Using ICTs to Develop Educational Materials for Rural Tribal Classrooms in India

Project Implementation Begins
In selected areas of India’s Jharkhand state, AED has begun implementing a pilot project to explore the use of digital ICTs, such as computers and digital cameras to promote culturally relevant educational content in the local language. Project Manager, Kelly Morphy headed to Jharkhand in August along with local consultant Aich Paramita Choudhury to meet with prospective project partners, visit schools and meet with teachers and other education leaders to begin project implementation plan.

Local Content Development to Suit Local Needs
Materials to be produced include a collection of supplementary child readers that will be in available both in Hindi and English for use in social and natural sciences as well as English as a Second Language classes. The content for books will be generated largely by primary students themselves, under the guidance of AED and a local NGO, Vikas Bharti. Students will use digital cameras in their communities and take photos of everyday events in their communities, to include people, places, and the natural environment to give the readers a rural context, which the children can better relate to. In addition, the books will include content that celebrates the indigenous, tribal knowledge and culture present in rural areas of Jharkhand, such as local folktales, songs, poems, important tribal leaders, etc.

Teachers review texbooks during August 2004 Workshop One activity conducted in August was a workshop held with 30 primary teachers to analyze the environmental science textbooks for cultural relevance to rural Jharkhand as well as to identify complex concepts in textbook which children have difficulty understanding.

“While the current textbooks are very useful and effective in numerous ways,” said one participating teacher, “the many examples and illustrations that are provided in them are more for urban Indian children.” He added that “Rural children can simply not relate as well to modern urban themes, and thus we are lacking in materials showing how rural children in India live, study and work.”

What are really needed are materials that will help the teachers convey the cultural history of the state and materials that are generated by children, for children will be a great help for us and very useful.

The materials produced will address the specific academic needs of rural tribal school children; they will focus on concepts that children are having difficulty with; and they will be culturally relevant to rural school children.

The project will also build the capacity of teachers and education personnel in the Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand through professional development that will demonstrate to teachers how to use the newly created materials to build reading, comprehension, vocabulary and conversation skills in student-centered ways such as through group learning and project based learning techniques.

Materials development process is scheduled to begin with project partners and youth in early-mid November and conclude in March, 2005, with books to be printed by April-May, 2005.

The Broader T4 Project
This pilot project is being undertaken within the broader dot-EDU India project, also known as T4, Technology Tools for Teaching and Training. The T4 project is currently present in three Indian states; Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and the more recently in the state of Jharkhand. Led by EDC, to improve the reach and quality of primary school education in the above mentioned states, the three year project is using Interactive Radio Instruction in various grades and subjects such as Math/Science and English as a Second Language to strengthen and improve children’s skills, knowledge and abilities in these key curricular areas, as well as promote literacy. The T4 project is also providing teachers with in-service training to improve content and methods, and multichannel instruction in English, Math and Science using media ranging from interactive radio to a mobile video unit.

EDC, under dot-EDU, was awarded the Technology Tools for Teaching and Training Initiative in September 2002 for three years (Award No. GDG-A-00--02-00015-00 under the dot-EDU Leader Award No: GDG-A-00-01-00011-00).

For More Information, Contact:
Kelly Morphy
Senior Program Officer, dot-EDU/Technology Center
Academy for Educational Development
Tel: 202 884-8706

Related DOT-COM Activity
India - Technology Tools for Teaching & Training in India (Project T4)
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