24 April 2012
I would like to continue the topic of Priya Sawhney’s blog post on education and tell about the “schools of the future” which Geocell in Georgia is equipping together with the Ministry of Education.
About a year ago, Geocell launched a futuristic TV commercial: children in an imaginative modern classroom of 2021 are answering the teacher’s questions about Geocell’s success in attracting new subscribers after the start of mobile number portability “back” in 2011.
A few months after the commercial was on air, Geocell was approached by the Georgian Ministry of Education. They were working on the presidential program of blending high-tech into the school education and offered Geocell to participate in equipping experimental classrooms.
It took only a few more months to make imagination a reality. The first pilot class opened together with the new school year in September 2011 in the capital city of Tbilisi. The second one followed in November in the town of Kvareli in Kakheti region. A third one will open soon. The project targets especially schools in Georgia’s regions, outside the big cities, where access to modern technologies is limited.
The classrooms have most of the features shown in the TV commercial. Touchscreens on pupils’ desks are connected to the Internet, the teacher’s screen and the “blackboard”. The teacher can control from his/her screen what every pupil in the class is doing and send comments/suggestions in the work process. At the same time, children can answer a question from their own desk, projecting the illustration to the board and their classmates’ screens, thus avoiding the stress of standing at the board in front of the whole class.
The classrooms are so far used for lessons in biology, chemistry, georgaphy, geometry and languages. A modern audio-system and increased visualisation of the teaching material make its presentation more understandable and efficient. Virtual laboratories and tools like microscopes, compasses or rulers can be used via the touchscreens. Electronic copies of the lessons can be saved for later usage on any screen.
The President of Georgia personally attended the opening ceremony of the first two classrooms, advocating the importance attached by the Georgian government to the development of education. The President’s ambition is that all schools in Georgia are equipped with “classrooms of the future” by the end of 2015 (and that means about 2,200 schools). “We are not the richest country in the world, but we will have the best classrooms”, that’s what he reportedly said. I personally think it’s great that our company can be a part of this vision.
P.S. Other sponsors will join this project which will be continued according to Geocell's design.