Teachers in India nowadays prefer to use technology to foster communities of practice. They demonstrate preferences for professional development opportunities which involve interactivity, collaboration and engagement with other professionals – and with the help of technology, as opposed to one-way transactional professional developmental opportunities. One would think this as obvious, with India being a global IT powerhouse. But this shift in thought-process is quite new.
In the ‘Technology for Professional Development: Access, Interest and Opportunity for Teachers of English in South Asia’ report, the British Council notes that that 36% of teacher respondents from India claim that they have downloaded educational mobile apps. Of those who have, the majority downloaded them for their own learning (74% of the group).
The percentage of teachers with smartphones currently able to access mobile internet is substantial and will keep increasing, assuming current trends continue. And it is not just the young, but also experienced teachers, who believe that mobile phones and computers will be their primary channels for accessing resources and content for their professional development.
Whenever we speak with teachers, a key aspect that is evident every time, is that teachers need real-time feedback on performance, both on individual and classroom levels. And they could benefit from technology-enabled solutions to help them reflect on their lessons and overall practice, improving on critical teaching moments, classroom behaviour and overall student outcome. Currently, the most common practice is done through traditional lesson observation, which the vast majority of teacher will agree is highly intrusive, contributing to tension and usually resulting in the Hawthorne Effect – the false outcome and performance by both teacher and students, a by-product of having another teacher observing the classroom.
A policy think tank published a report called ‘Teaching with Technology: Early Ed-Tech adoption by Indian schoolteachers’, which shows that allocating resources to technology (ICT) infrastructure without complementary teacher professional development is ineffective. To solve the looming gap in teacher competency, India needs EduPreneurs to rise up to the challenge and solving the problem they understand best.
As a colleague once said, it’s vital to remember that EdTech is not a golden bullet. It’s only as good as when teachers apply it as a part of their teaching and learning arsenal, at the right time, aligned with students’ learning needs.
ONVU Learning aims to bring smart EdTech solutions focused on improving teaching and learning in India that really work. With the view to address the issues faced by the country, our lesson observation and teacher reflection system called Lessonvu has been introduced and implemented in several schools. Our latest partnership is with The Doon School in Dehradun – you can find out more about it on our dedicated page.
With more schools and partnerships underway in India, we will be sharing our expert thought-leadership and news updates on the country more frequently. Make sure to keep checking back our blog section and sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest news.