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the Monthly publication on ict and education

digitalLEARNING INDIA

Volume 5 issue 8

issn 0973-4139

Rs. 75

AUGUST 2009 www.digitalLEARNING.in

K-12@

Hyderabad

From the Principals’ Desk


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Government | eLearning & IT companies | Schools | Universities | Academia eINDIA 2009, the 5th edition of India's annual ICT conference, brings together the most fascinating thinkers and doers of the ICT community in the country and beyond. eINDIA is a growing ICT community that seeks to welcome people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of ICT and who hope to turn that understanding into a better future for us all. The conference encompasses various domains within the ICT framework, creating an immersive environment that allows attendees and speakers from vastly different fields to cross-fertilize and draw inspiration. And its scope is ever broadening! Attendance at eINDIA 2009 will be on first cum first serve basis and will be limited to 750 seats. The attendees for the event will get to experience powerful inspiration, extraordinary insights and definitive connections with riveting speakers. Online registration has begun at www.eINDIA.net.in/2009/registration. Register NOW! For sponsorship and exhibition enquiry, contact: Siddharth Verma (+91 9811561645) siddharth@digitalLEARNING.in


editorial

K-12@Hyderabad: From the Principals’ Desk Hyderabad has been known as the cyber city & the hub for Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and Research. The impact of ICT has been profoundly visible across various domains such as education, health, industry and defence. In the domain of education, especially in the school education sector, with the surge in communication and technological innovations, newer and better educational practices, pedagogy and learning approaches have come into play, which has made classroom teachings more interesting and exciting for students and teachers alike. While, on the one hand, the city boasts off its new found status of being the ‘cyber city’, on the other it faces the rampant challenges of arresting the drop out rates of the school students, encouraging differently abled students, promoting the girl child education, etc. The new educational technologies, without replacing the teachers, have become a supplementing tool for teachers to use, in their effort to reach students in the classroom. It has also become a means by which students learn outside the classroom. Technology is not only being used in formal education, but also in the non-formal education sector to bring out-of-school children back into the education fold.

President Dr. M P Narayanan Editor-in-Chief Dr. Ravi Gupta Associate Editor Manjushree Reddy Research Analyst Dr. Rajeshree Dutta Kumar Research Associate Sheena Joseph Research Assistant Yukti Pahwa Dy. General Manager - Marketing Siddharth Verma +91-9811561645 siddharth@digitallearning.in Sr. Executive - Business Development Rudra Ghosh +91-9810603696 rudra@digitallearning.in Sales Executives Ankur Agarwal +91-9313998750 ankur@digitallearning.in Subscription & Circulation Lipika Dutta +91-9871481708

As part of our ongoing effort of advocating the use of ICTs in school education, we bring to you a special issue on K-12@Hyderabad: From the Principals’ Desk, where the principals have shared their experience of implementing ICTs in their school activities, curriculum, administrative tasks, evaluation process and how they have engaged the students with the help of ICTs, etc. We observed in our study that while there are schools that are far ahead in their understanding of technology enhanced learning and have effectively incorporated ICTs in the school curriculum, there are still a majority of them where ICT is in its nascent stage. We will take this endeavour further through a special Conclave of School Principals along side eINDIA 2009 Conference and Exhibition, at Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad, India, which will bring together school principals from across India and which will witness a spectrum of views and debate on the current role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in school education along with the challenges, opportunities and expectations that it poses. As we understand, applying new ideas of technology to education would also help it in creating a key for the communities of higher education and industry players, eINDIA 2009 will provide similar platform of congregation of University and the Industry Leaders through such Conclaves. We invite all of you to join us in our endeavour and help us making it a success. See You at eINDIA 2009!

Dr. Ravi Gupta Editor-in-Chief Ravi.Gupta@digitalLEARNING.in

Manoj Kumar +91-9971404484 Sr Graphic Designer Bishwajeet Kumar Singh Graphic Designer Om Prakash Thakur Web Zia Salahuddin, Amit Pal

Editorial & Marketing Correspondence digitalLearning G-4 Sector 39, NOIDA 201301, India Phone: +91 120 2502181-85 Fax: +91 120 2500060 Email: info@digitalLearning.in

digitalLEARNING is published by Elets Technomedia Pvt. Ltd. in technical collaboration with Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS). Owner, Publisher, Printer - Ravi Gupta Printed at Vinayak Print Media D-320, Sector 10, Noida, U.P. and published from 710, Vasto Mahagun Manor, F-30, Sector - 50, Noida, UP Editor: Ravi Gupta

digital LEARNING

august 2009




AWARDS

Public Voting Opens... We have assembled the 'Who's Who' of ICT and Education Community, the strong contenders in the fields of: • ICT Enabled School of the Year • ICT Enabled University of the Year • Policy/Government Initiative of the Year • Development Agency Initiative of the Year

Make your vote counted! Make this the biggest peoples' VOICE ever!!

Nominations are available online

www.eindia.net.in/2009/awards


COVER STORY

From the Principals’ Desk

K-12@ Hyderabad



www.digitalLEARNING.in


Hyderabad today is known for its Information Technology (IT) and enabled services. With the spurt of the IT enabled economy, There has been a need to integrate education with the latest innovations. As a part of mapping the technological initiatives in different regions of india, digital learning magazine brings to you an overview of some of the schools in Hyderabad that have successfully deployed and used ict in their daily curriculum and administration. In conversation with the principals of these schools, we seek to highlight the extent of ict integration and willingness of the schools in adapting to the changing technological practices.

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AUGUST 2009




Brahman Talent School ICT Activities Computer and technology has been well integrated into our school processes. The administrative structure, school curriculum and documentation work are effectively managed through technology integration. We are connected with NIIT and the curriculum content is provided by them through their animations and graphic modules. The technology based content is used for children in all grades starting from the lower grades to the highest grade. In most classes we teach subjects through the use of computers. The school is well equipped with computers labs and other facilities. We have one Smart Class and a computer lab with 24 computers. Audio-visual equipments are also used for teaching lessons. Children always show greater interest in the class when they are able to see and do the things that are being taught . For language classes, audio equipments are used to demonstrate correct pronunciations for different words. We have been planning to start online examination system. This system has been completely integrated into the middle school, although it still needs to be introduced at the upper primary level.

Children always show greater interest in the class when they are able to see and do the things that are being taught. For language classes, audio equipments are used to demonstrate correct pronunciations for different words.

Sunitha Bhattacharya Principal, Brahman Talent School, Hyderabad

to time. NIIT sends trained professionals for orientation of the school teachers. Normally, the training is a one day progamme where they are oriented on the use of new technology to be used in the classrooms that serve as a teaching aid. Group discussions and clarification sessions take place where teachers can clear doubts and provide feedback. Course content is created by the NIIT resource people based on the relevant syllabus. They train our teachers to use the technology. Capacity Building of Teachers Our school makes provisions for the computer training of teachers. In-housetraining takes place for teachers from time

Collaboration with Private Players Educomp and NIIT are the major private players that we have been engaged with for the past 6 years. \\

Diamond Jubilee High School We have Computer Aided Learning (CAL) classes in every subject wherein the subject teacher gets all the students to the computer lab and the students are allowed to use the Internet depending on the topic to be learnt.

Madhu Sharma Principal, Diamond Jubilee High School, hyderabad Web: www.agakhanschools.org

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ICT Activities Computers play a major role in our school and it has been widely used in every department. All the administrative reports and progress reports are prepared on the computer. All students from upper KG to Class IV have three classes in a week, while Classes V to X have two classes per week, wherein they are trained to develop their computer skills. We also have Computer Aided Learning (CAL) classes in every subject wherein the subject teacher gets all the students to the computer lab and the

students are allowed to use the Internet depending on the topic. We are in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 environment of 30 computers. We use Microsoft Office and all the computers can be used to surf the Internet. Capacity Building of Teachers We do organise computer training programmes every year, wherein teachers of our school learn to use computers to prepare their reports, worksheets and evaluation sheets. Last year, there was a training program conducted by Intel Teach Online in the month of December 2008. Words Worth language training in English was done in June 2009 with the help of computers to enable better teaching of the subject. Collaboration with Private Players We have collaborated with IL & FS for all subjects, except languages. Jelly James software for English and Mathematics is


Delhi Public School ICT Activities Computer technology has been integrated in our school right from the system of electing the student council to teaching lessons in the class. With regard to the curriculum, every teacher identifies and prepares three technology based lessons at the beginning of the academic session in every subject (with animations and flashes with the help of computer department) and presents the CD to the Head of the Department. English lessons are supported by the teacher modules and an additional software package from “Words Worth” and “ Edurite”. Mathematics, Science and Social Science lessons are supported by teacher modules and NIIT Maths technical support. Students are encouraged to prepare on the most difficult and boring topics and also the most interesting topics as projects and assignments. The best projects are shown in the class as technology support. With regard to administration, the accounts section is enabled with Internet based transactions from the bank. Tally and focus are the two supportive packages used. Communications of sudden closure of the school are conveyed through internet based SMS only.

With regard to the curriculum, every teacher identifies and prepares three technology based lessons at the beginning of the academic session in every subject.

Capacity Building of Teachers In the school, induction of new teachers always begins with computer literacy test. Need based training is given from time to time and whenever a new software is purchased or prepared or used, training is imparted. Recent developments in technology are oriented to all the teachers and they are given internet access to update their subject knowledge and better connectivity with their peer community.

