Educational functionaries throughout the world have admitted the fact that ICT is an essential pillar of the education system in the 21st century. A wide range of ICT intervention in education can be seen globally. Considering the importance of ICT, the state of Telangana has also taken many initiatives as listed below to reap the benefit of it.
Children in Government schools, who were accustomed to rote learning, are now taught via digital classes and audio sessions. The Telangana government introduced digital classrooms in 1,500 schools in the first phase from November 2016 as part of the government’s resolve to improve the quality of education. Schools which have LCD projector, computers, and Mana TV network were selected for the digital classroom programme. The selected schools provided computers which contain digital lessons for classes 6 to 10 for Telugu, English, mathematics, science, and social studies. Training for teachers was given to get accustomed to digital classrooms.
Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India launched Information & Communication Technology (ICT) @Schools scheme in the year 2008-09 in Telangana. The scheme was implemented in the state in two phases - ICT@5000 schools in year 2008-09 and ICT@1300 schools in year 2010-11. In the first phase 2159 schools were covered and in the second phase 535 schools. There were 7 private agencies that had partnered with the government for implementation of the scheme which includes NIIT, Educomp, Everonn, ECIL, Terasoft, Social Computers, and Institute of Electronic Governance (IEG). Phase 1 schools completed the first 5 years of the scheme in 2012-13 and phase 2 schools in 2014-15 academic year. Schools covered under ICT Phase 1 and Phase 2 were mostly Secondary schools. In this programme classes 6th to 10th were covered. All the students in the identified schools were taught computer basics like MS word, Excel, PowerPoint, Web browsing etc. Teachers were also trained in integrating the ICT in the teaching learning process.
Apart from the 2694 schools having ICT labs, KYAN projectors are given to 4000 secondary schools.
There are three existing sites that are major E content Repositories for School Education in Telangana and one site (VidyaDaan) launched in the year 2020.
The official website of SCERT is an important repository with all the e textbooks of classes 1 to 10 in 7 media uploaded on it. Apart from the textbooks many online programmes for teachers and students like the present webinar sessions being conducted by SCERT are all hosted on this website. It contains additional resource material in the form of audio and video lessons to enrich the learning experience of students and also help in self-learning.
Telangana Repository of Open Educational Resources (TROER):
TROER is an initiative of the Department of School Education, Government of Telangana for resource creation of the teachers, by the teachers and for the teachers to make available curricular resources as well as support continuous professional development through participatory resource creation. It is envisaged that teachers and teacher educators will collaborate to build OER on this platform. Participation by teachers can provide a sustainable model of creating and sharing educational resources that can enhance the educational outcomes.
The core principles of TROER are participation, contextualization, availability of open educational resources and supporting teachers’ professional development through participation in making curricular resources.
The resources have been developed for primary, elementary and secondary levels, along the framework developed in the National Curricular Framework, and as per the Telangana State Curriculum Framework. These resources include pedagogic approaches and classroom practices that will build towards the meta-knowledge of the practicing teachers and teacher educators and are meant to supplement and complement the textbooks.
A handbook for teachers and teacher educators is developed 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. A textbook for students, that introduces ICT skills and applications in a project based way, integrated with the different school subjects.
DIKSHA, TELANGANA is a digital platform launched by the School Education Department, Govt. of Telangana for the teaching community to create and exchange e-resources to bring about qualitative changes in the teaching learning process. Under the chairmanship of the Secretary Education, Govt. of Telangana, Commissioner and Director of School Education and with representatives from SCERT Telangana, Samagra Shiksha Telangana, different Universities, NIC, Telangana etc. as members constituted the Project Steering Committee of DIKSHA, Telangana for facilitating this digital interface for the teachers of the state. SCERT, Telangana being the Nodal Agency of DIKSHA, Telangana facilitates a panel of subject experts for review and curation of the contents to be uploaded in the portal. Under DIKSHA project till now 16 textbooks of all non-language textbooks of classes 8th and 9thin Telugu and English media have been energized with QR codes and implemented in the State. 37 more textbooks of Classes 6th to 10th will be energized with QR codes and implemented in the State from the academic year 2020-22.
