A chance for students to use ICT platforms

IT@School project plans to enrol one lakh children

A chance for students to use ICT platforms

Google is planning  a session for students on Internet security

As learning enabled by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) gains ground in Kerala, facilitators at the state-run IT@School project are clearing decks for what they propose as the next level in a long-term plan – a space for students to explore possibilities of collaborative learning, making the best use of ICT platforms.

‘Hi School Kuttikkoottam’, a collective of ICT clubs already established in schools across the state, is billed as the largest students’ IT network in the country and is expected to enrol about a lakh students from classes 8 to 10 in government and aided schools, during 2017.

Modelled on the Student Police Cadets programme implemented in the state, the project is designed to increase students’ interest in ICT-enabled learning and focuses on five key areas – animation and multimedia, hardware, electronics, language computing and Internet and cyber security.

Students who have registered with the ICT clubs functioning in their schools will be trained in the five focus areas; their progress will be monitored by IT@School officials. School committees will be formed with the PTA president as chairman and headmaster as convener to coordinate activities under the project which is scheduled for implementation without affecting regular classes. Daily activities taken up under the project will be led by school IT coordinators.  C Raveendranath, Minister for Education, said the project was designed as part of the general education mission and would ensure participation of students in diverse activities across the five course subjects.

IT@School is scheduled to complete the first phase of its training for the students before April. A minimum of 20 students from each school will be inducted into the programme with the maximum intake stipulated as 12%  of the total number of students in the high school section.

K Anvar Sadath, Executive Director of IT@School, said the project would also enable the participating students to impart training to other students and parents. The students will be required to work on a project in one of the five course subjects after they enter class 10.

The project facilitators aim to create a collaborative space in which  participants are able to translate technical know-how into daily life applications. A circular issued on December 31, 2016 by the Director of Public Instruction (DPI) in connection with the project sets guidelines on implementation of the project; the DPI envisages a project that could tap on the students’ “natural interest” in computers, cell-phones and electronic gadgets and help them empower themselves and their schools to enhance the quality of education.

Depends on efficiency

The results, especially in the area of Internet and cyber security, will also depend on the efficiency with which the knowledge acquired is passed on to the society through awareness campaigns.
“There is always the option of specialising in one of these course streams and making careers out of it. In the past, we’ve had students trained in animation opening their own studios.

But this is also about empowering the students to apply their knowledge in life,” Anvar Sadath said. Enrolment for the project commenced on January 3 and IT@School officials hope to finish a basic-level training module by the end of March.
The initial phase of the project will cover training of 40 hours spread over 5 days and will be followed by practical, activity-based training. Possibilities of a course certification after the training are also being explored. IT@School aims to cover 2 lakh students in the project by the next academic year.

The project is proposed to help students undertake language computing programmes and instil in them an interest for research. The project coordinators are hoping to collaborate with corporate social responsibility initiatives and plan to approach the Union Government for hardware tools, including tablets for the students, under the Digital India programme.

 Organisations, including Google, have assured support for the project. “A team from Google is expected to conduct a session on the topic of internet security. Collaborations with other companies are also being planned,” Anvar Sadath said.

With one facilitating organisation helming the entire training process across the state and building a network for participants to share experiences and skills, Hi School Kuttikkoottam comes with potential to evolve as a collaborative programme.

IT@School has in the past organised mass training and orientation programmes, including a 5-week module in animation for 12,677 students, hardware training for 27,764 student IT coordinators and special IT training for about 1.75 lakh parents of school students.

The State Education Department, through  IT@School, had recently introduced new ICT textbooks named Kalipetty (Malayalam for Playbox) from classes 1 to 4; the textbooks integrate games and entertainment features into meaningful learning situations and enhance children’s learning skills through language, mathematics and geography. Since its inception in 2001,  IT@School formed under the State Department of General Education has been involved in capacity-building projects in ICT-enabled learning. It covers an estimated 50 lakh students and two lakh teachers.


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