TE year1sourcebook/Topics of Study in the Unit
In this unit you will get familiar with the ICT environment, learn how to use different tools for accessing the internet and for communicating with one another. You will learn how to create your own personal digital library of resources. The unit will also introduce you to the history and development of ICT, the importance of Free and Open Source Software, Open Educational Resources and ethical practices in the use of ICT.
A brief history of ICT
The term 'ICT' refers to those set of technologies that help us create information, access information, process information and communicate with one another. Many of you may be using a cell phone to communicate, which even fifteen years ago would not have been the case with most students. The cell phone is a digital information and communication device, a part of the recent ICT revolution. Yet ICT are perhaps nearly as old as humanity itself, as human beings needed to communicate with one another, beginning with symbolic (non verbal) ways, before language was invented.
Language can be seen as the first 'ICT', it enabled (oral) communication amongst human beings. Script was the next ICT, invented around 5,000 years ago, which enabled information to be held distinct from the communicator and be made available beyond the limitation of space and time that oral communication imposed. You would be learning more about the processes of speaking and listening (comprising oral communication) and reading and writing (comprising written communication) in your courses on language learning. Writing also enabled easier recording of human history. Invention of printing technologies scaled up the 'writing' process and enabled mass production of books. The invention of radio and television created the 'mass media' in which simultaneously the same message could be transmitted to thousands of people. Each ICT invention enabled the processes of information creation, sharing, storing and communicating to become easier, quicker, more efficient, enabling greater reach; communication processes evolved leading to an explosion in human interactions, causing significant changes in societal processes. While human beings have always accessed information and communicated, what makes the present ICT special, is their digital nature, hence we can even refer to ICT, the subject matter of this course, as 'digital technologies'.
A brief history of ICT is provided in the table below.
|Knowledge model / Basis||Method||Storage||Sharing||Publishing (mass sharing)||Features|
|Oral / Language||Oral||Human memory||Speaking - Hearing||Not possible||Requires synchronicity of space and time.|
|Written / Script||Text||Books||Physical||Not possible||Shared knowledge across space and time, but in a limited manner|
|Print / Printing||Text||Books||Physical||Books||Explosion of information, due to large volume of books being available; information could be made available on a much larger scale|
|Mass Media/ Radio, TV||Analog/ Digital - Audio, video||Cassettes and similar analog devices||Physical||Broadcast transmission equipment||Mass reach across wide geographies|
|Digital (ICT)||Digital methods (text / audio / video editors)||Digital storage like hard disks||Websites, blogs, Wikis – 'desktop publishing'||Information spreads fast and wide. Much easier construction and much wider possibilities – text, audio, video. Formats of information can be combined|
We are now perhaps in the middle of the next epochal movement in the history of ICT - the use of digital methods for accessing, creating, modifying sharing, storing information as well as for communication. In the era of digital ICT, it became possible to encode information in "1"s and "0"s, called "bits" or binary digit, which could be read as a series of electrical signals. This allows different kinds of information to be captured without an elaborate physical device. An example of this can be seen how storage of music albums moved from gramaphone records, to cassettes to CDs to pen drives and to the mobile. Or in the case of photographs, where we have moved from images captured on film to digital images. The possibility of encoding information in the form of bits has made it possible for editing (and creating) to become easier, storage to become less cumbersome and transmission to become faster.
Digital technologies have been the most rapidly evolving technology in recent times and has brought about some very interesting scenarios in an educational context. For example, most of you would have been born after the beginning of the use of cell phones (the second generation or 2G cell phone technology was available for mass use from 1991), while many teacher educators would have been born before this period! This phenomenon creates an interesting inversion in the learning environment: in almost all other areas, the teacher (teacher educator) is more familiar than the learner (student teacher), while in case of ICT (more specifically in the skill of using ICT devices and methods), it can often be the opposite! Younger people may often pick up a technology quicker than older people. However, digital literacy includes both skills and deeper understanding of digital ICT. While student teachers may take to the learning of digital skills more easily, the experiences and insights of teacher educators can help student teachers develop a critical perspective towards digital ICT. This is essential, since digital ICT have a huge potential for doing harm as well as good.
You will learn to use digital ICT for two purposes in the first year - 'connecting and learning' and 'creating (generic resources) and learning', in the two units respectively. Before 'connecting and learning' you need to have a basic familiarity with the ICT devices and tools.
Basic familiarity with ICT devices and applications
What all can a computer do?
Have you ever wondered why a computer is different from a fridge? One clue to the difference is the number of things a computer can do. You can read a book, type a book, listen to music, play a video or access the internet. Now your smart phone can also do many of these things. What makes all these things possible is that unlike a fridge which has a specific purpose of cooling, a computer is a 'general purpose digital device'. The computer has an operating system, a software that allows the computer to receive inputs through the keyboard, mouse and other 'input devices', process these inputs and produce an output (which can be a display on a screen, a printout, or a video). The operating system works with different application software for performing different kinds of digital processes. The variety of tasks a computer can do, is due to the variety of the application software installed in it, this is what makes the computer (and the mobile phone or tablet) so powerful. See the image shown here for the hardware-operating system-application-user link. The user provides an input, which can be data like text or picture or an instruction on what to do with the data. This data is accepted by the application being used, and processed (process means to perform a series of operations on a set of data) to produce an output.
Learn more about the history of computers. Like computers, tablets and mobile phones also allow you to process and share information digitally.
The ICT environment
Any technology has a skill component and ICT is something all of us can practise for our own use. We will explore the basics of computer hardware and software and learn internet browsing, concept mapping as well as applications for editing text, numeric data, image, audio and video. At all times, we will try to see how ICT are relevant to your primary role of teaching-learning and will approach the learning and use of these applications from a pedagogical perspective.
