Did anyone from the 60s even imagine the technology used by today’s students? The answer is a big NO. Why talk about the 60s, as a student from the 90s, I used to spend hours in the school library to complete my school project. Those memories are still fresh in my mind. When I was in class VII, our Social Science teacher made us form groups, and each group was assigned a country each, we had to collect all relevant information about that country like the population, Topography, Climate, Languages, Literacy rate, etc. The country given to us was “China.” We had to submit the project within a week. My friends and I rushed to our school library and pounced on whatever written material we could find on China. Computer and Internet were not common at that time; Most of the houses with kids in school carried a set of Encyclopedia – which was considered a prized possession. But Now in 2017, children do not refer to various books like us, all they have to do is to type the topic on GOOGLE and lo, a series of websites are right in front of them with a click of the mouse. Doing projects and learning has become much easier than the past. Another technology that has quietly entered into our schools is the CCTV camera, Sitting in her office, the Principal can view what is going around the school through her PC.Ignoring the use of mobile phones would be unwise. Even though most of the schools do not allow kids to carry phones to school, they cannot stop them from using mobiles at home. Right from Group Discussions to sharing of homework happens through cell phones. For example, if a student is unwell and has to skip school for few days, he gets access to the chapters taught in school and notes through WhatsApp on the same day, while a few years ago, a student had to write down pages and pages of notes on the day he returns to school. Students of today are introduced to Flipped and 3D immersive technology in Classrooms, which were theoretical concepts in the past. In flipped classrooms, the students can learn from live or recorded lectures by their teachers and discuss with their peers through web discussions and get clarification of their concepts through online chatting – all at their convenient time and place. Once the concepts are learned, the classroom sessions are organized by their teacher in such a manner that further learning happens through activities. In 3D immersive technology imbibed classrooms, the pupils are taught not through chalk and board but through virtual reality. Where complex concepts are easily explained by adopting the 3D technology.
Let’s peep into the future and see how our schools are going to be: Get ready to take a journey through time.
It’s 2070, and we are standing in front of a skyscraper, oh my, it is the same place from where we left 50 years ago through our time machine. Let us find a school and see how it looks now. We come across another skyscraper that reads “SCHOOL” in block letters. We just follow few students who enter the school premises with a swipe card which looks very similar to that used in our IT Firms. But we are promptly stopped by a security robot that denies allowing us inside without a swipe card. Fortunately, one of our friends is carrying a PRESS Id card and once the robot saw that it allowed us inside. The school corridors were spic and span where each robot is assigned one task each. We stopped a student hurrying down the hallway. Hi, she said, “ My name is Ria, and I belong to class SCIENCE .“Class Science, we exclaimed, ya, she said coolly, we are taught all subjects till we are ten years, after that the students are given a choice to choose their favorite subject and classes are separated according to the subjects. Now, I am from class SCIENCE – III; My Sister is from class SCIENCE – I, My Friend is in Class LITERATURE – II. We are also given the option to take up basics from other subjects. Like I can learn basic literature after school hours if I am interested. Can we have a look at your classroom? We slowly asked her? Sure she said and took us through a lift to the second floor, where she placed her fingerprints and entered a classroom, and we quietly followed her. The class had not started, the kids were having a chit-chat. But the classroom did not have an iota of resemblance to present day class. A whiteboard was on one side; a projector screen took its place in the middle. The teacher’s desk was in the middle and was surrounded by the student’s desk in a semi-Circle pattern. Each desk had a headphone, a wearable computer, a Palmtop and a few drawers where the student could store their stationeries. The classroom had a huge cupboard with many lockers; each student had a locker for himself/herself were all their subject related books were stored. A scanner and a printer were on another side of the room. The room had another glass door, which opened to a laboratory. When asked, the kids enlightened us that the classroom is more of an activity and practical place, they learn their concepts at home through online lectures and come to the class ready for actual experiments and activities. They have sessions of documentary movies on those concepts and try variously related experiments in the laboratory. They do not carry anything home, books are meant for classroom use only. All study materials are available online which they would access from their home. We were wonderstruck with the classroom and looked like kids lost in wonderland. It was time to move out, and the girl helped us out after keeping her fingerprint again. She explained that by this they have a track of student’s movement. One thing that she said left us awestruck, she said, even washrooms have such a system and cleanliness of the restrooms are taken care by robots. They have nonteaching staffs who are supplied by reputed Human Resource Companies to help the younger kids in the washrooms, but they are always seated outside the toilets in front of CCTV and have to enter after keeping their fingers on the machine which records their movement. Each Room, be it a Library (that carried more electronic devices that we were not even aware of than books), a washroom, a classroom or anywhere for that matter had an SOS button that would raise the alarm . I could not stop wishing that if such system had been present 50 years back, an innocent kid Pradyuman Thakur would not have lost his life. One amongst us was an athlete, and she promptly raised the question “Don’t you have playgrounds” for which the girl smiled and replied – We have 5 top floors exclusively for Games and Aerobics, one of our floors also has a running track, and one has a swimming pool and basketball court. Again students are introduced to all the games, and they can choose the one that interests them. Flabbergast at the changes in front of us, we realized that it was time to leave and bid the girl who played the role of a guide a goodbye and climbed into our time machine to travel back to 2017. We arrived back a happier lot, convinced that our grandchildren are going to enjoy studies in a much better way than we did.
This is an imagination of the writer as to how things might look in the future.