ICT student textbook/Preface
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). With information creation, access, processing and sharing becoming quicker and simpler, society is now being shaped by these processes, so much so that, the term Information 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. 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.
In this context, the Telangana Department of School Education is seeking to implement an ICT program in the state through an integrated approach that includes teacher capacity building, development of a syllabus for ICT learning, development of content to support learning and provisioning of adequate infrastructure. Accordingly, the Telangana Department of School Education has developed an ICT text book and teacher hand book which will be used by the school teachers transacting the ICT classes from Class 6-10. These books are developed in line with the National ICT curriculum developed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), which seeks to bring to school education the possibilities of ICT for connecting and learning, and creating and learning, in collaboration with IT for Change, and with support from CEMCA.
Approach and intent of the state ICT syllabus
The state ICT syllabus has been based on the aspirations and guidelines set in the National ICT Policy which focuses on building the skills of computing, creating and collaborating through safe, ethical and legal means of using ICT.
The syllabus has emphasized the different possibilities of ICT in society, briefly discussed below.
- Connecting with the world: Technology is providing new ways for us to access information and learn. Evaluating information and using it appropriately are skills to be developed. This theme will focus on accessing the internet, evaluating resources available and creating personal digital libraries for self learning.
- Connecting with each other: A related dimension of connecting through ICT is in the possibility for learning in communities from one another. The focus of this theme will be on how to interact and learn in peer learning settings and through on-line, virtual forums. Collaborating and learning together is a key learning expectation from this curriculum.
- 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 pro-active approach to engaging with technology, evaluating appropriate technology choices and maintaining ICT infrastructure. It is also important to be a critical user of technology, by becoming aware of the different positive and negative social and economic implications of technology.
- 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.
Ability to work in the ICT environment, creating content, sharing and learning and focusing on educational and learning processes, are the key principles of this syllabus design, rather than on just learning specific applications. The syllabus 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 such applications proactively and independently on an ongoing basis. Without taking a conventional approach to building digital literacy on specific applications the syllabus emphasizes a thematic, project based approach to ICT learning. Such an approach will also enable integration of ICT with multiple school subjects.
To facilitate such an approach to ICT learning, the technology environment in schools must be free and open. The syllabus has prescribed the use of free and open source technologies, wherever available, to facilitate such a free and open access. The educational content used in the schools will also be licensed as open content allowing teachers and students to modify and adapt the content to reflect their own contexts. All images used in this book, unless otherwise specified are licensed under Creative Commons or available in the public domain. Most of them are sourced from Wikimedia commons.
How is the textbook structured
We have anticipated the attainment of the competencies and objectives outlined in the National ICT curriculum and ICT Policy in two stages, covering classes 6-8 and classes 9-10 and have developed a syllabus for 5 years, taking into account the student curriculum set out in the National ICT curriculum. This will be covered through two books:
- Book 1 - which will have three levels to cater to the classes 6-8
- Book 2 - which will have two levels to cater to the classes 9-10
The following sets of materials have been prepared to support this syllabus:
- A text book for students, that introduces ICT skills and applications using a project based learning approach, integrated with the different school subjects. The core competencies and skills to be covered in the text book will be determined based on the National ICT curriculum and the Telangana state academic standards and subject text books. The text book will take a project based approach to the attainment of these learning competencies.
- A handbook for teachers and teacher educators to help them implement the syllabus as well as support their own knowledge and learning of the ICT applications based on the NCERT ICT curriculum. This handbook will facilitate the transaction of the ICT syllabus and also provide meaningful linkages to curricular and co-curricular areas. The teacher handbook will also have a component for teachers to build their own competencies in using ICT.
In addition to these two, there is a user manual, providing the features and processes of using the software applications used in the text book. This will be available in a digital format; limited printed copies will be available for schools to access.
Focusing on open content creation, teacher capacity building as well as integrating technology to develop new methods of learning, we hope, can demonstrate an effective model of technology integration in the school system across the country. We also believe such an approach will strengthen the government school system such that the vision of education of ‘equitable quality’ set out by the Indian Right to Education Act is realised.