Shri Rampur Secondary School of Doti district won International School Award (ISA) in 2013. Naresh Bikram Nath, ISA coordinator at the school believes this is an era of limitless knowledge and students need to learn both locally and globally. He expresses thanks to the program for bringing changes in both students and teachers. Language and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) seems to be at the heart of the change, Nath speaks of.
For global learning, project-based learning is implemented through Connecting Classrooms using ICT. For one such project called ‘A day in my life’, the students took photographs and created visual time tables of their entire day. They exchanged these with schools in the UK, the USA and India and compared and contrasted their lifestyle with that of three countries that were quite different from their own. This collaborative learning also inadvertently allowed the teachers to have a better understanding of how education systems worked in other countries. ICT has also made space for deeper relationships between global classrooms. When the principal at Waterloo Primary School in the UK passed away, the students from Rampur used the language of visual drawings expressing their condolences.
The school formed “Rampur Progressive Child Club” for its students to help them work on different cross-curricular projects even outside classrooms. The students are now capable of leading different projects on their own. Club President, Dipesh Malla shares how they put together a street play to raise awareness on drug abuse. They also made a projector out of an old bulb filled with water and a shoebox painted black. Introduction of ICT has pushed students to research further and communicate textbook ideas better through plays, presentations, experiments and more. This discovery of language has made the students better leaders and team players.
An exploration of language in the form of a project called “language in the school” was able to highlight the diversity in the local context. It was largely unacknowledged that the school had 80 hearing impaired students, along with students who belong to different ethnic communities and speak different tongues like Gurung, Tamang, Hindi, Doteli, along with Nepali and English. For the project, the students explored words in different languages, including sign language. The engagement with sign language made the students more respectful towards the students with hearing impairment. Project-based learning has improved their performance. They take more ownership of their work and use ICT with greater enthusiasm and produce better results.
Coordinator Nath observes the changes it has brought in teachers as well. The teachers take the initiative to learn through ICT. They now research and develop advanced teaching materials. The school plans to ride this wave and open an ICT center to integrate project-based learning assisted by ICT into the school’s learning culture.