You have heard of the virtual classroom and exams being conducted online, and now you can answer an exam with your cellphone. Technology in the classroom is being adopted by several schools and colleges. Some give their teachers a free hand in the innovative use to keep their students engaged in the chosen subject. And some educational institution managements take the step forward themselves and pave the way for technological innovation in the classroom. The Seshadripuram First Grade College in Yelahanka, Bangalore, has adopted cell phones in a big way.
Starting this academic year on an innovative note, mobile handsets were distributed among students and teachers, with instructions for use. Games and messaging options were disabled and a totally new concept was put into practice from Day 1. These handsets are to be handed in after tasks are completed. And each student is solely responsible for her/his work and attendance.
The handsets are enabled with "Interactive Platform On Mobile (IPOMO)", and hooked to a server. Multiple choice questions are given via the mobiles and students can pick one out of four options. At the end of the test /exam, the student has the option to revise and then hit SUBMIT. Once the answers are recorded on the college server, marks will be consolidated. A three hour test will have 120 questions with 4 options each. Students have the choice of using the mobile calculator to answer the Math questions.
In addition to this the students are allowed to mark their attendance via the cell phone.Attendance is usually taken within the first 15 minutes of the start of any class. Each teacher is given a password. Once he/she enters the password,the category -courses-section-subject appears with the list of students enrolled for the class.the teacher quickly takes attendance and all data is automatically stored in the server. A student that consecutively absents himself / herself for three days or more is highlighted on the server rolls, and an SMS alert is sent to the parents.
The students and teachers of this college have welcomed this move for use of cell phones in the classroom. Teachers find it useful and less time-consuming than the age-old methods of marking answer papers as well as marking attendance. They have more time to teach, and the students love text messaging, so this is an extension of that and they are comfortable with it. One plus point is that there is no scope for malpractice, since questions are jumbled up and not all students get the same Q1.For example, Q1 of Student A will be Q28 of Student B and so on, making it laborious for students to find similar Q s for copying.