“Keep the little kid inside you alive and step forward with confidence.” – India
Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Teachers Leadership Award winner (2010) Anil Sonune has more than earned the label “innovative.” Sonune represented India at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in Cape Town, South Africa and has won numerous awards and contests for his work. His website was the first educational website recognized by the government of Maharashtra and his school was the first government school in Maharashtra with an interactive whiteboard, thanks to Sonune’s work to construct a low-cost, portable solution. Here, Sonune tells us why he’s driven to innovate and why teaching practices must change.
Why is education important to you?
Education can develop your personality, change society, and is a great power which can change the fate of a nation. Thinking globally, education will make today’s students tomorrow’s responsible citizens of a peaceful and green world.
Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you?
Mr. Patil who taught me science at the primary level was the man who made a great impact on my mind. He taught me to think rationally and made me curious about the things happening around me. He taught me to think scientifically. Because of him, I was attracted to science and technology.
Describe the most inspiring day you’ve experienced as an educator.
The most inspiring day for me was to meet the best teachers from around the world at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010. I learned from their innovative practices and applied the same in my classroom.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I have built a total interactive multimedia PC for the classroom.
It is a portable kit which can be transported easily. This includes a Kinect sensor and Wii remote for adding interactivity to a traditional projector. It is a one-stop solution for all the interactive learning needs. A teacher just has to plug it in and play the content to make his classroom lively and interesting.
If you could change one thing about today’s “system” of education, what would it be?
I would replace traditional textbooks with tablets. It may be costly, but after all it is a one-time investment as afterwards we will have to update only content for the students as they progress to the next class. And it will be interesting for students to learn with multimedia, with a personal network device. Educators can also have a look at students’ work from their own computers without having to see each student, and can also keep track of students’ records with the help of a learning management system.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
The best opportunity for innovation in education is to change teaching practices. In the traditional chalk and talk method, there is poor communication between learners and educators. Thus these traditional practices have to be replaced with the help of ICT tools. The best thing in teaching is to give the live experience to learners, but it is not possible all the time. Learning environments should change now as there is a great scope for using ICT in classroom teaching.
What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?
Every problem has a solution, so the more problems there are, the more options there are available. So never give up, and think differently. Don’t listen to what others say to you; believe in yourself and work. Keep the little kid inside you alive and step forward with confidence.
What is your greatest hope for the future of education?
In the near future, India will be superpower in the world. IT will surely play a key role in its development. In education, not just reading and writing will be the basic skills needed, but digital literacy will also be a basic skill in the near future.
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About Anil Sonune, Teacher
Birthplace: Maharashtra, India
Current residence: Maharashtra, India
Education: Higher Secondary, Diploma in Education
Websites I check every day:
Person who inspires me most: Mr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Favorite book: Teacher by Sylvia Aston Warren