INFORMATION TECHNOLOGYINTEGRATION OF ICT IN TEACHER EDUCATION
A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT OF DSD, UNICEF, AND INTEL
Research Analyst, PAGE
Aug 03 - 09, 2009
Information Communication Technology has a great potential to contribute positively towards knowledge dissemination, effective learning and the development of more efficient education services. Today's classroom teachers must be prepared to provide technology-supported learning opportunities for their students. Why? Because that is the need of the knowledge-based economy of today.
Technology usage and knowhow of how that technology can support student learning must be made integral to every teacher's professional repertoire.
Teacher education in Punjab is currently undergoing a tremendous change with respect to latest teaching methodologies and incorporating ICT in daily classroom environment. Usage of ICT in pre-service teacher education is a relatively new phenomenon in Pakistan and there is a great deal of scope to further this cause.
Directorate of Staff Development (DSD) is an apex body involved actively in teacher education. In collaboration with Intel and UNICEF, DSD organized a training program to refresh the knowledge of future teachers enrolled in the B.Ed program at the 35 Government College for Elementary Teacher (GCET) on modern teaching methodologies and the effective use of IT. These teachers were earlier trained on the Intel Teach Program in 2008.
GCETs are present across Punjab, with a total enrolment of more than 4700 B.Ed students. However, there is a poor infrastructure with respect to computer labs and no presence of IT teachers. The role of GCETs is primarily confined to pre-service teacher education, in specific basic subject areas.
The objective of the one-month refresher training, with Intel and UNICEF, was to ensure that enrolled B.Ed students after graduation would know how to make use of ICT and the internet. The end objective was the skills development of the teachers, so that they are enabled with modern knowledge that they can implement it in 21st century classrooms.
• Since the last few years, trainings have been conducted for the faculty on the Intel Teach Program. However, curriculum integration and trainings at the student level have not been implemented effectively.
• There is a lack of adequate resources and infrastructure of computer labs and training IT faculty at the government colleges.
• Teacher educators work within a policy context that is not supportive of implementation of professional development initiatives.
• Integrate the Intel Teach Essentials Course with the existing curriculum and teaching practices of pre-service colleges, to equip student and teachers with the skills and knowledge that are needed in 21st century classrooms
• Use the DSD field supervision mechanism with the support of quality assurance unit, to ensure implementation at the student level.
• Collaborate with key partners like the DSD and UNICEF, to provide basic infrastructure to GCETs, and conduct trainings in the institutions.
• The Intel Teach Essentials Course provides the opportunity to develop progressive skills among teachers to create a productive teaching environment in the classroom.
• Training needs were identified and the result was announced in the form of establishment of computer labs for BEd students for the year 2009-10 at all 35 GCETs across Punjab, along with the decision to appoint IT teachers at these colleges.
• IT lab schools should be attached with each GCET. These IT labs are in the process of being established and will support the practical application of the training. Concept of ICT in education is taking strong roots, especially in institutions where the Intel Teach Program has been integrated.
• Teachers have developed teaching plans, evaluation tools, and resources. It provides a context in which teachers can further develop their technology skills and their understanding on the impact and implications of using technology to enhance 21st century learning skills.
Intel Education Initiative: The role of a teacher in society is both significant and valuable. A teacher has far-reaching influence on the society; no other personality can have an influence more profound than a teacher can.
In this age of rapid change and uncertainty, one thing is certain - teachers need to adapt to change if they are to survive and keep up with the rapid pace of development in teaching methodologies and technology. Arguably, the area of most rapid advancement is that of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).
Pakistani students need to be equipped to face challenges in the real world today, and in the future. For this, they should be more adept and hands-on with technology and they must be instilled with a set of values and skills that are suitable for the 21st century.
Intel introduced a curriculum for ICT education for the Faculty and B.Ed. students of the 35 Government College of Elementary Teachers, in collaboration with Directorate of Staff Development (DSD) and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
The Planning Department of the DSD was given the task of conducting a needs-based resource analysis at the 35 GCET, after which skills at these colleges could be developed through teacher training.
UNICEF was approached by DSD to support this project. A trilateral arrangement was formed between Intel, UNICEF, and DSD to conduct trainings and refreshers for the faculty and student teachers, simultaneously.
'The feedback I received from the faculty and my own QA department was very encouraging, and satisfying, I would also appreciate the Planning division who worked diligently in the integration of a successful ICT training. Students now have better skills, if they will not work as a teacher they can utilize the ICT skills to earn a livelihood and that was the objective of the DSD and Intel Teach one month hands-on trainings,' said Mr. Aslam Kamboh, Program Director, Directorate of Staff Development.