To integrate digital education with schooling and learning, GoI has launched VidyaDaan, a program of the Nation, for the Nation and by the Nation for managing continuity of education on 21st April, 2020 for inviting e-learning contributions.
VidyaDaan in Telangana is launched during June, 2020 wherein teachers are invited to contribute content for class 6th General Science in Telugu and English media.
The digital lessons for Class 6 to Class 10 students developed by SIET and the lessons intended for teachers and trainees developed by SCERT are made available in the app.
Educational TV - T-SAT (MANA TV) Lessons:
Through T-SAT (Mana TV), SOFTNET live and recorded lessons are being transmitted for children of 6th to 10th classes, inservice Teachers and trainee Teachers i.e. for D.El.Ed. & B.Ed. Students. At present, about 2500 institutions in the State have the connectivity of T-SAT (Mana TV) ROTs (Receive only Terminal). The viewers can interact with the live presenters.
Web TV channel – SCERT YouTube channel
SCERT has started capacity building programmes for teachers through interactive webinar sessions daily for teachers starting from 27.04.2020 both on subject related topics and others that include usage of technology in teaching – learning, physical and mental well-being of students etc. The sessions also include inputs for headmasters and teachers to reach students in the context of delayed opening of schools to ensure continuous learning of students. The sessions are being telecast live on SCERT, Telangana YouTube channel and the questions sent by teachers on chat box are addressed at the end of the session. The viewerships of many of the webinar sessions have crossed the one lakh mark. The teachers can use the materials and resources developed and made available by SCERT in their teaching. Teachers shall also be encouraged to adopt different strategies of online teaching like conduct of webinars, use of local TV channels, WhatsApp groups, YouTube and other platforms to reach students and help them learn.
Computer Aided Learning in Elementary School (CAL):
Telangana State has implemented the CAL program from the year 2008-09, and 1516 Schools have been identified for CAL Program until 2012-13. A 5-day training to 7,580 teachers (@ 5 teachers per school was conducted to implement Computer Aided Learning in these schools. These Schools are Supplied with 80 titles of interactive multimedia CDs for classes III- VII, 8 Audio DVDs consisting of poems, songs, English rhymes and narratives based on text books for classes I, II, III, VI, VII, 100 animated “Vishwadhabhirama Vinuravema poems” along with Teacher handbook and 21 lessons in multimedia for class I.
ICT integrated “Subject Teacher Forum”:
UNICEF and RMSA, Telangana, envisioned initiating a programme with the approach of integrating information and communications technology into teacher education, focusing on building “Teachers Communities of Learning” to create digital learning resources and network with one another for sharing and learning. The program provides an opportunity for teachers to engage in discussions related to the different disciplines like mathematics, science, and social science, participate in an online community of learning and create and share open digital resources. The program is based on the extensive and intensive use of public digital resources to build and support teacher networks as well as to create a resource rich learning environment.
Connected Learning Initiatives (CLIx):
School Education Department, Government of Telangana in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) initiated CLIx project to work with 300 rural government schools in erstwhile 3 districts (after administrative changes in the state they become 13 districts) in Telangana State. CLIx is geared to provide engaging, hands-on learning experiences in Mathematics, Science, Communicative English and digital literacy, integrated with value education and skills relevant to the 21st century. As a platform for innovation in education, CLIx also supports the professional development of teachers, making substantial contributions to teacher education in Indian languages.
Currently, CLIx implementation activities are being undertaken in 300 schools in 13 districts of Telangana. These districts are Ranga Reddy, Vikarabad, Medchal, Warangal (U), Warangal (R), Jangaon, Jayashankar, Mahabubabad, Rajanna, Karimnagar, Siddipet, Peddapalli and Jagityal. Of these 300 schools, 70 are fully functional and an additional 65 are close to functional.