ICT environment - Hardware
ICT refer to an entire range of devices that use digital methods to process represent and communicate information. The desktop computer, laptop, tablet and the smart phone are all ICT devices. The table below describes different parts of a desktop computer and peripherals, provided in the image.
|1. Scanner (nowadays scanning function is available in the mobile phone itself, hence a separate scanner is not common)||2. CPU (Central Processing Unit): does the processing work of the computer. Processors have been rapidly increasing in their power over the years and computer sellers usually indicate the processor in the product description, such as the Intel i7 processor.|
|3. RAM (Random Access Memory): This is the temporary / dynamic storage space in the computer. It will store frequently used applications and data in it, to increase the processing speed of the computer. The size of RAM determines how fast the computer works||4. Expansion cards - can be used for adding hardware components later|
|5. Power supply unit, which supplies power to the computer.||6. CD Drive – External storage device. This is now becoming obsolete as USB storage devices / 'pen drives' are becoming more popular|
|7. Hard disk: Hard disk stores the user data as well as the software. This storage capacity of the computer is specified in terms of GB (Gigabytes), 1 GB = 109 bytes or 1000,000,000 bytes||8. Motherboard: This is where all components are wired together|
|9. Speakers - amplify any audio played on the computer||10. Monitor, for displaying our instructions to the computer and its responses. Monitor consumes electricity, so should be kept in the 'off' mode when the computer is not being used|
|11. Operating System. An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. All computer programs (application software) require an operating system to function.||12. Application Software - An application program (app or application for short) is a computer program designed to perform a group of activities. Examples of an application include a text editor, a spreadsheet, a web browser, or a photo editor. The collective noun application software refers to all applications collectively|
|13. Keyboard, similar to a type writer keyboard, is an input device, used for typing instructions (text, numbers, special characters) for the computer.||14. Mouse, another input device, that works on the Graphical User Interface of the computer.|
|15. External Hard Disk, additional storage space.||16. Printer, output device|
Hardware: Parts 2-8, 10, 13 and 14 constitute basic hardware and are parts of all computing devices. These have now all been combined into one unit in a laptop or mobile. Largely, the hardware is divided into input and output and storage devices.
|Input Devices||Output Devices||Storage devices|
|Microphone||Printer||DVD / CD|
ICT environment - Software
We saw earlier that each ICT device must have an operating system (also called system software) to run other applications or programmes. Operating system starts automatically when you turn on the computer, this process is termed booting. All the other software to paint, type, listen to music, learn maths etc., are called application software or 'Apps' which work with the system software.
We will use the Ubuntu ‘Free and Open Source Software’ (called FOSS in short) operating system in our course. Operating systems use the Graphical User Interface (GUI, which is pronounced as goo-ee), to access the computer with a mouse. The popular desktop operating systems are Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OSx (Android is a popular operating system for mobile phones and tablets). You will learn about the functions of an operating system, using an example of Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system. With this learning, you can also operate a computer with Windows of Mac operating systems. Since Ubuntu is a FOSS operating system, FOSS applications like Office suite, web browser, educational software can be bundled with Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system. All these applications will be installed on the computers in your lab along with the operating system.
Installing operating system on the computer
Ubuntu installation is quite simple, and can be done by an average computer user. The minimum hardware required to install Ubuntu in a computer is:
- Minimum 40GB or above free space / separate partition in hard disk.
- Minimum 2GB RAM (4GB and above preferred)
- DVD reader or USB port
Electric power should be available during the installation process. You will need the Ubuntu software in a DVD or in a pen drive (as a boot-able USB device). If you are installing an operating system on a computer that is being used, please be sure to take a prior back up of the data on an external storage device.
In the computers in your lab, a custom distribution of Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system which contains all the educational software applications (see image 3) and utilities required to transact this paper, would have been installed. A copy of the Ubuntu custom distribution could be obtained from DSERT, if required. In case you need to install the system on the institution computers, or you would like to install in your own computer, you can do so. Being able to install the operating system itself on your computer is an empowering process. In many cases, if you face problems while using your computer, including serious issues such as hard disk crash, you can re-install the operating system to start using your computer again. The installation process for the custom Ubuntu GNU/Linux system is available in this document and you can become more familiar with your computer by exploring it. Since Ubuntu GNU/Linux is FOSS, you can install the same copy of the software on multiple computers, this is usually forbidden by proprietary software vendors.
Interacting with the operating system
Ubuntu performs other basic functions expected of an operating system, including the following:
- You can login to use the computer and logout when you are done
- Logging in: When you switch on your computer, you will see a login screen. Login with the user id (name) and password created by the system administrator. Ubuntu allows you to have a user interface in your own language (including Kannada), by specifying your language as the user language, during your user id creation. Once you have logged in, the home screen will appear.
- Shutting down the computer- After you have finished your work, you have to turn off the computer. You must turn it off by clicking on the last button on the right hand top corner and select shut down. Never turn off the power button without shutting the computer properly, as it can cause files to corrupt.
- Users can browse (and search for) the folders and files on the computer using Nautilus file browser
- Users can use different applications on their computer for creating and accessing files. You will learn some of these applications in Unit 2 (generic resource creation). The custom Ubuntu distribution comes bundled with a large number of educational applications as well as generic text, image, audio, video, animation resource authoring tools.
- Users can connect to other ICT devices - printers and scanners, mobile phones, pen drives, external hard disks and storage devices, external DVD writers etc.
- Users can connect to their local area network and the internet.
