PCF5:Revitalizing School Curriculum through Innovative Technologies

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Revitalizing School Curriculum through Innovative Technologies A Pragmatic Approach

Verlaxmi Indrakanti Lecturer, Anand Vihar College for Women Tulsi Nagar Bhopal M.P India verlaxmi@yahoo.com


It is a known fact that School education lays foundation blocks for a society that provides directions, structure and dimensions. The role of school in society today has gained primacy as it is directly linked to the process of social change with a greater emphasis on global economy and human development. The expectations are to have pragmatic and innovative techniques by the foundation builders with assumption that the role of centers will be for preparing knowledge and developing work skills to cope-up with the challenges of the present millennium. That is why UN council while framing the MDGs in Dakar Convention gave greater emphasis on Education for all (EFA).The Dakar and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The conservative techniques of education need to be substituted by purposeful innovative new models of learning so as to ensure that children and young people grow into talented citizens shouldering responsibilities in various spheres of life. With a view to achieve this cherished goal, teaching and assessment should go hand in hand to ascertain the accurate evaluation of the effect of teaching and learning process.

The present paper is aimed at highlighting to discuss the issues and concerns related to traditional school curriculum and newer pedagogical approach with a focus to :

· devise innovative curriculum to prepare children and youngsters to live and work in gender equal society; · involve parents while designing school curriculum; · create, pilot test and implement innovative methods of assessment/ evaluation; · inculcate and include value and moral education; · emphasize self-learning and learning by doing; · collaborate and network among institutions for resource sharing; · promote open education environment; and · create avenues for learner centric and learning centric curriculum.

== Full length paper Revitalizing School Curriculum through Innovative Technologies A Pragmatic Approach

Verlaxmi Indrakanti Lecturer, Anand Vihar College for Women Tulsi Nagar Bhopal M.P India verlaxmi@yahoo.com ==

Objectives of the study – The present paper deals with holistic approach to open distance learning and strategies suitable to traditional teaching with focus on revitalizing school curriculum and to device innovative curriculum to prepare children and youngsters to live and work in gender equal society and develop self propelled, self motivated, independent, creative and positively oriented autonomous young learners to overcome the problems of poverty, unemployment, inequality, illiteracy and religious obscurantism and become an active partner in the nation building process.

Introduction – Education has continued to evolve, diversify and extend its reach and coverage since the dawn of human history. Every country develops its system of education to express and promote its unique socio-cultural identity and to meet the challenges of the time. There are moments in history when a new direction has to be given to an old process in the school curricula in addition to the common scheme of studies. The establishment of the first open university in Milton , Keynes in 1969 was a major break through in the field of ODL .As a result of the success of UKOU , a model became available to many developed and developing countries and led to a paradigm shift in the way education and training was imparted throughout the world . The role of education in economic development is very important as the eminent philosopher and economist Adam Smith puts it—Education confers great indirect benefits even on the ordinary workman. (Gupta - 2001) It stimulates its mental activity, it fosters in him a habit of wise inquisitiveness, it makes him intelligent, more ready; more trustworthy in his ordinary work, it raises the time of his life in working hours; it is an important means towards the production of material wealth. Development in academic field, the momentum of growth systems in market forces mainly influences the development of education system in most part of the world. Therefore, it is essential to establish closer linkage between education and employability. The thrust of open learning towards equality of educational opportunity for the forgotten millions such as - workers, out of school children or dropouts and housewives received appreciation and ‘correspondence courses’ were converted to first distance education and then into open education. Postal tuition supported by personal contact and multimedia packages of learning material are now commonly used for open learning . The 7- C approach , recommended by the UNDP ( 1999 ) will succeed only if the best practices in ODL are followed on a universal basis . They are connectivity, community, capacity building, content , creativity, collaboration and cash . Distance education system has been defined by Philip combs and Manzoor Ahmad as “an organized systematic educational activity carried on out-side the framework of the established formal system.” Need for open learning system - Social, economic and national needs of the country are fulfilled by the open learning system in the following way- 1. To facilitate by providing equal opportunities of education to all; 2. To provide education and training as well as orientation to achieve self-employment and managerial skills; 3. To build up the capabilities of educational functionaries for achieving universalisation of elementary education (UEE) and adult literacy, in terms of access, retention and education achievements; 4. To make provision for the substantial demand for secondary education and beyond, resulting form UEE ; 5. To provide diversified academic and vocational education, to meet the emerging needs for personal, social and economic growth; 6. To gear various levels and types of educational opportunities for enhancing the overall quality of life in the national contexts ; 7. To provide wider access to higher education to a large population and maintain high quality of education .

