The Shiksha-o-Prajukti Mela 2020 was organized by ITE, TISS team in collaboration with Samagra Siksha Mission, Kolkata on 14th February 2020. The aim was to provide an efficient platform to showcase the ITE best practises of the government school students and teachers in Kolkata. This was the 3rd ITE mela in Kolkata. Over the years there has been increase in the teachers’ and the district education department ownership in designing and implementing the mela. The inauguration of the event was done by Mr. Khagendra Nath Roy, District Inspector of Secondary Schools, Kolkata who appreciated the concept of ITE and motivated the students and the teachers to make the best out of it.
Around 190 students and 83 teachers were present in the mela from 45 different schools (classes 5 to 10) with more than 60 projects of different subjects and topics. The Mela also served as a common platform where the students could interact with their peers, teachers and students from various schools across Kolkata. Two other ITE partners, Suchana from Birbhum and Samaritans Help Mission from Howrah also joined the mela, this added to the diversity of the students, teachers and projects.
These students came along with their teachers, who have successfully implemented ITE in their respective subjects throughout the academic session. Prior to the mela, some of the students attended the two days ‘Young Producers Camp 2020, Kolkata’ where around 73 students and 40 teachers from 33 different schools participated actively. In these 2 days the students learnt the languages of Scratch, M-Block, Python and use those applications to solve their given problems. The camp was planned with a vision of inculcating the 21st century skills like problem solving, critical thinking and principles of computational thinking.
The projects made at the camp were added to the overall ITE projects made in the schools. The well-designed lesson plans by the teachers actually helped the students to think beyond their text book. For example, some of the projects were: students researched on the history of ‘ink and pen’ in Bengali was a Bengali prose; the students of class 6 showcased a history project that dealt with the highly developed town planning, sanitation, and drainage pattern which was found during the Harappa Civilization and relate it with the modern city plan; in the project ‘Pollution through plastic’, the students required to undertake thorough research on the topic which helped them to learn about the impacts of plastic in a much deeper sense.
The students from ‘Suchana’, Birbhum shared their project on the age wise population and literacy rate in the village, Rohomotpur which was a very informative community project using a spreadsheet application and they had made the project in ‘kora’ language.
The projects on computational thinking applications were: the students of class 9 from B.T Road Govt. Sponsored School from the topic ‘soil’ of Geography made an automatic irrigation system which was capable of fulfilling the water requirement of crops by automatically providing water whenever the soil dries out using M-Block with Arduino uno. A group of class 7 students used scratch application to create a digital story using multiple sprite and background and also inserted own voice in English which is a English topic ‘The Riddle’.
The Mela was concluded by Mr. Kartick Chandra Manna, the Chairman of SSM Kolkata. In his address he said that the Mela helped the students to gain a wider perspective on meaningful use of technology in their regular life, to solve the real-life problems, to understand different topics in their own way, to think beyond the text book and show their ability. He also acknowledged the teachers who integrated the process of ITE with their subjects and show the courage to use something new to change the teaching learning process and being motivator for other teachers. Mr. Kartick Manna personally visited the various stalls, interacting with the students about the projects they have made. This communication boosted the confidence of the students as they were able to express themselves freely which was very noteworthy.
On the whole, the overall experience of the teachers and parents can be briefed by saying that the Mela was quite interesting and beneficial for the students and teachers. The concept of ITE was highlighted and reiterated which stresses on constructing meaningful concepts and relationship between concepts and real-world by actively creating knowledge through learning artefacts.
“We have learnt a lot of new ways and approaches towards teaching learning process. Our students are very enthusiastic about the whole thing. They have acquired a lot of new things. They have also given presentation on the new learnt ways. It is a very good endeavour towards progressive learning. I would definitely join with ITE team in future and try to motivate all other teachers to do it”-Soma Ghosh, Teacher, Surah Kanya Vidyalaya.