Adding FOSS applications to your computer
While Ubuntu will come bundled with many applications, you can also add more FOSS applications to your computer. Go to Applications > System Tools -> Software. You will need to type the required application name in the search bar. It will show all applications with the words you have entered and you will get an option for "Install". Click on "Install" if you want to install the application. If your search does not get the application(s) you want, try with fewer letters / words to search. It may ask your Ubuntu log in password for authentication, just type your Ubuntu password and press enter.
Learning to input with keyboard
Most of the instructions / input is given to the computer through the keyboard, hence it is important that you should be able to type efficiently, using all your fingers. Typing using the correct finger for each key on the keyboard will help improve the speed of input enormously. Earlier, to learn typing, one had to go to a typing class, but now the computer has Tux Typing software that you can use to learn typing.
The keys on the keyboard can be divided into several groups based on function:
- Typing (alphabets and numbers) keys: These keys are arranged as in a traditional 'QWERTY' typewriter
- Special purpose keys: These keys are used alone or in combination with other keys to perform certain actions, such as CTRL, ALT, ESC, Shift, Function keys etc.
- Navigation keys: These keys are used for moving around in documents / editing text. They include the arrow keys, HOME, END, PAGE UP, PAGE DOWN, DELETE and INSERT.
- Numeric keypad: The numeric keypad is handy for entering numbers quickly. The keys are grouped together in a block like a conventional calculator or adding machine. This block may not be available on all keyboards, numbers are also provided in the top rung of the keyboard.
Working with the Tux Typing application
To open Tux Typing go to Application > Education>Tux Typing. The steps are shown below in the gallery of Images 4-6
- When you open the Tux Typing application it will show the window as shown in the first image above in the gallery. Typing can be practised by selecting games and lessons.
- When you select the lesson option it will show the window as in the second image in the gallery. There are 43 basic lessons. Practice each of the lessons.
- When you select a lesson, Tux Typing will show a window and ask you to press space bar and then the "p" key. If the 'Caps Lock' key is on (to type CAPITAL Letters) then Tux Typing won't work. Hence make sure this key is not on.
- After you practise these lessons sufficiently, you will find that you can use all your fingers for typing. This improves your typing speed. You need not look at the keyboard to type, so you can see the monitor as you type, which enables you to identify mistakes in typing.
Start practice typing
After clicking 'space bar' and 'p' key it will show the window as per the image shown here (Image 7). On the screen you can see items - Time, Chars (characters), CPM (characters per minute), WPM (words per minute), Errors and Accuracy; these basically tell you how well you are typing. You will find a blinking button on each finger to guide you as to which finger to be used for typing a given character. There will also be a blinking light around the character to be typed, on the virtual keyboard on the screen.
Learning to input with the mouse
Initially, the keyboard was the only device for providing instructions to the computer, but with the invention of the 'graphic user interface' (GUI in short), the mouse became an important input device. The mouse makes giving instructions much simpler by pointing the cursor to a place on the screen and clicking to select an instruction. You can become comfortable in using the mouse by practising with Tux Paint. Tux Paint features a simple interface and a fixed drawing area with access to previously made images using icons. Tux Paint is equipped with cartoon mascots which can encourage students to learn to use the mouse.
Student activity time (3 hours)
Familiarity with the ICT environment (2 hours)
Creating your cumulative resource folder (1 hour)
ICT for connecting and learning - the global digital library
One of the most powerful things about a computer is the ability to connect to another computer. The transfer of information through digital methods allows devices to be connected across time and space. It is not difficult to see the possibilities that this has for the way knowledge can be accessed and shared. The by-line of one IT company, Sun Micro-systems, was "The network is the computer", suggesting that the power of ICT is from the possibilities of networking/ connecting. By connecting people to one another, ICT allow the sharing of knowledge with one another and allow collaborative work and creation.
The internet is the demonstration of this possibility; the most important thing about ICT today is the internet. The internet has changed the way we think of communicating. Chatting with a friend using Whatsapp or Telegram, 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, you can connect to any computer in the world and access information. You can join other friends, form groups to learn about many things. Internet is also allowing new methods of learning through online courses and resource repositories.
What is the internet
If you want information about your bank balance, you can connect to your bank's computer from home and get the information that you want. There are many such computers in different organisations giving us different types of information. These computers are connected to one another, their network is called the internet. The internet is thus a physical network of millions of computers across the world, each of which has a unique identifier. Some of these computers act as 'servers', they store data which can be accessed by other computers and/or perform other functions to enable the movement of information across the network. The millions of computers which are part of the Internet, constitute a huge library with information on almost any issue. Apart from information, many of these computers also have applications or web tools, such as search engine, maps, translation, which have different purposes.
See the image shown here (Image 8) for how the layers of the internet are arranged. Each layer shows how the internet architecture developed through different inventions.
These computers communicate or share data with one another using the protocol called the TCP-IP, (transmission control protocol / internet protocol). As the name suggests, TCP/IP is the combination of TCP and IP protocols working together. Under TCP/IP each file being transported across the Internet is broken into smaller parts called "packets" by the server. Each packet is assigned an IP (Internet protocol) address of the computer it has to travel to. As the packet moves through the global network it is "switched" by a number of servers toward its destination, the requesting computer or "client" computer. These packets do not usually travel together on the internet. Packets from the same file may travel via different paths through different servers, but toward the same destination. This “splitting into packets” technology allows us to use the internet most efficiently. It means parts of a file can be shared across a number of phone lines instead of having to find one phone line to put a large file into. It is also hard to break the network, as the data will be routed around the trouble spot. In this respect TCP/IP can be likened to a group of cars which need to go to the same destination, but instead of all of them going on one road (which may be busy), each car can select a different road out of thousands of roads available. By picking the roads with least traffic, all cars can reach the destination in overall least time. The power of the internet to rapidly move information from any computer to any computer is because of the TCP/IP protocol. The TCP/IP protocol was invented by Vincent Van Cerf, Robert Kahn and Louis Pouzin.