Dr. Mrs. T. Sudha Principal, Delhi Public School, Secunderabad, Nacharam, Hyderabad Web: www.dpshyderabad.com

Collaboration with Private Players We have collaborated with NIIT for Mathematics content, Edurite which provides for CBSE based software and Words Worth for English language lab. \\

Gitanjali School Pushkala Raman Vice Principal, Gitanjali School, Secundarabad Web: www.gitanjalischool.com

ICT Activities ICT’s form an integral part of our school curriculum. Teachers use computers for setting question papers, for Power Point presentations of lessons, for reference work,

The computer labs are well equipped and we regularly upgrade the technology to match the changing requirements. We have started using the Timetable Management Software recently. educational research, curriculum planning, to send and receive emails, magazine work, online newspaper etc. I use the computer for planning the events calendar of the school, correspondence, timetable making and research work. The computer labs are well equipped and we regularly upgrade the technology to match the changing requirements. We started using Timetable Management Software recently and are planning to use software for library management, fee management and teachers and students data bank.

Capacity Building of Teachers We have not embarked on any special training and orientation programmes for our teachers in the ICT domain in recent times. Most of them are computer savvy and fairly well versed in the field of computers. But an orientation programme in the ICT field will definitely help all the teachers to use computers well and gain the rich and vast benefits IT has to offer in the field of education. The management took the initiative to train 33 teachers under the Intel Innovation in Education programme in our branch school. I am a qualified Master Trainer under the Intel Teach to the Future Program and have trained ten teachers. Collaboration with Private Players We have collaborated with Merit Scholar IT Solutions Pvt.Ltd, Punjagutta, Hyderabad for Timetable Management. We look forward towards further upgrading our technological systems. \\

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Gowtham Model School ICT Activities The school is enabled with computers and technology to a great extent. All subjects, including the lessons in Maths and Science are recorded and are played in the classrooms. We have an audio-visual room where as soon as the lessons are taught, the students are able to have a recapitulation through visuals. The entire class is taken to the room for teaching of lessons. The first batch would be doing their theory class while the second would be in the practical class. The computer classes start right from Class 1 to Class 10. We also ask the children to collect information through the website and other mediums. In this sense, the students’ participation and attention is focussed on the lessons. Information is gathered from various sources including the Internet and projects are made accordingly. Science, Maths and Social Studies are the major subjects where such methods are used. We have 20 computers in the computer lab. Administratively, the student attendance, fee collection, student performance etc are stored in the computer software. Capacity Building of Teachers We do provide training and orientation

Students gather information for different subjects from various sources including Online Encyclopedias and other knowledge portals. Learning has been made fun and relevant through technology

to our teachers occasionally. Our emphasis has always been that the Teacher-Student relationship has to be paramount in all teaching-learning methods. Therefore, basic computer skills are mandatory for teachers. Training is provided once in a year. The trainers mostly come from NIIT. Collaboration with Private Players Right from the inception of the school in 2003, we’ve have had collaborations with NIIT. For the future, we are planning to incorporate the digital teaching methods. We are considering various proposals. In the next few years we plan to implement suitable technology for the school. Principal Speak Teacher student rapport should always be

Anuradha Rao Principal, Gowtham Model School, Secundarabad, Hyderabad

maintained even with technology. Basically the traditional methods must be carried forward with technology playing a supplementing factor. Personally, I think that India still has a long way to go before all the schools can be technologically updated. \\

Hyderabad Public School Cap Alokesh Sen Principal, Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, Hyderabad Web:www.hps-begumpet.com

ICT Activities Our school has implemented technology aided learning in a number of areas. We have four Smart Classrooms, equipped with LCD projectors. We use different CDs which are available for different subjects starting from English literature to science and technology.

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Technology cannot be a substitute for the teacher. In order to run the technology effectively and to make it relevant to the classroom learnings, the teachers presence is mandatory.

For administrative purposes, we use the School Management Software. Very shortly we will be going in for the random generation of examination question papers from the question bank. As far as the website is concerned, we are currently in the process of restructuring it and would like to make it more interactive. Capacity Building of Teachers It is customary for the school to have 23 days of workshop for the teachers, before

the school reopens. Recently, we had a three days workshop for orienting and updating the teachers with computer technology. The trainers had come from different universities like Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University and Hyderabad University. Another training session was conducted by C-DAC, Hyderabad, in the last academic year, 2008-09. Collaboration with Private Players Presently several vendors have approached us and we are assessing the tenders. We will be going ahead with those which suit our requirements. Principal Speak Technology can not be a substitute for the teacher. In order to run the technology effectively and to make it relevant to the classroom learnings, the teacher is mandatory. Therefore, I believe that at the end of the day it is the person behind the machine who is important, and the attitude of the teacher that is of paramount importance. \\


Indo – American School ICT Activities We, as an educational institution, give high priority to keeping our students updated. Technological advancements is one area which essentially should be tracked by all educational institutions. The prescribed syllabus for CBSE books in computers is taught. Computer Science is a subject that allows the teacher and students to become aware of the upgradations that are taking place in the field of IT. We teach both through theory and practical methods. Most of the lessons in our school are taught by the teacher without the help of computers or other aids. Although technological advancements are extremely important, the role of teachers in classroom education is hard to rule out. Administratively, we strive towards upgrading our systems constantly. Capacity Building of Teachers There are no particular training and orientation programmes for teachers. Most of the teachers are computer literate and require no additional orientation. We ensure at the hiring end that the teachers have some basic computer literacy.

Computer Science is a subject that allows the teacher and students to become aware of the upgradations that are taking place in the field of IT. Although technological advancements are extremely important, the role of teachers in classroom education is hard to rule out. Collaboration with Private Players At the moment we are not collaborating with any private players. But we are definitely looking forward to collaborating with elearning partners who might come forward with good ideas and services for supporting teaching and learning. At the same time, it is important to take careful measures while inviting the private players to become part of the education system, or the school system. We do realise that it is important to have good service providers so that our school IT systems can be improved upon. \\

Commander V.R Raju Principal, Indo – American School , Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad

Jasmine High School Dr. (Mrs.) T. Padmavathy Principal, Jasmine High School, Hyderabad

Lesson CDs are used to make the teaching more interesting and interactive. These are specially used for pre-primary and primary classes.

ICT Activities We essentially use interactive CDs for the course material that is taught in class. Internet is a major source of information gathering for the teachers. We have computer lessons for the student based on the prescribed syllabi. The school has a well equipped computer lab. The students regularly get to use computers for studies and tutorial help. Lesson CDs are used to make the teaching more interesting and interactive. These are specially used for pre-primary and primary classes.

They are well aware of techniques for information downloading. Specific topic information can easily be gathered from the Internet. Computer trainers have been hired in case the teacher requires additional help. Teachers are computer savvy and have consistantly upgraded their skills. Collaboration with Private Players As of now, there are no collaborations with private partners for e-learning. NIIT had come forward with their e-learning solutions. We are working out our plans for the same.

Capacity Building of Teachers Teacher are already well equipped with training in computers and software.

Principal Speak We would definitely consider using the interactive boards for our classrooms. Smartclass solutions are good but personally the modules have too many animations. If these could be toned down, it would be of great help. But, overall, these solutions do look good. \\

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Kennedy Vidya Bhavan ICT Activities ICTs have been integrated into the school curriculum from time to time. Right from the primary grade to class tenth, the school has used computers and technology for teaching and learning, covered through information technology. LCDs, overhead projectors with transparencies and Power Point presentations are used for teaching lessons. For day-today lesson plans, CDs are available and used in classrooms. Students are encouraged to make projects and presentations. We have tie ups with the IL&FS system, who keep monitoring the computer textbooks and lessons. Apart from this, there are Lesson Plans for the teacher to which the teachers can keep adding on the information data pool. We have three branches of the school, each having computer labs furnished with around 20 computers. The administration is also well connected with the ICT technology. Most of the records are maintained in the computer. Upgradations are done from time to time. Capacity Building of Teachers Teachers are trained by trainers from

For day-to-day lesson plans, CDs are available and used in classrooms. Students are encouraged to make projects and presentations.

Seema Gupta Principal, Kennedy Vidya Bhavan, Secunderabad, Hyderabad

Collaboration with Private Players The school has not yet collaborated with any of the major private players. However, we are open to pursuing new technologies which would be helpful for further advancement in teaching and learning. Of course, it should also suit the students and the management needs.

IL&FS. They regularly come and orient the teachers on the software technology to be used. Students are given their publication. Every month, their representatives come to the school and make their presentations to the students and the teachers.

Principal Speak With the e-Learning boom, I think, the advancements have been tremendous. However, the companies must advertise their products in a much better way so that the parents are also oriented about these new products. Generally, parents want to hold on to the traditional methods of student-teacher learning practices. Therefore, there is a need for it to be publicised in a much better fashion. \\

Meridian School for Boys & Girls Education D Usha Reddy Principal, Meridian School for Boys & Girls Education, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad Web:www.meridianschool.in

ICT Activities With regard to enabling our school with ICT equipments, we have the Idea Boards in place. With this technology, even if the child is absent, he/she can get the entire class notes in place. There is another technological system where every parent will get an ID through which they can access information about their child’s performance. The parental ID will help them to look into their child’s marks, attendance, class performance and other details that they might want to access. We do have a soft ware in place now which takes care of the entire administrative

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We are in the process of adopting a technology whereby every parent will get an ID through which they can access information about their child’s performance. The parental ID will help them look into their child’s marks, attendance, class performance and other details that they might want to access. recording processes. The campus has 4 state-of-the-art computer labs in the school. Technology aided lessons are supported by NIIT for further curriculum reinforcement. For gathering specific news and additional resource help, teachers can connect to the net for information according to the requirements.