'I visited a few urban and semi urban GCET campuses and I was astonished at the change of mindset of the administrators and teachers who were playing there roles in imparting a vibrant trainings. I had session with the students and they welcomed my suggestions very positively' said Mr. Tariq Saeed, Education Specialist, UNICEF.
The Intel trainings on ICT not only inspired teachers and future teachers to rethink their views about the utility of IT in education but also encouraged the management of these colleges to plan for a better and more effective learning environment at the institutes.
To make the training more effective, the planning wing of DSD, in consultation with Deputy Directors for GCETs, conducted a need-based analysis and determined the needs of today's education environment. DSD with the help of UNICEF established / upgraded computer labs at all GCETs, provided internet connectivity, generator to encounter electricity problem, and two lab assistants hired to support IT teacher. After the deployment of infrastructure, trainings were conducted by the Intel team.
|COMPUTER LAB BEFORE INTEL TRAINING|
|LOCATION||INSTITUTE||LAN||WIMAX||FUNCTIONAL COMPUTER||INTERNET CONNECTIVITY||GENERATOR|
|GCETs North||21||In 15||0||7 in each||Only in 7||0|
|GCETs South||11||In 5||0||5 in each||Only in 3||0|
|COMPUTER LAB AFTER INTEL TRAINING|
|LOCATION||INSTITUTE||LAN||WIMAX||FUNCTIONAL COMPUTER||INTERNET CONNECTIVITY||GENERATOR|
|GCETs North||21||In 21||2||15 in each||In all 21||In 5|
|GCETs South||11||In 11||2||15 in each||In all 11||In 2|
"There was total revamping of the computer labs. We first asked the GCET principals to send us the present computer lab status and then advice was given where and what needed to be changed or upgraded. The whole institute gave the impression that some event was going on, there was total 100% attendance in the colleges, those students who did not wanted to attend the computer labs were a regular visitor and there faces beamed with confidence as if they are taking some thing with them daily," said Tariq.
DSD's quality assurance team frequently visited the trainings and found immense motivation. UNICEF and Intel Education did their own independent monitoring as well to ensure that the trainings were conducted effectively.
The program has really inspired the teachers and the students and they seem to be engrossed in the training, and are enjoying each moment with QA team member.
Before the introduction of the Intel Teach Essentials Course, a computer training called Computer Aided learning was offered at GCETs to student teachers. This was mostly taught as theory while some GCETs offered hands on experience to the student teacher enrolled at in B.Ed where infrastructure was adequate.
The Intel training programs focused on not only theory but also on practical use and application of IT. During the one-month training, Faculty to students' ratio was 1:25 and students were given hands on experience to technology. Teachers who were scared to use computers before now felt motivated and confident to use technology. The training also showed teachers a new horizon of teaching by using technology in the daily classroom environment.
"I always hated sitting in front of the computer, but this training had totally brought a change in me as now I want to use the computer more and more as this training has channeled me to do some thing concrete, while sitting at the computer," said Asma, a B.Ed. student.
During evaluation by Quality Assurance department of DSD, they discovered that out of a sample of 200 students selected, 73% student teachers found the Intel Teach lesson plan format very beneficial and interesting; 45% student teachers found scaffolds an excellent teaching aid to support teaching practice; 25% students found Assessment Timeline as a new addition to the teaching methodology; and 67.5% students found student assessment report in the excel format helpful.
Faculty members Ms. Aneela from GCET Rawalpindi highly appreciated the trainings and submitted 65 students' portfolios.
Every student was keen to participate and we hardly had any absentee. They wanted their portfolios to be burnt on the CD for future usage and show casing, said Ms. Aneela
Faculty members and student teachers are now comfortable with basic IT tasks like writing CDs and 'unzipping' documents, for which they had to request someone else earlier on. Teaching methodology at these colleges has also changed; teachers are now confident in developing their curriculum framing questions in the context of elementary teachers' training professional program.
One of the key corporate values of Intel is to "be an asset to our communities worldwide". Through constant and collaborative interaction with its external stakeholders, Intel has proved that it is an asset in the communities where it operates in Pakistan.
The present pattern of strategic and financing education in Pakistan needs much improvement. The requirements of the education sector are more than what can be fulfilled by the meagre resources available in the country. In this scenario, where the education sector is quite neglected as compared to others sectors of Pakistan, Intel with support from committed organizations like DSD and UNICEF, is playing a vital role in the education sector.
Looking at the past and future, Intel has highlighted its achievements in Punjab and to other provinces of Pakistan as well. Up till now, more than 200,000 teachers have been trained on the Intel Teach Program in Pakistan.