         ( Sharma 2001)

The traditional methods of teaching as well as learning call for drastic changes in the modern age through improvised technology and innovations in curriculum and assessment. The present curriculum and assessment have narrowly defined schooling and intelligence is counted by the grade scored. As a result the schooling environment tends to be dominated by a control culture that emphasizes traditional teacher-student relationship, traditional classroom/ learning boundaries. Where as the open learning is the creation of a change and innovative culture that provides students to be creative ,self-directed, talented individuals to become knowledge workers in the global market. It can be achieved by revitalizing school curriculum with the efforts of administrators, teachers, learners and by involving parents while designing school curriculum. Flow chart showing features at a glance for ODL and TSL

It is in this backdrop that innovations in teaching and learning methods are being adopted steadily to improve with a steady progress in the existing system of education . Teaching and assessment should go hand in hand to ascertain the effect of teaching and learning process to prepare children to live and work in a gender equal society. Monitoring the progress of the learner, feedback or acquainting the student with their progress. Proposed learning outcomes. It should rotate in the direction indicated below:-

Modern developments have helped in revamping educational methodology, influenced by the impacts of psychological principles without which education becomes monotonous and barren. The Educational system as whole depend upon human nature, whether philosophical, psychological, biological, environmental etc. Therefore ,quality improvement in educational methodology and innovative technology, comes under the purview of educational reconstruction. ‘Earning while learning’ is the slogan commonly used in educational field. The school curriculum or K-12 curriculum has to be geared to the social needs of the country. varied learning strategies have to be adopted to provide relevant and holistic learning to the students of various academic caliber.

School curriculum should be  based on the following principles –

1. more inclusive and flexible school curriculum ; 2. promotion of open and virtual learning environment ; 3. safe and caring environment to generate a desire for lifelong; 4. learner-centric and learning centric curriculum ; 5. capabilities to participate and be a part of digital knowledge society; 6. “Learning by doing” for self, motivation and reinforcement; 7. curiosity ,Open-mindedness and Perseverance. 8. shift from all cognitive components to affective and psychomotor domain. 9. promoting multimedia technologies-video and audio teaching aids , TV, video conferencing, internet , use of LCD projectors etc, new teaching methodologies- seminar, group discussion, peer group tutoring etc; 10. market or entrepreneurial orientation and development of various virtues.

A closer relationship has to be developed between the schools of the locality, parents choice and wider community participation in framing curriculum to promote positive academic and social environment. Collaboration and network among institutions for resource sharing should be mandatory for all educational institutions in order to enhance the capabilities of their staff .

In the process of education an individual should be given enough opportunity for leisure and recreation, development of hobbies and other healthy interests. School should emphasize on meeting the diversified needs of the individual and all round personality development. The aim of education is not to produce computers or robots but to make sure that human beings imbibe the values of sacrifice, brotherhood, generosity ,compassion and self reliance which are cherished in every civilized society . As per Bloom’s Taxonomy education is for Head (cognitive ), Heart (effective ) and Hand (psychomotor domain ) Unless and until there is proper co-ordination between the three components we cannot prepare human beings. Swami Vivekanand a great Indian philosopher, educationist , and a social reformer has termed it as ‘Man making education’ which should include –self learning ,greater focus on concentration , purity of mind, a real thrust to knowledge etc.

