You call it ICT or Computer Science - up to middle school (grade 8) the objective remains the same; to equip learners with computational skills, build their thinking capacity and enable them to use technology for independent learning. As an educator we come across many products and programs that claim to fulfill the above objective. For decades we have been following the book based model for the subject.

Book-Based Model:

I believe 99 out of 100 schools in India have a standard format of one block period i.e. 40 + 40 minutes session of computers every week. There is one text book that is taught or I would say ‘completed’ annually. Irrespective of the education board one may follow, the books more or less cover similar topics. For example:

 
IGCSE
 
CBSE
 
Grade 1 Machines
Parts of Computer
Paint
Keyboard & mouse
Machines
Parts of Computer
Paint
Typing
Grade 2 Parts of Computer
Uses of computer
Paint
Wordpad /
Text editing
Parts of Computer
Uses of computer
Paint
Wordpad /
Text editing
Grade 3 Working of computer
Operating System
Paint
Logo
MS Word / Text editing
Typing
Parts of Computer
Hardware & Software
Paint
Windows customization
Logo
MS Word / Text editing
Grade 4 Computer Peripherals
Logo
MS Word
Internet
Files and Folders
Power Point
Presentation
Input & Output devices
Paint
Operating
System
Internet
Logo
MS Word
Power Point
Presentation
Grade 5 Evolution of computers
Data Storage
Managing Picture
Internet
Multimedia
Scratch
Evolution of computers
Tables and objects
Files and Folders
Internet
MS Word
Scratch
Power Point Presentation
Grade 6 Computer Languages
Mail Merge
Malware
MS Excel
Algorithms & Flowcharts
QBASIC
Computer Languages
Mail Merge
Internet
MS Excel
Flash CS3
QB64
Power Point
Presentation

For IGCSE we have referred Terabytes and Click Start from Cambridge University Press and IT beans or Cyber beans from Kips Publication for CBSE.

Reason for selecting these titles –

  1. Used by majority of schools in India
  2. I have used them 🙂

No doubt every publisher tries their best to cover the above mentioned topics in depth; and they do provide digital support for the same. But if you have a dedicated computer teacher then frankly speaking you don’t need either. Yes, we can get away with books. I am sure your parents will be happy to hear that – the book list just got truncated!

Caution! (little disruption here)- How many of us have used a book to learn MS Office or use a digital device?

What’s next?

As a parent, educator or school owners if you really want to invest in building digital literacy of the learners then you can look for:

  1. Code Monkey (https://www.playcodemonkey.com)

Thanks to Cambridge University Press for introducing and giving a month’s licence to us. Following that, we did a pilot with our learners at school. Perhaps no direct teaching was involved from the teacher but I can say learning did happen. It was evident to see the digital natives sail through all the 30 challenges and asking for more. Right from Grade 3 to Grade 6 students loved it, some of them even logged in from their home to explore further. I am sure code monkey has more levels and challenges to offer.

 

  1. Hour of Code (https://www.khanacademy.org/hourofcode)

You can’t expect anything less from a Man with a vision, LEARN EVERYTHING FOR FREE. Hour of code is an excellent course if you have little background of coding or know how of Khan Academy. Initially, it appears to be complicated if you are new to the platform – remember the vision statement, it says EVERYTHING. And it’s true, there is so much to choose from that one has to be educated to select what is appropriated and required for a learner of a given grade. Dive in to explore the ocean of content and carve out your own syllabus. Please avoid drowning!

 

  1. Filament Games (https://www.filamentlearning.com/products)

Very different from the listed two, they make educational games. I am only mentioning it because we have tried it with our students. Specifically the game called ‘Reach for the Sun’ (https://www.filamentlearning.com/products/plant-structure-and-processes-unit-reach-for-the-sun). Grow your plant from a seedling, defend it against insects, and help it struggle through the seasons to pollinate and produce flowers. In short, it helps them learn Plant Life Cycle. I don’t know of any school in India using it, yours can be the first.

 

All said and done from my end, do share your views on the topic. Let's make Computers an interesting subject which the learners look forward for and not restrict it to mere screenshots and photocopies.

About the Author - 

A Computer Engineer who has worked in Business Intelligence domain before immersing completely into education. His journey includes teaching in weekend school, conducting workshops and training sessions for teachers across the country and few abroad. Currently, he is heading Science, Mathematics, and ICT at Delhi World Public School, Navi Mumbai; On weekends you would find him as the founder of Encephalors developing STEM modules like ‘Fun with Newton’, ‘Virtual Reality’ and ‘Building Bridges’ or adding value among the youth through the program on ‘Gyrification of Skills’.