September 2007

It’s both about the message and the messenger

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The important lobbying day for educators around the world is here again, with the Teachers Day celebrations catching up the time. The world while preparing for 5 October, the World Teachers Day, India is already into the mode of tributing its Teachers coinciding 5 September, and so comes our celebratory programme through this special issue. From mid-60s, 5th September has been the date of investiture. But, after so many years, we still begin by considering how actively to contribute to the building of this most powerful global knowledge community. Linking it with teachers' constructs of good teaching and learning, we still try to demonstrate some links between thought patterns and positive use of ICT.

It is through involvement that teachers can realise and develop the relevant ICT skills. Our teachers are underpaid, untrained and unmotivated and are in a sorry state. There has been little emphasis on supporting teachers in developing understanding of how ICT could impact on the ways they teach. The opportunity to take part in professional debate has frequently been subsumed within concerns surrounding acquisition of basic skills and ICT has been placed by some at the centre of this mechanistic view of learning. A transformational classroom practice has been low on the agenda for many teachers and ICT has been relegated to the role of workhorse.

But of course, ICT can respond to this need as well, as it is the energiser and innovator. The development of a new conceptual framework for teaching using ICT can only be realised if educators have the opportunity to be active in shaping the professional debates surrounding the implementation of any artifact that affects the dynamics of teaching and learning.

The articles in this issue also demonstrate more such conceptual frameworks on ICTs in education, as we all seek through our research to actively contribute to the building of the whole knowledge society, going beyond a knowledge community. We have presented the current situation of usage of ICT in secondary education in India, including national policies, strategies and programmes, hardware and software, teaching and learning, informatics curriculum and related projects and initiatives, SWOT analysis and there by the need and initiation of a National Policy for  ICT in school education.

Aggregating the thoughts from more dissemination avenues for educational technology content, like the recently concluded Digital Learning India 2007 conference, we have again tried to put forth some recommendations for policy and programme implementation, and some key research questions that are felt to facilitate the reduction or removal of the barriers in the context of ICT and education. Any attempt to provide a report on a conference as large as this is impossible and inevitably selective. But the attempt has been made and it seeks to support the community of researchers and practitioners involved in ICT4E and development. We welcome feedback and suggestions as to how such attempts can better serve this community.

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