the things on my mind. I need to work not these details during the week so that I am ready for the coming Sunday.
If you have any suggestions, then please leave a comment.

A Magazine For the Children and By the Children- II

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A few days ago, I shared with you that I am facilitating children from a nearby village to bring out a children’s magazine. Our work began on 4th January with our (me and the group of children) first meeting in which all children showed great enthusiasm and volunteered for various activities. There are around 18 children in the group, aged between 8 to 14 years. We only work for two hours each Sunday.

This magazine is an experiment for me. I wanted to understand and implement Nai Talim (Gandhian scheme of education) through this magazine. Therefore, the magazine is produced in-house with zero budget. Everything from writing to designing the blueprint is done by hands and once the scanned blue-print is printed then we will add colour to the magazine by hand.

Today, the trickiest part of the magazine, that is, designing of the blue-print was completed. We saw the first look of our magazine. This moment was precious for all of us. After looking at the blue-print, a child said that we should sell this magazine at Rs 20/- as we have worked so hard on it. Another child immediately corrected by saying that the pricing will be decided based on the printing and colouring costs. Well, as this child said we will finalize the pricing of the first issue of our magazine on 7th February when we have the list of expenditure in hand. On 7th February, we have the tedious task of completing 200 copies of the first issue of our magazine by adding colour. Then we will be given copies for distribution by the distribution team.
This journey has been a huge learning experience for me. I hope children enjoy reading it.