“Teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who do not use technology will be replaced by those who do.” – Hari Krishna Arya, India
Sometimes, success takes us places we never thought possible. For 38-year veteran educator Hari Krishna Arya, his time spent (14 years) at a district headquarters secondary school – where he raised the program to its “utmost heights”– took him in a direction that was most unexpected. “I was transferred (or awarded for this extraordinary work?) to an interior, small, backward, rural school in 2011 with the challenge to uplift the school,” says Arya. “Really, this was a great challenge for me.”
But, as evidenced by his many awards – including recently being named a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert – Arya was not to be deterred by a challenge. Instead, Arya, his colleagues and the community worked their magic on this little school as well. “We were able to run the school nicely, and soon the ‘backward’ school became a pioneer school in most of the activities,” adds Arya.
He and the community installed a new ICT lab “with all necessary equipment and facilities,” including a high-speed broadband connection and a diesel generator. Not only did students learn with integrated technology, they collaborated with teachers and students from other countries via video conferencing – something unheard of in this small community only months prior. “Teachers started searching for educational material on the Internet and developed their own digital content,” Arya adds. “A number of villagers became ICT literate.”
And while Arya stayed at this school for only 16 months, “this duration became a golden time for my service period,” says Arya. Indeed, his work earned him both the National ICT Award and the International Innovative Teachers Leadership Award (ITLA).
Arya’s school today is technology-driven, with an ICT lab and high-speed Internet, and teachers participate regularly in online learning partnerships. And while he still faces some resistance to change, Arya has some wisdom for his peers.
“The common fear that ICT shall replace a teacher is totally unfounded,” says Arya. “The realization now seems to be slowly dawning on the teaching community that ICT is primarily to empower them and not to replace them. ICT is, therefore, not to be feared, but to be embraced so as to empower our future generations… The reality is that teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who do not use technology will be replaced by those who do.”
Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Hari Krishna Arya.
Why is education important to you?
Education is very important to all of us. It’s the education which transforms a person to live a better life and, more importantly, it offers social well-being. It educates us with all the needed attributes for leading our life in a proper way. Education does have a remarkable effect on one’s personality. Education provides us the thrust in getting ahead and doing something constructive in our near future.
Education involves the gathering of knowledge in whatever aspects. It helps a person to draw the best out of their mind and spirit. Education plays a vital role in personal growth and social development. It imparts us with all the power and necessities in making a noticeable mark in any field. All in all, it is one’s education which decides what one can make out in their life.
Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you?
I got most of my education as a private candidate, so I was given the rare opportunities of working with the best teachers. But I think, every day we have to face various circumstances of life. The real experience is when you are alone, making decisions and facing the outcomes of these decisions – at work, personal life and others. “The circumstances of life” taught me multiple lessons and also influenced who I am today. For me, “life” itself is the teacher – and life teaches us apparently infinite lessons.
Describe the most inspiring day you’ve experienced as an educator.
The day when a group of students who were considered hopeless in terms of academic achievement and behavior passed their examination. This was not a miracle, but the result of my being a role model for them in transforming their behavior and igniting in them a sense of responsibility.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
When I received the Computer Literacy Excellence Award in 2004 from the President of India for spreading computer literacy, and the National ICT Award in 2012 from the President of India for innovative use of ICT in education; when I participated in the Microsoft Global Forum 2012 (held in Prague) and when I was recently recognized as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.
How can other educators facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned?
Experience is the best argument to convince educators starting to implement new ways of teaching and learning. My suggestion: let’s create enough showcase centers where educators can meet and where they can get acquainted with new didactics, based on technology.
If you could change one thing about today’s “system” of education, what would it be?
I want to improve students’ learning process and skills and introduce the right tools in the pedagogical strategies that teachers and students use — in and out of the classroom — in order to improve students’ academic success.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
Using modern technology, teachers can change the atmosphere in the classroom. By using technology, new spaces for learning and teaching can be created where teachers and students together take part in the learning process by changing their knowledge and skills.
What is your hope for the future of education?
In my country, the Right To Education act has been implemented by the government. Now everyone here has the right to education, but that doesn’t ensure a high quality of education. My hope is that quality may become real in Indian schools and that the professionals working with education become more recognized.
Hari Krishna Arya
Principal, NBV Senior Secondary School
Nohar Hanumangarh (Rajasthan), India
- Awards: National ICT Awardee, Mentor NROER, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Author, Expert Educator Columnist.
- Birthplace: Village – Kirara Bara, Dist. – Hanumangarh, State – Rajasthan
- Education: M.Sc. (Zoology), M.Ed.
- Website I check every day: Microsoft Educator Network, Facebook, Twitter, Daily Edventures
- Person who inspires me most: Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who is a global eminent scientist, visionary head, inspiration machine and former President of India, well known for leading a simple and ordinary life.
- Favorite childhood memory: Spending much time in science experiments and making innovative models of science. This was the most amusing, exciting and thrilling task for me in childhood.
- Next travel destination (work or pleasure): The United States
- Favorite book: Wings of Fire – This is the autobiography of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who came from a far-off rural area with a fire in him to do something. The contents of the book energize high spirit among the youth.