Implementation of emerging apps in classrooms

Under the aegis of Metamorphosis, I had an opportunity to talk on the topic of the ‘Implementation of emerging apps in classrooms’. Here is the text of the talk and the link to the Facebook page is given below the text.

Let me take you back to the COVID days. Lockdown has brought an end to business houses but the teachers carried on with online classes. How did that happen? Answer is technology.

Technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Technological innovations have integrated into every sphere of society and into our daily activities. It has changed the way we work, shop, interact and also learn.

Big basket, Myntra, amazon, Zomato, google pay etc are synonymous with daily life. Teachers say things like stream karo, google class is good, ChatGPt use kiay kya? Google docs is good for creating question papers and so on.

With all this, it is about time, One takes a look at  The education system that has been a gift from the British. This system tested rote learning, speed of writing and quick recall. The time has come for a change.

We are at the threshold of a new evolution that is moving at galloping speed. Covid with all its problems enabled us to leapfrog into technology that is about 2 ½ years ahead of time the world over. This rapid change has led to many a new career. It is here to stay. This brings me to the topic

Implementation of emerging apps in classrooms

Let me give you a brief over view of the History of technology in teaching

Thomas Alva Edison had predicted that the motion picture would replace textbooks in the classrooms. Yes, the film was the first true modern learning technology. As the US approached WW II there was a felt need to train the army. The solution came as much from Hollywood as from the educational establishment – A film to train the army! So pleased was the army with the success of this, that they continued sophisticated research on the use of the film and later television for learning. They partnered with the universities to create learning modules.

In the 60s only teaching machines and programmed texts paved the way for computer-based training. Instructional films became more creative and covered more topics appropriate to children in schools. A flourishing commercial educational film business catering to both the public and private sectors with films on almost every topic imaginable. But, it was the TV that got educators excited. The TV could bring almost any form of learning to the classroom. Children sat for hours in front of the TV to watch Star Trek in a teacher-less class happily absorbing the knowledge. But, in spite of a few sporadic successes such as Sesame Street, educational television did not bring about a learning Utopia.

In the 1970s and 1980s, a lot of effort was put into the area of Computer Based Training [CBT]. As more PCs were deployed in offices and homes, But, this hopeful sign was short-lived.

The Computer-based training business entered the 90s with four things going against it.

  1. Technology changes made it almost impossible to serve all the platforms that were in use.
  2. The programs were boring
  3. People were reluctant to spend the money needed to build and deploy an effective system.
  4. Finally, the limitations and problems associated with Computer technology as well as a lack of a robust instructional design diminished the contribution of advanced learning approaches.

At this point, it seems appropriate to quote

Rupert Murdock.

” I don’t understand the technology.

But, you don’t have to;

You have to understand what it can do for you”.

Today’s learners are the net generation. They are referred to as Digital Natives. Let’s look at some statistics: Children 6 and under spend more time in front of the computer. Almost all of them would have played video games at some point or another.  By age 21, the average person will have spent thousands of hours on a mobile phone, video games and spent hours in front of the television.

In view of this, it is not surprising that there is a shift from technology-assisted education to technology-driven education. This paradigm shift will lead to changes in the teachers’ role, students’ role and also in the curricula and delivery.

The solution lies in a shift in the learning methods, techniques and framework – a shift in the paradigm. This change in the trend could be envisaged as:

  • Learning from Classrooms to anytime anywhere.
  • Faculty-led to facilitated.
  • Straightjacket syllabus to customized training.
  • Paper performance to online training.
  • Physical facilities to networked facilities.
  • Cycle time to real-time.

A few Technological innovations that have benefitted the education sector:

Top of the list is Virtual and Augmented reality.

Virtual reality (VR), which creates a totally artificial environment,

What is augmented reality (AR)?

Augmented reality is an interactive experience that combines the real world and computer-generated content. The content can span multiple sensory modalities.  AR users experience a real-world environment with generated perceptual information overlaid on top of it.

  • Lenskart app

Digital library: is not dependent on the availability of space to preserve books and other reference articles like the conventional libraries.

Interactive whiteboards are dry erasable whiteboards that come with an LCD projector. The objective of these whiteboards is to make the students more engaging. Advantages are shown on your screen, be written on, act like a touch screen, save what you write on the board, etc. But with LCD video boards take the power of your television and combine that with your smartboard.

Google’s Apps for Education – millions of students and teachers around the world use this App which is a bundle of cloud-based e-mail, calendar, and document sharing products available free to schools. Google classroom is a free App that teachers can use to create and organize assignments provide feedback promptly and communicate with their classes easily. Became popular with the teachers during COVID lockdown.

Microsoft’s Skype or Zoom – give the students a platform to have real-time interactions with students of their age group in different parts of the world. Educators can also learn about the best classroom practices followed in other parts of the world. There could be student exchange programmes as well.

Benefits children with special needs –

text-to-speech software – that helps students with reading issues,

Speech recognition software, etc. Software that can read and write content can be a useful tool for the visually impaired.

BlogsBlogs or classroom weblogs are becoming increasingly popular with teachers and teacher education.