World wide web
World wide web (www) is an application on the internet, which allows computers to access the internet in the form of a web page, using an application called the web browser. There are millions of pages of shared information on the computers in the network, created by many people and organizations, in the form of websites. The 'web-sites' we visit are nothing but folders of computers connected to the internet. A web site is a collection of related web pages. Web pages are identified by means of a URL (uniform resource locater), which is treated as the website address, usually beginning with “http://” .HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol, which is the method used for transferring web page information from the server to your computer.
Initially the access to the world wide web was only for downloading, this was called Web 1.0. Subsequently the second generation of world wide web was evolved, called Web 2.0., where users can create their own materials and publish on the internet, using software tools like blog or wiki. A blog is like a e-journal and teachers can create their own e-journals for reflective practice using software tools such such as WordPress. See the image here (Image 9) on what the Web 2.0 has brought to information sharing and connecting.
We have moved further along now to collaborative creation of web pages, through online collaboration platforms. Now more and more processing can be done on the internet, where the data, results and analysis is stored the internet and we can operate/ add/ access through various web based applications. This is called Cloud Computing.
To access the web sites or web pages on the worldwide web, we need to connect to the internet (through a connectivity device) and use an application called the web browser. In this unit we will be using a free and open source web browser such as Mozilla Firefox. It is an application that allows you to browse the world wide web and search for information. Web browsers allow a user to quickly and easily get information provided on many web pages at many websites. We already saw that each website is a page on the internet and has an address. We can copy and paste the link directly in the address bar of a web browser. The browser opens one web page, which has links to other web sites / web pages which we can visit by clicking on the links. Each of the subsequent pages will also have many links which we can click on. Thus we can visualise the world wide web as a huge mansion with many rooms, each room having many doors. When we enter a room (open a web page), we can access the resources in that room. We can also go from that room to other rooms through the several doors that this room has (go from one web page to another web page by clicking on any of the links on the page we are in). The new room also would have many doors. Thus we can go through the mansion from room to room (web page to web page) through the door (web link) in each room. Though the entire web is very huge, we only access it one page at a time.
Browsing the web is taking the tour of the global virtual world, hence it will have rewards as well as expose you to risks and dangers. Refer to the last section in this chapter for internet safety suggestions.
|An important philosophical justification of using FOSS in education, is that the teaching learning processes should not be constrained by the access to learning resources. While proprietary software is prohibited from being shared or modified, FOSS has been developed to support free sharing and customisation as per needs of the user. Hence in this course, we will only learn to use FOSS tools. However the learning will focus on the processes that the tools support, so that the student-teacher can also easily figure out how to use a proprietary equivalent if required.
While we learn to use the Firefox FOSS browser here, with this learning, a student teacher can use a proprietary browser such as Edge from Microsoft.
Opening and accessing the web browser Firefox
- Mozilla Firefox will appear under Applications > Internet >Firefox Web Browser, as shown in the first image in the web browser gallery (Image 10)
- If you know the web address you can type it in the address bar. Ex; www.upsc.gov.in. See the second image in the gallery (Image 11)
- In the third image (Image 12), you will see how to access a website if you don’t know the particular web address. You can type the key word of searching object Ex;UPSC. You can search not only for text, but also for images, videos using search engine. Some examples of search engines are Google search engine or DuckDuckGo search engine. You can search not only for text, but also for images and videos You can download the file (video, text file, image file) to your computer.
- The fourth image in the gallery shows the Google search engine, the search results has options for searching the web, or images or videos. You can download the file (video, text file, image file) in to computer (Image 13).
World wide web - A global digital library for connecting and learning
For making teaching more effective, a resource rich learning environment is necessary, though teachers may sometimes only have the text book for their subject. The text book is intended primarily for the student, and the teacher needs to access resources that are a super set of the topic as dealt in the text book, so that she is well placed to teach using different approaches, based on the contexts and needs of the students. Teachers must also be resourceful to address any doubts or questions that may arise in class or elsewhere on the topic. The world wide web with its millions of web pages can be seen as a "Global Digital Library", which has resources on many topics. To harness this library, we need to know how to search for information on the web. After accessing the resources, making meaning depends on our skills to evaluate and organize these resources. The resources available in the Global Digital Library can be organized into a meaningful personal digital library on our own computer, to support self learning.
Resources are likely to be available on all topics that may be of interest to a teacher. Resources are available in different formats on the internet- text, images, videos, audio files etc. The text resources, however, are available predominantly in English. The same volume of information may not be available in other languages, Teachers need and can contribute to on-line resources in Kannada and other local languages, to increase the local language resources on the web.
The internet and the web, a product of digital ICT, have thus changed the way we think of accessing information or communicating. The emergence of the internet and the web has changed the way we are accessing information. Getting data about something is not so difficult any more and this can be a great advantage for the teacher for her professional development. With information being more readily available, skills need to be developed for accessing, organizing and evaluating information. The internet is also allowing new methods of learning through on-line courses and blended learning methods, thus making us rethink what we learn and how (where) we learn.
Accessing information on the internet - Search engine
A popular way of finding information on the internet is through the use of a search engine. Search engine is a web tool that can help access a large amount of relevant information in a very short time.
