GONE are the days when students sit down with textbooks, quietly in rows, while the teacher stands strategically in front of the classroom and imparts knowledge.
At SMK USJ 13, Selangor, students gather in a spot just outside the library called the Digital Den. They animatedly discuss a topic while referring to a digital display on a wall. The teacher acts as a facilitator for the students.
Formerly an open space, the Digital Den has been transformed into an outdoor class by adopting the Arvia Interactive Wall by Israk Solution. The digital tool can turn any flat surface including a concrete wall into an interactive whiteboard for learning and presentation.
History teacher Fatin Izzati Mustapa said students need to be engaged with learning to absorb lessons in a meaningful way, otherwise they can be distracted from teacher’s instruction.
“The Digital Den has brought a difference to the way teachers conduct lessons in class. It enables teachers to produce their own content including notes, slides, videos and practice questions.
“I like to prepare my teaching materials using videos because students tend to get sleepy in history class.
“During my class, I usually separate the students into groups to discuss a topic. This was a challenge in the classroom where we had to rearrange the seating. It was also time consuming. The outdoor class has made it easy and gives more freedom of movement for students to form study groups,” said Fatin Izzati whose students are at the Digital Den two to four times a week.
Form Two student Harleen Dev Kaur said that learning using the interactive wall helps her to overcome short attention span.
“I get distracted easily in class. However, colours, animation and music help a lot in improving my concentration. Some subjects like science and geography require a more visual approach.
For example, with the use of the interactive wall in science class, I can get a clear 3D image of the human heart. And we can zoom in too.
“Technology and gadgets make learning more fun. I am thrilled every time the class takes place at the Digital Den as I will learn something new and exciting.”
Classes at the Digital Den spark Zakwan Aqil Faisal’s creativity.
“I really like classes held in the outdoors. Learning outside the four walls of a classroom gives me freedom to think and learn in a new way,” said Zakwan, 14.
“The Arvia Interactive Wall offers more content on the subjects. In an interactive exercise at geography class, I can identify countries on the world map.”
After calibration, a computer screen is projected on the interactive wall. Teachers and students manipulate the elements projected on the wall by using their fingers as a mouse. Items can be dragged, clicked and copied which later can be transformed into text and saved.
Basic computer science (asas sains komputer) teacher Mohammed Syahrir Talib said that with the use of the interactive wall, students have developed a more positive learning attitude.
“Lessons at the Digital Den create a two way communication as students speak up and share their thoughts. This encourages them to think outside the box and be more creative.
“Some subjects are quite difficult for students due to their abstract nature. However, I am confident this new technology in our school can aid the teaching and learning process.
“The technology makes a lot of difference especially in time management when conducting a class. With the interactive wall, students can make the most of their time to learn a topic and answer questions.
”Mohammed Syahrir, who is also coach for the school football team, added that he often uses the interactive wall to show students videos of football games.
“Playing football is all about visualisation thus, by watching videos relating to the sport, they can learn and analyse the tricks of the game.”
Fatin Izzati added that the traditional chalk-and-talk method of teaching is fast becoming obsolete in the 21st century.
“Classrooms today should be student and not teacher-centred. Students learn by doing while teachers assist them.
“The technology is a powerful tool in the classroom. Used innovatively, it creates endless learning opportunities.”