9 a infusing dynamism in te-nsr


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9 a infusing dynamism in te-nsr

  1. 1. Infusing Dynamism in Teacher Education through ICT Integration:Facilitating the Advancement of University Curricula and Research throughTechnology IntegrationNeelam Sanjeeva Reddy College of EducationSoubhagya Laxmi and Venkanna SaralaThe InstitutionThe Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy (N S R) College of Education is a reputed college under the VivekVardhini Education Society which was established in 1907. The esteemed President of India, Dr AbdulKalam recently graced the centenary celebrations of the society. The College of Education is theyoungest of the institutions under the ambit of the Vivek Vardhini Education Society. It was establishedin the academic year 1972-73 with the magnanimous donations made by the 51st Birthday CelebrationsCommittee of the beloved former President of India and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, lateNeelam Sanjeeva Reddy, and under the guidance of the founder-principal Sri S N Vyapari. The presentannual intake is 115 students. Most of the students come from rural areas and poor socio-economicbackground.The infrastructure of the college has five teaching halls, a big library with one hall and two readingrooms for reference section, six laboratories —Bio-Science, Physical Science, Mathematics,Psychology, Language, and Computer—Staff room, Office room, and Principal’s Chamber.The Principal, along with nine lecturers and a librarian, is supported by twelve members of non teachingstaff organize the academic activities. The management is very supportive and provides encouragementfor professional development of faculty as a result many of the faculty pursued higher education afterjoining the institution. At present, six faculty members have Ph.D. degrees and two faculty members arepursuing their Ph.D. work.Objectives of the PracticeThe objectives of the practice are to inspire the students and teachers:l To learn and effectively integrate technology in Teaching Learning Activitiesl To acquaint with necessary skills of handling Microsoft Office Packages for the purpose of Education in the institutionl To inspire the student teachers to think and reason at high levell To encourage and empower them with skills to harness technologyl To facilitate the advancement of university curricula and research in strategic areas through technology integration29 Infusing Dynamism in Teacher Education through ICT Integration
  2. 2. Infusing Dynamism in Teacher Education through ICT IntegrationNeed Addressed and the ContextMany of the student teachers admitted are from rural areas and they do not have any priorknowledge, skills or exposure to computers. It has been a challenge to make them come out of theirmisconceptions about computers and their use in teaching-learning and make them familiar withcomputer operations. The college has therefore initiated steps aiming at “equipping the teacher traineeswith the latest techniques and technology that can be integrated with the teaching and learningprocess with special reference to Information and Communication Technology (ICT)”.Osmania University, to which the college is affiliated has prescribed ICT as a compulsory componentof the common core curriculum for B. Ed. The compulsory component has been of great help inachieving computer literacy and also in providing computer skills to the student teachers. In this context,the college has taken the initiative and put all possible efforts to make each of the teacher traineecomputer savvy and equip them with at-least a minimum working knowledge of MS Office speciallywith reference to MS PowerPoint and MS Word. However, to achieve this making available the requiredLab resources and trained personnel has been a major challenge. Though this could be overcome tosome extent by persistent negotiation with the management, it still remains a major hurdle.Implementation of the PracticeThe very first day the students report to the college, there is an introduction and induction session,where the skills and abilities of the students are identified. Based on the pre-knowledge and skill levels,the students are divided into six mentor groups consisting of 16 - 20 students in each group. As theentire faculty is computer savvy and trained under Intel Teach Program, each one of them is assignedto a group to act as a mentor. A time table is prepared allotting one and half hours hands-on-experienceper week for each group of students. Every day, one batch goes to the computer lab from 3.45 p.m. to5.15 p.m. along with the mentor.Depending on the skill levels the students are paired for the practice and project work under theguidance of the mentor. The college inducts the students slowly and gradually. Initially, they are justexposed to the use of computers through peer observation then to computer basic operations andfinally on how to use internet, email, Encarta, encyclopedia etc. Once comfortable with using computersthey are merged with the group they are assigned.The hands-on session however is proceeded by theory sessions in the regular B. Ed. time table whichencompasses the Intel-Teach Pre-Service curriculum. Students are trained in fundamental operationalskills such as starting the system, creating the files, folders, saving and editing through word processors,spread sheets, database, multimedia, Internet surfing, E-mail, etc. They are encouraged to prepare asmany presentations as possible. One presentation in each methodology subject covering high schoolcurriculum, is a core component of their computer education besides the other computer applications 30