Capacity Building of Teachers Most of the teachers in our school are already trained in ICT usage. But we also have trained professionals who can help them in case of queries or challenges. Collaboration with Private Players We have been associated with NIIT for more than five years now and with Educomp for more than three years. We have tied up with Designmate for course content and for ‘Idea Boards’. ‘Class Teacher’ has been our supporting partner. \\


Banjara High School/Prerana Waldorf School Any upgradation in technology that is relevant and suits the requirements of the teachers and students is always welcome. The upgraded methods can definitely be used to enhance the retaining capacity of students.

ICT Activities Our school has been essentially focusing on the traditional methods of teaching and learning. We believe that the teachers are the most important element in classroom practices. We do have computer lessons for students and well equipped computer labs. Computer skills are essentially covered in the school curriculum under the prescribed subject of computer science. Computers and technology does form a part of the curriculum and we do encourage technology, but more importance is given to the teacher. Skill development has to integrate both the components, that of information technology and training given by the teachers.

Indira Varma Principal, Mount Banjara High School/Prerana Waldorf School, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad Web: www.waldorfprerana-india.org

Capacity Building of Teachers Our teachers come trained in basic computer skills. The teachers that we have in our school are, mostly, computer literate. We do not have any computer training or teachers as of now, however, it is an issue that is being reviewed. We are in favour of supporting teachers training in the area of information technology. Collaboration with Private Players The school has not yet collaborated with private players or the IT service providers. Principal Speak Any upgradation in technology that is relevant and suits the requirements of the teachers and students is always welcome.

The upgraded methods can definitely be used to enhance the retaining capacity of students. However, in the lower grades the teacher is more important since she is in a better position to handle their learning requirements. \\

Nasr School Madhubala Kapoor Principal, Nasr School, Hyderabad Web: www.nasrschool.net

ICT Activities The entire administrative office in the school is connected to computers, including information about the fees, accounts, student

We have the activity session, where children take up computer activities and further expand their knowledge base. Students are also allowed to gather information about other subjects through Internet browsing.

section and the high school section. There are computer labs in all sections and each lab has about 20 computers. The student computer ratio is usually 2:1.

performance etc. Regarding curriculum, we have Computer Science as a subject for classes upto tenth and twelfth. Students are also allowed to gather information about other subjects through Internet browsing. Audio visual equipments, Powerpoint and LCDs are used by teachers and students for all aspects of teaching and learning. Audiovisual learning has always been more helpful, especially for the lower classes. We have three sections in the school which includes the primary section, the junior

Collaboration with Private Players We have not yet collaborated with any private technology vendor but we are open to adopting new technological innovations.

Capacity Building of Teachers INTEL has organised teacher training sessions for our faculty. However, presently, I think the teachers are well adept with using new technologies. Systematic training does not seem to be the need of the hour.

Principal Speak No matter how advanced technology gets, the human factor can never be replaced. The teacher is crucial for all types of classroom teachings and the educator’s personal touch is what makes the knowledge dissemination process much more meaningful. \\

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Orchids International School ICT Activities Primarily, for teaching Science and Maths, we are using a very advanced software with 3D animation by Ureka for the past four years. Secondly, there are a large number of websites that teachers use on a regular basis like Wonderwiz Kids which is popular for Science. Little Genius is also an effective programme for children from Nursery to 4th standard, for teaching Maths. We make use of LCD projectors very frequently. We have a computer lab with 30 computers. All classrooms are connected with computers with LAN. We conduct IT quiz competitions for students and also encourage them to make make use of Power Point presentations for their respective subjects. With rapid technological advancements taking place, our school has ensured that there is regular upgradation of the technology that is used. Capacity Building of Teachers The International Baccalaureate provides for training of the teachers. We also have our own wider institutional set up called the Gowtham Educational Institutions with 63 Gowtham Modern Schools and International Schools. Within our set-up,

eLearning can play a supplementary and supporting role in the teaching process. It is a positive trend towards making teaching-learning more interesting and interactive.

we have an in-built system of teachers training which takes place on a regular basis. Collaboration with Private Players The hardware used in our school is provided by Wipro. And as far as the software is concerned, it is supplied by the Designmate. Principal Speak eLearning can play a supplementary and supporting role in the teaching process. It is a positive trend towards making teachinglearning more interesting and interactive. However, the process of learning can not be completely mechanised or digitalised and the teacher is an integral part of the entire process. \\

Lt. Col. B.G.Ray Principal, Orchids International School, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad Web: www.orchidsinternationalschool. com

Ramadevi Public School We envision transforming the school into a Power School where every learning process would be technologically integrated.

P.Maruthi Ram Prasad Principal, Ramadevi Public School, Hyderabad

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ICT Activities The technology that aids learning has been well integrated within our school system. We have 2 computer labs, each equipped with 25 computers. We also have 5 portable computers which can be transferred to any class for audio-visual aids. We are associated with 24X7 Guru for lesson content for Maths. For other subjects, we have the Teacher Resource Center. Information is downloaded on different subjects and stored in CD’s. We envision transforming the school into a Power School where every learning process would be technologically integrated. There is a technology which is used in Vellore Institute of

Engineering and other Engineering colleges, where all information that is written on the board is transferred into the students’ laptop. We are planning on bringing a similar system whereby each classroom will have a Local Area Network. Students would be equipped with laptops so that the burden of carrying school books is reduced. Administratively, the staff members have access to the Bio-Metric access system for recording of all relevant data. A personalised information system for each student has been created for the school records. Capacity Building of Teachers Teachers are provided with regular training and orientation programmes. IL&FS is the organisation that we have collaborated with for training purposes. NIIT has also contributed towards teachers training. Collaboration with Private Players NIIT, 24x7 guru, IL&FS are the private technology players we have collaborated with. \\


Seventh – Day Adventist High School ICT Activities In the administrative section, computers and softwares are being channelised to help the school maintain various records including the administrative data, the admission profiles, the financial statements, and other relevant applications. We have a computer lab in the school with 15 computers. With time we plan to increase them to meet the demands of the curriculum and student proficiency in computers. The importance of technology is visible with the advancements in computer science, which students are required to excel in, professionally. We are aware of the innovations happening around us and are planning to ring about technological changes in our school. Indeed the importance of electronics or the digitalised products is noticeable. We are planning to create or bring into use a system where we can put students’ academic data online, where parents can view it and interact with us. Capacity Building of Teachers Most of our teachers are well versed with basic computer skills. We are also looking at prospects of supporting computer literacy for the teachers. Computer literacy is the need

The importance of technology is visible with the advancements in computer science, which students are required to excel in, professionally. Indeed the importance of electronics or the digitalised products is noticeable in classrooms. of the time but the teaching skill of teachers can never be ignored. Collaboration with Private Players At present we do not have any collaboration with private players. They are seen mainly as suppliers of technology, or in other words, these are the service providers. When it comes to software and hardware advancements, the thought of collaborating with the private players is hard to rule out. Yes, we are looking forward to some collaboration in the future. The process is still going on. Principal Speak We would welcome the use of technology for betterment of the teaching and learn-

K.Johnendra Prasad Principal, Seventh – Day Adventist High School, Secunderabad

ing practices. Today computer literacy, for instance, is very important when one looks at the job market and so in order to prepare children for the future, integration of computer science within the curriculum is of utmost importance. \\

Shadan Group of Modern School Nusrath Begum Principal, Shadan Group of Modern School, Khairatabad, Hyderabad Web: www.shadan.org

ICT Activities We are basically using computer education for students in all grades. In high school, there are text books for them, and these essentially contain basic information

The aim of our school is to provide value based and result oriented education, keeping in tune with the developments in the field of Science and Technology. The school aims to be a Model School for carrying out research in the ever changing teaching and learning process to meet the needs of the real world. regarding computer programmes. For the classroom lesson plans, we do use slides and projectors. Several CDs are available for different subjects which include animations, especially for Science subjects. In our school, we have five computers, but since the need is much more, our school is attached to the

B.Ed. College. Whenever we require additional computers, we take our students to the college for computer access. The aim of our school is to provide value based and result oriented education, keeping in tune with the developments in the field of Science and Technology. The School aims to be a Model School for carrying out research in the ever changing teaching and learning process to meet the needs of the real world. Capacity Building of Teachers Currently, no specific training programmes are conducted for teachers in the technology field. In fact most of the teachers are familiar with basic computer skills that we use. The staff is highly qualified, devoted and trained. Collaboration with Private Players We have not yet collaborated with any private partners. Of course, in the near future, we do intend to upgrade our school teaching methods through technology upgradation. \\

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Sreenidhi International School ICT Activities Computer Science as a subject is taught to students from grade 1 to 8 in our school. For grades 9 and 10, it is offered as an optional subject. The following table provides a brief description of the topics covered in each class.

Teachers use Interactive Boards and audio-visual equipments extensively in their teaching practices. Students carry out detailed research for most of the topics that are taught.

