Blog to Learn


Dear Parents, Teachers and Learners

Are you genuinely interested in learning for life? If yes, then you cannot shut your eyes to technology in this age of digital technology gone mobile. We work on iPads and computers and even on iPhones. Even children in Indian villages are supposed to be accessing mobile technology as a viable learning option.  The people of Gujarat, our state, have the most technologically advanced mindset – starting with our Chief Minister and not excluding your kamwali bai –  everyone is in sync with the latest mobile tech!

Then, why should we, in one of the most advanced systems of schooling, resist the advantages of technology in the classroom and at home?

Surat has often been labelled as an educationally backward city. As its citizens, the onus is on us to do away with this slur on our reputation. We will not remain behind in educational issues. Our schools already have smart boards, T.V.s and iPads in the classroom. We have a Wi-fi campus. Let us extend our classroom beyond mere textbooks and task sheets and go global. If we wish our children to compete on an international platform, then we must equip them with the skills required for this. We must look forward, not backward.

So what has happened in the ongoing education revolution in the world? The same technology (TV, iPads, iPods, iPhones) that you use for entertainment  is also used to provide learning tools in the classroom. In the world’s most technologically and educationally advanced nations, class blogs are now enabling home and school to connect on different fronts.

DPS Tapi is only just entering into this new and exciting world of learning through class blogs. Our teachers are exploring the various ways of learning with the class blog. There is so much more potential for learning with the class blog than in the printed task sheets! We wish to make learning multidimensional. Why remain limited to the one-dimensional print media? The blogs will make it possible for students to continue enjoying their audio-visual learning experience, not just in school but at home, as well.

I have spoken earlier about the usefulness of class blogs in my post on Extension Blogs and in my DPST-CIR-02-13.14. The articles in the links below are evidence in support of this innovative move forward by DPS Tapi:

http://yollisclassblog.blogspot.in/

http://smartblogs.com/education/2012/08/08/rewards-teaching-young-children-blog/

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/11/tablet-edtech/

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/strategy/item/31639-outdated-technology-holding/

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ipad-apps-all-content-areas-andrew-marcinek

The class blog is a crucial aspect of the educational vision of DPS Tapi.  We are slow and cautious innovators and do not rush into anything without thinking deeply of all the pros and cons.  We  understand that any revolutionary innovation in education has to confront an initial spate of reactionary criticism. We welcome the criticism because it improves our functioning.  We have already begun parent-teacher interactions on the uses of new mobile technology in teaching. Our staff are here to provide individual guidance and suggestions to parents on technological hitches that they may face.

On this post, I will deal with the parental problems that have come up so far, in the FAQ mode:

  1. I do not have a computer or an Internet connection: You have selected the very advanced DPS system of schooling for your ward in order to ensure the best possible learning. At school, your ward goes well beyond the textbook with the smart-board, iPad and internet access. Hence, it would be counter-productive to your educational aim if your ward is deprived of the same facility at home.
  2. What happens when my Internet is not working?: When your (or our) Internet is not working, then postpone the homework by a day. Discuss possible solutions with your teacher at school, the next day. There will be occasional technical glitches at your end (and at ours). These are temporary and can be overcome/minimised in time.
  3. My ward’s eyes are over-strained from staring at the screen: The homework tasks all have fixed time-limits well under the eye-strain mark. Besides, the entire task does not involve looking continuously at the screen. In any case, you should minimise the brightness of the screen to acceptable limits and blink frequently. Yet, if your ward’s eyes are still over-strained, then stay off the class blog and just ask your ward to do the exercises in the text-book to the extent his/her eyes can bear the strain.  Definitely consult your ophthalmologist. You should get an eye check-up at regular intervals for your ward. Reduce T.V.  and film viewing. I am only surprised that the same students have used the class smart-board / TV or attended computer and iPad lessons with no eye complaints so far!
  4. Why not just keep sending printed task-sheets?: During the last academic year, we had task-sheets uploaded on the school website and homework posted on the class blog.  Yet, many of you did not access your class blog because you received printed task sheets. In keeping with environment-friendly policy, we are gradually phasing out paper. The entire task-sheets will continue to be uploaded on the school website (Resources) at the end of each cycle.
  5. Then, I must buy a printer and print everything for myself: Please do not use a printer or print anything from our school website or class blogs. If you have to fill in and return a form, then, we will send it to you in print. If your ward has to do something on a task sheet and submit, then we will send it to you in print. As you may expect, we will go online with this function too, in time. Then, you can do your submissions online and save much time. Meanwhile, you can download and save pdf.docs in your own computer or tablet, for later reference.
  6. My ward is too young to be exposed to the dangers of the Internet: Definitely the Internet is dangerous, but these children are digital natives. If you are scared to enter – they will run in without waiting for you!  Your ward is old enough to access the content on his/her class blog but you should always monitor any net-surfing. Keep your Search engine’s safety settings on and periodically, track the history of your ward’s searches. Talk to them about the Do’s and Don’ts of the Internet. If your ward is coming to school, then it is not too early for you to be aware of the Internet safety rules.
  7. Is this all, or are you planning to go further?: Gradually, all circulars and other notifications will be only on the website, not in print. We will continue to notify you of uploads via the school diary.  Moreover, we will set homework on iPad apps on a regular basis, very soon. Anything that challenges our students to learn more and learn better – and makes learning more fun – we are ready to explore!
  8. On tuition/coaching class versus the class blog: Surat students rely heavily on tuition/coaching classes. I consider this a needless waste of time – and against learner development towards autonomy. I am aware that it is difficult for tuition coaches to access class blogs daily in order to do the home-work for their school-going customers. The sooner these paid-homework shops shut down, the better for the educational reputation of Surat!

