From IT for Change's Annual Report for 2013-14
| "At a time when powerful networks are advocating the marketisation of schooling and getting the 'public' out of education, the work of ITfC is indeed heartening. Drawing upon a framework of the 'network public' and the notion of 'public-ness', IT for Change has emphasized collaboration and sharing, in using the enormous potential that the internet offers for change. Their work provides insights that are crucial as we rethink ways to strengthen the 'public' in education and society."
- Prof Geetha Nambissan, Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
During 2013-2014, IT for Change's work in education continued along the three focus areas identified in previous years–
- Field Projects, consisting of intensive work with schools in a district / sub-district, as well as extensive work across the larger geography of state
- Building teachers communities of learning through intensive sub-district projects - Kalike-ICT integration in high schools, Yadgir, and Teachers Communities of Learning, Bangalore
- Programmatically embedding into the public education system; demonstrating models of in-service teacher education through the Subject Teacher Forum and Karnataka Open Educational Resources extensive state-wide projects
- Research to develop a rigorous understanding of the ways in which ICTs can support the public education system, specifically by studying 'whether and how professional learning communities of teachers can collaborate to support the access-creation-curation of 'Open Educational Resources'
- Informing policy and discourse with the learnings from these, through our participation in (Karnataka) state and national level committees on Education Policy, Curriculum and Teacher Education, as well as through participation in events, seminars and conferences.
- 1 Intensive pilot programs at block and school levels
- 2 Working with the public school system
- 3 Shaping policy and discourse
- 4 Promoting Public Software in Society
- 5 Future Plans
Intensive pilot programs at block and school levels
During the last two years, we have been working on piloting ICT integration in school processes (teaching-learning and school leadership) at the level of individual schools through the Kalike and the Teachers' Community of Learning programmes.
Our project in Yadgir, which aims at working on ICT integration in teacher professional development, classroom processes and education leadership and management in all high schools of Yadgir block, is a part of the Kalike programme, (initiated by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust)). Kalike aims at promoting holistic development in one of the most socio-economically backward blocks of Karnataka, through interventions in multiple areas including early child care, education, health and sanitation.
The objectives of our work in the Kalike programme were to:
- demonstrate an approach to ICT integration at a block level bringing together the schools, teachers, school leadership and block administration, build a block level community of practitioners supported by a local centre for resource creation and access
- strengthen teacher academic capabilities
- work with schools on projects that required interactions with the local community, including through local knowledge mapping using GIS applications
Block level integration and digital resource centre
During 2012-13, our first year, our work focused on ensuring functional ICT labs in the high schools (provided by the Government of Karnataka under the ICT@Schools Phase 1 and Phase 2 programmes), through regular visits to the schools to maintain ICT lab infrastructure and to build teachers' capacities for basic maintenance. Besides maintaining existing labs, the project attempted to build ICT infrastructure in schools through co-ordinating donations of computers from TCS and Infosys in ten high schools.
Teachers and students accessed the ICT lab and digital resource centre in the Kalike office. The Kalike ICT lab is a 'mobile lab' consisting of light weight net books and a wireless router, and it has moved to other locations to provide local ICT access as well. Many teachers and head teachers purchased their personal laptops as well during the year, indicating their faith in ICTs for their personal and professional purposes.
Besides working with teachers in schools, our team conducted workshops on integrating ICTs for academic and administrative purposes for the Yadgir DIET faculty, as well as for Block Resource Persons (BRPs) and Cluster Resource Persons (CRPs) and supported the various academic interventions at the block level. During this period, the Yadgir High School Wiki was developed for all high schools in Yadgir block to enable them to share information about their work. Using the Wiki software enables teachers to maintain the website on their own, without needing external technical support. (The Annual Report itself has been written using Wiki software, which has been designed to support collaborative writing.
School based academic interventions
Teachers also conducted 'digital story telling' projects, in which they created digital documents of the interactions with important local institutions such as the panchayat office, hospital, college,shops etc. The projects were designed to create integrated learning opportunities for students, for eg. discussing local governance (political science) during the panchayat visit and likewise issues relating to animal life processes (veterinary hospital interactions), markets (economics and mathematics) in visit to shops etc.
Teachers created digital learning resources in the form of videos, simulations in mathematics and sciences, wiki pages on KOER etc. and shared these with their colleagues through the state wide 'Subject Teacher Forums'.
Local GIS mapping
We mapped schools and other public institutions, such as health centres, anganwadis, in the entire district of Yadgir and created a Geographical Information System (GIS) on OpenStreetMaps (a map website which is a public resource like Wikipedia). More than 7,500 points were mapped in Yadgir district, across the three talukas of Yadgir, Shahpur and Surpur. Along with the digital map of infrastructure, We are collating metadata on qualitative parameters using the district human development index (HDI) report information that Kalike is helping the Yadgir district administration prepare. (see Yadgir GIS).
