Technology integration for Equitable Education 2023-24

From Karnataka Open Educational Resources

Background:

IT for Change (ITfC) is an NGO located in Bangalore, India, that works for innovative and effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to promote socio-economic change. We have been working on programs for integrating ICT and education in Government and aided High Schools in Bangalore South since 2010. We have supported teachers to learn the use of free and open source software (FOSS) applications to access, create and publish open educational resources (OER) in Mathematics, Science, Kannada and English and other subjects. We have also worked with students on different aspects of digital literacy and digital enabled learning.

In our work, we have observed that students face difficulties in learning, these include low attention span, poor peer-interaction abilities, poor meta-cognitive capacities, low retention, and increased need for reinforcement. These are the reasons why many children are not at their ‘grade learning levels’. Integrating digital technology in teaching-learning and adopting the diverse pedagogical and content approaches could increase the teaching-learning effectiveness and enable development of all children.

Introduction

During the 2022-2023 academic year, IT for change initiated "Technology Integration for Inclusive Education (TIIE)" program aimed to encourage inclusive learning for students in higher primary schools (HPS) in Bengaluru South-3 block. The project focused on inclusive pedagogical approaches to support student learning and empowering teachers to effectively integrate technology in their teaching practices. The TIIE program was designed for three-year endeavor, commencing with a one-year pilot project, followed by two years of program expansion. The pilot phase was implemented in selected HPS schools within Bengaluru South-3 block. In addition to demonstrating technology integration for inclusive education at the school level and building communities of practitioners, the teaching-learning materials from the project, are published on the Karnataka Open Educational Resources (KOER) repository, in English and Kannada, for teachers across Karnataka.

There is a need to create awareness among the teachers about equitable education and to get their buy-in. Teachers have their own beliefs which sometimes need to be clarified. A series of teacher workshops will be conducted both at the block level and at the cluster level, to enable teachers to implement inclusive education in their classrooms. School, cluster and block level teacher workshops will also be conducted as required on various aspects related to equitable education.

We will create Teachers Community of Practice (COP) at block/cluster levels wherein teachers can share their ideas, experiences and learnings with other teachers and peer-learn from each other. This approach supports continuous and sustainable teacher development, by leveraging the efforts of ‘leader teachers’ who display initiative to support their peers. We will develop a block level resource center to encourage teachers to come together to create, share classroom resources, and discuss different possibilities for classroom intervention. Teachers will be provided with ongoing support – both on pedagogical aspects and on technological aspects. There will be technology capacity building programmes for teachers to help them access to digital resources that will allow them to effectively implement equitable education in the classroom.

Objectives of the program:

The objectives of the program are as follows:

  1. Strengthening teachers' abilities to use and create digital resources for addressing the academic needs in the classrooms.
  2. Demonstrating integration of digital technologies to make classroom an effective learning space for all children.
  3. To encourage peer learning and mentoring among teachers through the establishment “Communities of Practice (CoPs)” of teachers as part of our continuous professional development (CPD) initiatives programs.
  4. Supporting schools to integrate technologies in school development and governance processes.
  5. Enable teachers to experience and internalize technology integration as a coherent learning experience
  6. Capacity building workshops for the CRPs/BRPs/BIERTs to encourage to use digital technologies in the routine work and helping teachers to use digital resources for equitable teaching processes.
  7. Establish a teachers’ resource center, to facilitate creation and sharing of resources for equitable education.

Scope of the program:

The approaches involve enhancing the ‘academic support system’ in order to create an inclusive education environment by using the variety of digital methods. This will consist of a group of subject-specific teachers from various Elementary government schools from 5 to 8 clusters in South 3 block. At the cluster level, the focus will be on enhancing teacher capacity on using classroom teaching resources through the series of workshops and using teachers community groups by sharing required resources. Based on the department's inputs IT for change will select 5–8 clusters for teachers programs and 2 schools for the regular student intervention activities.

Program activities:

The program will have two components of work -

  • Block/cluster level teachers and BRPs/CRPs/BIERTs workshops anchored in the Block Education Office, Block Resource Centre (BRC), to encourage teachers to participate in Communities Of Practices (COP). Also, participating in schools for teacher professional development (for identified subjects) which will be aligned with other departmental priorities and programs.
  • School-based intensive work with teachers and students in select schools to demonstrate ICT integration possibilities in classroom teaching and students learning process, and for community relationship strengthening.

These two components are discussed below:

Block/cluster level activitie

  1. In the selected clusters, ITfC will design and conduct cluster level teacher development programs for all the higher and lower primary school teachers and head teachers in the cluster. As part of this, teachers will be introduced to ICT integration in different subjects through a combination of online, offline and blended workshops and courses.
  2. Workshops for BRPs, CRPs and BIERTs, which will be designed and conducted in consultation with the Department. These workshops will support them to effectively use digital resources and tools in their routine work and to help reach all teachers and share teaching learning resources as required.
  3. The educational resources will be developed to support a structured learning program, this will be developed in discussion with the Department and the schools. Teachers from higher and lower primary schools in the block and selected cluster will be invited to be part of the workshops for teacher capacity building.
  4. We work with teachers and help them become aware of, adapt and apply equitable education approaches (including the UDL framework) to their classroom practice. The UDL framework with multi-modal, multi-level, multi-format and multilingual instructions will address the diverse needs of the learners – based on their learning levels.
  5. Establishment of block or cluster resource center for teachers’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD) on equitable education. The resource centre will have both digital and non-digital resources for helping teachers professional development and resources for classroom teaching.
  6. With the support of Cognizant Technology Solutions and other CSR entities, the de-bonded computers donated from the company will be tested and installed in the labs in interested schools and in cluster resource centre. Technical support to the lab will be provided to keep the computers in a working condition. These labs will be used for the teachers and HM training programs.
  7. Demand based visits and demo session/team teaching in schools.
  8. Based on the programs demands and teachers requirements we will design and conduct the block/cluster level teachers program. Below are the tentative teachers program plans for the 2023-24 academic year.
Month Workshop for Objectives of the Workshops Page link
July select language, Mathematics, and Science teachers(Need assessment interaction) Get inputs from teachers regarding their expectations on topics which we need to address in the subsequent subject-specific workshops. Need assessment workshop_July23
July CRPs/BRPs/BIERTs 1. Capacity building for using digital technologies in their regular work

2. Helping teachers access & integrate variety of digital resources to address IE classrooms

3. Using KOER repository to share resources for the schools and teachers

August Language teachers -1 1. How to integrate differentiated instruction (DI) and UDL principles in the selected topic in teaching-learning process

2. Helping teachers to use available digital device in the schools – Projectors, Computers and smartphone

3. Helping teachers to access existing resources available on Web.

TIEE - English teachers workshop1
August Mathematics and Science teachers – 1 1. How to integrate differentiated instruction (DI) and UDL principles in the selected topic in teaching-learning process

2. Helping teachers to use available digital device in the schools – Projectors, Computers and smartphone

3. Keeping track of the development of lessons in line with the requirements of teachers

TIEE Mathematics workshop1
August Headmasters/Headmistress 1. To revisit/ introduce the concept of Inclusive Culture in Schools

2. To help HMs identify the needs of their schools and discuss possible solutions

TIEE Head teachers workshop
September Language teachers – 2 1. Encouraging teachers to create contextualise resources for the classrooms.

2. To explore new digital methods for language learning. Exploring Audacity, Vokoscreen, Kdenlive FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) tools to create rich audio-visual resources for use in a language lesson.

September Mathematics and Science teachers – 2 1. Encouraging teachers to create contextualise resources for the classrooms.

2. Exploring digital methods of teaching- learning that support mathematical thinking and ability, science process skills using Geogebra, PhET, Robocompass, etc Foss tools.

3. To deepen a techno-pedagogic understanding in mathematics and science teaching-learning

November Language teachers – 3 1. Best practices and strategies for assessments

2. Accessing and sharing resources to the peer group by publishing the created audio-visual resources on a public repository for the benefit of all teachers

3. Keeping track of the development of lessons in line with the requirements of teachers

November Mathematics and Science teachers – 3 1. Best practices and strategies for assessments

2. Accessing and sharing resources to the peer group by publishing the created resources on a public repository for the benefit of all teachers

3. Keeping track of the development of lessons in line with the requirements of teachers.

School Level Activities

  1. School and class level work will be taken up in select schools, to explore how ICTs can be integrated into higher primary classroom processes. This includes demo classes and team teaching.
  2. ITfC will collaborate with chosen schools to create comprehensive strategies for integrating information and communication technology (ICT) into the teaching and learning process for specific subjects. Our objective is to provide support to all students in the classroom by fostering their grasp of fundamental numeracy, literacy, and science process skills. To achieve this, we have developed subject-specific modules in English, Mathematics, and Science that adhere to the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
  3. Digital methods will be used for contextualizing resources, in designing teaching-learning processes, and for interacting on digital networks for collaboration among teachers.
  4. Student digital literacy classes, project activities such as event based camps and science exhibition will also be organized in collaboration with the school, to support student learning and development.
  5. Teachers will be supported in continuous assessments and in the customization of the modules, to help them understand if students' learning needs are being met and identify areas where they need additional support.
  6. ITfC will collaborate with the select schools in enhancing their connection with the parent community, aiming to establish stronger relationships between the school and the community. This support may involve organizing special parent-teacher meetings, student exhibitions for community members, disseminating voice-broadcast messages to parents regarding school-related matters, and more. The goal is to strengthen community involvement in school activities and foster increased accountability of the school towards its local community.
  7. We will assist Government Higher Primary Schools in establishing computer labs and the use of these labs by school teachers and students in teaching-learning and administration processes. We will conduct school level workshops for interested teachers.

Expected outcomes:

  1. Teachers, Head Teachers use of ICTs for their own learning and development. They become aware of the possibilities of ICT integration in various stages of teaching-learning.
  2. ICT skills for the teachers, head teachers and CRPs/BRPs/BIERTs to use in digital resource creations, teaching- learning and in school leadership and administration process. Teachers are able to adopt, adapt, create multi-level learning resources to meet the needs of individual students.
  3. Participation of teachers in a peer community for continuous learning within the school and across schools in the block-level and cluster-level.
  4. School based models for exploring ICT integration in the context of Government higher primary schools.
  5. Teachers using Block/cluster resource centre to access and share learning resources and modules.
  6. All the resources used in the program will be made available on Karnataka Open Educational Resources (KOER) repository.