Sikshana Foundation and DELL have launched a technology program for 10,000 students in all 200 Government Higher Primary Schools of Ramanagara and Magadi taluks. Over the next six months, students in these schools will have access to DELL laptops and tablets to create digital content about their schools and their local communities. In the process, they will develop their digital literacy, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.
Digital literacy programs often stop with introducing students to the features of office productivity applications. As a result, students do not see how technology can be applied in their lives. In contrast, students in the Sikshana-DELL program will work in in teams to use technology to document life in their communities. This might entail capturing digital sketches of the school and local environs, conducting an audio and/or video interview, analyzing gender data of the school using charts and graphs, etc. As the teams create such digital content they build skills in technology, teamwork, how to research topics, creating content in multiple media formats, etc. The students will be guided in their work by Sikshana’s employees (called Mentors), who will visit the school every fortnight to conduct training and to answer questions.
With this program, Sikshana and DELL aim to influence policy on using ICT in schools. Currently, policy mostly focuses on infrastructural aspects of ICT, and sometimes on content. But for the optimal use of such infrastructure, it is vital to have activities and processes which help students and teachers engage with the technology.