The search engine has enormous implications for our processes of teaching-learning. In the past, rote learning (remembering information) has been seen as important, since such committing information to memory would allow us to access it when needed. Traditional Indian schools also had memorising scripts as an important learning method. However, with ICT, that has changed. Due to information explosion, it is now impossible to commit to memory the amount of information surrounding us. Secondly, thanks to methods of storage and retrieval, including use of search engines, the need to memorise has also reduced. Twenty years back, we used to remember telephone (land-line) numbers, which were not too many. Now with large number of contacts we have, we cannot do such memorisation, and we do not need to memorise phone (cell phone) numbers, since we can store it in the phone itself and can retrieve by name. In the same way, any factual information can be retrieved in a fraction of a second, reducing the need to memorise.
Thus while in the past, teaching often emphasized dissemination of information, now that is neither required, nor would students readily accept it. Teaching has to hence necessarily move to the next order of interpreting, critically reflecting on facts to assess and make meaning. Thus in a way, search engines have done the processes of learning a good turn, by making information transmission a largely redundant part of learning.
Searching text and image resources
The following gallery of images (Images 14-15) show how to look for information on the web using a search engine.
- You could look for text information by simply typing the key word of the content you want to search about. In the first image in the gallery 'Searching text and image resources", you can see text information accessed for "Digital Story Telling" in the search bar of the search engine (Image 14). You can copy the search results information and can paste into your own text document.
- You can also search for images using a search engine. For example: If you want to search images about Digital Story Telling, simply type "Digital Story Telling" in the search bar of the search engine and select ‘Images’ link. Here you can select images that are licensed for reuse (licensing is discussed in detail in the section on Open Educational Resources) by specifying the search settings, as shown in Image 15. If you want to download or save images to your computer, right click on the image and click on "Save image as".
- Firefox has in-built search button for Google, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, Bing and few other popular search engines. The DuckDuckGo search engine does not store your searches, which allows you privacy, whereas Google search engine and most other search engines store your searches, which compromises your privacy.
How to evaluate an Internet resource / web site
There are a few things you must check when we look at the usefulness of the information on any website.
- Source of the website. Whose website is it ? How to contact the website owner/manager? (check the 'About Us' link that is usually provided on a web site to get this information). It is important to know about the source of the information, to get a sense of its authenticity
- What kind of web site - commercial, educational, etc. ? Educational sites or non-commercial sites may be more reliable, generally, since they are not trying to 'sell' you something
- What is the copyright of the content on the site? Is it providing information on free or paid or subscription basis?
- Features of a website: How useful a website is depends on how many different ways we can access the information and use it and view it. Can it be used by teachers, students, general public? The understanding of this will also help us determine how much we can use the content.
- Relevance: Often when we search, we may immediately share the first page we find, with others. However, it is important to read (at least quickly) the contents of the page, to help you get a sense of the relevance of the page for your purpose. Information use is very contextual and depends on its vintage as well. If the information is very old, we need to test for accuracy. For teaching-learning resources see if the information is for teachers or for the general public
- Use of multiple websites: Accessing only one website may give us only one kind of information. Using more than one website will give multiple perspectives. We can also cross check and identify errors if any. For teaching-learning resources, particularly check if the information is reliable by checking more than one website.
- For the same purpose, more the internal and external web links on a page, more useful it can be, since it can lead us to more resources.
|Student activity time
Did you notice any difference in the number of resources available in English for anything you searched in comparison to Kannada or other languages? Can you think of why this might be?
Web browsers allow you to mark bookmarks, which are simply short-cuts to web sites. You can book mark sites you visit often.
To add a bookmark: Go to Menu Bar and click the bookmarks and click on "add this to bookmarks" to save the current page as a bookmark. By default, new bookmarks are saved to the Unsorted bookmarks folder, shown here in Image 16. If you want separate folder for a set of bookmarks, you can also create as per your requirements.
Save web page to use offline
After you have accessed the resources, you can save web pages offline to use without internet. To save the page, right click on the page and click on "Save Page As". In the save tab, you can give specific file name and in the file format you need to select "Web Page Complete" and then click SAVE. Now it will save html file with a thumbnail folder,which will contain the images in the page. By clicking on html file you can view web page offline. See Image 17 for a screenshot of how to save a page offline.
Apart from using search engines to search for information, there are several web tools which cater to different information requirements. These include on-line maps which provide map information (such as OpenStreetMaps or Google Maps), on-line dictionaries (such as Shabdkosh), digital albums (such as Flickr), translation tools (such as Google translate) etc.
Student activity time (2 hours)
Your faculty would have demonstrated different kinds of websites. In groups, look for websites in the different categories - for example, news, educational, commercial, institutional, entertainment, etc. In each group, use a search engine to access different websites on the internet. Search and make a list of 3-5 websites. Enter these addresses in your note book and download information, consisting of web pages, image, videos, etc relevant to your topic.
Search for resources connected to the topic you have identified. Open Wikipedia and search within Wikipedia for topics of your interest and the topic you have identified.
References: Learn Firefox
ICT for connecting and learning - creating a personal digital library (PDL)
A personal digital library (PDL) is simply a folder containing a set of sub-folders and files on your computer, which contain information categorized on a particular topic. You can store information on different topics of interest to you in different folders, which together constitute your PDL on your computer.
The PDL is 'personal' meaning it is available on your own computer, for your use any time. It is 'digital'; it is available in a digital format, which makes it easy for you to store, search and share. Most importantly, it is a 'library' meaning the digital resources are organised meaningfully, for you to easily access information when you want it. For your chosen topic, you can create a PDL, consisting of the set of resources downloaded from the Global Digital Library, in your folders and sub-folders. You can later create a 'meta document' for each topic, using a simple text editor, which will have information about the resources and the files stored in the PDL.
