Over past 2-3 decades India has made significant achievement in improving the overall literacy, access and enrolment in schools and improving the school physical infrastructure. The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 was big policy decision which ensure the elementary education to every children of our country.
The monumental growth of schools and changing societal demand put lot of pressure and questions to schools in terms of quality of education which they are providing. The quality of school education largely depends on teachers as they are the backbone of school educational system. As we know, teaching is a dynamic profession by nature where teachers need to continuously learn and update themselves throughout their professional life. In-service teacher professional education program was introduced to play a significant role in the professional growth of teachers and function as an agent for change in school and classroom practices. It helps teachers to gain confidence by engaging with their practices and reaffirming their experiences.
To cater the need of continuous professional development, National Policy on Education (NPE-1986) has given lot of importance to in-service teacher education program after which Government has tried to establish 500 District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET s), 87 Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs), and 38 Institutes of Advanced Studies in Education (IASEs), and strengthen 30 State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs). District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) which was started in 1993-94, covered 272 districts in 18 states of the country also brought in the block and cluster resource centers and made in-service teacher education and cluster-level schools as the follow-up for the main strategies for pedagogic renewal (NCF 2005).According to Mail Today, 24th June 2015 report which starts that “Government teachers to undergo compulsory training every year where every year teachers would have to undergo 30 to 60 hours of training in pedagogical methods. Teachers would have to take this training till they remain in service.” In-service programs are often tied to specific reform initiatives in curriculum, pedagogy or assessment. Some of those training program are Activity based learning, classroom management of large classes, multigrade teaching, team teaching, and cooperative and collaborative learning, Problem solving approaches, subject-teacher workshop etc. These training programs provide opportunities to teachers to engage with other teachers professionally and to update knowledge. The emphasis on continuous teacher professional development is not a new concept and many programs and events were designed and implemented in past, not only by Government agencies but also by non-government organizations from time to time.
Things around us are changing fast and one reason which is making this possible is penetration of new technology in our life. Education space is also not isolated from it. It is very important to know and understand properly the role of technology integration plays in teacher professional development as it is directly going to affect the development of students’ in Indian schools.In recent years, we can see that lot of weightage has been given to train teachers by different programs, in which one of them which is trending is to use technology integration.The changing Government Policies which incline towards technology and its application were clearly seen through initiatives like digital India and giving weightage for ICT programs in schools.The strong academic discourse is going on regarding use technology integration in classroom so as to improve student’s educational outcome lot of teachers have to go through the process of learning this new concepts under assumption that technology integration will helps and improve students learning outcome.One of the NCF 2005 recommendation on improving teacher professional education is through the judicious use of technology which can increase the reach of educational programmes, facilitate management of the system, as well as help address specific learning needs and requirements but it further states categorically that “Technological use that turns teachers and children into mere consumers and technology operators needs to be reviewed and discouraged.””An OECD study shows that better technology in classrooms does not always translate into better learning outcomes.
It is time for Indian policymakers to do some soul-searching on our over-reliance on technology in education and the resultant neglect shown to teacher training” (Krishna Kumar, 2015)It’s also pointed by one of the teacher that a major indicator of quality of training is its relevance to teachers’ needs. But most such programmes are not organized according to actual needs but uses top down approach. In many cases these training program simply becoming a routine activity and many teachers consider it as a waste of their time and energy. Therefore, We need to closely examine and reflect the use of technology integration for teacher professional development so that we know whether it is actually serving its purpose of improving class room practices or it just became a norm of the day, in which associated organizations or Government are just organizing the training program for their own interest where as teachers were not finding it useful for their class room engagements. These were also many pressure groups which are protesting the very idea of use of ICT programs as they feel it takes away the autonomy of teacher and has ill effect on health and overall thinking ability of students at large. One teacher also commented that “Our class room became smart but we don’t know how smart our students are?” They also felt that these ICT is doing nothing but making teachers and students consumers to technology without properly integrating it to class room need.In the midst of all these rapid changes the voice of teachers, need to be heard, understand and analyzed so that the future in-service training program in Technology Integration could be well thought and planned thereby we can harness the technology as tool/enabler to improve teaching learning environment in every classrooms of our country. Technology integration is relatively new concept, particularly in Indian context.
We have borrowed some of the theoretical ideas and understanding from western country and trying to use it in Indian Government Schools. So through this research I have tried to find out what are the ground level realities teachers face while doing technology integration.Many research were conducted to look at 1st level barriers which hinder technology integration or talk about the ways in which technology being adopted by teachers in education scape. There were not sufficient research done in the way Government School teachers do technology integration and how it help them to develop themselves professionally.