Established in 1932 by Shri. M. V. Venkateshwaran, the South Indian Education Society (SIES) prides itself on its rich heritage. Based in Mumbai, SIES is one of the oldest educational societies in India and is known for its rich tradition of imparting education while inculcating the essenceof culture in its pupils.
The society, since then has successfully expanded its reach by establishing various institutions that have striven to achieve academic excellence. In the journey to achieve individual milestones and collective growth, SIES started with six ardent learners and today the SIES family has evolved with various educational institutions and is blessed with over 18,000 students under its wing.
The society has established a High school, an array of arts, science and commerce colleges, along with academic and professional institutions of higher learning.
The SIES High School, Matunga is a coeducational English medium school, known for its high academic standard, discipline and efficient management. The present strength of the SIES High School is 4400, with 600 students in Kindergarten,1300 students in Primary Classes and 2500 students in High School.
In accordance with its philosophy of imparting a “holistic education” to its students— as the principal of the school, Mrs Kalyani Arumugam puts it—the SIES High School was looking for ways to make the classroom teaching more effective. “You know some students learn better visually; some learn better the audio way,” she says. “An effective method should be able to address the needs of all students and carry them along,” she says.
Today, technology is available to make that happen. Further, the world is changing. It is becoming more technology-driven. Almost everything is being delivered through technology. The school wanted to make the students comfortable with this new world, while making the education delivery more interesting, impactful and involved. “You know the CHSE and ICSE schools have students who may be using computers at home. As a state board school, we cater to economic strata where all students may not have access to that easily,” says Mrs Kalyani.
This prompted the school to look for a solution that goes beyond technology as an isolated experimentative plaything and make it part of the academic life of the students in a very involved manner. But the school was also very clear about one thing—getting the maximum value out of that technology investment. “Any vendor will provide us the building blocks; it is how we apply that to get the best out of it that matters,” says Mrs Kalyani.
To be able to do that, the solution should be robust, standardised and scalable. What’s more, it was looking at getting more than just the immediate requirement—a better experience for the students and teachers and more effective methods of classroom teaching delivery.
RICOH’s ClassTech™ perfectly fitted the customer requirement. It is a technology approach that takes a collaborative approach towards enabling an interactive learning environment for the students while allowing the school administration to easily manage the complete IT infrastructure.And its collaboration with HCL Learning that provides digital content makes the solution a complete end-to-end solution.
During the month of March 2015, SIES High School identified 47 classrooms for installation of ClassTech™. By June 2015, the solution was installed. The components of the solution are as follows.
- Each of the 47 classrooms has been equipped with an Interactive Whiteboard, Multimedia Projector, CPU and Speakers. These classrooms are further connected to a centralised School Content Server located within the school premises.
- The ClassTech™ interactive white board and the multimedia projector includes host of features to ensure absolute clarity in content projection and to further aid the teacher through various tools in enabling an interactive environment in the classroom.
- The ClassTech™ digital content comprises of multiple learning nuggets which have been developed by academic experts and developers from HCL Learning. These learning nuggets are classified according to the respective grades such that they are easy to use for the teachers.
- In order to ensure continued functioning of the installed IT infrastructure, the ClassTech™ includes a hardware maintenance workshop by Ricoh technical experts. Additionally, as part of the ClassTech™ solution, periodic IT literacy trainings are conducted for the school faculty to ensure effective usage of the solution.
“A complete solution along with a content, a content server that allows backend collaboration and support are extremely important,” says Mrs Kalyani. Also, for her do-most-with-whateveryou-invest-on philosophy is key. The standardised and scalable Ricoh solution scored on that front, according to her.
Initially, the teachers were a little apprehensive. But post implementation and its regularisation since September 2015, the school has observed not just more student involvement, but the teachers also love it. Apart from the stated objective of more effective teaching delivery, the solution has helped in one more great way. It has made the teachers far more productive. Earlier, teachers used to prepare on their own. “So, if there are five sections, and five teachers teaching one subject in those five sections, each of them had to prepare on their own. There was a lot of duplication of effort,” says Mrs Kalyani.
“Now, they do not do that. While one teacher does a thorough research on one chapter, another focuses on another chapter. And then, they share with each other using the central content server. It has made them collaborative and the quality of extra information really good,” says Mrs Kalyani.
She sounds extremely excited when describing this. Like a true academician she points out the quality of information and better knowledge sharing, but what it also means is that there’s a very clear improvement in teacher productivity. “My message to those schools undertaking such a journey is simple: get platforms that are flexible and then get the most out of them. Think how you can use these solutions to do a bit extra than what you bought them for,” she says.
- The school administration has witnessed gradual improvement in the academic performance of the students in the ClassTech™ enabled classrooms of the school in comparison to the other classrooms.
- As a proud beneficiary of the ClassTech™ solution SIES High Schoolgains access to unparalleled quality of products which are reliable and easy to use in the classroom.
- The installation of technologies such as Interactive whiteboard and Multimedia projector enable the students to interact actively during the course of teaching-learning in the classroom.
- The teachers are able to evaluate the students more effectively with the help of the various assessment tools inbuilt to the digital content.
- Collaboration among teachers have gone up leading to better quality content and increase in their productivity.