Home / FT View/ Smart classrooms

Smart classrooms

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 13 February 2019 00:00



Infusing technology into classrooms has become a focus with the Government unveiling the first smart-classrooms complete with tabs for children. For decades Sri Lanka has been used to the standard paper, pen, pencil and chalk method of training and while this brave new world is exciting and offers great opportunities, there are also a few concerns.

On the positive side technology allows for experimentation in pedagogy, democratises the classroom and encourages better engagement with students. Most teachers are not known for using creative teaching methods. The textbook based approach to teaching has been blamed for rote memorisation where students are not encouraged in analytical thinking and finding information for themselves. Technology changes that and pushes teachers to use innovative methods with updated information. 

Teachers can also get instant feedback and participation with the use of technology. A student may decline to answer a question because he or she is shy but may be more ready to engage via a tab. The teacher can also include real time quizzes, polls and other measures to evaluate how much a student has absorbed from the lesson and spot where students may be struggling. Coursework and assignments can be adjusted or made more interesting by having greater engagement with students.

Countless online resources that enhance learning. These include apps, e-textbooks and organisational platforms that can make learning more fun. This technique, sometimes referred to as “gamification” allows students to learn subjects through role play, which can be more interesting for subjects such as history. Technology can also automate a lot of tedious tasks such as taking attendance and leave more room for education. 

Clearly for children growing up in a technology-dominated environment, finding ways to adapt to it early makes sense. But there have also been studies to show that early immersion in technology impacts children’s growth and their social interaction abilities. Many parents have been told they should limit children’s screen time and encourage them to play and form friendships in the real world. Access to technology in classrooms or elsewhere could also encourage children to cheat, which means measures have to be adopted to ensure they do not. 

Given the cost of infusing technology into classrooms and the sometimes vast resource gaps that exist in Sri Lanka’s education system, it is unlikely that smart classrooms will be scaled up significantly in the short term. But it is important to give children at least some chance to connect to technology as it will dominate their future.

It’s clear that the benefits outweigh the cons. But the key to technology in the classroom is always going to be the teacher-student relationship, because that’s where education happens. Technology can be a highly effective tool, but that’s all it is — a tool. In today’s hyper-connected world, sensible use of technology can enhance education.

Technology is not meant to replace the teacher. Rather, the idea is to create a flexible learning environment that breeds innovation. It shifts the classroom experience from the ‘sage-on-a-stage’ approach to a more collaborative learning environment. The success of such endeavours will ultimately depend upon how technology is applied to keep students engaged.

It can be frustrating and time-consuming, but in the end, technology in education can open doors to new experiences, new discoveries, and new ways of learning and collaborating.

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

In the tropical terrain, tourism thrives, but!

Friday, 26 April 2019

In business school an oft repeated refrain in the marketing module is ‘get your product right’. It’s a task easier said than done, especially when it’s a service. Marketing of a service characteristically has to negotiate both lucidity and am

A secular public space is essential for the safety and wellbeing of all

Friday, 26 April 2019

The heart is heavy and the pen is slow. The environment is thick with the shared sorrow of many. Pain and suffering caused by deaths of hundreds and maiming of more on Easter of 2019 will linger for the rest of our lives. But life must go on and we m

Social media could be our egregious enemy, sometimes

Friday, 26 April 2019

One of the first moves the Government considered after the 21 April tragic events of coordinated Easter Sunday bombings of churches and hotels in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa was a temporary block of social media. There was no debate about requisi

Terrorism, violence, and incompetent political leadership

Friday, 26 April 2019

Incompetent people, the researchers found, are not only poor performers, they are also unable to accurately assess and recognise the quality of their own work. These low performers are also unable to recognise the skill and competence levels of other

Columnists More