Ratna Sagar Pvt Ltd organised a panel discussion on ‘Effective use of Technology in the Classroom’ on November, 23, 2013 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi to discuss how educators and schools are using the power of technology to promote students’ active engagement, critical thinking and literacy skills.

The advent of technology in education has led to a paradigm shift in how knowledge was transferred and gained. In this changed education landscape, while the role of teachers remains central to the teaching-learning process, technology has become an important tool in supplementing this process, and empowering learners with easy and open access to high quality education. The National Policy on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in School Education 2012 and the initiatives stemming from it recognise the immense potential of ICT for enhancing outreach and improving quality of education. However, with a myriad of digital learning resources available at their fingertips, educators have a daunting task of employing technology that is user-friendly, figuring out how to integrate these added tools into their lesson plans and selecting meaningful and innovative content.

Educationist Dr Vidya MS set the tone of the discussion by introducing the audience to policy initiatives on ICT. She spoke about the need to redesign the learning space and reinforced that teachers and students are partners in the learning process. She encouraged teachers to integrate efficient and interactive technology into pedagogy. Ms Nina Sehgal, Director – DPS Society addressed the audience on blending ICT-based resources into classroom practice. She gave guidelines to educators on researching and choosing appropriate digital content, which is suited to the curriculum requirements. Ms Sehgal emphasised that teachers should participate in content creation and in selecting resources that are suited to their methodology and the learning requirements of students. Ms Meera Balachandran, Director- Education Quality Foundation of India, shared her extensive experience training teachers on various pedagogical tools including technology. She deliberated that ICT-enabled classrooms should not limit their scope to using computers and the Internet as mere information delivery devices; instead the focus should be on enhancing the overall learning experience of students. She highlighted that educators need to recognise the potential of technology in taking learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. The discussion progressed with Mr Vikas Gupta, Author and Managing Director – Wiley-India, sharing ongoing global practices towards integrating ICT with learning, making it collaborative and an enriching experience. He also introduced the audience to the potential change in the classroom format that technology may bring about with simulation-based learning, flipped classrooms and more. He underscored that teachers needed to embrace technology, explore its potential and use it optimally in the classroom. He said that content and technology can go hand-in-hand only when teachers string these together and integrate it into their teaching process. These talks were followed by an open discussion with eminent educators of Delhi and NCR in the audience on the impact of technology in education, and how it could be better utilised for the holistic development of students.

The event also served as a platform for the organisers of the event to showcase Enriched All-in-one eBooks developed for the first time in India in accordance with the CCE guidelines of CBSE. Mr Sugat Jain, Director, IT – Ratna Sagar, introduced these as enriching innovative ebooks that were designed from scratch for use in the classroom. He said, “These should be looked at as enriching and empowering learning tools which will reduce the effort of educators in researching content by incorporating excellent licensed content from sources including National Geographic Creative, Shutterstock and others, and placed appropriately according to the curriculum requirements. These will not only make the learning experience engaging but also help educators improve learning outcomes.”