Teachers Communities of Learning (TCoL)
Digital Story Telling and Mapping at GHS Thyamagondlu, Bangalore Rural
We have been working on a similar intensive programme in select schools in Bangalore Urban district in the Bangalore South 3 block, called 'Teachers Communities of Learning (TCoL)' with the support of Cognizant Foundation. The objectives of this school based programme included creating and supporting an enabling environment in school for ICT integration for teacher professional development as well as for teaching learning processes.
The TCoL programme is a pilot to demonstrate the possibilities of ICT integration in government schools thus providing a model for adoption across the public system. This programme was implemented in urban government high schools. The urban context can be more challenging for teachers, since the students usually come from severely marginalised socio-economic backgrounds with little or no support from home/parents for their education. The programme attempted to support teacher professional development by introducing teachers to a variety of digital methods and processes, helping them build their skills in integrating ICTs for their professional development.
| “I am checking my mails regularly and getting lots of informations.Thanks to the maths and science subject teachers forum mailing list.”
Besides strengthening teacher capabilities, we also supported the teachers in the design, planning and implementation of school-wide projects that would make interdisciplinary learning possible. Some examples of these projects include vegetation mapping, mapping of local institutions, GIS mapping, mapping the neighbourhood, family map information, ICT integrated science exhitions and demonstrations. Teachers learnt to integrate ICTs in these projects to support richer learning experiences for their students. Use of the internet to access secondary information, GIS mapping on virtual map platform such as openstreetmaps along with mapping on large sheets, using video cameras to create digital stories of local community interactions, use of simulations to explain a physical experiment etc. are some examples of how teachers were able to create new learning possibilities for students and themselves using ICTs
Next phase of TCoL - At a block level
The project will in its next phase (starting from June 2014) cover all high schools in the Bangalore South 3 block. The aim of selecting an entire block is to better integrate the programme into the education system's mainstream curricular and pedagogical processes, working through academic support structures (DSERT, DIET and BRC) and administrative structures (RMSA2, BEO3), that govern the school.The project has two tracks - building a community of practitioners at the block level, and a second intensive school level programme for select schools.
We expect that the participation of the DIET, BRC and BEO staff will enable greater integration of the project activities into the regular school and teacher training processes. Over the three year project period, we expect to demonstrate school based models for exploring ICT integration in the context of government schools. An intervention at a block level allows the possibility of the block to emerge as a pilot for integrating ICTs in school processes and building linkages within schools, across schools, amongst teachers and with school administration for better curricular outcomes.
Working with the public school system
Apart from working in an 'intensive mode' with schools in a block, ITfC has also been engaging with the larger education system at both state and national levels, over the last few years. ITfC has been the resource institution for the the in-service teacher education programme of the department of RMSA and DSERT, the 'Subject Teacher Forum'. ITfC is also working on a state level 'Open Educational Resource' (OER) portal, with DSERT, in which it is training teachers across the state to access, create and curate OERs relevant to high school teachers. Such work can provide models that other state governments can also adapt.
Karnataka Open Educational Resources (KOER)
“Karnataka Open Educational Resources” programme was desgined, planned and implemented by the RMSA and DSERT Karnataka, for its in-service teacher education programme, has attempted to bring in an ICT integrated teacher-education model in the state. This programme for which IT for Change is the resource institution, is embedded within the Subject Teacher Forum (STF) which is a systemic programme for ICT enabled teacher-education in Karnataka.
During 2013-14, mathematics, science and social science teachers collaborated to create digital learning resources, for the revised textbook for Class 9; these resources are are published on the KOER (English and Kannada) wiki. The core principles guiding this programme are reclaiming teacher agency through participatory processes and the creation of contextualized digital open learning resources.
The resources created include concept maps, learning outlines, notes for teachers, activities, assessment and project/community project ideas. Resources have moved beyond textual resources and included images, videos, slide-shows and animations; teachers have added to this repository through creation of original resources as well as adpation/ contextualization of resources accessed from existing web resources in the line of the OER philosophy of the 4 R's (re-use, re-vise, re-mix and re-distribute).All the resources developed and shared on KOER are licensed under Creative Commons.
IT for Change (ITfC), as the resource institution, designed and implemented workshops for the KOER core group of 30 teachers in the identified subjects. These teachers trained their peers from nearly 1,000 high schools at DIET and CTE labs, on accessing web resources, adapting them and co-creating resources to contribute to KOER, for high school text books topics. The use of the “mediawiki” public software (which Wikipedia, the worlds largest encyclopedia uses) has enabled the easy creation, review, adapting and publishing in inter-linked web pages, which is superior to using content management systems / website software like most other OER projects do.
