Project Based Learning of Intel Teach helps colleges to focus on 21st century skills

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By Rusen K

Developing an E-culture : A journey with Intel Teach at University of Pune

PUNE: The Colleges of Education (COE) under the University of Pune prepare students to become teachers of tomorrow. They offer B Ed, M Ed and M Phil courses. The university was established in 1948. The affiliated B Ed came in to existence in 1965 and the Department of Education as a direct part of the University was started in 1990. Intel started associating with the University through its Teach program since 2002.

As of now, the Intel Teach program is associated with 112 B Ed colleges in the University across three districts of Maharashtra- Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik. Each B Ed college has 100 seats for Student Teachers, taught by six Teacher Educators and one Principal. So the university has approximately 700 Teacher Educators and 9,500 Student Teachers. Most colleges have good, upgraded labs with 10-15 machines and Internet connectivity for all.

Challenges
One of the problems faced by the university was the need to regularly update the B Ed ICT syllabus with special focus on practical orientation. The university wanted to spread pedagogy and technology across diverse environments, including infrastructure, diverse Teacher Educators, and diverse Student Teachers. It also wanted to ensure quality across quantity – this involved reaching out effectively to over 100 Colleges of Education.

Solution
Intel Teach regularly provided updated curricula to the university, along with training and study material in the form of CDs, manuals and handbooks. The Teacher Educators were trained not just on the content, but also on how to present the content to the Student Teachers so as to enable them to become successful teachers of tomorrow.

In 2002, the Intel Teach program modules were integrated into the B Ed ICT Practicals as a compulsory component. In 2005, Pune University reviewed and reconstructed the ICT B Ed Practicals to include the Intel Teach Version 4.1 that focuses on the use of technology for promoting higher order and critical thinking, problem solving and 21st century skills, as a compulsory component for B Ed. In 2008, the updated Version 10.1, which has project-based learning, ongoing assessments, Web 2.0 technologies integration and help guide was integrated into the B Ed syllabus. In 2010 Project Based Approach (PBA) course was launched as part of e-learning practicals The PBA was integrated into the Intel Teach Version 10.1 modules as a compulsory component. Till then, e-learning had been included only in the ICT theory.

The Teacher Educators were trained on project-based learning methodology, which enabled them to help their student teachers become globally competent teachers. The global standards for assessment, PBL methodology and Web 2.0 technologies were covered in the Intel Teach Version 10.1 curriculum.

The Help Guide as part of the curriculum was accepted as a big boon by colleges, as it allowed them to achieve technical expertise without depending on anyone. The Help Guide CD provided skills for self-learning options. The e-learning promoted by Intel Elements-PBA definitely provided a solution to accommodate diverse learners. It included teacher educators, student teachers and learners in lab environments. Teacher Educators and Student Teachers could strengthen their PBA pedagogy through e-learning with interactive, visually compelling and flexible contents developed by Intel.

The policy changes developed by the Pune University based on the education programs of Intel helped them to ensure quality education. The HOD of the Department of Education at the Pune University now plays an active role as a member of the National Core Committee., to devise strategies for quality implementation of ICT in education. Teacher Educators received exposure by attending NAAC-Intel research workshops, national meets and seminars.Opportunities were given to Student Teachers, Teacher Educators and colleges to participate in National Contests.

To ensure that the Program could be sustained for a period, a follow-up plan was put in place. As part of this:

(1) Intel Teach modules were included in the B Ed ICT Practice syllabus as a practical component
(2) Elements-PBA modules were included as a part of the Version 10.1 modules
(3) University Directives were issued to Colleges of Education for
i. upgrading labs as mentioned in the Intel Teach Version 10.1 pre-requisites
ii. making it mandatory for them to send Master Teachers for participation
iii.  submitting the Intel Master Teachers and Participant Teachers certificatesfollowing the Version 10.1     implementation plan developed by an Intel Program Mentor with the help of the resource persons (Master Trainers trained by the Intel Resource Persons) who were teacher educators appointed by the university

iv. following the evaluation scheme which had marks for the Version 10.1 component and also for the Elements-PBA action plan
v. completing the PBA Course for all student teachers
vi. registering student teachers on the  Intel engage online India community
vii. registering student teachers on Intel’s Assessing Projects website

(4) The university directed the Colleges of Education COEs to send reports declaring the number of student teachers being trained under PBA, and the number of student teachers registered on Intel Engage Online.

Intel®  Teach’s Project Based Learning Program
The University of Pune is one of the institutions participating in Intel Teach’s Project Based Learning Program. The Intel® Teach Program is aimed at improving teacher effectiveness through professional development, helping teachers integrate technology into their lessons. The program promotes students’ problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. Having reached 1.3 million teachers in India and training more than 7 million teachers in 50 countries, Intel Teach is the largest, most successful program of its kind.

Impact
All the B Ed students at the Pune University feel that the curriculum has been an eye opener regarding how technology could be be effectively.

This is the first year of PBA implementation, and the university estimates that every year 75% of B Ed student teachers are sure to benefit through the Elements-PBA course. The course will enable them to develop their skills so that they are at par with global teaching standards.

The university came up with the following estimates for the number of student teachers who benefit from the program annually, each year, at the university:

70% student teachers use Web 2.0 technologies through integration in projects
100% student teachers experience the benefits of e-learning
80% student teachers use technology as a productivity tool
90% student teachers use technology as a communication tool
50% student teachers use technology as a collaboration tool
90% student teachers use technology to support overall administration
80% PG students use technology as a research tool

The program is aimed at developing student teachers successful teachers in their career. The student teachers who have completed the course have experienced the benefits of ICT and Project Based Learning during their training period. Hence they are better equipped to use ICT as a teaching aid in their career as teachers

As result, 90% of the Colleges of Education COEs in Pune University have developed e-culture in their day to day teaching and administration. The development of e-culture helps the students to focus on 21st century skills which is the need of the hour.

“The university has developed an e-culture, thanks to the Intel Teach Program. We learnt how to use technology judiciously, without compromising on the pedagogy. It was because of this program that in 2007, we were in a position to ask for an updated curriculum, as the colleges were well versed with Intel’s basic course.”
– Dr Sanjeev Sonawane, HOD and Dean-Education, University of Pune

“The launch of e-learning with the Intel Teach Elements Project Based Approach (PBA) Course was the need of the hour. It is one of the best combinations of a strong content through the e-learning mode for Student Teachers. This will lead to a standard message regarding Projects Based Approaches in diverse environments.”
Shaheen Shaikh, Teacher Educator, H.G.M. Azam College of Education,
affiliated to the University of Pune

“I am now able to justify what I do with technology to support the teaching learning process in schools. This is the result of undergoing the Intel Teach Curriculum Modules when I was a Student Teacher at Vidya Pratishthan, Baramati. Long Live the Intel Teach Program.”
Avinash Kulkarni, ex student teacher from Vidya Pratishthan, Baramati

“What Next?”

“We want to prepare future teachers who can develop e-content for their subjects, and who are able to use available e-content from different open learning resources, enabling their pupils to learn more effectively.”
– Dr Sanjeev Sonawane, HOD and Dean-Education, University of Pune

(Rusen K, founder and head of INDIACSR)

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