While technology has become entwined with the urban lifestyle, it is unfortunate that there are still millions of adolescents in rural India who have not seen a computer.
Integrative approach to technology in education (ITE) is a project that aims at improving teaching and learning processes using information technology in school curriculum, providing students an opportunity to create their own learning artifacts. The project, being implemented in government schools and madrasas across seven northern and north-eastern states in India, helps students have a better comprehension of their lessons.
Samsul Huda, a math teacher at Kaliadinga High School in Juria of Nagaon district, mentions how students of class IX measured the height of their school building using different distances and angles. Students entered their measurements in an Excel sheet and calculated the height using formulas. This method helped me teach trigonometry better, with a lesson plan on activities using technology, he told VillageSquare.
Students could grasp better as they were able to connect theories to real-life situations; otherwise they would have just memorised the trigonometry formulas without understanding how they work.
Technology in education
Activity-based learning has been in use for many years, but adapting it to rural settings and integrating it with technology is still in its infancy. Many believe that teaching technology to children in an underprivileged environment will improve the skilled workforce in future. According to a two-year study conducted by the World Bank, merely putting computers in schools and training teachers to use them will not improve the learning level of students.
A successful integration of technology in classrooms embeds technology within the teachers’ lesson plans. Students use technology to gather information, organise learning, and present it through computer applications.
In Assam, 450 government schools and madrasas are working towards embedding technology into curriculum with ITE, through which adolescents interact, explore, and authenticate learning through technology. This initiative requires teachers also to go beyond the traditional role of giving information and act as facilitators for students to create authentic learning artifacts using technology.
Transition of teachers
Contemporary teaching methods test the students’ memory rather than their knowledge or comprehension.
According to Huda, making lesson plans and facilitating project-based learning were new, but interesting. I didn’t own a smartphone before joining the ITE project. Now I’m active on various teacher groups and platforms where I share my lesson plans and pedagogical methods,” Huda told VillageSquare.
The ITE project has motivated Asif Siddiki, a science teacher at HS Bani Bidyapeeth in Kamrup, to complete ICT in education for in-service teachers, a certificate course from Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Taking ITE beyond classrooms
The successful implementation of ITE in some of their classes has helped teachers bring more activity and project-based learning using technology.