Technology integrated learning - Course for B.Ed student teachers and teacher educators

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Introduction

Through the course of history, there have been discoveries and inventions that have changed social processes and structures greatly. The agricultural revolution and industrial revolution created the agrarian and industrial societies respectively. We are now in another such age, brought on by Information Communication Technologies (ICT).

Historically, human beings have used different ways of organizing and presenting information, and for communication. Language, script, print, mass media such as radio and television have been important information and communication technologies (ICT). Whenever a new ICT is introduced, we see significant changes not only to education and knowledge processes, but also to larger socio-cultural, political and economic structures and processes.. What makes the current ICT different is their digital nature. With information creation, access, processing and sharing becoming quicker and simpler, society is now being shaped these processes, so much so that, the term Information Society (a term used by the sociologist Manuel Castells to describe our current society) is used to describe society today. Participating in this society requires the development of new skills as well as an understanding of how these processes are affecting society.

Development of digital literacy skills is required for all, to navigate this ‘information society’. It is the responsibility of the education system to respond to this by helping students develop an understanding of ICT, its impact on society and the possibilities for learning through ICT. The education system also has to support the building of skills in students that will make them capable of functioning in, and be responsive to a society shaped by ICT. Teachers, student teachers and teacher educators need to be able to use ICTs for their professional development, through self learning, peer learning, in digital resources creation and in teaching-learning. They must develop a critical understanding of the larger positive and negative implications of the design and adoption of ICTs in society.

Recent curricular (NCFTE, National ICT Curriculum) and policy (ICT Policy in School Education) documents on education in India have recognized the importance of integrating ICT in school education. The National ICT curriculum, formulated by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), is a response to this emergent need and has has been based on the aspirations and guidelines set in the National ICT Policy.

Overview of the NCERT ICT Curriculum

The curriculum focuses on building the skills of computing, creating and collaborating through safe, ethical, legal means of using ICT. Ability to handle an ICT environment, creating original content, sharing and learning and focusing on educational and learning processes rather than on specific applications are the key principles of this curriculum. The curriculum has been designed keeping in mind the various possibilities of creative expression possible through ICT applications and platforms available today and also seeks to build a mindset that will explore and such applications on an ongoing basis.

The curriculum has been envisaged to be delivered as a two year course, using a combination of physical workshops and blended learning modules.

The themes of The National ICT curriculum

1. Connecting with the world: Technology is providing new ways for us to access information and learn. Along with this, evaluating information and using it appropriately become skills to be developed. This theme will focus on accessing the internet, evaluating resources available and creating meaningful personal digital libraries for self learning.

2. Connecting with each other: A related dimension of connecting through ICT is in possibilities for learning in communities from each other. The focus of this theme will be on how to interact and learn in peer learning settings and through online, virtual forums. Collaborating an learning is a key learning expectation from this curriculum.

3. Interacting with ICT: Building skills and aptitudes in a technology environment is an important expectation of this curriculum. The theme will focus on building a more proactive approach to engaging with technology, evaluating appropriate technology choices, maintaining ICT infrastructure and becoming critical users of technology, being aware of the social and economic implications of technology.

4. Creating with ICT: This is a theme that focuses on building computing and creating skills in students and teachers using various ICT applications. These include data analysis and processing, creating graphics, creating audio visual communications, working with mapping applications, creating resources with specific school subject related applications and programming.

5. Possibilities in education: ICTs have changed how we learn, the processes of learning and even places for learning. Numerous applications have also been developed for subject learning. Along with this, it has become necessary to develop a critical perspective on technology in education, an understanding of how technology will alter learning processes, making appropriate choices of technology, media and content and evaluation of technology for various learning processes.

6. Bridging digital divides: Technology holds a lot of promise for development. Technology can also lead to exclusions and marginalizations. Understanding the social, economic and political impacts of technology as well as an understanding the various possibilities of platforms can help in making sure technology can be used for equitable opportunities. Another area of focus in the curriculum is in the use of technology for exploring inclusive education possibilities

Course overview

This ICT course has been designed based on the National ICT curriculum for teachers and will be transacted in a blended mode, combining physical workshops and online learning processes. The course will be delivered in conjunction with the regular coursework of the B.Ed program drawing linkages wherever possible to the other courses being delivered. ICT have implications for learning paths, learning spaces and learning material; what we learn, how we learn and where we learn are all changing.

The units of this course have been designed and developed with the objective of demonstrating these possibilities. By integrating peer learning and collaboration through online methods as an integral part of the transaction, the course will demonstrate the possibilities of changing paths and spaces for learning. ICT are not mere tools to represent content; rather they can provide powerful methods of re-imagining content and changing pedagogy. The course will demonstrate these ideas through focusing on resource creation, evaluation and integration in teaching learning. The course will also introduce students to larger trends in ICT in Education and ICT and Society.

The course has been structured into the following units, across 4 semesters.

