ICT teacher handbook/School level implementation guidelines

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ICT teacher handbook
Approach to the ICT Student Textbook School level implementation guidelines What is the nature of ICT
Making your ICT lab an active learning space

This section discusses the aspects relating to the implementation of the ICT text book in the Telangana schools.

School ICT Infrastructure

The program requires each school to have an ICT lab, with following assets:

Hardware

  1. This can be desktop computers or laptop computers. The number of computers could be decided based on the student strength in the school. Schools could also be provided with a limited number of alternate cheaper devices like tablets, raspberry pi to supplement the computers. However, the kind of active learning envisaged in the ICT text book requires that school ICT lab have sufficient computers, at least one-third the number of students in the largest section in the school.
  2. One of the computers will be designated as the ‘server’. This will host the content shared by the department (which should be taken from the TROER and refreshed at periodic/annual intervals).
  3. The computers must be networked, preferably through a wireless LAN. Internet connectivity must be made available through broadband.
  4. The school should try to augment its hardware through donations and contributions from local community, parents association, clubs, philanthropies etc. Regularly adding computers is also important to replace computers that need to be put away due to failure or obsolescence.
  5. Projector – a minimum of one LCD projector is essential in each school, as the program matures, more than one LCD projector could be provided so that teachers could use it along with a laptop in their classrooms for ICT integrated teaching, apart from sessions in the lab.
  6. Printer (cum scanner cum copier), digital camera, speakers, head phones are other items that must be part of the school lab hardware
  7. The school and the department must organize regular 'health' check-ups of the infrastructure for preventive maintenance.

Software

  1. Each computer will have the school system, which will have two components: 'software' - the operating system and other software applications distributed as part of the 'custom distribution' and the 'content' which will be the educational content/ OER for each school
  2. Software can be the custom Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution used in the teacher training. A free and open source school MIS software like Fedena can also be installed in the school server. This can help tracking teacher and student attendance, work etc.
  3. Software should be periodically upgraded as per norms suggested by SIET.
  4. Since the GNU/Linux operating system is being used, anti-virus is not required to be procured by the department.
  5. Teachers also may be interested to download additional applications from the internet. This should be allowed with clear guidelines, indicating that free and open source software that has educational uses can be downloaded based on need.
  6. Teachers should also be able to download new applications for use in their own learning and in classroom teaching.
  7. The HM and the ICT school co-ordinator will be responsible to ensure that no software or content is being downloaded and used in violation of license requirements. The simple method of implementing this is to ensure that no proprietary software or content is stored in the computers.

Content

  1. The ICT text book and hand book, along with the data sets and digital resources required for transaction, is available on the TROER portal. An off-line copy of the same will be provided to each school. The school can access the on-line TROER version (which will include the latest updates as well) or the off-line version through its school server. The off-line school server version will be periodically (at least once a year) refreshed to bring it in synchronous state with TROER.
  2. In addition, each student must have a printed copy of the student text book. Each teacher must have a copy of the student text book and teacher hand book. In case where the ICT lab is not available, some of the activities in the text book could be transacted, this could be part of the contingency plan for program implementation.
  3. Teachers should also be able to create OER, for use in their own learning and in classroom teaching. Teachers should be encouraged to access existing OER for this purpose. Translation of existing OER (in English) into Telugu and other languages used in the state will support OER creation. Teachers can create additional data sets for the activities as OER.
  4. Teachers and students must follow the legal and ethical aspects of accessing available software and content and must avoid downloading software or content that is not free and open. Teachers must also exercise oversight over the content downloaded by students and ensure that no inappropriate content, or copyrighted content is downloaded in the school computers.

Online and offline distribution

The program has three possible ways of being implemented, depending on the availability of internet and the computer up-time.