We (teachers and learners) invite you to join us in taking the first steps of a long journey ahead. The route is challenging, because the signposts are constantly changing. There are many dangers of social-networking and Internet surfing to guard against. But we will get nowhere by hiding our heads in the sand and refusing to look at changes that will overtake us and sweep us off our feet if we are not ready for them.

Above all, do remember that your children see you buying and using the latest cars, phones, T.V.s, A.C.s, refrigerators, ovens  and other gadgets. Then, they will definitely demand to know, why they should not get to access their class blogs or use learning Apps on the iPad or iPhone.

I would like all parents to read this post and decide for themselves where they wish their children to be on the global education scenario. Those who are with DPS Tapi in our Learning Partnership should Like this post and talk positively to other parents they meet at the bus-stop or at school.  Those who have further questions/doubts, please post these in Comments. I will definitely answer ASAP.

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30 responses to “Blog to Learn

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  3. “Blog to learn’ is a step in the right direction for a few reasons. First, it takes us to the paperless world, saving the environment in the process. Second,, it brings the latest technology to our doorstep in the form of net-based homework.Third, it takes Surat from the so-called educational backwardness to educational pioneering.. You have set high standards for yourself – Madam, which you only can emulate. Thank you, Madam for everything ! ,

    • To all parents who engage positively in our Learning Partnership – heartfelt thanks! Great parents make great citizens in your own generation and mould greater ones in the next generation

  4. My ward was previously in other school, this is first year for my ward in DPS Tapi and we like the efforts school and Madam is doing for the children and also to protect environment. I really like the blog methodology as we parent can be in interaction with Teacher’s through it. Also as per the older methodology we need to check each book for homework and find it out ourselves.

    We really appreciate this methodology and also we like iTeach concept very much.

    If parents are worried of children been exposed to Internet they can install
    K9 Web Protection on there PC and iPhone/iPad its total free for home users.

    We can protect unwanted website surf by our children, can view there surfing history and also we can assign time restriction for using Internet.

    For additional information kindly visit
    http://www.k9webprotection.com/

  5. Thank you parents and teachers, for all the support. Looking at the possibility of eye-strain – the teachers will be reducing the homework on the class blogs to give all eyes the time to get accustomed to eye-care while working online.

  6. I do appreciate the way DPS Tapi is going ahead and I will surely make it a chance to see that my child is equipped with required infrastructure to keep pace with it. Together we can and we will make a difference. And of course lots of papers would be saved and trees too….
    Faiz

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  13. i totally agree with SanjuktaSK madam..
    world is changing very fast.. those who dont change with the change will not survive.. law of evolution of Darwin also says adaption…
    i believe those who bring the change will be the true leaders…
    students must have diffrent ideas which can be implemented under our guidence ( parents & teachers both )
    on the controry iPad homeworks are something diffrent & kids enjoyed it the most ( as far as my son is concerned , this was the reason to get the admission in DPS Tapi )
    i think change in pattern is always difficult to digest but if its helping our kids , we shouldn’t resist it..
    media is highly influencing the kids but as coin is having two sides, same is true with the use usage of media, it’s our rewsponsibility to take care that kids progress is in right direction…
    take the responsibility friends..

    • @Dr. Kariya: I have modified the post since you last read it. I think this better addresses some genuine parental concerns. Thank you for your contribution to our Learning Partnership

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  15. In this e-age we cannot do without technology…but bring about the change for our betterment. I’m glad that my child is introduced to the international learning techniques right here in DPS Tapi and am very proud of it.

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  17. Ya I too feel that as per today’s requirement child should b very well familiar n in practice with computers n latest technologies …and u had started a good feeding source in blogs form for kids as well as parents…ishaan now as soon as back from school is excited to know about his hw as well as his mathematical games …I love n in support of this new system…ishaan Sharma 3a.

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