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How Smart Technology Is Re-Shaping The Classroom Experience In The Education Industry

Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality

With over three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, leading some of the most renowned hospitality brands in the world, Dilip Puri have had the unique privilege of gathering insights and witnessing the changing landscape of the industry at close quarters. One of the biggest trends he have ever seen is the evolving talentscape and its impact on the business and performance of organizations in the industry. It is his belief that the battle for market share in the future will be fought as much over talent, as over customers.

The classrooms of our school years - complete with dusty blackboards and wooden desks with generations of graffiti carved into them - are long gone. Instead, today’s generation of students is lucky enough to experience the early dawn of ‘smart classrooms’. A branch of the general ‘smart’ revolution that’s spreading across the world - and our daily lives - smart classrooms are being integrated into schools, colleges and universities to help usher in a new era of learning.

What is a smart classroom?
While there’s no single type of smart classroom, these spaces bring together different types of technology in order to bring in a new level of efficiency and connection between teacher and students, student and student, and student and knowledge. The most common implementation in most smart classrooms are interactive surfaces. Smart whiteboards and other interactive mediums allow educators to share knowledge with more freedom and flexibility than before. Many classrooms operate by connecting to students’ laptops, iPads or personal devices to the main learning surface, creating one single unified learning unit. A lesson plan can now include seamless videos, multimedia, instant access to the internet and all work carried out on the interactive board saved to the cloud for later use. An activity that would have required the use of three or more devices as recently as a decade ago is now effortless and congregated.

What does this bring to the larger picture?
The integration of smart tech is much more than using tech for the sake of it. We’re working towards making classrooms holistically interactive

environments. By introducing more and more ways of bringing information into the space and making it more accessible and engaging, we’re finding new ways to create dialogues in the classroom. Different mediums of sharing information mean we’re reaching different learning methods. By being able to share the work of each student on a shared platform, students are exposed to different thought-processes, perspectives and ideas. It enables the sharing of knowledge on a far deeper level than most traditional techniques. Not only that, this more millennial/Gen-Y friendly approach to education removes the all too uncomfortable experience of speaking up in front of the class. Something that has dissuaded - and continues to dissuade - millions of students across the globe in the fear of having the wrong answer. Sharing your ideas doesn’t have to be scary anymore - it’s as simple as writing it down in your personal device and sharing it with the rest of the class who are doing the same. Any technology that removes the fear factor from class participation - and encourages openness and sharing of ideas - is crucial by itself.

Not only do smart classrooms have the capability to connect those inside it. They can bring in instructors and experts from across the globe to instantly participate in the session

Connecting students to the rest of the world
Not only do smart classrooms have the capability to connect those inside it. They can bring in instructors and experts from across the globe to instantly participate in the session. We’re all aware of the excitement and buzz around visiting faculty and guest lecturers - with smart tech, we’re able to do away with travel and logistics, and simply preserve the link between the instructor and students, regardless of place, time, or distance. While we’re seeing the emergence of numerous platforms offering webinars and online classes with leading names and experts in the field, there’s a limit to the interaction between a prerecording and a live audience member. With smart classrooms, we’ve got a real interactive session carried out with the same benefits as that of a physical instructor. Not only that, we then have the power to spread the knowledge even further, with sessions broadcast to students off campus, at home, or uploaded online on the cloud for further learning purposes.

It’s not just about tech. It’s about finding new ways to interact with information.
While the majority of the buzz around smart classrooms does revolve around the new technological developments entering the market, it’s important to take a step back and comprehend why we are implementing instead of just what. We already take for granted the unbelievable potential and access to information our mobile devices, laptops and internet access gives us. While just three decades ago, preparing an essay would have taken a student countless hours scouring the library for books and then manually pouring over research, our technological advancements allow us to process, discard and attain our required information in just a fraction of that time. Internet searches, video mediums, online journals, online forums - all of these new phenomena are a manifestation of us acquiring, retaining and then discussing newfound information with each other. The very same principles apply to smart classrooms. We’re working towards creating an ecosystem that captures and displays information that would have otherwise been lost in a traditional classroom. With technology as an aid, we’re enabling students to learn faster, become more engaged, discover new ways to find and process knowledge and share their findings. With current trends, we’re heading towards a truly exciting future in education. With the aid of technology, we’re changing the way we learn and teach - and we’re looking at a brighter future than ever before.

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