Logging in to success
Two schools in the Thiruvananthapuram Educational District have bagged the Second State Level Computer Literacy Excellence Awards for Schools - 2003.
THE 20TH century saw the advent of computer-mediated education in schools. Simulation, games and material available on the Internet have all been used to make the teaching process easier and effective. Kerala too has taken great strides in this arena. Recently, two schools in the Thiruvananthapuram Educational District bagged the Second State Level Computer Literacy Excellence Awards for Schools - 2003. Christ Nagar Higher Secondary School, Kaudiar, bagged the Award in category A (private and Government-aided schools) and Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Vellanad, in category B (Government and municipal schools). The Awards have been instituted by the Ministry of Information and Technology, Government of India, and carry a purse of Rs. 1.5 lakhs and a trophy.
Mathews Chackalackal, Principal of Christ Nagar, says the steps taken to spread computer literacy among students, staff and parents resulted in Christ Nagar bagging the award. Thomas Mani, Vice-Principal, says the use of computers in the school was widespread.
"The school has two separate labs for primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary students. There are 78 computers in all. The lab is also equipped with laser printers and scanners. The computer student ratio of 1:1 has also been achieved," says Thomas Mani. The audio-visual room at the school too is equipped with Liquid Crystal Diode (LCD) projectors and multimedia computers.
Two periods of the timetable are allotted to the teaching of computers. The students have access to the computer and Internet for making projects and presentations. Students are allowed to utilise the after-school hours to browse the Net for a minimum fee.
The teachers too are computer literate. They have all been involved with Intel's `Teach the Future' programme. Says the Vice-Principal, "Five teachers did the beginners' level and went on to do the trainers' level of the programme. To complete the trainer level, they were required to guide 10 other teachers. In this manner, all the teachers in the school have now been trained." The school computer laboratory is also used to impart training to teachers from other schools, he adds. Many teachers also use computers as teaching aids. Thomas Mani cites the case of a retired teacher of Chemistry who makes computer presentations for Class XII students. Teachers also make use of computers to update their teaching content, and prepare marksheets and spreadsheets. "They are also taught how to access information that is protected under copyright laws," Thomas Mani says.
The school has bagged prizes in competitions such as IT quiz and taken part in an IT Expo, which had participation from 20 firms.
Vacation classes in computer languages and games are held for students from outside the school. The computer laboratory is also open to parents after school hours. Says Thomas Mani, "When the web page of the school was posted on the Internet, a free demonstration for parents of students was also held."
To K. S. Vimalakumari, Principal of the Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Vellanad, the Award did not come as a total surprise. The school, where the IT@School project is being implemented, had recently been given the award for the best computer lab in the State by the Minister for Education, Nalakath Soopy, at Kozhikode.
"But the State Level Computer Literacy Excellence Award for Schools are the President's Awards and we were very happy that our school, situated in a rural area, has bagged the award," she says.
The computer lab started off with 17 computers. "The money for the purpose was raised by the teachers from loans from their Provident Fund. The Parent Teachers' Association, too, helped with the funds. The number of computers has now grown to 32," says Vimalakumari.
The Vellanad school is also a participant in the Technology Aided Learning programme of IT@School. Only five schools in the State have been selected for the programme, and the Vellanad school is one of them. "Our subject is Class VIII Mathematics," Vimalakumari says. "Under the programme, the study of Mathematics is undertaken using computers."
The school has an IT Club that meets once a week. Says G. Anil Kumar, who teaches computer at the school, "Apart from the syllabus, daily development in the field and use of computers is discussed at the club." The club at present has a membership of 50.
While the syllabus required only students of Classes VIII and IX to learn computers, the school provides computer education to Class V, VI and VII too. "Class X students will also work on the computer from the coming year," the Principal adds. Theory and practical classes are also held for students during vacations. The school will also have access to Internet facilities from the coming academic year.
"The stress, Anilkumar says, is not only on computer literacy but also computer-integrated education."
The next goal of the schools: to bag the National Level Awards.
R. K. ROSHNI
Photo: S. Mahinsha
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