According to Dewey – Experience is knowledge and knowledge is experience. Thus education is-broader vision, force of social change, protection of environment and foundation for cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.

Learner Based Teaching Techniques: Education technology suggests suitable teaching learning strategies and situations for learner :

Ø Motivating students to learn; Ø Providing due encouragement and guidance; Ø Using appropriate methods and strategies of teaching; Ø Seeking involvement of the learner .

Learning based on the Indian Philosophy: Like any other concept, the academic concept of teaching and learning also owes its origin to the ancient concept of Dharma ( righteousness ) of Hindu philosophy, which implies a unique blend. Emphasis was on teaching and learning through teacher - disciple culture which meant knowledge being transcendent from teacher to his pupils through listening, memorizing and meditation were, therefore the three popular modes of learning and teaching. Manu, commentator of Hindu sastras greatly emphasized the desirability of learning and teaching for the total development of man’s personality so that pupil acquire and imbibe healthy physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual tendencies and turn out to be noble law-abiding future citizens.

It would, therefore be seen that in ancient India the real objective of education was self-development. The audio-visual aspect of learning and teaching process was considered to be of utmost importance because ‘seeing’ enables a man to believe the reality and factual existence of material objects and develops within him the capacity to distinguish between diversity of things. The ultimate goal to be achieved by learning and teaching as suggested by noted educationist Robert. M. Gagne is to inculcate among the students the capacity to solve the practical problems, which they face in their day-to-day life and learn to reconcile the conflicting interests, which is so essential for the development of individual’s personality and choose for themselves what they deem to be beneficial in their self-development and prosperity. This may be illustrated and explained in the hierarchical order as follows: -

Thus it is evident that motivation factor has a major role to play in attaining these levels of learning. The ultimate object being self-accomplishment and development of human personality as a whole. Teaching, on the other hand, involves a process, which ensures total transformation of individual from an ignorant man to a knowledgeable-educated person. It also seeks to develop the intellect and faculty of mind to perceive the virtues and shun the evils as also to learn to control egos .

Young people possess many different talents and learn in different ways. They are highly skilled and have the capacity to access incredible sources of information. Much of this is enabled by information technology, particularly the Internet, and to a lesser extent television radio, audio video conferencing, computer aided instruction, e-learning etc.

This can be summed up in the words of Huges and Huges –“Teaching means causing to learn. Nothing has been given until it has been taken, nothing has been taught until it has been learnt. Teaching is more than the efficient delivery of thoroughly prepared lectures. Hence we can say that - a perfect balance of learner’s interest facilitator’s dedication, effectiveness and actual applicability of syllabus make learning and teaching memorable experience. Changing role of a teacher as a facilitator – Shakespeare’s dictum that – “some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. (Choube - 2003) The teaching profession has a unique feature. It helps the teacher to grow in mind and spirit while engaged in it. According to social activists approach a teacher has to adapt to the role of a facilitator (Bauser Sfeld). · A teacher gives a didactic lecture but a facilitator helps the learner to get to his / her own understanding . · In the former a learner plays a passive role while in the later learners plays an active role . · A teacher tells and the facilitator asks; a teacher lecture from the front, a facilitator supports from the back. · A teacher gives answers according to a set curriculum; a facilitator creates the learning environment . · A teacher mostly gives a monologue; a facilitator is in continuous dialogue with the learner

     As Rabindernath Tagore rightly observed “A teacher can never truly teach, unless he is still learning himself, just as a lamp can never light another lamp unless it continuous to burn itself...”( Gupta-2005)

Fostering global competencies among youth: The UNESCO document, “ Thematic debate: The Requirements of the World of Work” identifies a number of competencies expected from modern youth which are as follows: v flexibility v willingness to contribute to innovation v inclined to acquire social sensitivity and communication skills; v to be able to work in teams; v be prepared for internalization of the labour market v an understanding of various cultures and; v be versatile in generic skills.