  3. 3. Infusing Dynamism in Teacher Education through ICT Integration:such as. word processors, spread sheets and database. In preparing for teaching VIII, IX and X classsubjects, they are encouraged to explore and use technology for information retrieval, to preparevarious projects, and to develop multimedia presentations on various topics.There is an intensive project period for 11 days from 8.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m which is exclusively meant forComputer Education project. During these 11 days the mentors are expected to be with their respectivegroups all through the day and guide them in planning, working on computers , evaluating the projectwork and in report preparation. This also covers preparing them for the final Computer Educationpractical exam. The students are encouraged to use the Internet to gather information regarding thetopics given by the teacher educators or on the project works they do. Students use either the internetfacility available in the college or go to the cyber cafes for collecting information. They are trained tobrowse through the web for gathering information and storing it for use in project work and classroominteractions.Students are also encouraged to use multimedia presentations while doing micro-teaching and macro-teaching. Some of the students used PPTs, work sheets, brochures, invitations, news letters and word,very effectively for micro as well as macro-teaching. By using this, the students respond well,communication is improved and overall there is improved response and learning. The high schoolstudents expressed satisfaction saying that they understood the concepts better when PPTs are used.Prior discussions and peer reviews on organising information in slides, evaluation tools, unit plantemplates, newsletters, brochures etc., has helped the student teachers to use them more confidentlyin their classrooms.Resources RequiredAt present, the college has passed through the stages of hiring computers, sharing the lab facilities ofsister concern institutes to establishing its own lab. Both the management and the faculty contributionshelped in equipping the computer lab. The lab has 13 computers each with a UPS for 30 minutes backup. It is also equipped with a scanner, two printers, web camera, etc. The systems are networked withLAN and also have an Internet connection. Educational CDs available include the Encarta encyclopedia,Encyclopedia Britannica and subject CDs for various subjects given by Intel.As the LCD projector plays a key role in presentations, prowsing it is our immediate priority. The lab alsoplans to procure latest software packages to facilitate the student teachers learning in the college ofeducation and in their practice teaching schools.Challenges Faced and Solutions DevisedInitially, lack of motivation among student teachers, the teacher-educators and the management wasthe major challenge. As the students come from rural, poor socio economic background and do nothave enough exposure and awareness of computer education, additional effort and time was requiredfor bringing them up to the desired levels. 31 Infusing Dynamism in Teacher Education through ICT Integration
  4. 4. Infusing Dynamism in Teacher Education through ICT IntegrationThe limitation of infrastructure (Computer lab) and trained teacher educators was a challenge. Initiallythe college had only one computer with which it was not possible to give hands on experience, exceptdemonstrations. Hence, ten computers for the 2000-2001 batch were hired to give hands on experiencefor the students. Later on, for 2001-02 and 2002-03, the computer lab of the afternoon college of thesister concern institution was used. Finally, the college could establish a computer lab of its own withthe help of faculty contributions, UGC grants and the development fund of the college. At present thereare 13 computers with Internet, UPS and other facilities.Having acquired the infrastructure and other resources, the next challenge to overcome was therequirement for trained personnel. Master Trainers training of the Intel® Teach program at the Instituteof Advanced Study in Education (IASE), Osmania University was attended by two of the faculty members,who in turn trained other faculty members. As a result of this training, all faculty members are nowtrained resource persons in the Intel Pre- Service curriculum and in project work.Lastly, when the student teachers were trained and had prepared PPT’s, the hurdle in putting them touse arose as there were no computers and projection devices, such as LCD projectors, in theirpractice teaching schools. In such a situation, to retain their spirit and motivation, student teacherswere encouraged to use PPT and other packages in their microteaching sessions in the college andin peer teaching.Impact/OutcomeAs a result of the efforts detailed above, today pre-service teacher educatiors are equipped withcomputer operational skills, they are preparing their own PPTs on concerned subjects, canjudiciously select computer applications and browse the Internet for information retrieval. Theyare also equipped to meet the needs of the students in making them computer literate. The college,in the process, has also gained experience in training students for computer skills and thus isguiding other colleges of education in this regard.The initiative of the course has resulted in producing trained pre-service teachers, but the use of theirskills in the field situation i.e., schools is very limited, as most of the schools are not equipped withcomputers and are not in the practice of using ICT in the teaching-learning process, a limitation whichthe college could not do away with as yet.Requirements for Adoption and AdaptationGiven this experience, it would be desirable for the teacher education institutions to provide an opportunityto all the teacher educators to be equipped with pre-service computer education curriculum. This willenhance the possibility of integrating ICT in various subjects and widen the resource base of thecollege with regard to the availability of trained personnel. This will provide the necessary expertise of 32
  5. 5. Infusing Dynamism in Teacher Education through ICT Integration:equipping 100+ student teachers with 21st century skills to be shared by the 9 -15 teacher educatorsinstead of one or two computer resource personnel.Further, technical staff with required qualifications but without exposure to teaching in schools orexperience and/or exposure to teaching education courses may not be able to appreciate andunderstand the needs of the institution and their students. They should therefore be oriented on therequirements of the institution. While recruiting such staff, preference may be given to people withsome general understanding of ICT application in education instead of just looking at the qualifications.Total integration of Information and Communication Technology i.e. in teaching all the subjects ofteacher education course and in administration and management aspects of the institution , would notonly be economical but also results in an ICT culture which on its own brings in a change in the attitudeof one and all participating in the institutional process. That means this should become a regularpractice, visible in every aspect of institutional functioning. › › › › › › 33 Infusing Dynamism in Teacher Education through ICT Integration