Upgrading efficiently and effectively
Digital technology is becoming more & more important for schools’ academic progress.In 2014,our school introduced a new initiative to make the school fully digital. Staff members explored all possible barriers and together fought against all the odds to create a new atmosphere. “Marching together,” the school song,motivated us to overcome the challenges through teamwork,change in mindsets, attitudes and practice. To actualise digital learning, our staff members collaborated for conceptualising the challenges.
Our journey so far
For sixty years,the school was following the state board curriculum. Students, parents, teachers and staff were used to the well-established culture of the school and its laid back atmosphere. Everyone had to adjust to a new culture for which mindsets had to change. Through collaboration,we were able to overcome the challenges at every level.
• Calling all stakeholders for the meeting.
• Understanding the issue of non-acceptance.
• Working at the apps that are user-friendly.
• Discussing the benefits of the system.
• Believing in the project and trusting the system.
Kahneman claims,“Your beliefs and even your emotional attitude may change when you learn that risk of an activity you disliked is smaller than you thought.” We believe in our motto, “Lead us from darkness to light.” Engagement, exploration, explanation, and evaluation lead to empowerment and creating a learning environment.
Planning, collaboration and creation of knowledge
Stakeholders were called to discuss the plan for the digital transformation. An explanation of how management information system (MIS) as an integrated application helps, was given to them. It is a social window which has a reservoir of information related to the system. Counselling of employees and stakeholders took place regarding their indifference towards the system change. This system facilitates research and analysis of activities which guide decision making at different levels of the system. Integrating digital technology in school is a mechanism for educational reform where all staff members transform. We made sure that employees were convinced about the benefits of the system for ease in the transformation.
We looked through the data collected data and classified the users as follows:
• Employees reluctant to go digital,
• Users who were facing problems,
• Users who are averse to change,
• Stakeholders and employees who were neither here nor there, and
• Users who were positive about the whole system.
After the acceptance from all the employees and stakeholders was received, we segregated the employees as per the data. The mantra was to follow up with all the concerned to make them realise that it is a transparent system.It helps in accountability, credibility, reliability, ensuring confidentiality and security of information at all levels.
Changes that were brought in
- Introduction ofcloud server for employees.
- Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the campus.
- Organising all classrooms to have smart/interactive boards.
- Updating Mathematics and Language labs.
- Introduction of Tablet classes from class V onward.
- Organising for tablets at school and all related technical aspects to support the system.
- Digital applications which help in storing, recording, collecting, connecting, collaborating, facilitating critical and creative thinking.
- Enabling computers in all staffrooms and other non-academic areas.
- Management of security system through the digital portal in which CCTVs are connected to the server for future references.
- Unique identification numbers are allotted to all stakeholders.
- From an application for admission to finalization and thereafter, every interaction is done through the digital platform.
- For careers, all teachers have to apply digitally.
- Teachers and facilitators do teaching/learning through digital mode.
- Research/assessments/group work and project work are done through tablet from class five to class eight.
- Teaching also happens through mind mapping and concept mapping.
- Laboratory classes are also conducted virtually.
- Diary information is available on thedigital platform.
- Assessment marks and report card generation all digital.
- All calculations in terms of percentage from the project, group discussion were all done digitally from the raw data.
- Resources are shared online and social media is also used for updates.
- All fees collection happen digitally. No cash transaction within the institution.
- Attendance of both employees and students.
- All other solutions for example uniform, stationery, books, exercise copies are all ordered online.
- Students also opt for a competitive examination which is subject related by external bodies through our portal.
- Payroll is also generated through the system.
- Students have a feedback system about their classes and instructors.
- Health and activity reports are available on an online portal which parents can access.
- Transfer certificates are generated online.
- Tracking mechanism of data for helping students to improve and teachers to modify their planning.
These actions helped in overcoming the conceptualised challenges. We now possess 90 smart classrooms, 250 computers, 180 tablets and70mbps of internet speed from the original, 37 smart classrooms, 110 computers, 45 tablets and 2mbps speed. We also have 142 CCTV and 7 DVRs.
Steps towards digitalisation have been successful to a great extent. Adoption of the digital system has helped us to scale up our operation and periodic review. This helps in making a necessary intervention for improvement in the learning process and staff productivity. This move towards digital learning helped people in transforming. Kahneman claims,“Your beliefs and even your emotional attitude may change when you learn that risk of an activity you disliked is smaller than you thought.” We believe in our motto, “Lead us from darkness to light.” Engagement, exploration, explanation, and evaluation lead to empowerment and creating a learning environment.
Bratati Bhattacharyya is Secretary General at Shikshayatan Foundation and CEO of Shikshayatan Foundation and Shri Shikshayatan School since July 2014. Her qualifications include Masters in Economics, B. Ed., and P.G. Diploma in Financial Management. She is also on the Board of Vidya Mandir Society, is a member of the Managing Committee of the Birla High School, Mukundapur, Governing Body of Shri Shikshayatan College, the Bengal Chamber of Commerce, Education department, Co Chairman of the Education department, CII, and is also part of Self-Regulatory Committee of Fees under West Bengal Government, member of Legal Aid Services, West Bengal, Vice President of Vidya Bharati Ex- Students’ Association – BESA and a member of Mrityu Mritynjay Society.
Bratati has been recognized and awarded as the Indian Iconic Educationist (For Best Education System & Services in West Bengal) from the Indo Socio Development Association, Inspiring Best Teacher from the University of Engineering & Management of Kolkata & Jaipur and Bharat Vidya Shiromani from the International Institute of Education & Management”. Shri Shikshshyatan School received the Telegraph “Best School Award” in 2018 and the GEIST International Foundation “Best GPS Award” in 2019.