Hyderabad: This is one teacher who supports smartphones in the hands of primary school students, albeit with a catch. Umarani Chiluka, a teacher working in Lalaguda Government Primary School, was recently conferred with the Union HRD Ministry’s National Information and Computer Technology (NICT) Award for her effective and innovative teaching methods leveraging modern technology.
The 49-year-old teacher, a resident of Malkajgiri, has been a teacher for 24 years and is known for introducing a variety of methods to enhance learning for students.
In 2015, when Umarani joined the Lalaguda school, it was quite tough for her to ensure quality education for children due to the lack of proper classroom amenities. That is when she turned to something she had ready in her own hands – her smartphone. She looked up e-learning applications and started putting them to use in the classroom.
“I was looking at various ways to enhance classroom learning. Since smartphones are used widely, I gave it a try and installed e-learning apps for different subjects. Once I got the desired result from students, I decided to carry on with the process,” she says.
Given the misconceptions attached to kids using smartphones, Umarani makes sure the smartphones that students are handling are dysfunctional and lets them unlock only the e-learning apps. She also sees that these apps are not paid versions and can even be used offline.
In the age of modern technology, where experts reiterate that technology shouldn’t replace a teacher, Umarani believes technology surely assists students in their learning.
“Akin to multiple levels in mobile games, the students will come across several stages on e-learning apps and the steady appreciation that comes once they finish a level is encouraging,” she points out.
The e-learning apps will also help slow-learners or students suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, under which a child usually cannot focus on one particular activity for more than five minutes.
Support from schools
The initiative is also being supported by the school management and the parents. “Once I started using technology in the classroom, parents started asking me about the apps and how they can use them at home,” she adds.
However, considering the pros and cons, Umarani suggests a limited time must be set for a child on using e-learning apps and keeping an eye on them while accessing smartphones is mandatory.