V.Srinivasan Principal, Sreenidhi International School, Hyderabad Web: www.sreenidhiinternational.com

Class Topics Covered 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Internet surfing, Paint Brush Paint Brush, Logo MS- Powerpoint, MS Excel, MS WORD Ms-Office, HTML MS-Office, HTMl, Photoshop MS DOS, MSoffice, HTML, Dreamweaver MSOffice, Basics of Java Java programing

pack 2; Application Software’s - (licenced) Tally 9.0, Adobe Photoshop CS4, Quick School, SQL - Server2005,Eureka, ISMlanguage; Programming softwares- java

All classrooms are equipped with an Interactive Board and a computer workstation. Lessons are explained with the use of audio and video aids. Students carry out extensive research in the lab for gathering information related to their academic subjects. Various departments of the school namely academics, transport( GPRS enabled), se-

curity, housekeeping, admissions, hospitality, sports etc are well connected with the network and are adequately equipped with the resources required. Internet is accessible through out the campus and within all departments. The software applications used include: Operating System- Windows XP- service

Capacity Building of Teachers There is an IT department in our school which caters to the hardware and software requirements. There are two well qualified teachers who constantly train the staff as and when required. The IT teachers are trained periodically through IBO, Singapore and they also attend the Cambridge International Examinations training programmes. Collaboration with Private Players We are currently in discussion with Microsoft , Adobe and HCL for hardware and software requirements. \\

St Patrick’s High School We have a computer lab with 45 computers. The students get in depth knowledge in relevant computer skills. The student and computer ratio is 2:1.

Fr M A Alex Principal, St Patrick’s High SchooL, Secunderabad Web: www.stpatrickshighschool.in

18

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ICT Activities We have introduced computer education from fourth standard onwards. The curriculum is designed by our own staff as per industry standards. Students are provided lessons in Text Editors, Wordpad and MS-Word, Flash Animation Package, Database Package MS-Access, Worksheet Package MS-Excel, Programming Languages, Web Designing Software html and java script. We have a computer lab with 45 computers. The students get in depth knowledge in the above mentioned computer skills. The student and computer ratio is 2:1.

Administratively, we have computerised the entire office administration with our own software development team. We work under Windows and LAN environment. Capacity Building of Teachers We arrange orientation programmes for our staff members twice in a year to orient them about the latest technologies. We find it essential for teachers to be aware of the latest progress being made in the IT industry to benefit the students. Collaboration with Private Players We have not yet collaborated with any private players. Principal Speak Students have to be updated with the latest in technology and schools lay a foundation for that. We provide computer education to meet these requirements and to ensure that students’ skills match up to the current technological scenario. \\


higher education

Tvs Community College

Touching The Lives of Rural Youth ……

T

he temple town of Madurai, one of the oldest and largest centres of Tamil Nadu, which once housed the famous Tamil Sangam, today remains a shadow of the past. Unemployment, brain drain and laggard industrial development are some of the issues present day Madurai is facing. To counter these and provide the rural youth with necessary education to help acquire a variety of skills and knowledge crucial in earning a livelihood, the TVS Community College, under the TVS led Lakshmi Vidya Sangham (LVS), was set up in 2003. Says Selvi Santosham, Senior Manager Projects, ‘The LVS is a 45-year-old institution with a vision to educate the masses. Through our regular schools we are able to reach out to 10,000 students in a year. But we wanted to extend the education services to the school dropout segment of society, as surveys in various corporation and panchayat schools indicated a high percentage of school drop outs (70%) owing to various socio-economic reasons. Setting up of a Community College enabled us to reach out to people across various social segments regardless of their educational background and age.’ The college imparts employment-oriented courses that are designed incorporating a need-based curriculum to help the rural youth find employment in the highly competitive job market. This enables technology to play its role with greater relevance in the changed socio-economic scenario. Social values and life skills integrated in the syllabus also helps develop their personality in all dimensions. ‘The TVS conducts periodical surveys to find out the type of manpower requirement in the local market. Based on the requirements, students are trained and equipped in various skills to enable them to gain decent 20

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Diploma in Heath Assistance Course: Class room session in progress

employment. A survey was conducted at the industry level and amongst social service segments and the health care industry to study their requirements before deciding on the courses,’ says Selvi. Courses offered at the college include diploma in health assistance, driving, mechanic, electrical works, plumbing, AC repair, masonry, home management, child care, home nursing, secretarial skills, computer skills, security, office despatch, office housekeeping, retail sales, Tally, hospital keeping, etc. The course content ensures a lot of learning with practical applications. The technical courses allot 60% for practical work and 40% for theory, while the non–technical courses like Construction Skills follow 80% practical work and 20% theory, adds Selvi. Recognising the fact that the students who

come to the college are at a disadvantage due to their socio–economic background and the type of schooling they have received, certain core skills have been incorporated as part of the curriculum in all the courses. For example, to build the self confidence of these youth, unique core skills have been introduced like the life skills module involving communication , etiquette, grooming, teambuilding, decision making, interpersonal relationship, time management and money management, etc. These classes are 90% activity oriented ensuring participation of every student. ‘Specially trained teachers have been appointed to conduct these classes. Students enjoy these classes and we are able to see a visible change in them by the time they finish their courses,’ says a faculty. Mrs Jeyaruba, another faculty, says: The


Starting with 25 students on board, the TVS college has grown in the last five years to enrol on an average 700 students in a year.

Placement Details for July 2007 – June 2008

SNo

No of Students

Percentage

1

Companies and Hospitals

396

75.40%

2

Hospitals

43

14.60%

3

Own Work

98

18.60%

4

Under Age Problems

18

3.40%

5

Further Study

12

2.20%

6

Discontinued

Voice of an Alumni: Gomathi Jeyam, Home Management Student, at the pally kitchen earning Rs. 3000 with a sense of contentment

TVS Community College provides a chance for self knowledge, self improvement, self study and self help and makes students more self conscious. In short, it makes a person ‘fit for life and fit for job’. TVS believes that the basic values and attitudes that are sensitised among its students are the distinctive features defining them once they leave the campus. An individual with a healthy attitude is an asset to society, hence emphasis is laid on incorporating basic human values and industrial expectations through case studies, simulation activities and group discussions. Besides soft skills, training is also provided to make the students aware of technology and computers. Confidence building exercises are also conducted like dramatics, compulsory games, self-defence classes, etc. for girl students. The TVS students also involve themselves in part–time jobs after school hours and take part in community activities during temple festivals, tourist management, etc.

Work Domain

Total

In the words of Gopalakrishnan (Automechanic student), ‘I am proud to be a product of TVS Community College. Prior to TVS, I was merely shifting jobs and felt insecure and unsettled. TVS gave me an opening. Now I am working in TVS Sundaram Brake Linings and earning INR 4,500 per month. I have now gained my standing in the society and family and feel selfconfident.’ Jayaseelan (Electricals student) says, ‘I am a father of two children and have done schooling only till class IX. Poverty stricken, depressed and frustrated, I entered TVS Community College with a faint ray of hope. TVS gave me a second chance and now I have a job in Firestone TVS P Ltd. My communication skills and self-esteem have improved.’ A total number of 1300 students have so far graduated from the training centre and are gainfully employed. Apart from the nearby rural community, the college gets students who are sponsored under the Vazhunthukattuvom Scheme and Mahalir Thittam Scheme of the Tamil Nadu Government and the District Rural Development Agency. Starting with 25 students on board, the TVS college has grown in the last five years to enrol on an average 700 students in a year. ‘Our dream is to expand the college so that it can cater to 10,000 students in a year,’ says Selvi. A step in this direction is a massive enrollment drive started by the TVS in 40 corporation and panchayat schools to directly reach out to the drop outs. A scholarship fund has also been provided subsidising

1

0.40%

525

100.00%

Highlights of the programme \\ Placement opportunity provided to students on the basis of his/her merit. The organisation ensures that the students earning capacity is enhanced because of the training he/she undergoes. \\ Post placement follow-up done by the college for atleast a year to bridge the gap between the course content and the industry requirements. Steps taken to upgrade the curriculum so that students are industry ready. Distinguishing features of the college \\ Market driven courses \\ Caters to all age groups from all strata with varying educational background \\ Course content is certified. \\ Courses aim at equipping students with various skills.

50% of the fees for the students. ‘There is a proposal to start self-sustaining projects to hone the entrepreneurial skills of the students, like automobile service centres, electrical/electronic repair centres and village first aid centers. All these are a step towards the greater goal of of helping the disadvantaged youth integrate into an industrial society by providing scope for employment,’ says Selvi. \\ digital LEARNING

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NEWS

INDIA

10th CBSE Boards to be optional from 2010

Kapil Sibal, the Union Minister, Ministry of Human Resource Development, explained that from the coming year the Central Board of Secondary Education examination would be made optional. It would be changed to represent a nine point grading system, replacing the marks system. The minister denied the claim that one national board will replace all existing 42 state education boards. According o the minister an attempt is being made to bring about a child friendly educational system and not forcing rules down throats of the people and students. Central Advisory Board on Education, the country’s top education policy-making body which has state education ministers as members, in 2005 had passed the bill to make class X board exams optional. Same was suggested by National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in order to reduce stress on children, in 2006. Sibal explained that Class 10 exams will be made optional for those children who want to continue in the same school. Continuous internal assessment will decide whether a child will be promoted to class XII. The new system has following additional features. Those who secure over 90% will get grade A. Mark sheets won’t use the term failed for students who score less than 33% in particular subject. They will be given an E grade that will imply improvement required. And only when a student gets an E in more than one subject, student will be considered as failed. The grades consist of A, A1, B, B1, C,C1, D, D and E. In addition, internal assessment is mandatory for students till class 10, for prescribed affiliation from CBSE. However, CBSE will continue to conduct exams for those students who wish to join pre-university professional courses. There is already an existence a grading system in place till class 9. 22

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USD239.390 million to South Asian University by India A payment of US $ 239.930 million to the South Asian University, which is around 79 % of the total cost of the full establishment of the University until 2014, was approved by the Union Cabinet. The cabinet mentioned that India is all set to ‘disburse the first tranche of its financial commitment of US $9.464 million to ensure that the University is operational in July-August 2010.’ The University’s aims are to disseminate an advance knowledge and understanding by providing instructional and research facilities in such branches of learning as it may deem fit. Being a non-state, non-profit self governing international educational institution, the South Asian University shall have a regional focus for the purposes set forth in this agreement and shall have full academic freedom for the attainment of its objectives. The jurisdiction of the University shall extend to whole of India and to campuses and centres established outside India in the SAARC region. Neighboring100 acres of land, next to Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is being acquired by the Ministry of External Affairs from DDA for leasing to the University. At the Thirteenth SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, in November 2005, Prime Minister proposed the establishment of a South Asian University to provide world-class facilities and professional faculty to students and researchers from SAARC member countries. The Inter-governmental Agreement for the Establishment of the South Asian University was signed at the 14th SAARC Summit (April 3- 4, 2007). The SAARC Member States also decided that the University would be established in India.