You can build such libraries on any topic you are interested in, and support your own self-learning in a structured manner. Since the internet has resources on almost all topics, you have an opportunity to keep learning on topics of your interest. The topic or area need not be only one of theoretical interest or only to build your knowledge. You can also work on building skills, for example, there are likely to be videos available for helping you learn a new language.
You can share this personal digital library with your colleagues, by simply copying the folder containing the sub-folders and files, so that they can also benefit. When teachers share their personal digital libraries / resources from their library with their colleagues, cumulatively, it creates a rich and diverse resource environment. (You may already be sharing music and video files with your friends on your phone or computer, for entertainment, the PDL extends the same idea for academic purposes).
There are a few steps in creating the PDL.
- Make a folder (this could be under your 'home' folder or your 'documents' folder) on the computer by topic, the topic name can be the folder name. Always give full and complete names to any folder or file, avoid using abbreviations or acronyms. This way, just reading the folder or file name will give you an idea of its contents.
- This can have sub folders for ‘Text’, ‘Image’ and ‘Audio Video’ for saving your save your text, image, audio and video files respectively.
- You could instead create sub folders for different sub-topics for your topic and save your files based on the sub topic. For instance, the topic 'energy' could serve as the name of your folder, within which you could create sub-folders for heat, light, magnetism, electricity etc. You should think about the way you would want to access your library later, and create the sub-folders (and sub sub-folders) on the basis of this hierarchy. Searching for files later becomes easier if you have categorised them and then organised them in folders based on these categories.
- As a teacher, you could also have the 'academic year' as the base folder, within which you could create the resource folders and sub folders, for topics connected to your teaching. This way, when you begin a new year (2017-18), you can simply copy the folder of the previous academic year (2016-17) with the new year (2017-18) as the folder name. You can then add, modify or delete files in the sub folders within this year folder as per your requirements for the new year.
- Access relevant resources - web pages, text files, images, animations, audio clips, videos, from internet. Make sure you check the copyright information on these resources and identify those resources which allow you to re-use.
- Save these on relevant sub-folders in your folder.
- Create a 'meta' document which will provide your thoughts on the topic (you will learn how to create a text document in unit 2, so this can be done later). For now, this meta document can be created on a paper and can be digitized later.
- Copy links of the resources you find useful, and which you would like to refer to later, in your meta document
- Add your own comments, suggestions in the meta document, and connect the resources accessed and shared, with your ideas to create a resource document on the selected topic.
Student activity time (4 hours)
References: Learn Ubuntu
ICT for connecting and learning - Professional learning communities of teachers
Many professions have their own professional associations. These associations provide a forum for continuous interactions with fellow practitioners (peers) and allow methods of learning beyond the college or university. You would have learnt about social constructivism and peer learning. Teachers, as professionals too need to connect regularly to their peers, for sharing their experiences, practices as well as insights. They also need to be able to contact peers as well as mentors for seeking support.
While professional communities and associations have been there for a long time, ICT have made possible ways of connecting and communicating with one another simpler and more accessible. On-line communities are often a good way of continuing interactions beyond the time and space restrictions of physical meetings, and can provide for learning beyond workshops. On-line communities can be mailing forums or discussion groups and can be accessed either through your phone or computer.
The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCF-TE, 2010) envisions teacher education with the following key components: (i) collaborative networks for learning and sharing, (ii) continuous learning and (iii) different paths and spaces for learning. It regards peer learning as an important component of Teacher Professional Development.
Professional Learning Communities are a recent method for continuing professional development and by providing teachers with peer support, it can be a sustainable method of development. You will form a ICT based learning community of all your classmates, and use this network over the course to share your ideas, experiences and learnings, seek support and feedback of classmates for collaborative learning.
Participation in online, email and mobile-based forums
Since the internet is a network of computers, you can send messages (called 'emails' or simply 'mails') from your computer to others, who can access it on any computer connected to the internet. You may be using a 'free' (as in free of cost) email such as Gmail. You should know that your mails can be 'read' by the email provider Google. Just like Google retains your 'searches' information, it also 'machine reads' your mails, so that it can show you advertisements based on the content of your searches and mails.
Your mails may also be 'tapped' by authorised and unauthorised entities as it passes over the internet. Hence you need to take the maximum care of your digital information and be careful of what you share digitally. You should not assume that anything digital is automatically private and confidential, it may not be.
Using a web mail application - Gmail
Most of you will already have a Gmail or another mail account. You can refer to the Gmail handout for information on how to create a Gmail account.
Composing, sending and receiving emails
To compose a new message using Gmail, click "Compose". This can be found on the left panel,and is shown in the first image, Image 18, in the email gallery. When you click on that you see a panel open for composing a new mail. Image 19 below in the gallery shows how you can start composing your new mail.
Some basic features of the 'compose mail' form are discussed below:
- To: Enter the email address(es) of the recipient(s)
- Cc: “Carbon copy” - Enter additional email address(es) (not the main recipient; meant to keep others informed)
- Bcc: “Blind carbon copy” - This can have another email address (any email addresses entered here will be hidden from other ids addressed in the mail)
- Subject: Enter a few words to describe what your email is about
- Body of the email: Type your message. Click on attachment icon (next to send icon) to attach your local files (text files, images, etc.) with the mail and send it to the recipient. After you have done all the above steps and if are ready to send your mail, just click on Send icon.
- To access your sent mails, click on Sent from the left side panel.