  1. Semester 1:
    1. Unit 1 : Interacting with ICT, connecting and learning (Part 1, Part 2)
    2. Unit 2: ICT for generic resource creation (Part 1, Part 2)
  2. Semester 2
    1. Unit 3: ICT for subject based resource creation (Part 1, Part 2)
    2. Unit 4: ICT in teaching and learning (Part 1)
  3. Semester 3
    1. Unit 4: ICT in teaching and learning (Part 2) – course interacts through online forum
  4. Semester 4
    1. Unit 5: ICT in Education
    2. Unit 6: ICT in Society

Unit 1: ICT for connecting and learning

The most important thing about ICT today is the internet. The internet has changed the way we think about of communicating. Talking to a friend through WhatsApp or Telegram chats, emailing or making a video call are just some of the ways in which the internet has changed the way we interact with each other in society. With the internet, and the word wide web, it is possible to connect to any computer in the world and access information. You can join other friends and form groups to learn about many things. The Internet is also allowing new methods of learning through online courses and resource repositories. This unit will have two parts – connecting with each other (participating in online and virtual forums, including the course forum) for learning and sharing as well as accessing the web for open educational resources and organizing one’s learning. In this unit, you will also be introduced to the idea of Open Educational Resources and the importance of Free and Open Source Software.

Unit 2: ICT for creating generic resources

ICT can create information in so many different ways - maps, audio, video, text, numeric data. Expressing oneself and creating materials is no longer not limited to only to text. There are newer and newer methods of knowledge creation and sharing in multiple formats. The emphasis of the National ICT curriculum is on exploring the creative possibilities of using ICT. In this unit, you will be introduced to different forms of resource creation in text, image and audio visual formats. Handling different devices, tools and applications to create and represent resources in multiple digital formats, appreciation of the pedagogic possibilities of different formats for a given context and purpose and creating resources combining multiple formats are the key ideas of this unit.

Unit 3: ICT for creating subject specific resources

While ICT have allowed multiple possibilities of creating resources, one of the important benefits in education has been the creation of different tools which can be used for creating tools for educational resources, for specific subjects. With the use of these tools, a teacher can make content as needed for her classroom instead of working with existing content made using generic tools. Freely available applications are available for teaching mathematics, supporting progamming and logic, science teaching, vocabulary building as well as teaching science. Several of these applications can support interactive processes in the classroom as well as for designing assessments. Several of these tools can be combined with the generic resource creation tools to make resources.

Unit 4: ICT in Teaching Learning

In this unit, you will be developing ICT integrated lesson plans. Making a curriculum analysis, determining the pedagogies and choosing appropriate ICT tools for developing the lesson will be the focus of this unit. The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework will be introduced as a framework to guide the perspective on ICT integration in teaching learning. The unit will also introduce designing formative assessments integrating ICT. In the first part of the unit - an in class phase during the second semester, supported by the online course platform - students will develop lesson plans using ICT for their chosen methods and will share these for peer evaluation as well as faculty assessment.

In the second part of the unit, an exclusive online phase, where the students are expected to share their reflections on their practice experience using the course platform. The purpose of this sharing is to help students maximise their practice teaching experience through reflective sharing and learning thus experiencing the power of a collaborative professional learning community in supporting their role as teachers. This module will also include design and discussion of lessons being undertaken in the practice session, using ICT tools and processes.

Unit 5: ICT and Society

ICT have far reaching socio-cultural, political and economic implications, both positive and negative on our society and a teacher needs to have a basic awareness and understanding of these. The unit will explore how ICT have impacted the functioning of existing institutions in government, private sector, media and civil society. Concepts such as digital divide, social networking, community informatics, new media, open government etc. related to the differential use and impact of technologies will be introduced in this unit.

Unit 6: ICT in Education

While the possibilities of ICT in teaching learning are important to understand, teachers must also understand the larger issues in ICT and Education. This unit will briefly look at the history of ICT and education in India, covering concept, design, policy and programme as well as recent trends such as open education resources (OER), communities of learning, which support elements of peer review and accountability and teacher professional development. The possibilities of using ICT to design inclusive learning spaces will be studied. ICT also presents challenges in education in terms of creating hegemonies of knowledge, centralizing educational processes using data analytics. This unit will also provide an introduction to these aspects.

Course transaction

The course will be transacted over two years, across 4 semesters, using a combination of lectures, demonstrations, discussions in class and online discussions. The online discussions will be on the Moodle platform, which will be the course platform. Weekly readings and materials will be posted on the course platform and assignment submissions will also be through the course platform as well as other cloud based repositories linked to the course platform.

Student assessments will be based on their digital creations, the quality of their discussions and interactions on the course platform as well as seminar presentations of the ICT integrated lessons. The last unit on ICT in Education and ICT in Society will also include two case studies to be submitted and a seminar presentation on these. The case studies will include analyzing a current trend in ICT in any sector as well as studying an ICT implementation in an educational institution.

Assessments

The following are the components of assessments across units and semesters.

Unit 1,2: (Semester 1) Digital portfolios submitted

Class participation

Discussion forum discussions

Unit 3,4: (Semester 2) Digital portfolios submitted of lessons

Class participation

Seminar presentation of ICT integrated lesson

Discussion and feedback on the lessons prepared by fellow students

Unit 4: (Semester 3) Discussion forum discussions

Reflective essay on how ICT would have impacted their practice teaching

Unit 5,6: (Semester 4) Class participation

Discussion forum discussions

Case Study submission

Case Study presentation

To see the course content and activities

You can login to the Moodle course platform, on which the course is being offered, and click on the 'Login as a guest' and click on 'Course' link on the home page to see the course content and activities