Monday, July 1, 2013


Educational Technology

The significance of Educational Technology (ET) as a
site for curriculum planning has been widely recognised,
but detailed guidelines and strategies for its educationally
optimum use have not yet been worked out. Generally,
technology has been used as a medium to disseminate
information, and as a way of addressing the scarcity
of good teachers—usuallythe consequence of poor
recruitment policies.ET, which is used toredress the problem
of quality of teaching, can only exacerbate the disillusionment
of teachers withteaching. If ET is to become a means of enhancing
curricular reform, it must treat the majority of teachers
and children not merely as consumers but also as active
producers. There must be widespread consultation
regarding use during development and implementation.
ET facilities need to be used at all levels of schools —
cluster and block resource centres, district, state and
national level institutions — in order to provide handson
experience in using ET. Such experiences provided
to children, teachers and teacher educators, could
include something as simple as the audio-recording of
an interview with a village elder, to making a video
film or a video game. Providing children more direct
access to multimedia equipment and Information
Communication Technology (ICT), and allowing them
to mix and make their own productions and to present
their own experiences, could provide them with new
opportunities to explore their own creative imagination.
Such an experience of ET production, rather than
only watching and listening to programmes in a passive
way, can lay the foundation for far better utilisation of
the country’s enormous ET facilities. Interactive,
Net - enabled computers, rather than only CD-based
computer usage, would facilitate a meaningful
integration of computers and enhance the school
curriculum in rural and remote areas by increasing
connectivity and enhancing access to ideas and
information. It is such two-way interactivity rather than
one-way reception that would make technology
educational. Rather than trying to reproduce and mimic
classroom situations, orteaching the textbook
content, or animating lab experiments, ET could
realise far better potential if topics are taken up but
developed into non-didactic explorations, leaving
learners free to relate to the knowledge web
progressively, and learn at their own levels of interest.
Such access to knowledge in regional languages is still
very limited, and is one of the main reasons for the
persistent and growing divide between learners from
urban and rural schools, and learners from regional -
language and English - medium schools. The potential
of such encyclopaedias and documentaries for children
is still underdeveloped. Materials such as textbooks,
workbooks and handbooks for teachers can be
designed with the awareness of existing stocks of
good-quality audio or video material and sites where
extra resources are available on the Net. Classics of
cinema need to be made accessible through such
measures. For instance, a child studying about village
life should have easy access to Satyajit Ray’s classic,
Pather Panchali, either as a CD to be borrowed from
the CRC or to be viewed on a nationally managed
website. Future textbooks need to be conceptualised
For primar y school children, video simulations and
demonstrations cannot substitute for hands-on
experiences and learning.
and designed in ways that might integrate knowledge
in different subjects and experiences, thus facilitating
the assimilation of knowledge. For instance, a middle
- school textbook that discusses the history of Rajasthan
and mentions Meera should be able to offer the text
of a bhajan composed by her, and also refer to a
source where that bhajan has been archived, so that
children can listen to M.S. Subbulakshmi singing it.
Integration of knowledge and experience along
these lines would take away the sense of burden and
boredom that our present-day education induces. In
science and mathematics, and in teaching children with
disabilities , the potential of ET, including IT, is widely
appreciated. It is important to realise this potential in
achieving curricular goals, with more age-specific
planning on the use of ET. Governments and other
agencies responsible for financial planning need to take
this fuller range of ET’s demands and benefits.


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