IGNOU starts 100 community colleges The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) early in July, started 100 community colleges to bring a ‘learning revolution’ among underprivileged students across the country. At the launch, the Minister of State for Human Resource and Development Smt. D. Purandeswari told that the community colleges would act as milestones to enable the disadvantaged to engage in gainful employment of people at the grassroot level through appropriate skill development. The effort would allow the most marginalised section of the society to become a part of inclusive education. A unique initiative, community colleges will impart education through private-public partnership to underprivileged students using the unutilised capacities of educational institutions across the country. The colleges will commence their courses from the coming academic session. Mentioning the inability of the present educational system to meet the demands of the skill requirement in the market, IGNOU Vice Chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai

explained that the community colleges will fill up the lacunae by imparting vocational education.

ICT Education in India to be revamped through IGNOU and IBM partnership

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), The Advanced Center for Informatics and Innovative Learning (ACIIL) and IBM India have signed an MoU that will reinvent and reform IT education in the country. The collaboration of IBM, with IGNOU, will bridge the gap that exists between education, skills and national development. As a part of the MoU, IGNOU and IBM India will partner to skill students on the IT standards in the emerging verticals like healthcare, financial services and retail that have a significant growth potential, in addition to the skills demand of Open Source software and Open Standards, with live projects.


School Principals' Conclave INDIA

@

2009 5th

Meet the School Principals over Deliberations and Discussions to Discover their Leadership Signature with New Mindsets for ICTs

India's Largest ICT Event www.eINDIA.net.in 25 - 27 August 2009 HICC, Hyderabad, India

Vice Chancellors’ Conclave Meet the Vice Chancellors in Conversation on A 360° Overview of Higher Education The “Best Practices” & “Next Practices” of ICTs in Universities and Higher Education Systems

Exclusive Interactive Education Technologies

e-BOARD

INTERACTIVE LCD

IN WALL INTERACTIVE

VISION 60

VISION 100

GYAN RATH MOBILE SCHOOL

e-GYAN

3D VIDEO PROJECTION


report

14th Prof G Ram Reddy Memorial lecture by kiran karnik

‘Education, Media and Development’ 2nd July, 2009 Indira Gandhi National Open University Web: www.ignou.ac.in

E

very year on 2nd July, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) commemorates the death anniversary of its Founder Vice-Chancellor, the legendry late Prof. G Ram Reddy, a memorial lecture in his name. The annual memorial lectures were instituted in 1996 by IGNOU following the sudden death of Prof. Reddy on July 2, 1995. The 14th Prof G Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture, an annual event, ritually, took place on July 2, 2009 at IGNOU to commemorate the death anniversary of the Founder Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, Prof G Ram Reddy. This year Shri Kiran Karnik, Former President, NASSCOM, was invited to deliver the memorial lecture on ‘Education, Media and Development’. Digital Learning presents you with the report on the memorial lecture which was attended and witnessed by some of the finest academicians, think tanks of the country to honour the legendary late Prof. G Ram Reddy. The hour long programme began with a welcome note by Prof. Parvin Sinclair, ProVice-Chancellor, IGNOU. She, on behalf of the IGNOU fraternity, welcomed Smt. G Pramila Ram Reddy, wife of late Prof. G Ram Reddy and other family members, Shri Kiran Karnik, Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, IGNOU and the present distinguished guests to the memorial lecture evening. The evening was marked with the lighting of lamp by G Pramila Ram Reddy, Kiran Karnik, Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai, and Prof Sinclair respectively. Following this, Prof Pillai, in his Presidential address, said that IGNOU has ventured into various avenues of Open and Distance Education/Learning that late Prof. G Ram Reddy envisioned. The Vice-Chancellor shared that IGNOU has emerged as the largest mega University in the democratic world towards meeting its mandate, which is 24

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“to provide seamless access to sustainable and learner-centric quality education, skill upgradation and training to all, at affordable costs, by using innovative technologies and methodologies, and ensuring convergence of existing systems for the massive human resource required for promoting integrated national development and global understanding”. Presently, IGNOU serves the educational aspirations of over 2 million students in India and 33 other countries through 21 Schools of Study and a network of 61 Regional Centres, more than 2300 Learner Support Centres and 53 overseas Partner Institutes. The University offers 310 Certificates, Diploma, Degree and Doctoral programmes. Kiran Karnik started his deliberation on a

nostalgic note by recalling his long association with late Prof. Ram Reddy. He shared with the audience that Prof. Reddy always advocated the use of media and technology for furthering distance education. He said that in the present day India, convergence of three critical areas - Education, Democracy and the Media – is very crucial. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has produced the revolution in New Media. Television too has progressed in delivery and communication. Social networking and Internet videography has also improved communication. FM has reinvigorated the radio with interactive content. e-Mails, blogs and instant messaging have grown as means of communication and there are new beginnings in their uses.

Kiran Karnik, Former President, NASSCOM giving the memorial lecture


“Distance and open education system is the only approach which can meet the challenge of educational problems in the third world.”

New Media has become a medium of the young presenting its own sets of challenges. These reflect many commonalities of the 1980s when TV network, spurred and complemented by satellite TV, opened up exciting new possibilities. However, this new initiative remained a ‘partial success’ for various reasons. The potential use of TV in schools and for educational purpose, the Krishi Darshan programme (1967) – the brainchild of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and Dr. M S Swaminathan, had certain social ramifications (community viewing). TV became a force for economic and social change, rather than a luxury. The success of Krishi Darshan gave an impetus to plans for a national TV system, using a satellite to reach rural and remote areas. To test and prove the technologies involved, and to understand better the overall system, a one year pilot project, Satellite Instructional TV Experiment (SITE) was undertaken in 1975-76 to broadcast programmes through an American satellite to TV sets in 2,400 villages spread across India. SITE also encouraged extensive social and communications research; it was an attempt of accruing and processing hard data to implement larger projects. In parallel with SITE, an intensive, limited coverage experiment was initiated in Kheda district of Gujrat. The Kheda Communications Project attempted to use the media for social change and development through participation in communications and programme development.

}

Late Prof. G Ram Reddy

}

G Pramila Ram Reddy, Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai, Kiran Karnik, Prof Parvin Sinclair, while lighting the lamp

Six years after SITE, India’s own satellite, INSAT (1982), was a leap of faith, envisaged to seal the educational commitment of technology. In spite of the challenges, university level education was taken across the board. University Grants Commission (UGC), in partnership with ISRO, launched Countrywide Classroom – enrichment TV programmes for university level students and others – using the INSAT system. Indeed, many viewers were not university students, but those attracted by interest and curiosity.

Since then considerable work has continued in the area of use of TV for education and development. Kiran Karnik stressed that we are at the cusp of change, where the proverbial gatekeepers filtering information shall gradually whiter away. The next generation of media will lead the educational development. The lessons that we have learnt over the five decades of media experience are: • Access is a crucial element, but it is important to note that access to

Prof. G. Ram Reddy memorial lectures were instituted by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in 1996 in order to commemorate the legendary educationist and the founder Vice Chancellor of IGNOU. As the first Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, Prof. G Ram Reddy foresaw, planned, designed and shaped the course structure and administrative set-up of this mega university. Prof. Reddy, educated at Osmania University and London School of Economics, was a distinguished scholar in political science and public administration. He was globally acclaimed and recognised for his passionate contribution to the cause for higher education not only in India but in developing countries as well. He was great advocate for the universal access to higher education. He established, shaped and nurtured many institutions of higher learning, including the BR Ambedkar Open University and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council in India. He served as the founder Honorary Director of Social Sciences Research Council in the newly established centre in Hyderabad from 1973-77. He held many other important positions in the academic world – Vice Chancellor of Osmania University for two terms, Vice-President of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Chairman of the University Grants Commission and Chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research. In spite of many administrative responsibilities, Prof. G Ram Reddy retained his academic orientation. He has numerous research papers and scholarly works to his credit. His significant contributions are in the theory and practice of Distance education which are till date used as reference for Distance Education in India and abroad. The COL – International Council of Distance Education (ICDE) Award for Excellence conferred on Prof G Ram Reddy is an eloquent testimony to the international recognition of his vision and contributions.

digital LEARNING

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In the present day India, convergence of three critical areas - Education, Democracy and the Media – is very crucial

education often depends upon reach. If the concept of ‘reach’ also subsumes quality, then there is a serious problem. However, technology, through media, provides a solution – not necessarily a substitute, but a possible solution, nevertheless. Affordability is equally an important issue for many years. Rural and disadvantaged viewers shall still have to partake of community viewing. TV sets needs to be adopted at the community level with appropriate maintenance back-up. The Common Service Centres being set up for computer access need to be extended to cover all villages as soon as possible. Comprehensibility and relevance of content are key parameters. In the competitive arena of multi-channel availability and the viewers exposure to slick productions, education and development content can no longer be dull, staid and boring. There needs to be room for far greater resources and more imaginative handling in content creation. The production process (of creating content) needs to be re-engineered. The aesthetic, pedagogic and communication disciplines must come together to create truly exceptional content that is relevant, learner-centric and audience-friendly. Communication research must be a key element of social communication, particularly because there are always gaps in knowledge in three areas: the audience, their needs and feedbacks, and the more basic aspect of Human machine interaction and learning process in this milieu. Configuration of the network is important as it determines aspects like extent of local inputs, decentralization, flexibility, interactive capabilities, etc.

