Ladies’ College introduces interactive boards: All classrooms to become ‘Smart’ | Sunday Observer

Ladies’ College introduces interactive boards: All classrooms to become ‘Smart’

22 October, 2017
Model Grade 1 Smart Classroom. Pix: Chaminda Niroshana
Model Grade 1 Smart Classroom. Pix: Chaminda Niroshana

An enormous revolution in Sri Lankan education has taken place with the launch of smart classrooms for the whole school at Ladies’ College Colombo. The Old Girls’ Association (OGA) of Ladies’ College Colombo launched the ‘Smart Classrooms’ recently at the College Hall thus making a revolution in classroom teaching. It has become the first school in Sri Lanka to be fully equipped with interactive boards in every classroom of the school.

A member of the OGA, Nirupa Karunaratne speaking to the Sunday Observer said, “So far we’ve got 26 interactive smart boards and we will be getting 18 more. Altogether there are 54 classrooms at Ladies’ College. We will start this new technology based system once everything is fixed for all classes. The teachers will be given a training on the use of interactive boards by the Ewis Company. The teachers will be provided with laptops and later on we have ideas to provide laptops for the students as well.” It is hoped that these boards will transform each classroom into a state of the art learning space which will foster curiosity and encourage interactive learning.

The world is technologically advancing and it seems that progress is impossible without change. Technology is needed in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand.

Smart classrooms have been established in most parts of the world. The pen and paper is converting into tabs or laptops and the blackboards into smart interactive boards. The first smart classroom was started in Sri Lanka at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Vidyalaya, Homagama in October 2014.

Thereafter, on January 2017 the first Cloud Smart Classroom in Sri Lanka was launched at the Sri Jayawardenepura Maha Vidyalaya, Kotte for the Grade seven English medium students.

The smart classroom project at Ladies’ College began with the vision of the Principal of the College, Eesha Speldewinde. Speaking at the launch, Speldewinde said that technology supports the development of research, organisational and thinking skills. “Today, digital technology provides ubiquitous and instantaneous access to unlimited information and resources, completely transforming schools and the educative process. However, access to an infinite repository of information is only as valuable as one’s capacity to assess, analyse, decipher, disaggregate and apply knowledge in practical, real-world situations,” she said.

“Learning is about making connections and the 21st century student needs to be supported to do this in both physical and virtual learning environments. The introduction of the smart interactive boards will not only provide students with unprecedented access to vast repositories of information but will consequently present them with the opportunity to hone these other research, comprehension, analytical, discussion, distillation and application skills.

The Ladies’ College OGA within a short period of time made it a mission to provide this foundation for access to technology to all the students at Ladies’ College,” said Speldewinde.

President, Ladies’ College OGA, Preethi Adihetty, when asked why she and her committee took this project under their wing, said, “The digital era is radically changing the way we create new ideas and manage knowledge. The schools need to change to foster the creativity that humans will need to create value in today’s world. Even though some young people are emerging as successful collaborative creatives, youth unemployed is more than double the total adult unemployed, in many countries. This statistic calls for a rethink of the scholastic experiences and competencies required to help students participate in a global digital economy.”

“When correctly implemented and supported by the right strategies, checks and behaviour, technology can improve curricula and assessment outcomes in exciting ways. It is hoped that the smart classrooms will transform the conventional teaching methods into a more interactive, immersive and engaging learning experience which will equip students with practical skills that will be valuable both in the classroom and beyond. We are proud to launch another chapter in the history of Ladies’ College to become the first school in Sri Lanka with technology enhanced classrooms for the entire school,” she said.

Technology landscape

Adihetty said that this is the fastest changing technology landscape we have ever been in. “Technology re-invents itself everyday. Most of the people today use email, Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber and Instagram to communicate. 20 years ago we did not have an email address and 10 years ago Facebook did not even exist. Today we can not imagine our lives without these media of communication which is a testament to the huge role that technology plays in our lives.

It takes a lot of courage to let go of the familiar and embrace the new. Our Principal, Eesha Speldewinde had the vision to think big, to look beyond conventional methods of teaching, towards more modern and engaging learning experiences, which would enable students to receive an education on par with that offered by the best schools in the world.

Principal Speldewinde’s vision for the school is also in keeping with national education policy which is currently being reworked to develop and upgrade the present classroom to meet the future needs of education,” Adihetty said. She further added that the OGA took on the mammoth challenge of funding the ‘Smart Classroom Project’. “We got involved from the very beginning, putting in place a team of IT professionals consisting of old girls to lay the groundwork for this change, from identifying the requirements, to sourcing the suppliers and selecting the equipment.

The OGA is able to provide Ladies’ College with a 65’ Smart interactive display with touch capability up to 10 fingers or stylus with Digital Screen, Uninterrupted Power Supply and Speakers in each and every classroom. The smart interactive boards were given to us at a concessionary price by E W Information Systems Ltd or Ewis. This project was one of the biggest fund raisers the OGA has ever undertaken,” Adihetty said.

The speed of the new system reflects the commitment of the school to embracing positive change and investing in technology. It will place Ladies’ College at the forefront of modern education in this country, leading the way towards a smarter Sri Lanka. A demonstration was conducted by Ewis at the launch about the software and on the use of interactive boards.