As Swami Vivekananda puts it - Ninety percent of thought force is wasted by the ordinary human being, and therefore, he is constantly committing blunders; the trained man or mind never makes a mistake.” (Sharma-2004) The expectation are to have a pragmatic and innovative approach for preparing knowledge and developing work skills to cope up with the challenges of the present millennium . Learner – centric approach in ODL: Freedom to learner’s to construct their own ideas into experience. Encouraging a deep approach to learner and transfer of information from one store to another .Learner –centric approach arouses the curiosity of the learner for which inquiry training is necessary. Advantage of IT in Learning-Teaching Process: · It helps in developing perception of learner. · It adds in positive transfer learning and training. · It facilitates in understanding and comprehension. · It provides reinforcements to the learner. · It increases the retention of the learner.

Erdos (1975) noted that a changing concept of education as a life long process has stimulated demand for correspondence education. “as a method of teaching in which the teacher bears the responsibility of imparting knowledge and skill to a student who does not receive instruction orally, but who studies in a place and at a distance determined by his individual circumstances.” Holmberg (1972) supported the later view of the philosophy of distance-teaching. He considers the primary task of schools ands teachers is not to teach but to help the students to learn by presenting items of knowledge to them, by inspiring them to search for information to evaluate findings and to practice problem solving skills. The students in ODL devote spare time to their studies and work at the speed that suits them. This method requires a good deal of will-power, self-disciplines, a sense of innate curiosity and a habit of self-study .The rigid system of education confined within the four walls of educational institutions is not sufficient to meet the demands of a democratic and socialistic society. Thus new strategies based on a revolutionary rethinking and reappraisal of certain educational values have become imperative. Distance education has come on to the educational scene as on of the most potent strategies for fulfilling the demands of mass education as well as individualizing it. Open Distance Education is a well-organized system with definite objectives, mode of communication, content and target population. In this sense it is at par with formal education with the only difference of compulsory attendance, sitting face to face with the real teacher, in a fixed class room of a particular school for a fixed number of days . It has various advantages over the orthodox methods of education. For instance it enables the workers to learn while earn without adversely affecting the national production. Through the various techniques of distance education the educational planners and social workers can spread the light of education to every hook and corner of the country for every section of people to fulfill the long cherished desire of achieving happiness for one and all of the nation.

CONCLUSION: Conservative teaching techniques of education substituted by purposeful innovative new models of teaching in open distance learning and traditional teaching can be very useful to the learners. It will positively create self motivated, enlightened citizens who will actively participate and can actualize the vision of “one world, one people.” Thus working in a gender equal society would enable the learners to develop creativity ,the qualities of innovation, leadership and will help them to actively participate in the Global Knowledge Economy. In the last decade of 20th century, several innovations have taken place in Operation management such as open-sourcing, out sourcing, off sharing, in sourcing, supply chain information technology etc. In the 21st century Open Distance Learning [ODL] has been faster in adopting these innovations compared to other system of education. The adaptability of ODL to innovations has shown positive results .Development of individuals, society and the nation can remain relevant by offering cost effective, innovative programmes. The challenges of 21st century for us as educational professionals is not only to impart knowledge but to train students with skills to become better and competent learners so that they can translate bookish knowledge into real situation [Newby 2000]. Mahatma Gandhi had rightly observed that the aim of work-oriented education is not the production of craft man but the exploitation of educative purposes, implied at work. A desire to help, care and share responsibility for the society be created in the younger generation. The effort should be to raise the average standard of knowledge and understanding, rather than to encourage excellence in one or two.

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JOURNALS: 1. Khatoon Tahira: (2006) Role of Information and Communication Technology in the Professional Development of University College Teachers, Indian Journal of Teacher Education, NCTE, Volume-3, Number 1, June New Delhi.

2. Vandana Mehra: (2006 ) Anweshika Volume 3, Number 2, December National Council for Teacher Education New Delhi.