Way Ahead The evolution of media technology and the availability of new media open up new opportunities. It is imperative that the social sector move quickly to leverage the opportunities and challenges of the education and development. In the broader sphere of 26

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Kiran Karnik being presented with a token of gesture by the Prof. V N Rajasekharan Pillai

development, especially rural development, the utilisation of the full capabilities of the media – convention and new – is constrained by the lack of appropriate system-level initiatives. From time to time, there has been discussion about mandating private radio/ TV channels to compulsorily carry a fixed percentage of ‘social’ programmes as the role of media in social communication has been minimal. In the context of the pressing need to quickly expand education at all levels, to ensure its outreach across the country and to continuously upgrade and update learning, the role of media is more important than ever before. Educationists, technologists, creative content creators, communications experts and social researchers need to work together

to evolve and then implement a multi-modal system that seamlessly integrates media and personal contact, so as to create a new learning paradigm. This may require structural changes in our present systems, especially in the field of development. There is a strong need to do away with the compartmentalisation to necessitate a change in mindset, with boundaries that are often fuzzy and powers that flow down the line. Most important, it will require creativity, innovation and new thinking. Prof. Ram Reddy epitomised these qualities in ample measure, especially in the early years of distance learning. The thought provoking deliberation by Kiran Karnik was followed by a vote of thanks from U S Tolia, Registrar, IGNOU.\\

Some of the earlier lectures in the series were delivered by Prof. Gajaraj Dhanarajan, President COL; Prof. Wichit Srisa-An, Founding Rector, Sukhotai Thammarthirat Open University, Thailand; Prof. N R Arthenayake, Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Sri lanka; prof. Ian Mugridge, Former Director Programmes, COL; Prof. R V R Chandrasekhara Rao, Former Vice-Chancellor, Andhra Pradesh Open University; Mr. H Ian Macdonald, Preseident Emeritus, York University; Dr. K Kasturirangan, Chairman, ISRO; Dr. R A Mashelkar, Director-General, CSIR; Dr. G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO; Prof. N R Madhava Menon, Founder of National Law School of India University; Prof. Yashpal, Former Chairman, UGC; Dr. T Ramaswami, Secretary, DST; Sh. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.


in conversation

An Initiative for Bridging Digital Divide www.bridgestothefuture.org

PROF C J DASWANI NATIONAL COORDINATOR, BRIDGES TO THE FUTURE INITIATIVE (BFI), India

The central philosophy of the Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI) programme has been to bridge the digital divide between the ICT-haves and ICT-have-nots. Consequently, BFI seeks to build educational and learning programmes that will enable the less-advantaged learners to employ and utilise ICTs, to both acquire knowledge and to improve their lives through better economic opportunities. Digital Learning presents the first person account of the project through an interview with Prof Daswani, National Coordinator, BFI. digital LEARNING

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in conversation

The concept of BFI has to do with ‘bridging’ the divide worldwide between the ‘digital haves’ and ‘digital have-nots’. The divide exists within a country and across countries and in developing nations, it is likely to deny future generations of learners, both children and youth, the benefits of ICT

What was the basic purpose of initiating the BFI project in India? The concept of Bridges to the Furture Initaitive (BFI) was visualised and developed at the International Literacy Institute (ILI) of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA with support from UNESCO, by its Director, Professor Daniel A. Wagner and several funders. The digital divide exists within a country and across countries. The divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in developing countries is likely to deny future generations of learners, both children and youth, the benefits of ICT. The Project – BFI – was, therefore, developed largely in the context of adult education/literacy, especially for the developing countries. In India, Professor Wagner invited me to take up the responsibility of steering the BFI Project as National Coordinator. (BFI is being operationalised in South Africa also.) The state of Andhra Pradesh was chosen for an initial experiment because the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) had already placed 10+1 desk-top computers in one thousand secondary schools for computer literacy. Our team developed relevant ICT course-material (content) for the Telugu speaking children in the age group 6-14, who had either dropped out of school in the first three years or had not been to school. The GoAP provided support through a team of school teachers who became a part of the content development team. The ILI, through the University of Pennsylvania Institute of the Advanced Study of India (UPIASI), Delhi (Director: Dr E. Sridharan), provided the financial support for the entire project. What are the achievements that can be attributed to the project? How far have ICTs been beneficial in bringing out-ofschool children back to school? The ICT model was a runaway success. The children were highly motivated. To be able to interact with the computer programme one-on-one, to have a separate chair to sit on, to be in a pleasant clean environment were some of the factors that drew them to 28

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the progamme; and they were learning. In four weeks the children were able to read simple texts, using most of the Telugu letters. In eight weeks, they were able to write, and in twelve weeks, they were able to negotiate the formal school class-V texts. The rate of return to formal school was very encouraging. What is needed is the willingness of the system to use ICT on a larger scale. As we discovered in the Byrraju Foundation schools, which joined the BFI project for implementation in its schools in the West Godavari District, primary school kids (Grades I and II) were learning to read Telugu much faster with the BFI material. Was it hard to bring out content with Telugu literacy instructional programme? Who were the content partners in the project? It was smooth sailing, once a model based on the graphological structure of the Telugu alphabet was worked out. I got the team to divide the Minimum Levels of Learning (MLLs) Primary School syllabus into twelve learning units. The environment science and mathematics content was used to provide the story-line for the units, and the language skills were built in to carry the content. The design was learner driven and sequenced. A learner could negotiate the programme, with the help of voice-over and icons. A learner could proceed to a subsequent sub-unit after successfully completing (i.e. learning) the preceding sub-unit. There were regular evaluative sub-units to keep tab on the learning progress. As soon as the learners were able to write, they were given home tasks, using the relevant formal school texts. I was assisted by highly efficient school teachers with an ability to write in simple Telugu. I was involved in the entire process from visioning to script development, to digitising the content, and supervising the voice over. What are your views on the current e-Learning boom in classroom teaching especially in elite schools? The elite schools have a lot of hardware,

a desk-top for every learner in the class. The emphasis is on computer literacy and not on learner-friendly learning programmes. One disadvantage that can be mentioned is that they are in the English language, which the learners do not control fully. It has to be remembered that any material that the learner has to negotiate on her/his own must be within the vocabulary of the child. When the learner does not understand a word, she/ he stops learning. In the non-elite schools, computers are used primarily for accounts and administration. When the learners are given any time, often over 50 children are seated in front of the monitor. There is no interaction between the learners and the e-learning module/programme. These programmes belong to the ‘sellers’-market’. The ‘buyers’ have no choice. And, yet, the magic and social-value of ICT continues to drive the whole process. Would you like to elaborate on any innovative programme that has helped the cause of educating the underprivileged children? There are many innovative programmes that have been tried out and have inevitably petered out. I have been saying for over three decades that it takes an illiterate family THREE generations to go from illiteracy to full education. For a programme, for outof-school children to succeed, we need to combine it with an enabling programme for their parents, and also plan a programme for the children of these learners. Any new initiative that BFI intends to take up as a part of replicating the project in other parts of the country? The initial costs of developing an ICT programme are high. Once the modules are completed, they can be put on a twenty rupee CD and fed into the hard disks of computers. We have applied for a grant with the M&S Dell Foundation for developing a programme in Hindi. The India Habitat Centre has indicated its willingness to partner with us for providing the hardware and physical locations. We are hoping for the best. \\


Hit The Bulls Eye.. ’IT in Education Directory’ November 2009 Issue

digital LEARNING magazine is coming out with a ‘first-of-its-kind’ directory of IT companies and service providers for the education community.

The directory is aimed to create a comprehensive compilation of companies offering hardware, software, networking and communication solutions, as well as those offering specialised education and IT solutions.

For advertising opportunities, please contact: Siddharth Verma, siddharth@digitalLEARNING.in, +91-9811561645; For editorial enquiry, please contact: Sheena Joseph, sheena@digitalLEARNING.in, +91-9971841718


policy matters

Education Budget 2009-2010

Retaining IT Competitiveness

The budget aims to create a competitive, progressive and well regulated education system of global standards that meets the aspiration of all segments of the society

T

he Budget is just a small but nevertheless, a good beginning and one hopes that in the opening remarks made by the Finance Minister on 6th July, 2009 outlining the policy objectives of the new Government, there lies a portent of greater and more radical change for the education sector. If the Ministry of Human Resource Development sounded the bugle with a 100day plan for education, the Finance Ministry has echoed the need for focus on female literacy, subsidising the financing costs for higher education, role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education, upgradation of polytechnics and expanding the coverage of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Central Universities. India plans to spend 9 billion Indian rupees (US$189 million) on education programmes using ICT in the fiscal year to March 31, 2010, the Finance Minister said. India needs to convert the demographic advantage that its relatively young population 30