More than 4,500 web pages have been created in KOER English and Kannada by more than 400 teacher-editors and several more teacher-contributors. KOER has already crossed 600,000 views. The most important outcome is a resource repository of the Karnataka teachers, by the Karnataka teachers and for the Karnataka teachers and an approach that has potential to democratise teacher education and empower teachers to participate actively in their own professional development, instead of being passive receivers.
Typically successful initiatives in ICTs in education (and other sectors) has been seen as needing private sector efforts and based on market principles (competition, financial viability, proprietariness etc). This project seks to explore how ICTs can support collaborative processes and how public sector institutions and systems can collaborate to build ideas and resources with ICTs, based on 'public sector principles' of collaboration, social viability, public ownership etc.
Participatory Action Research
We have begun a 'Participatory Action Research' on STF-KOER with support from IDRC , in which we will explore, with the KOER teacher core team, “whether and how, a bottom-up approach, where participants collaboratively and actively co-create contextual resources ('embedded' within a 'community of learning'), can support effective OER models”. The broad objectives of the action research are to study how a collaborative OER model can be embedded within a local ecosystem of a “community of teachers”, in Karnataka state, in India and to understand how such a locally anchored, collaborative OER model can develop effective processes of creation-curation-adoption that contribute to sustained use of OER and teacher development.The ROER4D is a research network of scholars from the global south and the research will be undertaken in countries in South America, Africa and Asia.
Subject Teacher Forum (STF)
| "The building of teacher communities of learning, and forums where teachers can engage with each other on curricular concerns, resource support and new pedagogies, drawing upon diverse classroom experiences are particularly important for their ongoing professional learning and exercise of agency. This is an area where there are visible developments in the last two years. It is also significant that the broad perspective of IT for Change is one of inter-institutional collaboration between individuals and institutions - teacher, schools, DIETs, BRC, SCERT and so on."
The KOER programme has as its foundation the 'Subject Teacher Forum' (STF) programme, which is the RMSA Karnataka in-service TE programme since 2011-12.Over the last three years, under the STF, around 5,000 teachers across all 34 districts have learnt to use a wide variety of digital methods, tools, resources for their subject teaching as well as overall professional development, including public educational tools like geogebra, phet, kalzium, marble, freemind; web tools such as maps, encyclopedias, search and web resources.Teachers use mailing groups to network, share ideas/resources/feedback, seek support from peers in subject groups in mathematics, science, social science and english. More than 20,000 emails have been shared in last two and half years by teachers in these groups, constituting a huge 'community of learning'.
Pioneering global models
|"The JRM team also observed an impressive in-service training program in Karnataka which incorporates ICT in the training (in some government schools teacher support is provided through an open operating system called Subject Teacher Forum under which 5,000 teachers across 34 districts have learnt to use digital tool sand resources for their subject teaching).... The Subject Teacher Forums of Karnataka is a good example of good practices and pace-setting innovations developed by States."|
|The STF (community of learning) and KOER (open educational resources) initiatives are in line with similar cutting edge teacher education programmes across the world, and seek to implement the vision of the National Curricular Framework for Teacher Education, 2010 (NCFTE), of a democratised, self-directed, need-based, peer-learning based, mentored, continuous/life-long teacher education; moving from the largely top-down, centralised / supply-driven, content transmission based legacy teacher education approaches. Both programmes are systemic (use existing budgets/infrastructure/resources and across the entire state) and hence have potential for being scalable as well sustainable.|
Working with Teacher Educators
IT for Change has been working with teacher educators from CTEs (Colleges of Teacher Education) and DIETs in Karnataka over the last few years to integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for their professional development. Three rounds of workshops were organised with support from CEMCA for these faculty members from the Bangalore, Mysore, Belgaum and Gulbarga divisions, towards building 'Communities of Practice” (CoP) amongst teacher educators. The SCERTs in the other South Indian states were also invited to participate, and Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh deputed SCERT and DIET faculty for these workshops.
Photos from workshops with Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh DIET/CTE faculty.
The workshops focused on the use of ICTs for teacher educator professional development, ranging from building basic ICT skills to participating in the COP platform for teacher educators, including access to web resources and networking through mailing groups. Educational tools such as Geogebra, Audacity, PhET, Marble, KGeography, Kalzium, and Freemind, video creating tool Record My Desktop, image editing tool GIMP were covered. Participants also learnt and practised use of web tools such as search, maps, translate, books, videos on Youtube, digital albums etc. Participants also browsed the KOER wiki portal maintained by the teachers COPs, made teams, each of which choose a topic to build 'personal digital resource libraries' by gathering digital resources in text, image, video formats from the Internet, and adding their own annotations/ comments. The participants realised that digital processes are much more dynamic and hence there would not be a 'final' resource, since these would forever undergo revision and enrichment, this is the spirit of OER (whose '4 Rs are Reuse, Revise, Remix and Re-distribute).
