The school begins at 7 am. The students reach their respective class rooms after the general assembly and morning prayers. The students have already submitted their homework online and are ready for another discourse of their next lesson. The teachers have already scrutinized the work submitted, and have marked comments and given suggestions. There is no need to collect notebooks for appraisal. The school time is now more efficiently utilised to facilitate collaborative learning. The focus is more on accrual of knowledge, than being better than the other.
The change in design and delivery of knowledge will positively impact education. Multiple media to impart knowledge can make subjects interesting, easier to understand and facilitate retention. In todays age, with so many advances in technology, traditional methods of teaching cannot survive. Since the student community is already using the latest technology, in games, interaction, entertainment and social networking, lack luster traditional delivery of education has to be improvised.
It is given that knowledge cannot be forced on a person. Intrigue, interest, and the urge to know, are the essentials in the learning process. Teaching is not a dictatorial profession. One needs to place the necessary ingredients of learning within reach of the learner. Placing a sphere and a cube within reach of a child will enable learning that the sphere will roll and the cube will not, and, that the cube cannot be as easily displaced as the sphere.
It is also true that the student community learn better from each other, than from teachers. It may be difficult to acknowledge the fact, but on introspection most will agree. It is therefore necessary to provide the community with a space to interact, amongst themselves and the faculty.
The concept of a School on a Network is the future of imparting education, enabling possibilities which are today limited by the requirement of physical presence. Anytime, anywhere connectivity is bound to promote better learning environment due to the factor of convenience. The users being students, faculty and staff, each with their own identity of an e-mail id and a self chosen password, interacting on the common domain of the school, learning, sharing, messaging, exchanging notes, etc while building a close knit community would open new vista's of learning experience and environment.
A School on a network should provide:
1. A common domain for interaction (myschool.org)
2. e-mail id to all users (students, faculty and staff)
3. ability to chat when online, in text, voice or video
4. Tools of creating documents in the form of text, spreadsheets & presentations
5. Capability to include video, images & graphics in the documents
6. Ability to collaborate while creating documents and editing the documents.
7. A web space for creating a group or class site.
8. Reasonable webspace & bandwidth for all these activities
Such would be ideal school on a network. A network which provides security of information and at the same time access to which would be available, anywhere and anytime, for the select community.
School on a network would benefit all members of the school community. Since the basic objective of any school is to impart knowledge. The lesson could be presented on the class site and be discussed next day in school. Home assignments could be done online, with the teachers comments and suggestions, after scrutiny. Inablility to attend class would not keep a student from knowing, what occured during school time. The performance of each student could be mapped and analysed by the faculty at any given point of time.
A directory of students, faculty and administrative staff would provide easy access to everyone. Calender of events with details, achievements, notices would keep all abreast of all school related information. An online school magazine, contributed to by students & teachers, would save costs of printing and distribution, but accrue advertisment revenue. Moreover secure collection of fees, payments and other receipts would be convenient to all.
Since the facility is free, educational institutes should take advantage and provide their community with the means of communicating better and easier.