Integration of Technology in Education

The Integrated approach to Technology in Education (ITE) was first piloted in May 2012 at TATA Trusts’ supported projects and introduced in Vikramshila in 2013 in our supplementary leading centers in Kolkata and the private madrasas, we work at Hooghly.

According to the Trust Manual on ITE, “Technology when it fits comfortably with the curriculum or instructional plans of teaching is an indicative of integrated technology. Thus, technology rather than an additional layer in the classroom is embedded within the design of the teacher’s lesson plan and the pedagogy. In this approach, the teacher designs learning activities and students use technology to construct their own learning. For example, the students use technology for seeking information, construct and organise their learning and represent it through computer applications. The teacher plays a role of a facilitator and student as a constructionist of his or her own learning. Such an approach considers technology as a tool rather than an end itself, defines the teachers’ role as a facilitator and designer of the learning environment, emphasises the student’s use of technology, and authentic assessments and activities using technology in the classroom (Grabe and Grabe cited in Charania, 2011).”

Having implemented ITE for about three years now, both at our learning centres and madrasas, we feel that we have been able to attain to some degree, the objectives of the ITE -

a) To bridge the digital divide and foster digital citizenship

b) To create learning interest attendance and retention

c) To improve learning achievements

d) To improve the learning processes and pedagogy

ITE Insights from Naba Disha

The ITE initiative at Naba Disha aims to empower students like Imran coming from weaker socioeconomic backgrounds by allowing them to explore this powerful medium to enhance their learning and evolve as “creators” of content that leads them to develop interesting projects. The children engage in movie making projects, inter-group sharing and skype-sharing among the centres. The ITE intervention through Naba Disha centres reached out to more than 300 students. Three years into implementation of the project, the Tata Trust conducted an impact study where they sent an expert team of two professors from Trinity University, where they not only observed the ITE process but also assessed the students’ ability to use the ITE skills for problem solving. They gave a very positive feedback of our Naba Disha centres. CNBC had telecasted the ITE program of Naba Disha on television

One of the major highlights was the ITE Mela organized by Suchana, a partner organization in Bolpur where four students of Naba Disha presented their projects on thermo flask model and local history using the movie maker. It was a great exposure and they were highly motivated.

We also work with 21 upper primary and high schools that have computer labs rooms, and reached out to 1090 students so far. An orientation on ITE for the upper primary school teachers was organized where we presented an overall concept of ITE, our experiences in Naba Disha & govt. schools. The teachers are very enthusiastic and have a very positive response towards the work we are doing in their schools. They actively participate in making lesson plans integrating technology to it for students to make projects. Overall the program successfully created a good platform for advocacy. The teachers of the respective schools shared their positive feedback of Naba Disha’s intervention at the cluster and circle levels.6

 

ITE Insights from Madrasas

As an interesting development, the programme integrated the concept of Dinni and Duniyavi Talim (IDD) into the ITE lesson plans. The IDD lessons, which, so far worked with charts, booklets and models, now got a new lease of life by using the ITE applications, and a number of innovative lesson plans were developed and executed with great enthusiasm among the teachers and students. For instance, the Zakat (one of the five pillars of Islam) was linked to the teaching and understanding of the concept of percentage with spreadsheets and multimedia projects being created. The ITE classes created a lot of enthusiasm among the teachers and children with attendance shooting up on the days of ITE classes, as reported by the teachers. Some headmasters were very positive and regularly called up to confirm the schedule of classes. Students eagerly waited for our team members to take their ITE classes and urge their HMs to call up at our office to confirm “Aajke Imran Bhai asche toh?” (We hope Imran Bhai is coming to take class today?) The challenges of frequent power cuts, poor internet connectivity and old computers at the school lab notwithstanding, we got a very enthusiastic response from the students, who upped the attendance whenever there was an ITE class. This led us to carry our own office laptops to be able to maintain a ratio of 1:7 per computer. An analysis of the attendance trends is planned the coming year. This motivated several madrasa teachers to try their hands on the ITE applications as well!  

“Imran had lost interest in studies and wasn’t very attentive either. He dropped out from the Bowbazar centre which further deteriorated his performance in school. However, he came to know from his friends about the ITE program. We too called him and told him about the project and asked him to come for classes and continue only if he finds it interesting. We are pleased to say that Imran started his work in the ITE initiative with keen interest and started exploring the possibilities in detail. He soon created his first email address. He also started helping his juniors and other students in ITE. There was a significant improvement in his performance in school and his teachers gave a positive feedback. He will now appear in Madhyamik this year. Imran works in a cyber café and helps several young boys in his community in filling up online job applications.” - Nargis, a Naba Disha Teacher