Kerala will soon become the first state in the country to have trained all visually challenged teachers in Information and Communication technology (ICT) education. IT@School, a state-run initiative to impart IT education in schools, has started empowering the visually challenged teachers in ICT as part of implementing the hi-tech school programme in the state.
The initiative focuses on the possibilities of ICT in education, rather than a mere training on computers, official sources here said. IT@School has already trained all high school, upper primary and lower primary teachers in various facets of ICT, equipping them to handle their subjects effectively using the technology.
The training for the visually challenged teachers is aimed at empowering them to make use of ICT in classroom teaching, much like their fellow teachers, by using appropriate training contents. Over 200 visually challenged teachers would be imparted training in ICT in May using specific module and the remaining 260 teachers would be trained by July, Executive Director of IT@School Project, K Anvar Sadath said.
The specific training includes activities such as preparation of documents and presentations which would assist in classroom teaching, language computing, digital content collection from internet and their legal aspects, audio recording and video editing, he said. The educational applications which are used for the regular training are customised for the benefit of the visually challenged teachers.
“For this purpose, the free software based application for screen reading viz ORCA has been extensively made use of,” he said. The use of free software based application enables unrestricted customisation benefiting the differently-abled teachers also, he added.
Sadath further said, the unique ‘Sarada Braille Keyboard’ developed by Sathyasheelan, head master of Govt School for Visually Challenged at Kunnamkulam and his son Nalin has been included in the training package.
“The dull and monotonous life as a person and teacher, turned dramatically by the training for blind teachers and we are now using ICT for our personal things as good as a normal man does” says Sebastian, a teacher in GHSS, Chowwara in Ernakulam district who is almost fully blind.
Supplementing the ICT training for the visually challenged teachers, IT@School would facilitate necessary computers at schools and would also ensure its access for the visually challenged students.
IT@School has also made arrangements for specific cluster training for visually challenged students, the official added.