A blog is a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically like a “what’s new” page of a journal. The contents and the purposes of blogs vary greatly from links and commentary about other websites to news about a company/person/idea, photos, poetry, mini-essays, project updates, and even fiction. Blogs may be personal or based on collaborative efforts on a specific topic or an area of mutual interest

Mobile learning is also known as m-learning. Mobile learning supports, with the help of mobile devices, continuous access to the learning process. This can be on appliances like the phone, laptop or tablet. Learning can take place wherever and whenever you want! With the advent of mobile learning, educational systems are changing.

m-learning in education

Tablets: Tablets with internet connectivity give access to various useful educational Apps, allows taking notes, enables reading up on topics relevant to subjects of studies, etc. Many IGCSE schools permit the use of tablets in class

Mobile learning usage:

  1. Offering mobile learning material is either asynchronous way of learning or Synchronous way,

Advantages of mobile learning –

  1. It can be anytime, anywhere learning.
  2. Motivation – An online quiz can bring in an added element of interest.
  3. More content – Videos and audios can be added. Videos make it possible to make learning livelier!
  4. Working together from long distance – While one student might be in New York and the other one in Amsterdam, it’s still possible to work together! This is one of the main benefits of mobile learning.
  5. Students share their work with their peers using camera phones. You can encourage students to take photos of billboards, street signs, menus, advertisements, or other examples of written English that they see around them. Compare the photos and discuss the spelling mistakes.
  6. The teacher can encourage students to create a personal visual story about their daily routine. The student can take a series of snapshots of moments in their day, for example, their schedule for a timeline and identify the snapshots as time wasters, worthwhile activities, etc.

Blended Learning

Popularized by Khan Academy and its massive library of instructional videos. Its roots are dug into online teaching–learning.  It uses online & brick and mortar space. The objective is to provide an integrated learning experience.

The process is explained using a ready example.

  1. A teacher explains the steps of the digital storytelling technique

– face to face

  1. Students write a proposal and get it approved – face to face
  2. Students follow the steps. They select any of the software that they would like—Powerpoint and google docs are freely available to work on online
  3. Students work collaboratively and prepare the storyboard which is presented to the others and feedback is sought – online.
  4. This work can also be planned in such a way that each student of the group pre-decides what would be done by him/her and submit the google docs or Powerpoint as the case may be and the other would pick it up from there and continue as a part of the collaborative work.
  5. The collaborative working space often called “Maker space” could be given an exciting name by the students.
  6. The offline vs online work is 30:70.
  7. The storyboard could be uploaded on the school website or e-campus which is the LMS.

Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) is a central government of India initiative It is a step towards a new India that will embrace and encourage novel and innovative ideas and inventions.

Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India. The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity, and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.

Robotics:  This process automation is a form of business process automation technology based on metaphorical software robots or artificial intelligence /digital workers. It is sometimes referred to as software robotics.

Developing the right skills will prepare students for the competitive educational and professional society. Robotics boosts skills that are the foundation of success, such as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

When working on a robot, students are encouraged to use logic, engineering intuition, and critical thinking.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind

Weak AI—also called Narrow AI or Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)—is AI trained and focused to perform specific tasks. Weak AI drives most of the AI that surrounds us today. Siri, Alexa are examples.

Artificial general intelligence (AGI), or general AI, is a theoretical form of AI where a machine would have an intelligence equaled to humans;

Reactive machines: Garry Kasparov in the late 1990s was beaten by the IBM computer.

Self-driving cars: A good example of limited memory AI is the way self-driving cars observe other cars on the road for their speed, direction, and proximity. This information is programmed as the car’s representation of the world, such as knowing traffic lights, signs, curves, and bumps in the road. The data helps the car decide when to change lanes so that it does not get hit or cut off by another driver.

Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)—also known as superintelligence—would surpass the intelligence and ability of the human brain.

Let’s imagine what an AI-assisted classroom would look like. The teacher delivers a bite-sized lecture using a video-conferencing application. Students who have hearing impairments can enable the live audio transcription feature. Someone comfortable in a different language can also enable translation to a language of their choice. If the teacher has a rich vocabulary and is fond of using it, the app can include a feature that recognizes a difficult word and replaces it with a more common synonym.

Once a lecture is finished, an adaptive testing application can be used to ascertain if the student has grasped the concept and to what extent. An application for spaced learning can then chime in to determine the frequency of revision needed to make sure the transition from a student’s short-term memory to long-term memory is smooth. The revision itself can be supervised by an application that presents concepts according to the student’s learning styles.

The buck doesn’t stop here. Data-driven career counselling should then steer a student’s career path. To prevent burnout and ensure good mental health, optimal workloads and study times can be determined by an AI expert. And, in order that the teacher doesn’t lose sanity from the amount of work they have to do, an automatic grader can be used, which would significantly save teachers’ time.


Published by Dr. Pramila Kudva

I am a teacher educator currently worrking as a Principal of a reputed school in North Mumbai, have more than 30 years of experience, with several publications to my credit and have authored a book -"From chalk to Talk The Art of Teaching.

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