Most of the students of the four schools under the supervision of Okhai Memon Madressah Association (OMMA) belong to poor families to Kharadar area of Karachi, who are even unable to pay their monthly dues at the school. Okhai Memon Madressah Association working as a Voluntary Social Welfare Agency provides excellent education facilities to these underprivileged students. Students are given fee concessions, some pay even less than fifty percent fee.
OMMA believes in developing and implementing innovative and creative programs. The learning and education is seen as a multidimensional process integrating various sources of learning especially media and technology. OMMA Schools have always been a pioneer in developing programs for enhancing capacity of teachers not only in pedagogy and content, but for using technology as a tool for learning. In the last two years, huge investments have been made to improve the facilities for technology in the schools and for the faculty members.
To enhance the overall quality of teaching and learning in the schools, technology was integrated and made an essential component of each learning area. While developing the curriculum and content specific areas are identified where technology can be integrated easily and effectively in the classes.
Mr. Kanda Wala, the General Secretary of the Association says, “So far from our experiences we can say that technology has become an effective tool of learning and enhancing thinking and young generation should be exposed to it.”
This explicit integration of technology in each learning area helped the teachers to identify the focus for their technology-based lessons. The provision of specific time in their teaching framework also helped them to implement the TBL. After the development of the programs all the teachers were given training as per their needs to make them understand the technology part of their learning areas.
After the trainings the teachers used thematic instructions, which created a great enthusiasm among students. It also enhanced the social skills of teacher and students both. Students developed collaborative skills, effective communication, critical thinking skills, technology & media literacy, IT skills, problem solving skills and project based work.
According to a principal, “Teachers are also taking interest in lesson planning and assessing students more effectively as they have realized that proper planning and implementation helps students learn better”.
The PT teacher Ms. Shabana planned a very interesting lesson for her students of class 6
. Students were given the project in their lesson regarding physical health to simulate the situation and role play as a cholesterol patient to bring awareness regarding affects of improper diet and absence of exercise in daily life.
For this project they used technology as a tool for searching the information about exercise and cholesterol in body and its harmful effects. They used different software to present their research in the form of brochure, web page and multimedia presentations and also arranged their database. Observing the process a parent expressed his thoughts in the following words:
“Students have improved their skills, now they can manage their time better, as lots of activities that they used to do manually, have become much quicker when they do them through the computers”.
The brochure contained information about how to reduce cholesterol level by exercise daily and was distributed to the community members who were cholesterol patients. They played a role of problem solver and took feed back of the same community members who had the brochures and collected the feed back of the impact of daily exercise by taking the samples of blood of the same people.
The staff of Aga Khan Laboratory gave them information about cholesterol patients of Kharadar Area. The students collaborated with the people of the community like doctors, not only for collecting information for their awareness campaign about the importance of physical health but also to arrange free cholesterol camp in their clinics and share the results with the students.
The next step was to take interviews of those people whose results should remarkable difference in the level of their cholesterol level by exercise and then to publish them in OMMA magazine with their photographs and messages.
The students were not only involved in effective communication and critical thinking but actually raised interest to an issue which was really very meaningful and effective for the people of their community.
The greatest achievement of this project work was the development of 21
century skills, which was assessed by teachers & students both, by using new assessment techniques from Internet Intel website. All the criteria’s were covered by these assessments techniques.
Ms. Shabana, the PT teacher said, “We as a teacher share information with other subject teachers for integration of subjects. The classroom culture is now more fun place and the students who had to be pushed to attend the class, are now eager to come to class and work with their team mates, they find adrenaline rush of learning and competing quite enjoyable. Parents are also involved with their kids to complete the assignments and the entire community benefits.