  1. On-line: The entire textbook is available on-line on the Internet here. You can access the chapters, resources, activities from the text book on-line and practise on your computer. All resources - whether open content or even proprietary content - will be accessible. However, you need continuous Internet connectivity for accessing the on-line version of the book. In case internet connectivity is not available, the second option of implementation should be adopted.
  2. Off-line: The entire textbook is available off-line in your school, on your school server. You can access the chapters, resources, activities and practise on your computer, like in the on-line method, with one limitation. Only open content will be available for you to access off-line in your school. The textbook will show the internet links for the proprietary content, which cannot be accessed off-line. These can be accessed whenever there is internet connectivity. This method requires the computers to be working and electrical power to be available. In cases where the computers are down or electrical power is not available, then certain activities of the text book can still be transacted, as discussed below.
  3. Non-digital: In case the lab is not operational due to different reasons, such as non-working computers, or no electricity, then the print edition of the text book can be used. This can be support classroom discussions on a unit or project activities such as collecting data for surveys. All resources used in the textbook are listed in the print version under the references section. Even during this time, the on-line version could be accessed on a phone or tablet if there is data connectivity. Teacher may be able to demonstrate activities using a laptop and a projector, if electricity is available.

School level program management

  1. Each school must designate an Teacher IT co-ordinator (TITC), based on norms suggested. Since all teachers in the school, will be, in a phased manner, trained in ICT integration, the role of TITC could be played by any teacher who has received the training. The key responsibilities of the TITC include
    1. custody of the lab and lab infrastructure and making available to teachers and students as required
    2. preventive and breakdown maintenance of the ICT assets
    3. keeping a simple log of the lab usage
    4. supporting teachers to transact ICT lessons in the lab and scheduling ICT classes along with the use of teachers for their subject teaching in the lab.
    5. keeping the school and HM informed of any requirements, problems faced and work for their solution
  2. One option is for the School Head Master to designate a suitable teacher (who is reasonably comfortable using ICT and is inclined to take on the responsibility) as the TITC, a second option is for the department to designate teacher of a particular subject as the TITC. The TITC role could be periodically (once in 2-3 years) rotated among the staff. At the same time, the ICT lab is a school infrastructure, so the school staff has a shared responsibility in its upkeep.
  3. Similarly, 1-5 students from each class could be designated as Student IT coordinators (SITC), who will help the TITC in managing the lab, facilitating repair of the equipment as required.

Regular maintenance

  1. ICT lab requires much higher maintenance than most school assets. Computers and other equipment are likely to fail or develop problems which need to be attended to, especially since they will be used intensively by students
  2. The TITC must pro-actively address issues to ensure high up-time of computers
  3. Contact information of individuals or institutions who are appointed for the maintenance and repair of the hardware must be clearly put up on a chart in the lab itself, along with do's and dont's for effective use of the infrastructure.
  4. Software needs to be periodically upgraded. New versions could be upgraded every 1-2 years, while security related upgrades must be done more frequently, say once a month. this would require internet connectivity.
  5. The school will need to have annual component of its budget for maintenance of the ICT lab and for consumables

Academic processes

Based on the student strength in different sections, the school must prepare its time table and student lab assignment, considering following possibilities

