The idea of the present work originated with the thought that questions that have found answers as a result of an experimental study for a doctoral degree, must reach out to the fraternity deeply interested in their profession. The book, ‘Teachers Create Magic… with ICT’ is based on the experimental research conducted on the topic, ‘Effect of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools on the Academic Improvement of Secondary School Students’, at the Department of Education, University of Mumbai during the period of 2008- 2013. The title of the book is the result of deliberations on the word ‘Magic’ on which we had a long discussion. We agreed that technology today serves as a magic wand in the hands of a teacher. It is a boon for the teachers who need the support to teach this generation of students who are so much technology driven. The book is about educating the young students with the intent of preparing them for the 21st century skills necessary for the global world. This book has been written to provide teachers with knowledge of how to use ICT tools in a classroom with large number of students, necessary to enhance the learning among school going students especially those coming from lower economic strata of society. This can be authenticated due to the empirical research that was conducted by the authors, i.e. the research scholar and the supervisor, as part of the doctoral study. The resultant dissertation/thesis was well received, but being technical in nature had to be brought to the intended readers in a form which had a greater outreach. An attempt will be made to translate this book in other languages like Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi for a large number of teachers using them. The book is divided into fourteen chapters. Chapter one introduces the readers to the precise role ICT should play in educational reform and how best to ensure that potential is fulfilled. ICT and educational reform around the world and its applications are making dramatic changes in economic and social development. These changes are not merely increase in the number of computers in schools but in using and integrating it in the basic teaching methods. Chapter two talks about the need for research. Whether we can measure India’s ICTin-education performance by evaluating what’s happening in few schools in urban India. Today it is required that every student is technologically literate by the time the student finishes the secondary school education, regardless of the student’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability. It reflects the need for students to develop learning skills that enable them to think critically, analyze information, communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve which can be effectively achieved by the use of technology as a learning tool. From the review of the related literature several gaps in research were observed. Does the use of technology in teaching have a positive effect on the learning abilities of students or not? Whether the use of various ICT tools in classroom also enhances the self-esteem of the students or not? Chapters three and four talk about Teachers Create Magic with… ICT IX Dr. Sangeeta N. Srivastava & Dr. Indu Garg the theoretical underpinnings of the study. They deal with the theories in ICT, current national and international perspective on ICT usage. These chapters outline the need for selection of two important school subjects namely English and Geography. The authors were of the view that both these subjects are windows to the global world which widen the horizons of the young and when these subjects are taught integrating the ICT tools with traditional teaching methods, they can be very effective in bringing about the development of the qualities in students that are necessary to meet the 21st century challenges. Learning abilities such as abilities of communication, team work, problem solving and critical thinking and the role of self esteem of the student in his/her success is also incorporated in these chapters. In Chapter five, the authors have thrown light on what the other researchers say on this topic. This chapter draws conclusions from the review of related literature, about what ICT in education should focus on, about technology as media, studies conducted in India, studies conducted abroad on ICT and academic achievement, learning abilities and self esteem. There is also mention of latest media reports appearing in major newspapers regarding increasing use of technology in classrooms. Chapter six deals with the technical aspects of the study. It explains the research design of the study. This includes the aims, objectives, research questions and hypotheses of the study. Further the methodology, the respondents and the techniques of their selection, the instruments used to collect the information and the techniques used for analyzing the data have been incorporated in this chapter. In chapter seven the authors have outlined what were the intervention strategies and how they were carried out. The present research involves developing and implementing an ICT tools based teaching programme. It focuses on developing the teaching programme and ascertaining its effectiveness on academic achievement, learning abilities and self-esteem of students. This chapter discusses in detail the lesson plans designed to develop academic achievement, learning abilities and self-esteem of students of Std. X. The conceptual framework of the study and structure of the experiment is outlined so as to provide the readers as to how the experimental research was planned and carried out. Chapter eight talks about the implementation of the teaching programme in English subject. The details of time schedule, activities planned out and how they were implemented in the classroom integrating the ICT tools in teaching and learning. Chapter nine similarly has the details of implementation of teaching programme of Geography subject. Chapter ten has two parts to it. The first part describes the data obtained in a tabulated as well as diagrammatical way. The second part gives the research questions that caused the intellectual disturbance. These questions were framed into hypotheses. The hypotheses were tested and the findings and conclusions were explained. In the eleventh chapter the authors discuss the findings and how the intervention strategies used as part of the experiment were found to impact the achievement, abilities for learning and the self esteem of the students. Teachers Create Magic with… ICT X Dr. Sangeeta N. Srivastava & Dr. Indu Garg Authors’ observations about the changes that took place, the effect of the interventions and the added benefits to the students have been outlined in chapter twelve. Suggestions for the various stakeholders in the education of the young as to what can be done to prepare them for the future are given in chapter thirteen. Few recommendations for government agencies,for school managements, for teachers and for the students have been made here. Each research leaves certain questions unanswered. These unanswered questions give rise to need for further research. The authors have attempted to suggest some areas where research can be undertaken by those interested in this area in the concluding chapter fourteen. In the journey of the research undertaken and subsequently writing the book many insights were gained. A lesson learnt was that teachers have to be committed to their profession if they need to further the cause of nation building through education of the young, especially those coming from lower socio economic strata of the society. There has to be digital readiness and learning in the output of the schools. This alone can make them ready to face the 21st century of the globalized world. Small ideas and little efforts will go a long way in achieving the stated goals. Schools alone can do this for large part of the young school going population. There have been many changes from the time between the completion of this study and writing of this book. Many government policies towards digitalization of education are seeing the light of the day. Efforts are being made to train the teachers and students towards increased use of technology in the classrooms, including the remote areas of the country. In this scenario we are hopeful that our recommendations and observations made in this book will be helpful to the educators to implement ICT tools in teaching in classrooms with large number of students with a positive outcome. This research has further strengthened our belief that the technology and its appropriate use in the class by a committed teacher can definitely create magic in the classrooms.
– Sangeeta N. Srivastava