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Computer Aided Learning

Concept, Genesis and Evolution
 

There is a consistent international trend to explore and utilize computer aided learning to augment the teaching learning processes in the class room. Most parents, teachers and students identify computers as a source of learning.

The Computer Aided Learning program was initiated in the year 2002 to harness the potential of computer technology for education. The objectives of the program were to make learning a play, assessment a fun and equal knowledge for all students. During implementation, the objective of ‘equal knowledge for all’ got converted to ‘equal opportunity for all’. To this end, the Foundation created syllabus-based bi/trilingual multimedia contents. As a part of the program, the content along with a one-day orientation, was given to teachers. The program, in partnership with the respective State governments, covered approximately 16,000 Schools across 14 States in the country.

The program identified 6 factors critical to the success of computer aided learning. These are

  • Teacher involvement and leadership
  • Computer Aided Learning to be an integral part of teachers’ pedagogy and classroom processes and not a stand-alone activity
  • Dedicated Government resource and ownership
  • All time availability of the prescribed infrastructure and hardware
  • Availability of digital learning material of adequate quality and quantity
  • Continuous ongoing dialogue with teachers to explore the strengths of the available technology

These critical factors provided the ground for developing a demonstrable model of computer aided learning. The model took the form of a systematic research study on capability development of teachers and also to support them to use technology to meet the ends of learning.

Objectives of Computer Aided Learning Study (henceforth CAL Study)

To develop and empower teachers so as to enable them to enhance learning of students and create learner-centric classroom processes with and without the use of technology.

This broad objective subsumes two objectives, namely,

  • To develop and empower teachers so as to enable them to enhance learning of students and create learner-centric classroom processes.
  • To develop and empower teachers so as to enable them to enhance learning of students and create learner-centric classroom processes through the use of technology.

The Research Design

The research design of the study consists of:

  • Experimental School (E1) = Technology Support + Teacher Development Support
  • Experimental School (E2) = Teacher Development Support
  • Control School (C1 & C2) = No Support

The state-specific research design is as given in the diagram:

Process

  • A concept note on the CAL Study was drafted and shared with State Governments. The note clearly spelt out the roles and responsibilities of the Government and the Foundation. The responsibility of the government was to take care of the hardware requirements and the Foundation had the responsibility of providing the content and the ‘training’. The Governments of Puducherry, Chhattisgarh and Orissa averred interest and signed the MOUs.
  • A team of facilitators, called the Field Team were recruited and were given the task of providing academic support to teachers – this is being done in a series of induction programs.
  • A set of criteria was evolved for selecting the blocks, schools and the schools so selected were assigned to the experimental and control groups by means of randomization.
  • A baseline on teacher attitude, use of computers, students’ reading abilities, classroom process have been completed. A baseline for measuring the learning level of students is in pipeline.
  • A draft package on teacher development and technology skills is in the process of being developed.
  • The field team has been periodically visiting the schools. The school visits themselves have been divided into three phases. Phase I deals with data for understanding the schools and the teachers. Phase II deals with planning for development and Phase III deals with supporting development of reading abilities and technology skills.
  • A process is being evolved to involve the DIETs, BRP and CRP. This consists of regular interactions with them, involving them in the six-monthly review meetings with the State Government, discussing the teacher development packages with them, ensuring that they attend the teacher development sessions and getting their feedback.
  • A mid-line (to know the direction) and endline (to know the extent of impact) will be conducted.
  • Final conclusions on demonstrating the effectiveness will be drawn and documented at the end of 2 years. The impact will be seen on the following indicators:

For Students: Increased attendance of students, increased reading and writing abilities, enhanced learning levels, In addition, in E1 schools students show more confidence in the use of computers.

For Teachers: Reduced absenteeism, increased punctuality and impacting sense of self efficacy and promoting reflective practices. In addition, in E1 schools more number of teachers will be able to use computers as a pedagogical tool.

For classroom processes: A shift in classroom process to give more space to students, and teachers using learner-centred practices in teaching and showing equity in treating students.