  1. 3 periods per week per section for students to work and learn in the lab
  2. Upto 3 students could work together on a computer. The selection of these 3 student learning groups must be carefully done by the teacher to support peer learning possibilities, and not be random
  3. If the number of students is more than three times the number of computers, the section could be split into two (or more as required), such that one group works in the lab and the other group(s) are assigned other classes, including discussing topics / exercises from the ICT text book
  4. All students must participate in the ICT classes. The allocation of the transaction of the text book could be decided by the Head master in consultation with the team. It is ideal if the transaction is shared among few teachers, instead of assigning it to a single teacher. Since this will be a new experience in many cases, schools can explore ‘team teaching’ where 2 teachers could take the class together in the lab. This will also help in providing support to students during practice sessions. Involving many teachers will also help the activities / projects in the ICT text book to be meaningfully integrated with the core subjects.
  5. For each topic in the text book, for the hands-on activities, students will need to become comfortable using the relevant software application, which is indicated in the 'digital skills' section. The teacher will need to orient the students on the software application as required for the topic. Students of course can and will explore any software tool for learning additional / advanced features. All software applications can be learnt through the 'Explore an Application' section, which is provided as part of the on-line and off-line distribution of the text book and hand book.
  6. During practice sessions, some students (who may be more proficient in ICT) may also be roped in to support their peers during the hands-on sessions.
  7. For each designated activity, each student is required to maintain their digital records / portfolio, in relevant folders. Ideally the resources created / accessed / connected to each activity should be in a separate folder.
  8. Each student must have her/his login into the school system. (The Ubuntu GNU/Linux system allows multiple user logins to be set-up on a computer). Each student will be able to create folders and store their work on the system, which will be secured through their login. These folders will grow and be enriched over the three years of the transaction of book 1, and over the five years of the ICT learning of the student.
  9. Each student must also have a note book to record her/his activities, assignments etc.
  10. All teachers will undergo training so that they are able to transact the ICT classes. The HM should be able to allocate the ICT classes to these teachers, based on various parameters including work load of different teachers. There need not be any rigid fixing of any unit to any specific subject teacher. In fact the ICT book offers an opportunity for any subject to go beyond subject boundaries and explore other subjects as well in the project activities. The HM will need to prepare the time table of the school, in consultation with the staff, so that the ICT classes (3 every week and 30 weeks for a year) are transacted by teachers over the year.
  11. In addition the 'structured program' of 3 periods per week, teachers may take their students to the ICT Lab to transact activities from their own syllabus/text book. A system of booking the lab in advance may be required to be set-up.
  12. The lab may be made available to teachers and students for self-learning and practice, when it is not being used.

Assessment

  1. The ICT subject will be assessed through a summative assessment at end of each term, so it will have SA1 and SA2. The portfolio of digital creations of the student will be assessed in the SA.
  2. In addition, each of the six subjects (3 languages, Mathematics, Science and Social Sciences) will integrate ICT into at least one of the FAs for the subject. The FA can be done during the second term, so that the students would have had an opportunity to acquire basic ICT competencies during the first term. The teachers should discuss and space out the FA among the different subjects. They can also combine the FA of different subjects in a single project, which can have elements of learning for each of these subjects. For e.g. a project on 'Water conservation' can cover science, history, geography and mathematics
  3. The teacher should be able to easily access the student portfolios for assessment, either over the network (using an administrator login), or will need to copy the students files using pen drive/ external hard disk.
  4. In addition to these formal assessments, the school should also organize digital competitions for students, illustrative list of areas is provided below
    1. Poems and essays (all resources shared digitally)
    2. Digital Art
    3. Short film/ documentary
    4. Photo essay (natural events, birds, animals, nature)
    5. Cartoons
    6. Biopics
  5. Some of these competitions could be individual and some team-based. Similar events will be held at the Mandal, District and State level, and the school would depute students to these competitions.
  6. School can also organize an exhibition of the digital products for parents, created by students, during parent-teacher meetings. This will give the parents an idea of their student work and learning. Audio visual digital student creations can reach to even better to text-illiterate parents.

Teacher Capacity building to transact the subject

Every teacher will undergo training on ICT integration in education through the Telangana Subject Teacher Forum program. In this program, teachers will learn the different ICT applications and digital methods that are covered in the text book/hand book. The training will support the building of the 'techno-pedagogical-content knowledge' of the teachers, it would have both conceptual as well as hands-on sessions. During the training, the teacher will be made a member of the Subject Teacher Forum mailing groups.

Support and peer learning

The workshops will be supplemented and complemented by refresher program which would consist of self-learning by the teacher, for which digital self-learning materials will be shared with the teacher. It would also consist of peer-learning with colleagues in the school and Mandal and state-wide subject forums. These forums are meant for teachers to share ideas, experiences and resources and also for seeking help and peer support. It is expected that based on the workshop learning and the continuing self and peer learning through the forums, the teacher will build capabilities to transact the ICT text book.

If the teacher faces a challenge or difficulty in implementing the program, she can discuss with her colleagues in her school. In addition, she can also send an email to the mailing lists, discussing the issue. This mail could be responded to by other members of the forum, or by the core group. These discussions can also serve as a feedback on the text book, to the department, to incorporate suitably in the next revision.


The mind map below displays the implementation parameters graphically.