Shankramma Dhawalgi Madam, DIET Dharwad faculty and programme coordinator, speaking about public software
ITfC participated in the "ICT integrated Teacher Education at Department of Education, Allahabad University and covered the topic “Importance of Community of Practice for Teacher Educators", both from concept as well as as practice aspects, over video-conference. The course, supported by CEMCA, had 30 participants from select DIETs across Uttar Pradesh, who were quite excited to learn about public educational applications ranging from subject tools such as Geogebra or Marble, to collaboration tools like Mediawiki.
Shaping policy and discourse
NCTE Committee to implement Justice Verma Commission report
| "The Justice Verma Committee constituted by the Hon’ble Supremem Court of India has made a strong recommendation for use of technology and open learning systems for periodic training of teachers to meet their need for regular knowledge upgradation. It is in this context that IT for Change needs to be congratulated for being one of the few agencies who are able to actually demonstrate an effective and systemic model of setting up a virtual community of teachers, not only as learners but also as self creators of resources, in a public public partnership mode."
IT for Change participated in UNESCO International Meeting on ICT for Quality Education in Chengdu, China and contributed to the discussion on enhancing teacher’s capacity in the use of ICTs. ITfC also participated and provided inputs to the the 'State consultation on School leadership development, organised by National Centre for School Leadership (NCSL), NUEPA and Karnataka SSA. ITfC provided inputs to Haryana Education department on replacing proprietary software with public software in their NVEQF curriculum (for vocational education of high school students). Finally, member(s) of ITfC team are part of Regional Institute of Education (RIE), Bhopal Governing Council, and of the National Resource Group (NRG) for ICT and Education, CIET, NCERT.
ICT integration into curriculum
IT for Change continued to contribute significantly to curriculum design and development at the state and the national level.
- DSERT has revised the DEd. (Diploma in Education) curriculum during 2013-14 and ITfC contributed to the paper on 'ICT Mediation in teaching learning', which covered the integration of ICTs into subject teaching for the pre-service programme. In the preparation of the Master Trainer for the revised curriculum, ITfC conducted training on ICT integration using public educational software applications for around 100 teacher educators (from DIETs and aided/unaided TTEs) in collaboration with the RV Educational Consortium.
- ITfC was a member of the National ICT curriculum core groups setup by CIET, NCERT and also participated in design discussions for the National Repository of Open Educational Resources.
- ITfC provided inputs to the design of model curriculum for ICT and education course for NCTE
- ITfC supported the introduction of public software applications in the NVEQF program, by replacing proprietary office suite with LibreOffice suite in the text books used in the program in Haryana. LibreOffice suite is being used by teachers in the STF program in Karnataka, as a part of the custom Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution shared freely with them, by the program.
Promoting Public Software in Society
| "IT for Change is doing commendable work on the interface between education and technology. This is by far the most well-informed and socially sensitive group I have come across in this field. I do hope more people benefit from associating with them."
- Prof Rama Kant Agnihotri, Vidya Bhawan Society, Udaipur (Retd., University of Delhi).
IT for Change also worked with the educationists across the country to advocate with state governments and public institutions on adoption of public software in education.
2. ITfC also participated in capacity building as wgell as support in the use of public software at St.Philomena's College (Mysore), Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, Child Rights Trust, Sewa-in-Action, the last was for training them on Mediawiki to contribute to the Inclusive Education portal on KOER
3. ITfC provided inputs to the e-Governance Standards Division, National Informatics Centre on “Framework on Open Source Software Adoption”
We will continue our intensive engagement with the schools in Bangalore South 3 Block. Working closely with the academic support (DIET-BRC) and administrative support (BEO) institutions, we will explore 'technological-pedagogical-content knowledge' models that can support teachers to strengthen and improve their classroom transactions, by using digital resources appropriately in teaching-learning and assessment. The Bangalore Urban DIET is quite supportive of our efforts to help teachers reflect on their current practices relating to transaction, use of curricular resources as well as assessment and evolve practices in line with the National Curricular Framework 2005 emphasis on constructivist approaches to teaching-learning as well as 'continous comprehensive evaluation'.
We will also continue our work in the STF-KOER programme, and support the creation of the Kannada language teachers forum during 2014-15 and expand the Mathematics forum to teachers in 4500 more schools in the state, this would cover all Government and Aided high schools in Karnataka. We will also initiate the 'Kannada Language Teachers Forum' during 2014-15. The research on the STF-KOER would also continue, with interactions with the teachers forming part of the KOER resource creation group, and also with teachers who have not been exposed to the STF-KOER programme to obtain a proxy for a baseline for the research.
During 2014-15, the revised DEd. curriculum for Karnataka will include a paper on 'ICT Mediation in teaching-learning' which has been developed by us. We will support DSERT in developing and strengthening capacities of teacher educators to transact this course in pre-service education, and also develop the source books for student-teachers.