by Hari Krishna Arya
Expert Educator Columnist, India
“Every time you overcome a challenge, it will lift you up, build you strong and make it easier for you to overcome your next trial.” This is the beauty of challenges and I strongly believe in this. This always motivate me to do something new and unique. Here is my story of facing challenges and overcoming them.
I have been very passionate to use innovative practices in teaching and always wanted to do something new and exciting. My journey of learning ICT is also much exciting as well as very interesting. This journey started when I was holding the post of Principal in a big school. I was much eager to procure computers in my school, but non availability of funds was the major constraint. In 1997 my efforts bore fruits when my school was selected for running a Computer Literacy and Study Scheme. This was a government sponsored scheme to promote computer literacy in schools. Under this scheme one Pentium-1 and four dumb terminals with a dot matrix printer were installed in my school lab. It was not a very big start and it certainly did not meet all our requirements, but it was my personal victory. Since then technology has played a central role in my teaching carrier.
I was much excited to have all these. I learned basics of computer in few couple of days and started use of technology in teaching. I could never forget the exciting moments when I taught my lesson first time with PowerPoint presentation. I also motivated my colleagues to learn computer and make use of technology in their teaching. 10 more computers, laser printer, scanner, digital camera, modem, projector were procured subsequently. Our school became the first school in the state to offer Computer Science as a subject in XI and XII classes. The computer education and literacy project soon became a great success because of the enthusiasm it generated. Access to a computer, or the internet, was not restricted to the students and teachers of the school alone. Mobilizing an entire community, I not only welcomed students from the other schools, but also anyone with the desire to learn, to my school’s computer lab.
But meanwhile I was transferred and posted as Additional District Education Officer. This was a setback to computer literacy project of school. I requested to Director of Education for cancellation of my transfer. Keeping in mind my academic taste and passion for computer education, our Director pleased to repost me in the same school as Principal. After that, our school obviously showed excellent performance in field of computer literacy and using ICT in teaching and learning. Not only teachers started to develop their own digital content, students also began to generate material as part of their learning exercises. Students became sharper, analytical and more involved. The internet was a goldmine-it allowed easy access to photographs, videos and information. Introducing students to the internet was possibly one of mine most rewarding endeavors.
However, as with anything new, incorporating technology into traditional pedagogical methods was not without its challenges. To overcome the lack of proper infrastructure, maintenance, limited power back-up and internet access, coupled with the lack of trained teachers to teach ICT in school, was indeed a formidable task. Teachers themselves were hesitate to adopt ICT into their pedagogy. Community leaders were uncooperative, and students, guardian and the higher authorities, uninterested. But these challenges could never come in the way of my desire to implement technology in teaching and learning and popularizing digital literacy.
My deeds have not gone unnoticed, and my efforts have been recognized. Felicitated for the first time in 2004 when I received the Computer Literacy Excellence Award, instituted by the government of India, from Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India.
After this recognition government sanctioned a District Computer Training Centre in my school. After establishment of this fully equipped huge computer training Centre, several training programs for teachers, students and public have been started. Teacher training programs under Microsoft Project Shiksha have also been run in this Centre, for six years, under my supervision. Soon this District Computer Training Centre became a most popular place for digital literacy and ICT training programs. Government also assigned me the additional charge of supervising the CALP (Computer Aided Learning Project) running in the government middle schools of the district.
I continued to spread digital literacy in my community through seminars, exhibitions and training programs on ICT. I had succeeded in creating a computer literate community, one that is able to send e-mails, use the internet as well use the computer for video conferencing, banking, ticket reservation and social networking. We had also created a reservoir of digital content.
But this was not end of my journey of learning ICT. After an initial successful 14 years stint as Principal of Government Senior Secondary School in Hanumangarh (District Head Quarter), in 2011 I was again transferred. This time I was posted in a very small, rural school which had little or no access to progressive pedagogical methods of amenities, with a challenge to uplift the school. It was not an easy challenge. How I performed this difficult task and how I learned and achieved more, I will tell you in my next post.