Event Information:

  • Thu

    Schools set to take a digital leap

    TNN | Jun 21, 2012, 03.22AM IST

    BANGALORE: Children sitting with books open in front of them while the teacher scribbles on the board - that's a typical image of any classroom. For generations, schools have meant books - a lot of books. But that seems set to change. Loaded schoolbags and crammed library shelves are set to make way for laptops and tablets.

    Some Bangalore schools are going digital, dispensing with textbooks and printed material. Among these is Indus International School.

    "All our content is online and digital. So when a student enters the classroom, instead of looking at the blackboard, she opens her teacher's webpage and goes to the day's lesson. She can also access the student activity guide, open a document on her desktop and start working from there," says Sarojini Rao, principal of Indus International School.

    Students are provided notebooks with all the course material uploaded. They can browse the web for additional information.

    "The traditional way of learning through textbooks no longer exists in our school. Children open laptops, not textbooks. We want to do away with textbooks. For this, the mindset of parents and teachers needs to change. We have provided textbooks to students for occasional reference, but they do not carry these to the classroom. We are slowly reaching that point. It's more like a homoeopathic dose of medicines rather than a surgical dose," says Rao.

    Information in books gets outdated, whereas online information is constantly updated, say school authorities.

    "While studying from a textbook, you cannot play videos or look at relevant pictures and reference material simultaneously. Going digital will enable kids to use such facilities," says Mansoor Ali Khan, member, board of management, Delhi Public School (DPS). All branches of DPS will completely do away with textbooks from the next academic year.

    "The process is on. We will distribute tablets with applications that will be used to upload the course material. Many publishers are working with us to digitize the content. Digitized textbooks will be available for children from classes I to class VI," says Khan. The tablets will be available on installments.

    The school is replacing 5 lakh volumes in its library with an e-library.

    In Ebenezer International School, it's only the library books that are being digitized. "We are digitizing our library first. We may do away with textbooks in the future. Doing away with all printed stuff right now will be too early," says Indrani Sudarshan, the school's director, academics.

    Way forward

    The move is definitely a way forward. As far people's reaction to the shift is concerned, voices were raised even when we moved from palm leaves to textbooks. No doubt, that it will be more engaging and absorbing. But care should be taken to give more importance to the content, and not to the carrier (laptop or tablet). Moreover, now that we are back to LCD and LED screens, what worries me is the harmful effect it can have on the eyes of youngsters.