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gives, into an economic advantage by providing them the right education and skills, he added. The minister also announced a 20 billion rupee hike in spending on higher education, including on setting up new IITs. The IITs have over the years provided key engineering staff for Indian and multinational technology companies. India’s outsourcing industry benefits from the country’s large number of low-cost and highly trained staff. The immediate benefit from the budget for India’s outsourcing industry is, however, likely to come from the extension of tax holidays for exporters up to the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011. The minister said that he was extending these benefits to help tide exporters over an economic slowdown. Budget to provide education loan subsidiary The Union Budget 2009-10 has declared a

scheme to provide full interest subsidy during the moratorium period on education loans taken from scheduled banks for pursuing any of the approved courses of study in technical and professional streams from a recognised institution in India. The scheme will be available to students from economically weaker sections to access higher education. Besides, the tax deduction under IT Act 2000-Section 80E allowed for interest on loans taken for pursuing higher education in specified fields of study, has now been extended to cover all study fields, including vocational studies. Despite the introduction of universal access to secondary schools in the country, school education received a miss in this budget. The focus instead seemed to be on higher education -essentially as a fulfilment of the government’s strategy to introduce a university in each state. Funding for higher education focused on setting up central universities, IITs and National Institute of


Technologies (NITs) in uncovered states, and on the expansion of vocational courses. Higher Education gets a boost What the budget contains:

• • •

The Higher Education Budget for the current fiscal has been pegged at INR 15, 429 crore (INR.154.29 billion), including a planned allocation of INR 9, 600 crore. During the last financial year, the total allocation was INR.11,340 crore. University Grants Commission (UGC) has been provided with an allocation of INR 4,374.95 crore, which includes expenditure for both Central and Deemed Universities. The allocation for Central Universities includes a provision of INR 1,033 crore for implementation of Other Backward Castes (OBC) reservation in terms with Oversight Committee recommendations. Provision of INR 900 crore for “National Mission for Education through ICT”. INR 827 crore allotted for one Central University in each uncovered state. Provision of INR 215 crore for Indian Institutes of Science for Education and Research (IISERs). Provision of INR 3,902 crore for Technical Education that includes provision towards assistance to IITs, Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) and NITs. Provision of INR 494.5 crore for setting up and upgradation of Polytechnics under the Skill Development Mission.

What it did not contain!

• • • •

Any specific policy framework Future roadmap Clarity in respect of FDI in educational sector Guidelines expected for community colleges & vocational training

IGNOU gets support after 18 yrs After an 18-year hiatus, Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) found mention in the Union Budget again with Finance Minister making an allocation of INR 90 crore for the varsity. The funds include INR 9 crore that the university will spend specifically to bolster Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the north-east region. The allocation has been divided into two specific categories INR 40 crore for the state open universities

Vox Populi Globsyn Group welcomes FMs initiatives to boost education sector Welcoming the budget announcements made by the Finance Minister for the education sector, Bikram Dasgupta, Chairman and CEO, Globsyn Group has said that the budget has been balanced and has opened doors for education and made sufficient efforts for bringing in much needed reforms in the society. “The move to set up central university in each state and redefining the investment for higher education by setting up of more IIT’s and IIM’s are indeed steps in the right direction. Extension to the STPI scheme is welcome as also defining the software product as a service. However much is left for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector of Software Industry to give it a further fillip in order to march the growing requirements of the economy.”

strong and clear mandate. A series of initiatives on induction of ICT in education, incentives to individuals for skill building, up-gradation of educational institutions, loan waiver for those from financially weaker areas will go a long way towards enhancing the knowledge capital of the nation.”

Presenting some quantifiable goals on the sectoral reform Dr Ravi, Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, Digital Learning, & Director, Centre for Science, Development, and Media Studies “It is bold and coming on the heels of a

Microsoft India There are no specific allocations on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) adoption within the country, especially in the context of relevant societal schemes and programmes. We believe there is an opportunity to transform this reality through world-class, pervasive ICT infrastructure to accelerate inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth. Taking the focus on education and employability further, for instance, the government could look at initiatives like encouraging telecom operators to offer an affordable ‘Education PC’ - which includes a laptop, broadband and educational software and application services - at below INR 500 per month; a 100 per cent depreciation on capital investment in IT by companies and Income Tax rebates to individuals for acquisition of computers.

(SOU) and INR 50 crore for implementation of approved schemes of IGNOU. The university, which celebrates its silver jubilee in 2009-10, is planning major expansions this year. “This allocation comes as a boost to our plans for expansion and consolidation. Apart from a campus in the north-east region of the country, we are also planning to open more centres abroad,’’ said V N Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor of IGNOU. Also, IGNOU is planning expansion in Africa and South Asian countries as well in developed countries like Britain. The university is working on a proposal from University of Lincoln to set up an IGNOU Centres for India studies in the UK with cost of the project being shared equally by both the institutes. IGNOU had not been allocated any grants in the Union Budget since 1991, either for salaries or for any other expenditure. But the university, regarded as the most cost

effective in the country, has managed to keep operations running. “We have been sustaining our operations all this time because of our effective use of resources. The government realises open learning has lot of potential and the special allocation implies the same,’’ said Prof Pillai. The education sector is, as of date, not classified as an industry and therefore, there was not much focus other than “allocation & spending”. However, much need not be read in the budget. As Nasscom, the national trade body, says the government has made good by fulfilling most of its pre-budget demands, Digital Learning hopes that this step through the budget announcement will help the industry as well as the other stakeholders in the education community mitigate the impact of the current economic environment and help the country retain its competitiveness, at least in terms of information and communication technology. \\ digital LEARNING

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NEWS

ASIA

Chaudhary Group partners with Manipal to invest in a chain of schools

Nepal’s leading business house, Chaudhary Group is planning to strengthen its hold in the education sector. The group has invested around INR 18 billion in several industries in Nepal and made a foray into the education sector two decades ago with the establishment of Chandbag School in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu. The group’s investment saw a lull in this sector since a long time, however, CG has finally demonstrated that it has rejuvenated that interest by entering into partnership with Manipal K-12 of India. Manipal K-12 is a part of Manipal Group, which has 60 years of experience in higher education field. The announcement made explained that the joint venture between Chaudhary Group and Manipal K-12 will acquire the management of a chain of schools and +2 colleges in Nepal. These institutions will be re-branded as CG-Manipal Schools. New educational institutions will be opened that would include pre-primary to higher secondary level will also be opened throughout the country in the coming days. Additionally, CG-Manipal plans to offer ICT-based school learning solutions and tutorials. But the use of technology will be rightly mixed with pedagogy for an effective learning process. The 138-yearold Chaudhary Group is one of the largest corporate houses in Nepal with over 40 businesses to its name.

Intel and Government to increase ICT capability in Sri Lanka Intel and Sri Lankan government are working together with Intel’s aim at making investment in public-private ventures for the advancement and spread of IT knowledge in the country. 32

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With substantial investments in the country’s education sector in terms of enhancing IT knowledge among students and especially teachers, discussions were held by Intel with the Education Ministry, the private sector and other PC manufacturers in the country in a bid to increase the Intel Teach programme, and to provide low priced PCs in addition to improving WiMax solutions. The WiMax system will be in place this year. Similar models will be carried out by Intel in other countries like the Philippines, Japan and Malaysia, with the aim of reaching out to the rural areas of those countries, increase users and lower the cost of PCs. Intel stated that most students have not yet fully benefited from the Internet wave. Therefore, Intel is currently in the process of aiming at the education of teachers in the IT sector in order to assist students to have a more interactive method of education through the use of computers.

NBQSA Awards for Local ICT talent The 11th Annual National Best Quality Software Awards (NBQSA) 2009 competition was announced recently by the BCS Sri

Lanka section, in association with the British Computer Society (UK). Being the only national competition in Sri Lanka, NBQSA recognises and honours exceptional local ICT achievements and significant technological advancements in the country. Since 1998, the NBQSA has given opportunities to individuals and organisations that make outstanding contributions to the ICT development in Sri Lanka, to display and benchmark their products. The event itself has grown in recognition both locally and internationally, over years. The NBQSA 2009 competition is to cover 16 categories of ICT products and projects ranging from Application and Infrastructure Tools to In House Applications, with Gold, Silver and Bronze awards being presented to winners in each category, this year. Additionally, the BCS Sri Lanka section announced the addition of a new award category this year, which is to recognise the best application developed using Closed Source and Open Source products. The NBQSA events schedule commences with the launch and call for applications on the 17th of July, with the nominees’ and judges’ briefings to be held on 4th and 6th of August respectively and concluding with the Gala Awards Ceremony on 16th of October 2009.

Key to Country’s Success: Education Education is a key mechanism to bridge gaps between dissimilar cultures and promoting understanding among people, said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Addressing nearly 1,400 school principals and teachers from 40 countries at the ninth World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals, he emphasised that education should be given priority if a country needs to progress on road of development. Deeming education the ‘most vital investment’ societies could make for the future, he told that it was vital for building a society with a sense of cohesion and identity of ‘who we are’ in a rapidly changing environment. ‘It is crucial for developing economies if they are to go beyond being developing economies to become developed economies.’ Talking about Singapore’s educational journey, Lee told that the country had 170 primary schools and same number of secondary schools. With 3.5 % of the country’s GDP spent on education, good outcomes were achieved. However, it was no easy task for Singapore to achieve progress in education, as only 60 % of the students completed secondary school until 1980. But difference was made by a host of reforms and consistent efforts.


