“We must be sincere in our devotion to rural primary and secondary education, as well as providing a broad understanding of the world to our schoolchildren. In order to do this, we cannot rely solely on the abilities of our teachers and will need assistance from advanced technologies,” said Mr. Xu Fangzhong, the vice schoolmaster of Yifu primary school in Huoqiu County, Luan City.
2008: The most powerful “Equipment” is a computer and digital camera
Mr. Xu Fangzhong began understanding the growing role of technology in education in 2008, when he became the only primary school teacher in Lu’an city selected to participate in the teaching application competition of Anhui province. Armed with his laptop and digital camera, he looked forward to showing his teaching abilities in the competition.
However, he saw equipment in the competition which surprised him. Teachers from other regions had smart devices which could take photos and upload them instantaneously. During a break period in the competition, Xu Fangzhong learned from his peers about new tools available for education and decided that he would seek to make technology a greater part of his teaching approach. In 2010, Xu Fangzhong transferred from the village school in Huoqiu County to a primary school in Chengguan Town via the selective examination. The primary school envisioned building a smart campus in a region still struggling with poverty. Over the next 10 years Xu Fangzhong, along with other like-minded faculty and students, worked to improve the school’s use of technology and the quality of education as part of a nationwide goal of “education informatization”.
The technology pioneer in rural education
The Yifu Primary School where Mr. Xu Fangzhong taught was established in 1995 thanks to a donation from the Hong Kong businessman, Mr. Shao Yifu. From this investment, many significant improvements happened at Yifu Primary School in which the development of information technology was indispensable. Xu Fanzhong recalled that when he first came to Yifu to teach in 2010, the only classroom equipped with information technology was a multimedia classroom capable of showing some multimedia teaching materials to students. . For the time, it was an advanced classroom, which was in high demand by the faculty and departments to use for routine training and public class demonstration. Yifu Primary School has always placed an emphasis on advanced technologies in education, striving to become an informatization pioneer in rural primary schools. The school holds a strong belief in being earnest and sincere in their devotion to education, as well as being open to new technologies to bring students learning and growth. However, change and development cannot be realized overnight: from one multimedia classroom to campus-wide technology, from the IT courses to the robot programming course, from the smart classroom to the smart campus, Yifu Primary School has been taking solid and powerful steps towards becoming a leader in the use of advanced information technologies.
Bring the world to students through education
In 2020, with the construction of the Lu’an smart campus, Yifu Primary School began to introduce products for the creation of smart classrooms . Xu Fangzhong was ecstatic upon receiving the equipment, and recalled his disbelief that his school would have the same access to technologies as schools in Beijing.
However, in order to make the most of the smart equipment, teachers must learn and understand how to utilize the technology. While the faculty are eager to use more advanced teaching equipment, they lack the training that would enable them to teach efficiently with the new technology. To overcome this problem, the school provides teachers with a two-way support system that comes from both technical and teaching guidance. For technical support, the schools designate a focal person to coordinate operations who is responsible for equipment commissioning, debugging, and trouble shooting to ensure that technical problems can be solved and responded to in time. For the teaching aspect, the school has carried out four rounds of multi-level training to show teachers how to best utilize the smart classroom, modernize their methods, and improve their professionalism.
The school organizes teacher training
The smart campus of Yifu Primary School has begun to take shape. The school has already established 20 more smart classroom classes for the third to sixth grades, greatly enhancing the efficiency of the classroom and creating a more productive learning environment.
Technology is a Visible Teaching Advantage
“When the smart class first entered the campus, colleagues around me were very excited. After some training, we gradually mastered the application model of the Smart Class.” Mathematics teacher Chen Chuanhong said of her first interaction with the Smart Class. She further noted the convenience that smart classrooms brought to all aspects of teaching.
“The biggest change is now I can understand the students’ learning effect through the feedback of the data.” Now, Chen Chuanhong is accustomed to using tablets to send students preview tasks and exercises before class. The system will display the students’ completion status, so that faculty have a clear idea how students are interacting with their learning materials and where they may need extra support.
Interactive practice in the classroom also makes Mrs. Chen’s class more efficient. Practice on the tablet can start at any time. The overall response results of the class and the responses of a certain student are displayed clearly on the tablet. Teachers can adjust their teaching rhythm in a targeted manner and arrange their follow up lessons, making the entire teaching process more accurate and efficient.
Xu Fangzhong, who is also a teacher, also feels deeply about the possibilities of the new education technology, “Smart classrooms can display some unimaginable things intuitively and vividly.”
Schoolchildren are happiest when engaged
“The students have a more positive attitude and they like new things and interesting classes. This is the reason why we stick to it.” Schoolmaster Xu said. In the primary education stage, the cultivation of students’ interest in learning is particularly important. Chen Chuanhong often uses the game functions of the smart classroom to faciliate interest by encouraging fun in the classroom. “The classroom atmosphere has become active, the students’ enthusiasm for learning has been promoted and the class concentration has also been improved. The new teaching method makes students look forward to going to class very much. ”
The average class size at the Yifu Primary School is 60 students. In large classes, it is difficult to ensure that every student gets the attention they need. “Now, all the students have a tablet in their hands. No matter where they sit, they can interact with the teacher on the tablet in their hands. “The starting point and ultimate goal of the school is to improve the quality of education and teaching, and we believe that the construction of smart schools can improve the quality of education and teaching, and we will continue to explore.” Xu Fangzhong said.