Indian teachers trained under the Intel Teach® program are putting theory into practice in their local communities.
The Intel Teach program equips teachers with the skills needed to make 21st century learning more compelling and relevant. It helps teachers integrate technology into their lessons and promotes students' problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills. It also helps to bridge gaps created by cultural differences and distance.
During 2011, a number of teachers have launched programs which make a contribution to their local communities. These programs not only provide innovative educational opportunities for their students, but foster inclusion and help to solve environmental and social challenges.
Program: ‘Differently Abled Friendly’
An Intel Teach-trained teacher from Ammaiyappan, on the outskirts of Thiruvarur recently launched a program to improve education for children with disabilities. ‘Differently Abled Friendly’ promotes technology-based learning for children with different levels of ability.
Mrs Magdalene Premlatha, from a Government higher secondary school, believes the power of computer-aided learning can make a difference in the lives of all children.
Her program has recruited students of differing abilities from around her local area, offering them a range of project-based digital literacy activities. ‘Differently Abled Friendly’ has been so successful that it has been integrated into the school’s curriculum. Since its launch, ten additional students with disabilities have enrolled at the school.
Mrs Premlatha encouraged teachers to ask themselves what they could do for their local communities by advancing educational opportunities and thinking more inclusively.
“I have found no words to explain the joy in the faces of the children when they joined the program,” she said.
Program: ‘A Need for Women in Education’
After attending a six-day training program run by Intel Teach and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA),
Mr. Kanakasabapathy Karthikeyan, a teacher from the small village of Melarankiyam in Tamil Nadu, India, was inspired to help female students meet their full potential.
He launched ‘A Need for Women in Education’ to explore the barriers for women entering higher education.
With Mr. Karthikeyan’s assistance, students conducted surveys, collected data and analysed the factors that prevent female students from continuing education. The study revealed barriers including a lack of awareness, finances, fear and housekeeping responsibilities.
Mr. Karthikeyan said: “The SSA Intel Teach Program has provided the tools for us to fulfil our dreams and make real improvements in our society.”
Under the program, students have participated in rallies and have brainstormed ideas on how to improve national education for India’s women. The program was well received by the local community, who signed a charter affirming their support.
Mr. Karthikeyan said the program was an important step toward improving participation rates. “In our country, seven per cent of young adults aged between 18 and 24 continue with higher education. We want this number to improve,” he said.
Program: ‘Raising Awareness on Global Warming’
After participating in the Intel Teach program, Ms Alagarsamy Sivarani, a teacher from Vadipatti, in the Madurai District of Tamil Nadu State, was inspired to use Project Based Learning (PBL) to tackle environmental issues.
Ms Sivarani tasked her class with exploring the electricity consumption within their village. The students approached households and spoke to community members about the risks of global warming and the part individuals could play in reducing energy consumption.
Of the 200 households approached, more than 50 agreed to replace their tungsten bulbs with tube lights. The response was testament to the fact that a few small steps can pave the way to major changes in behaviour.
The program revealed the powerful influence students can have within a local community. The headmaster of Ms Sivarani’s school was impressed by the enthusiasm and community spirit and the school will support the program on an ongoing basis.