Integration of ICT into the school curriculum is now increasingly being recognised as a critical area of focus to convert technology into workable tools for basic learning in the formative years of an individual.
While the new communication technologies have provided answers for longstanding issues of infrastructure, costs and diversity, regional and spatial, the need to weave ICT into the existing teaching curriculum, without undermining the existing advantages, is a significant challenge that will have to be addressed.
A concern or caution that needs to be highlighted in this context is that mere presence of computers in a school, without a clearly defined usage and appropriate content, is likely to be reduced to recreational devices.
It is clear that integration of computers and information technology based curriculum not only needs high quality research for evolving pedagogy, but more importantly also ground level testing and application.
In this issue, we have attempted to bring to our readers some of the many promising initiatives towards class-room level application.
The cover story ‘Implementing Computer Science Curriculum in Elemenatry Schools’ shares insightful findings from a school pilot project for implementing computer sciences curriculum among the primary level students. It also builds up a case for not simply imposing ideas but blending them within the existing teachers’ handbooks.
It needs to be reiterated that computer fluency amongst students and teachers should come through an active participation in constructing the content and nature of the process itself.
The feature on Marathi Tutor addresses an issue that is very topical for a diverse nation like ours, which have 18 official languages, by detailing how theories of linguistics and pedagogic practices are being re-interpreted for creating a vernacular computer-based tutor.
We hope these stories will draw us closer to a democratised exchange by informing larger policy debates about learning from steps being undertaken by both the government bodies and private players for integration of ICT into the schooling process at the primary and middle levels.
We hope to take these debates and discussions further and will try to widen the policy aspects for all our readers in the upcoming Digital Learning India 2008 conference in New Delhi. Lets all make it a success!