English Language Proficiency Course:
The state of Telangana has introduced English Medium in Government schools from class 1 to 10. To equip the teachers in transacting in English Medium, SCERT in collaboration with Azim Premji University has designed, developed and launched an ‘English Language Proficiency Course’ being conducted separately for Primary and Secondary teachers. SCERT in collaboration with Azim Premji University conducted a Need Assessment survey done in the four major language skills i.e., listening, speaking, reading and writing. After thorough discussions on the findings of the Need Analysis Report with the Subject Experts from Azim Premji University, the Objectives for the English Language Proficiency Course were designed. A blended course on ‘English Language Proficiency’ was co-developed and after conducting the first batch training in blended mode the course was transformed to entirely online mode in view of lockdown due to COVID 19 pandemic.
Training to teachers on ‘ICT in Education’:
SCERT is at present working on a program to provide training to teachers on ‘ICT in Education’ in collaboration with CIET, NCERT. SCERT, Telangana under the initiative and guidance of CIET prepared the curriculum for training on ‘ICT in Education’ during the year 2019-20. For 2020-21 it is proposed to conduct training to teachers based on the curriculum. The ICT in Education Curriculum for Teachers of Telangana is designed to provide an enhanced exposure to information and resources for improving teachinglearning-evaluation, support for continuous professional development and achieve quality through increased productivity. The implementation of the ICT in Education curriculum is expected to equip every teacher in the state with necessary competencies for integrating ICT in the teaching learning process. It will enrich the teaching-learning process and to make it more interactive, interesting and engaging for the students and productive for the teachers.
SCERT on twitter (@ScertTelangana):
SCERT has created a twitter account with the handle @ScertTelangana to share the latest updates with the teachers, children and educationalists across the state.
Though digital lessons are being telecast by SIET, SCERT as the apex academic body at state level for school education and the academic authority for elementary education is catering to the online education component of both teachers and students.
SCERT has started capacity building programmes for teachers through interactive sessions daily for teachers starting from 27.04.2020 both on subject related topics and others that include usage of technology in teaching – learning, physical and mental well-being of students etc. The sessions also include inputs for headmasters and teachers to reach students in the context of delayed opening of schools to ensure continuous learning of students. The sessions are being telecast live on SCERT, Telangana YouTube channel and the questions sent by teachers on chat box are addressed at the end of the session. The viewership of many of the webinar sessions has crossed the one lakh mark. The teachers can use the materials and resources developed and made available by SCERT in their teaching. Teachers shall also be encouraged to adopt different strategies of online teaching like conduct of webinars, use of local TV channels, WhatsApp groups, YouTube and other platforms to reach students and help them learn.
Online Certificate Programmes:
The first batch of ‘English Language Proficiency’ co-developed by SCERT, Telangana and APU was conducted in blended mode during 2019. Now the course is transformed to entirely online mode in view of lockdown due to COVID 19 pandemic.
SCERT in collaboration with NIRD has conducted a certificate programme for teachers on ‘Management of Mental wellbeing during COVID-19’ from 18th to 20th May, 2020. More than 55000 teachers have participated and were issued certificates.
SCERT in collaboration with CDAC, Hyderabad under Information Security Education Awareness (ISEA) project phase II, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India has conducted a programme on ‘Cyber Safety and Security’ to teachers from 27th to 30th May, 2020 to provide information on the risks and safety measures in view of the present demand of usage of ICT for ensuring continuous learning of students. For this programme also more than 55000 teachers have participated and were issued certificates.
SCERT has developed worksheets for classes 2 to 10 for all the subjects in 7 media being offered in the state. These worksheets shall be uploaded class / medium / subject wise on SCERT website for use by students on a daily basis.
As a pilot project audio version of literary works in Telugu in the form of poems – ‘ShatakaPadyalu’ is developed and uploaded on SCERT website so that students can learn, enjoy and appreciate them. It is now proposed to extend such work to other languages and non-language subjects as that shall also be in compliance to the needs of the CWSN children.
SCERT has also in collaboration with SIET developed videos for learning music that are included under co-curricular activities and uploaded on SCERT website so that they are used for self-learning by students. This activity shall also help the students to relax and be relieved of stress if any.
SIET has conducted the following activities in the context of COVID 19: