What is an ICT Lab? – Then & Now

what is an ICT lab

What is an ICT Lab?

ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology and was first introduced in India in 2004. The education department then revised the ICT policy in 2010 giving secondary students an opportunity to learn better using computer aided learning. The Ministry of Education had recently once again revised the policy, about which we will talk a little later in the blog. 

The Beginning:

As educators, our foremost responsibility is to ensure that our students learn well, acquire growth skills and achieve something meaningful in their lives. And therefore, it is the constant effort of the people in the education ecosystem to think of ways in which our students can learn better. 

About 2 decades back in India, technology was introduced into the classrooms with the hope that visuals, sound effects and animations would build a genuine interest in students and therefore they would learn better, retain information longer and do well in their exams. 

That was the genesis of ICT Labs in our Indian schools (both government and private). 

The early forms of ICT Labs in schools:

For almost close to 2 decades, the way ICT Labs have been set up in schools has mostly been the same. Here is a list of equipments that are typically used:

  1. A desktop monitor with a processor, keyboard and mouse (in many cases desktop monitor is not used)
  2. Projector
  3. A display screen
  4. Sound system
  5. And a lot of wires to connect all the equipments together

This is how a typical ICT Lab or the Smart Class setup looks like:

smart class

ICT Lab in Schools NOW:

ICT Lab in Schools

We had mentioned above that the Ministry of Education had recently revised the policy. The revision was done because it has been found over the years that the typical smart class with so much paraphernalia has not really enabled students to learn any better. The learning gaps which existed then, still continue to exist. For teachers, especially our government school teachers, this kind of setup is not aligned with their natural psychology. And since regular usage of these labs is a huge challenge. Since they aren’t used everyday, their maintenance costs just keep going up every year. 

And hence in March of 2019, a provision was made to introduce tablets, laptops and notebooks along with a charging rack under the ICT Lab. The schools could now look at more easy to use, more naturally aligned ways of setting up the ICT Labs for their teachers and students. 

The major shift was to explore the thought of student centric technology for better learning. 

Here’s a snapshot of the policy document for reference:

education policy

At iDream Education, since our inception we have been working to research and finetune the design of ICT Labs in schools. The purpose is to :

  1. Make the hardware setup, usage & maintenance very easy
  2. To build a proactive interest in students to learn and  provide them a personalised platform to enable them to cover up previous learning gaps
  3. To empower the teachers with tools which naturally align with their psychology and which make their work much easier

TABLAB is one way of setting up a Tablet based Smart ICT Lab consisting of a certain number of tablets, a storage and a charging rack, all digital content preloaded and available offline and a reporting dashboard to track usage. 

Here’s how it looks like:

ICT lab in school

Another innovative way to set up an ICT Lab in a school is PC Free Smart Class. This is a single equipment smart class consisting of a Smart TV or an interactive flat panel and digital content preloaded on a pen drive which is plugged into the hardware. 

That’s it, no other equipment or complex wiring is needed. 

PC free smart class

To know more about the benefits of ICT Labs for schools, teachers & students and the challenges faced in its implementation and how the government is overcoming these challenges, please do read our more detailed blog on this link

If you would like to know more about TabLab and PC Free Smart Class, please do visit our website https://www.idreameducation.org/ or simply write in the comments sections, your questions and we will happily get back to you. 

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