Teachers from India get invited to Microsoft’s global forum for learning in recognition of their IT- enabled teaching tools

When government school teacher Rajesh Tiwari lived and taught in the Western Coal Fields of Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh and his son acquired a severe health condition due to excessive presence of toxic carbon in the air, he firsthand experienced the pitfalls of air pollution.

He moved to Bhopal and started teaching in Govt School for Excellence there where he is currently the principal and life moved on. But the problem of air pollution continued to nag him. He divided his students into teams to study carbon and came up with interesting and disturbing facts that were uploaded onto a website that generated a lot of interest from many people towards the issue of carbon pollution.

“While in 1947, the population of Bhopal was 73,000, in 2011 it reached 2.3 million. While in 1947 there were 1,000 vehicles on the road, today there are more than 75 lakh registered with the RTO. The hike in construction activity has resulted in deforestation of a high degree. In that year there were less than 10,000 households while today there are 3.42 lakh households. All this has resulted in high release of carbon in the air,” says Tiwari, standing at his stall displaying his project at Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum in Prague, where he has been invited along with other government teachers and members of the media from across the globe in recognition of his successful use of IT enabled education in the classroom.

Tiwari goes on to say that there is 16.8 per cent toxic carbon in the air of Bhopal today which is set to go up to 40 per cent in the next 25 years, if nothing is done. He launched an IT enabled program to raise awareness about the same.

Firoz Khan of Primary School Chidawk, Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh is another teacher invited by Microsoft for his innovative teaching method in the classroom. He designed a website called Chemistry Mystery with ICT and other soft skills and used it as a tool to make the subject of Chemistry appealing to students of classes 10 and 12.

Firoz used easy tools of graphs and flashpoint to make complex concepts of chemistry such as functioning of a nuclear reactor for the production of energy, simple and interesting to learn.

Unfettered by the lack of infrastructure in the school, Firoz used his own and other friends’ laptops in the classroom.

He says, “There are many problems in our school, we do not even have computers. But once I realised the potential of IT in teaching methods, there was no looking back and with the help of friends was able to use these tools in the classroom.”

The classification of mixtures, differences between pure substances and mixtures with examples, difference between elements and compounds and information contained in the chemical formula of a compound, are now all available to Firoz’s students at the click of a mouse.

Mamta Narula of Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj in New Delhi was another teacher to be recognised for her IT innovations in the classroom.

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s future. There is an urgent need to groom future businessmen or employees (who are today with us in schools as students) so that they are sensitive to the needs of community in which they operate,” she says. Her project aimed at sensitising students towards corporate social responsibility.

Team work and using technology tools for finding, collaborating and sharing information were encouraged and she tried to link the theoretical aspects learnt in school with the real world.

Chandraprabha Bhatia of Kendriya Vidyalaya Ballygunge, Ballygunge Military Camp, Kolkata, Hari Krishna Arya of Govt Senior Secondary School, Silwala Khurd, Hanumangarh in Rajasthan were the other teachers from India.

(The correspondent attended the Global Forum on a trip sponsored by Microsoft)