The impact of using ICT in the classroom extends further than pupil achievement and classroom practice. It also benefits teachers' professional identities and the community as a whole. The Intel Teach Program seeks to empower teachers to integrate IT into their classes to make learning interesting for students.
Qurban & Surraiya Educational Trust aims at providing the best quality education at the lowest possible cost. The Qurban & Surraiya Educational Trust School is situated on Walton Road, Lahore and caters for the needs of the local people, of lower or lower middle class income group.
The Trust realized the importance of computers in 1995 and set up a small computer lab in the school. In 2001, Mrs. Abida Mahmood joined the institution – it was like entering a dark tunnel where the teachers only had some basic knowledge of the computers. However the candle had already been lit which, she multiplied and changed the darkness into light.
However, integration of IT into the lessons was not practiced until 2002 when teachers were trained under the Intel® Teach Program. The teachers were introduced to the idea of developing and using IT as a tool for learning. They gradually took to IT and started enjoying teaching.
The process of integrating technology was not alien but just a slow one. Intel® helped the staff to progress and expand their horizons much quicker than any one could imagine. The vision statement for Qurban’s School was framed with support from trainers from Intel® Education - “To become a learning environment where 21st Century Skills are fostered through inquiry based learning and existing curriculum is driven by technology uses in order to produce critical thinkers who are an asset to our nation”.
The school administration has not looked back since then and always tries to invest in the latest technology looking ahead into the future. “Intel has not only transformed our vision for the future but our whole learning scenario”, said the principal. They have learnt that computers offer them both new models of mind, a new medium on which to project their ideas and fantasies. Like the tool of language computers are instruments of normalization, marginalization or empowerment, depending on who is using them, how they are being operated, and to what end they are being employed.
“Everybody should have the opportunity to acquire the skills in order to understand, participate actively in, and benefit fully from the emerging knowledge societies,” said one of the teachers.
Pupils have very clearly indicated that their understanding of the topics is better when the topics were presented on the computer. A class 9th student said, ‘We like the colorful drawings and our teacher has summarized the main points on the slide. If we had to read it from the book we had to look for the main points and it takes more time.’
In 2007, when the Government of Punjab decided to widen the Canal Bank Road and the Mall Road (Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam) the environmental society of the school became very active. The Headboy, Syed Abutalib was working on a project for environmental conservation for the Intel Science Fair (Problems of Environmental Pollution and Their Solutions – Local & Global). The fact that he was taking Environmental Management as a subject in his GCE O’ levels also helped him in his work.
He along with other students met the Chief Minister of Punjab, to discuss the environmental implications of cutting down the trees. Guided by his teacher, he researched the causes and possible solutions to the growing pollution problem. One of the links he found was the pollution caused by the old two stroke engine rickshaws which would only get worse if the trees were cut down. The students were able to convince the Chief Minister to stop the cutting of the trees along the Mall Road and the rickshaws are being replaced by ones with four stroke engines.
Mrs. Abida Mahmood says, "Intel showed us the way and this has been a single step but certainly a journey in the right direction. The implementation of IT is very important for an institution like us because if we don’t deliver them these skills the pupil would not have access to them till the age of 16 due to their social background."
Use of ICT in education has helped improve memory retention, increase motivation and generally deepen understanding of the teachers and students alike. They have learnt to use ICT to promote collaborative learning, including role playing, group problem solving activities and articulated projects. It has taught them to share learning resources, learning spaces, promote collaborative learning and move towards autonomous learning.
“Intel has inspired us so much that some of our students have designed websites and magazines during their summer holidays. I attribute this to Intel for initiating the interest in computer aided learning. I extend my deepest thanks to Intel for their support in training our teachers and creating the awareness of how important IT is to enhance learning for students and teachers alike in this day and age”, said Abida.