In December 2017, Amita Sharma, a Teach for Nepal fellow based in Janakpur, posted an appeal on Facebook asking to raise funds to buy a projector to enable digital learning for her students. She wrote, “While computers and laptops for all is a far-fetched dream because of space constraints, we are aiming at being able to use projectors as a medium through which learning in the class is not restricted to just whiteboards and markers.”
Amita ’s willingness to bridge digital gap by introducing digital tools in classrooms is commendable. Also, her interest in digital education aligned with Code for Nepal’s mission to promote digital literacy in Nepal. We supported her campaign financially.
A few days ago, Amita sent us a note and attached some photos of her happy students. Students are thrilled to have a projector in class. Learning has never been this exciting for them. We are hopeful this small effort to bring digital tools to classroom learning will have a significant impact one day. Today, we are just pleased to share some happy and bright faces with you all.
Also, Amita recently penned an opinion on “Digital Classroom & Education,” and we are sharing her piece here.
Who would have thought, just ten years ago, that the nurses you see in hospital would log your notes on tablets, or that staff in restaurants would be taking orders on smartphones? The overwhelming majority of workers in this country, if they studied ICT, would have worked on clunky desktop computers at school to develop their skills.
Technology has the power to transform how people learn – but walk into some classrooms and you could be forgiven for thinking you were entering a time warp.
There will probably be a whiteboard instead of the traditional blackboard, and the children may be using laptops or tablets, but plenty of textbooks, pens and note copies are still likely.
And perhaps most strikingly, all desks will face forwards, with the teacher at the front.
And so it stands to reason that the children we teach will themselves engage with unforeseen technologies in their futures. So is there any point in filling their classrooms with equipment that could belong in antiquity by the time they reach their twenties?
In short, yes. Quality technological provision is a huge challenge with the funding squeezes upon schools, but evidence from my classroom strongly suggests that it is an investment worth making.
Digital Classroom Project, a digital initiative undertaken under Teach For Nepal with the vision to provide a technology – enabled classroom for the students of Shree Secondary School, Mithileswar Mauwahi was initiated a couple of months back. Few generous souls helped me to create a class with a laptop, projector and a screen so enormous that it could illuminate the street. I am very grateful to Code for Nepal and Diwaker Jha along with his friends from Finland for the generous contribution to fulfill the need of projector in our classroom. Our brief was to explore how the equipment could impact upon students from an incredibly deprived background. Year 10–12 were targeted children. A great year group for trying a new way of teaching, yes?
Children from deprived backgrounds are more likely to have communication and language issues from entry into school. Being able to record voice, images and annotations on apps, and review them, often provides my students with something they’re not proud of at first. But by collaborating with each other, seeking technical language and competing to show what they know, every students in my class is always keen for their work to be shared on the big screen. It gives a new impetus to learn and promotes confidence in the quality of their work through this medium.
The Digital Classroom also had a disproportionality positive effect on students who needed extra support and motivation. Digital Classroom increased flexibility in me, gave me the capacity to differentiate learning and made lessons far more inclusive.
Yes, technology is an expensive thing to explain to stakeholders. Yes, it takes a huge investment of time for classroom teachers. And yes, it can be an immense headache when trying to deploy new apps and programmes. But the confidence, ability and growth which I’ve seen in my students over the past couple of months tells me that every penny and minute would have been wisely invested.