Trivandrum: Kerala’s IT@School Project has started empowering the visually challenged teachers in the State in ICT as part of implementing the Hi-Tech School programme in the State. 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 were trained in ICT in May using a specific module and the remaining 260 teachers would be trained by July. 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.
Earlier in 2011, IT@School had imparted basic IT training for all visually challenged teachers in the State, which had received a special appreciation from MHRD. With the completion of the current training, Kerala would become the first State in the Country to have trained all visually challenged teachers in ICT, which focuses on the possibilities of ICT in education, rather than a mere training on computers.
The specific training includes activities such as preparation of documents and presentations which would assist in classroom teaching of every teacher, language computing, digital content collection from the Internet and their legal aspects, audio recording and video editing. 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. The use of free software based application enables unrestricted customisation benefiting the differentially abled teachers also. 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 training for the regular teachers emphasise on specific subject wise content, developed entirely on Free and Open Source Software platform. The accessibility gaps of the software used for such training is assessed and then new customised packages are being incorporated, for the benefit of the visually challenged teachers”, said K Anvar Sadath, Executive Director, IT@School Project.
Kerala IT News