Checking mails and replying
Your Inbox displays all email messages you have received. By default, unread messages in your Inbox have a white background and display in bold lettering while read messages have a grey background and normal type.
|Please note that these kinds of colour schemas will change over time, as the software providers make revisions to the software. Hence it is important to learn and understand the concept / process (differentiating between read and unread mails, for easy reference) rather than the implementation (white v/s grey backgrounds). This approach to learning (concept/process v/s specific functionality implementation) will also help you to more easily learn a second application for the same functionality (such as yahoo mail for email), since you will be looking for the specific processes (distinguishing between read and unread mails) than the specific implementation in the earlier tool you have learnt.|
Downloading an attachment
You will see here an image (Image 20) that shows you how to download an attachment to your mail. A paper clip icon next to an email indicates that there is an attachment with the mail
- To download an attachment in an email, open mail and scroll down the message and come to the file attached.
- You can either view or download the file (down arrow mark).
- Click on Download
- A window will appear Click on Save (see image 18)
- Choose the location where you want to save the file; click on Save to finish
Sign out from the account
This is a very important step to secure your mail privacy. Logging out of your Gmail account is essential, particularly if you use public computers. This is important even on your own personal computer. Your Gmail account may contain sensitive or private information, and signing out will help protect it.
- Click on your name or small circle with your starting letter of your user name, which displayed on top right side of your screen, (image 21).
- Click on it and select sign out or logout.
Social networking is another method of connecting people. Usually social networking platforms allow people to set up their profiles / create their own identities, and connect to other people sharing common interests, backgrounds or real life connections. While these are good for quick sharing of information and chatting, they are not well suited for academic discussions since, unlike a mailing list, the discussions are not 'threaded' (linked) which makes tracking a discussion difficult and retrieving a past discussion very difficult. Secondly, many social networking platforms do not charge the users, as they monetise user data. This can have larger privacy related concerns (as mentioned earlier, such privacy concerns also affect gratis mail services including Gmail). Many schools do not allow access to social networking sites, also because, it is often a source of cyber bullying.
Student activity time (2 hours)
References: Learn Gmail
Equitable access to ICTs
Technology needs to be seen as a resource of society, hence we need to enable all to be able to access it, interact with it, benefit from it and contribute to it. More and more people should be able to use ICT in a manner appropriate for their needs; for this, access to ICT should be treated like a public good, like public education or public health.
The easy sharing of digital documents makes ICT quite powerful – instead of physically photo copying documents, making digital copies of the document is simpler and also almost free. Hence it would seem obvious that digital modes of information production and sharing would make resources easy to access, covering all kinds of digital items including content and software. However, there have been very strong forces that have worked against such easy sharing.
Sharing has been made difficult using technological methods as well as legal methods. Legal methods have been through releasing software or content using restrictive licenses, that forbid sharing or modifying (making these 'proprietary' instead of 'open'). Technological methods have been to not release the source code (in case of software), which is required for making modifications and by using techniques that prevent 'copy paste' processes. 'Proprietary' software which forbids sharing and customising is unfortunately popular amongst ICT users.
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
Fortunately, in the case of software, there are 'free software' communities that have developed software and released it on liberal conditions, that allow free sharing and modifying. Dr Richard Stallman, who was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, established the Free Software Foundation, which worked to develop software applications and released them under a 'General Public License' (GPL), which allows the user four freedoms – to use, study, modify and share. The GPL also insists that any changes made to a free software should also be released on same terms. Please note that 'free' refers to the 'freedom' to re-use, share, modify and re-distribute and not to 'free of cost'. We can use 'gratis' to indicate 'free of cost'.
Open Educational Resources (OER)
Similarly in the case of content or learning materials, the 'open educational resources' (OER) movement aims to support creation of digital materials that allow the four rights – right to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute (called the 4 Rs).
Teachers often will need to contextualise materials (make changes as per their own needs), which copyrighted materials would not allow. Hence there is a need to produce learning resources and make these available with minimal copyright restrictions. The 'Open Educational Resources' movement aims to release materials with minimal restrictions, which will allow teachers to freely 're-use', 'revise', 're-mix' and 're-distribute' materials. Teachers can access available OER from the internet and create their own digital libraries on their computers for different topics of their interest. Teachers can release materials they create as OER, so that other teachers can give feedback as well as revise/refine the same to make it better quality.
FOSS and OER movements aim at providing digital resources that are licensed to allow you to make copies. In addition, you can modify the software / content resource and share again. FOSS and OER are necessary to adopt to promote equitable access to ICT.
Inclusive use of ICT
By allowing for different methods of representing information (in different formats, using different tools) and communicating, digital ICT provide diverse set of opportunities to support different (multiple intelligences) learning styles. Moving away from only the written word, to using images, audio and visuals to communicate understanding and making meaning allows for a more inclusive learning environment.
In addition, there are specialised hardware and software applications to support visually, hearing and speech challenged learners. Text to speech converters are useful for visually challenged such as the FOSS application ORCA, speech to text converters can help those who are unable to use the keyboard and mouse as input devices (these are available on mobile phones now for simple tasks like making calls, searching the net etc.). On most screens, the font size can be increased (usually by simply selecting CTRL ++) to the size required, which can help some people with poor vision. Teachers need to be sensitive to such options for using ICT to support inclusive learning.
Student activity time (2 hours)
Participate fully in the digital world - by accessing, downloading, modifying and sharing digital resources.
Ethical use of ICT
You will be learning to use ICT for many purposes. However, you should know that ICT use can be beneficial or harmful, and you need to use your judgement in the use of ICT. Ethical challenges in the use of ICT can arise in the following situations:
- Plagiarism - showing resources created by others as created by oneself
- Using others' resources without their permission, or as per the 'license' associated with the resource.
