How a Science Teacher is Preparing Teachers for the Digital Era
Ramesh Kumar, a science teacher from Pali in Rajasthan is helping teachers in the state integrate Information and Communication Technology in their teaching.
“My aim is to motivate more teachers to use ICT in classrooms.” That is exactly what Ramesh Kumar Khamrana, a biology teacher in Shri Bangur Government Senior Secondary School in Pali, Rajasthan, has been doing for over a decade.
He started using computers for teaching in 2000, when at a village school. Today, he not only uses ICT for teaching science to senior students, but is a key resource for the e-learning core group formed by the Rajasthan Education Department. He is also a master trainer for delivering training on e-learning to teachers in schools in Pali district. His conviction on using ICT for teaching is creating whirlpools of change —in his school, the district and the state. “Old teaching methods, books and blackboards have their limitations. A teacher cannot really help students grasp concepts well by using only these. When ICT is used, the entire learning experience changes. A video or an animation can help students understand a concept fully and thoroughly. It gives me immense satisfaction when I see the joy on a student’s face when he understands a concept,” says Ramesh.
Making the School Go Digital
He was part of the government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan program as a master trainer and has trained over a thousand teachers on the use of computers in teaching. So when he was transferred to the Pali school, he was recognised as a teacher well-versed with technology. The school principal asked him to go ahead with his explorations in technology and, today, the school runs the District Computer Education Centre (DCEC), a computer lab open to everyone — youngsters, professionals, housewives. This centre gives training on the basic use of computers. The school has another lab for its students’ use, and is among the few government schools in the state to have its own Web site, which even publishes local exam results online.
Till 2006, Ramesh’s efforts to integrate technology into classrooms were solely based on his own ideas and knowledge. But it was the Intel Teach training he underwent in 2007 that changed the way he worked. “After the Intel training, I got direction, and a big confidence boost from realising that what I was doing was right.” He learnt about project-based learning and started using that in his class as well. So much so that one of the modules he created—on metallurgy for Class10 science students—is a co-creation with his students. He laid out the process of metallurgy for them, and the students researched the topic and collected information, videos and animations. While the students learnt about the topic by working on the research, he was able to create a comprehensive presentation which can now be used repeatedly.
The metallurgy presentation is just a small part of the massive content development that Ramesh has already completed. He has over 1,500 animated slides that cover each and every science topic for Classes 9 to 12. “This is all done at my expense, in my free time,” says Ramesh, who has spent countless nights working on these presentations. Teacher, Master Trainer, State Resource! No wonder he is invited to seminars, workshops and conferences to share his work on the use of ICT in making science teaching effective; and to contribute in science fairs organised for students of government schools. He has
also participated in a workshop on ICT-based professional development curriculum jointly organised by Intel and UNESCO.
Miles to Go
Not one to sit still, Ramesh is working on getting his learnings across to more teachers. He looks forward to a time when content created by teachers like him across India can be used by any school in the country—that is why he has embarked on a digital library project for his school.