Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 15, Issue 1, Article 6 (Jun., 2014)
Ajitha NAYAR K and Miles BARKER
Computer labs as techno-pedagogical tools for learning biology – Exploring ICT practices in India

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The development of digital technologies has resulted in wide-ranging possibilities in the learning place. In many places, the school curriculum is undergoing sweeping changes due to technology integration, technology incorporation and technology intervention. This has resulted in emerging-techno pedagogies in varying school systems, curricular contexts and classroom practices. Different learning contexts and learning opportunities have opened up for the learner. Likewise, different or alternative teaching contexts and teaching opportunities have opened up for the teacher. However, case studies (Dabla, 2010, Singh, 2009, UNESCO, 2008, Sharma, 2004) of implementation of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in schools in a number of countries has indicated that the vision and goals for implementation can vary widely between schools. The Indian National Information Technology (IT) policy has recognized the necessity for students to acquire 21st century skills and has called for efforts to make the school environment more conducive to technology intervention in the instructional process. Apart from government Initiatives like IT@schools, more and more IT companies like the National Institute of Information Technology and Microsoft are working in close association with teacher educators and teacher education institutions in order to find the best IT solutions for the school curriculum.

The United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in association with the regional institutes, has framed ICT indicators for different countries. These indicators for defining technology-enabled learning were based on how technology was really being used in the most ideal of curricular practices available. No such indicators have been developed for the Indian educational context. The Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, has begun formulated the 'National Policy on ICT in School Education' with a focus on addressing the needs and challenges of teaching and learning in schools using Information and Communication Technology. The Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) (, a United Nations ICT Task Force organization, provides strategic assistance to MHRD in the preparation of this policy. GeSCI has partnered with the Centre for Science, Development, and Media Studies ( to coordinate and facilitate the process of policy formulation. However, in the contexts of limited technology infrastructure, it is unreasonable to expect such fulfillment of standards in Indian classroomsat the moment, where the realization of expected curricular practices is problematic because positive responses to three questions cannot yet be guaranteed, viz.,

1. Were computer labs present?

2. Were they being used at least once per week by each class?

3. Were computers used as pedagogical tools?


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