- Participating in a virtual forum in an offensive manner, violating the etiquette of virtual forum behaviours
You need to be aware of these dangers and learn to avoid these, and help your classmates also avoid these.
Plagiarising - copying resources created by others and representing it as yours
While it is easy to copy a resource from the internet and include in your own work without giving credit to the creator, it is an unethical practice. This is called 'plagiarism', the more familiar word is 'copying'. Referring to other resources, 'citing' them in your work, or adapting them to meet the needs of your work are ethical activities. This is called 'fair use' of materials created by another person. What is 'minor' copying or 'large' depends on the situation, and you need to use your judgement. In case of doubt, always discuss with your faculty, classmates and friends. One simple rule you can adopt - use materials from existing OER sources, and give credit to the source, in your own document.
Violating the 'license' associated with the resource
Digital resources, including software and content always have an associated 'license' of use. In case the software or content is licensed as 'proprietary', where the creator has all the rights, and has not given any rights to others, then using the digital resource is illegal, without paying the required license fee and unethical. Such use is called 'piracy'. You may find it technically very easy to just 'copy-paste' an article from the internet or copy a proprietary software program from another computer, or download a movie from the internet which is not licensed to be copied. All these would be unethical practices and must be avoided. For the same reason, your school computer lab, when you enter an institution, must not have any pirated software. If you find any pirated software or content in the school / institution computers, please do bring it to the notice of the head of the institution or the lab in-charge.
One way of avoiding this unethical practice, is to use and promote Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and Open Educational Resources (OER). It is ethical to use FOSS and OER. It is unethical to pirate proprietary software or content.
If a digital resource has no explicit copyright clause mentioned, it means it is owned by the creator with no rights for others. Hence when you create a digital resource, please take care to explicitly mention that it is an OER. You can do this by providing the copyright clause such as - "Copyright - Creative Commons CC BY SA 4.0", you can mention this in the first page itself, below the title of the article.
Ethical use of internet
The Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility has prepared the 'ten commandments' or ten rules for use of computers, some are listed below:
- You should not use a computer to harm other people.
- You should not interfere with other people's computer work.
- You should not snoop around in other people's computer files.
- You should not use a computer to steal.
- You should not copy or use proprietary software for which you have not paid
- You should not use other people's computer resources without authorization
- You should always use a computer in ways that ensure consideration and respect for others
This can be pasted on your computer lab as 'Do's and Dont's of using the lab.
The virtual world also can be as or more dangerous than the real world. Cyber bullying (including by students of other students), abusive communication, on-line fraud including transfer of funds from your bank accounts etc are common. A June 2011 Consumer Reports "State of the Net" survey "unearthed several disturbing findings about children and Facebook": One million children were harassed, threatened, or subjected to other forms of cyber bullying during 2010.
- Of the 20 million minors who actively used Facebook in the past year, 7.5 million - or more than one-third - were younger than 13 and not supposed to be able to use the site.
- Among young users, more than 5 million were 10 and under, and their accounts were largely unsupervised by their parents.
Student activity time (1 hour)
Read these news articles and discuss among your friends. Think of the steps you should take to avoid getting into trouble.
Apart from harm that may be inflicted by others through the internet, there is harm from excessive use of the internet. See Man treated for Internet addiction. South Korea, the country which has the highest density of internet use has internet de-addiction centres in more than 100 hospitals. Like any other resource, the internet needs to be used wisely, there is a danger of misuse, abuse and over-use. Please visit the following sites to learn about safe internet use
Apart from harm to yourself, the use of the internet can cause problems for your computer, through malware (software viruses), or spam (unwanted mails).
Do not download any software or content to your computer from the internet, unless you have clear instruction from your college/ faculty. Before clicking on any link, consider if that link may lead you to malware or any fraud. Avoid downloading any content, unless you are reasonably sure it is genuine. By only downloading content that is licensed as OER, you reduce your chances of downloading malware.
Courtesy in email communication
In case of emails, do not open any mail from an unknown person. Do not click on / download any attachment, unless you are expecting it, even if the same appears to be from a known person. Secondly, always participate in email discussions with utmost courtesy and respect to others. The email medium is prone to 'flame wars' where members exchange angry and offensive mails. The email medium has many serious limitations compared to a face-to-face communication, since it is difficult to communicate ones feelings and thoughts fully and clearly through short / terse written texts. Hence you need to take extra care to not get caught in any such inflammatory or angry or offensive discussions.
'Trolling' is a process in which many one or more people may gang up together to intentionally make offensive and inflammatory responses. In your mailing network of fellow student teachers, the administrator must take firm actions (such as warning offenders, suspending posting rights etc) against members who communicate in offensive ways.
You can access the global digital library for resources for all your subjects. On almost any topic, you are likely to find many articles and you will need to assess the academic value of any material before using it.
The virtual forums formed with your cohort can be used to discuss topics relating to all your courses. Threaded discussions on any topic can over time, become a resource in themselves. Topics need not be very specific to the topics in your source books, but can be on broader issues or topics in any course. You can use the virtual forums to share your experiences and ideas, and also resources created by you for feedback from your cohort. Giving and taking feedback can in itself be a powerful academic process. While physically giving and taking feedback on your work can be quite difficult and time consuming, virtual forums can be an easy yet powerful way of doing the same.
- You would have downloaded resources (open educational resources) on the topics chosen by you, in your computer, in your PDL
- You would have many emails in your Inbox, you can save an email which has useful comments in your 'mail' folder on your computer, or on a mail folder on the web