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D Purandeswari Minister of State for Higher Education Ministry of Human resource and Development Government of India

Charles Clarke MP for Norwich South UK

R Chandrashekhar Secretary DIT, Ministry of Communications & IT Government of India

Dr Rajashekharan Pillai Vice Chancellor Indira Gandhi National Open University

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LEADERS SPEAK

Making Communications Easy in Classroom www.genee-india.com

Ranjit Singh CEO, Genee solutions India Pvt. Ltd

Genee Solutions plays a pivotal role in moving India forward with reference to future classrooms. The organisation strives to provide innovative and easy to use software, hardware and AV equipment that integrates seamlessly with other solutions in both the classroom and presentation area. Ranjit Singh, CEO, Genee Solutions India Pvt. Ltd., shares more about the organisation while in conversation with Digital Learning. 36

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// LEADERS SPEAK

The potential in India is huge and we expect our cutting edge ICT products to grow massively in the next few years. We are unique because we do our research and development in India for both software and hardware and then integrate the two together for Indian schools incorporating the Indian curriculum. We are a Specialist Education Provider not hardware IT Company. Tell us about Genee Solutions in India. How does it help the technology enhanced education? Genee Solutions is an ICT Solution Provider. Teaching is about Communication. It is all about the teacher getting complex concepts and ideas across to the students. Our technology allows the teacher to achieve this. It enables communication to be simpler and easier by the utilisation of our Genee PowerBoards, Genee Visualisers or Genee Classcomm Response System. Teaching is made up of three essential elements: Lesson Preparation, Teaching and Assessment. Our technology helps the teachers prepare their lessons. Infact, for the teachers we have already created 11,000 Content Worksheets (software), many of which are animations to aid understanding. Teaching itself is made easier and assessment can be automatically done utilising our Classcomm Response System. How do you see the education market in India growing as far as your products are concerned? Globally, where does India stand? Genee Solutions is a global player when it comes to classroom technology. We have been in this business for the past 10 years and now have over 20,000 classrooms worldwide with our products in. There is no doubt that the Indian Education Market is developing fast. We have seen in India - Hospital Theatres, Corporates, Retail Outlets changing dramatically over the last 5 years. The classroom is the next area where we will see dramatic change with the traditional classroom being replaced by an integrated ICT classroom. This is essential if

Our technology helps the teacher with three essential elements of teaching: Lesson prepration; Teaching and Assesment

we are to get Indian children ready for this new century and compete at a global level. It is essential that they learn new technology and skills and the teachers MUST LEARN it as well so that they incorporate it into their teaching. We envision our technology going into every classroom across India and therefore we see massive growth for our products. Globally, Indian classrooms are behind UK and US. However, schools are integrating this NEW Technology very fast into their teaching and we anticipate the growth over the next few years to be much higher than in the West. The potential in India is huge and we expect our cutting edge ICT products to grow massively in the next few years. What, according to you, is the Unique Selling Point of Genee Solutions that makes it different from other private players? Firstly, we have been in the ICT and education market for 10 years so we have a lot of experience and knowledge of what schools require to enhance teaching and learning. We are a company setup by teachers for teachers and this is something we are very proud of. Most of the technology that we supply to schools in India has been directly manufactured by ourselves. Our Research and Software Development Centre is in India. We have found that many of our competitors in India are just importing in hardware from the US, Canada or China and supplying to the schools without considering the appropriate relevance of the technology in terms of need for the schools. Generally, there is a little or no thought given to software content or training requirements for the school. Some of our competitors are just providing US or UK curriculum content to Indian schools. Genee Solutions develops its content for Indian schools in India by Indian teachers, identifying the key areas of the curriculum where our technology can really fit in. Training is given by teachers who know the curriculum and not by the technicians who have no understanding

of how the teacher would want to use the technology. We are unique because we do our research and development in India for both software and hardware and then integrate the two together for Indian schools incorporating the Indian curriculum. We are a Specialist Education Provider and not hardware IT Company. Does Genee Solutions have any collaborative partnerships with the Government? What are the states/ regions where you have already carved your presence? All Genee Solutions, products have recently been registered on the Government Rate Contracts. This means that all government bodies including government schools can have access to our products and, most importantly, the vital training that comes with it. Our head office is in Gurgaon, just outside Delhi, however we have established offices in Punjab and in the South. We also have a very close tie up with partners across India. We are very particular who we ask to work with. Accreditation is only given to those partners who have successfully completed our intensive training programme and can provide schools with support and training. Traditionally, we have been very strong around Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and North Punjab. However, recently we have seen good growth in areas such as Kolkata and Kerala. What is next for Genee Solutions in India? Our vision is to grow our presence, continually, in the Indian market, especially within education sector. We will continue to enhance our current products while growing our product portfolio over the next few years. Currently, we are working on a number of EXCITING new projects in terms of Software and Hardware that we will be unleashing for the coming year in India. So please watch out for this space‌.. \\ digital LEARNING

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LEADERS SPEAK

Skills Connect With Oracle Academy www.academy.oracle.com

Krishan Dhawan Managing Director, Oracle India

The ability to use technology to learn and succeed has become a “new basic” for students in the 21st century. Oracle Academy helps students develop the technology and business skills required for 21st century careers. The Oracle Academy is one part of Oracle’s larger commitment to corporate citizenship, which includes initiatives to advance education, promote diversity, enrich community life, and protect the environment. Krishan Dhawan, Managing Director, Oracle India shares more on some of the innovative spirit that drive the programmes of Oracle Academy, which benefit communities worldwide. 38

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// LEADERS SPEAK

The company offers ongoing, low-cost IT training for individual adult learners through the Workforce Development Programme (WDP). In India, close to 10,000 students annually receive training via the WDP.

What are the Oracle Academy’s offerings? The Oracle Academy includes three options – Introduction to Computer Science, Advanced Computer Science, and Enterprise Business Applications – which provide different points of entry for students of varying ages, skills, and career interests. The Oracle Academy’s flexibility and ease of integration into existing curricula make it immensely appealing to countries, like India, that are focused on human capital development. Today, the Oracle Academy supports more than 850,000 students in 91 countries globally. In Asia Pacific, the Oracle Academy partners with 1,400 institutions, supporting 355,000 students in 18 countries. In India, we partner with more than 400 institutions, supporting more than 67,000 students. What are the various collaborations in India with educational institutions and the curriculum developed for them? The following are some of the Oracle Academy’s key partnerships in India: • We signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Institute for Electronic Governance (IEG), an initiative of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, to introduce the Oracle Academy’s business and technology curriculum to 50,000 students across the region over a two-year period. • Together with IEG, we provided over 340 faculty members from Jawahar Knowledge Centres with intensive database training, so that they may prepare their students for IT careers. • We signed an MoU with the Board for Information Technology Education Standards (BITES), a non-profit organisation set up by the Government of Karnataka, to provide database and business skills training to students in 50 engineering colleges across the region. • We work closely with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

Tell us more about the Oracle Work Force Development Programme in India - its objectives and which states are under operation? As part of its commitment to education, Oracle has developed programmes that advance technology learning at all levels. Our programmes can help teach students skills for 21st century careers from the very first day they step into the classroom, right into adulthood and through all phases of their careers. The company offers ongoing, low-cost IT training for individual adult learners through the Workforce Development Programme (WDP). Designed as a continuing education model, the WDP provides certificate and non-degree programmes to help adults augment their technology skills, increase their competitiveness and raise their career potential. WDP participants may also take tests for Oracle certification, opening the door to a variety of entry-level Oracle jobs and career advancement opportunities. In India, close to 10,000 students annually receive training via the WDP. Our network reaches out to students in the country’s metro cities, as well as remote towns, and has helped create a large Oracle-trained talent pool in India.

What are the key skill gaps amongst graduates of Indian universities? How does Oracle address these gaps? Although our universities are among the best in the world, there is a key skill gap in industry-relevant knowledge. In fact, many companies rely on their own finishing schools to provide specialised IT knowledge to new employees. This situation is not limited to the IT sector. Almost all emerging sectors – retail, hospitality, biotech, and aviation, among others – are facing a shortage of human intellectual capital. Oracle is committed to bridging this skill gap and creating a competitive workforce in India. The Oracle Academy and WDP curricula are designed to meet the needs of the global IT industry and are in sync with CII–NASSCOM’s objectives. Participants gain hands-on experience with the leading technologies used by corporations and governments around the world today. Additionally, Oracle believes that a two-way dialogue between academia and industry, as well as ongoing collaboration, can help bridge the skill gap. To this end, we actively establish linkages with key educational institutions across India. \\ digital LEARNING

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NEWS

corporate

TutorVista gains funds, eyes Global Expansion

In the third round funding of US$19 million, K Ganesh, Serial Entreprenuer, is preparing for an aggressive expansion globally. This would be accompanies by acquisition-led growth for his education venture TutorVista Global Pvt Ltd. In one of the largest venture funding rounds in recent times, the Bangalore based online education provider raised US$12.5 million from publishing giant based in UK, the Pearson Group and another US$6.5 million from the existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG). Major part of this capital would be used to expand in foreign markets. In India, it will be utilized for an acquisition overdrive of schools and school managements, besides tutorial companies in states where it does not have a presence.

in Collaboration award for teaching her learners the way of using the social network to promote sustainability around climate change. Rae Gagiano, of Eunice High School, in Bloemfontein, was awarded the Innovation in Content prize by showing her learners how to create a virtual reality art museum using digital imagery. Hlengiwe Mfeka, of Mconjwana High School, in Pietermaritzburg, took home the Innovation in Context prize by enabling her Grade 10 learners to address community problems by using Web 2.0 technological tools. The awarded participants were chosen from a host of entries submitted by teachers around the country, all of whom used IT to make teaching in urban and rural schools more effective.

MoU between DST Group, Ericsson and 4 government schools

Tech value amongst teachers Four teachers out of 20 finalists were honoured as the South African winners of the Fourth Annual Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum Awards, in Bryanston. Trudi van Wyk, the Department of Education’s National Director of Curriculum Innovation, explained that the awards were a representation of the work done to formulate local communities of teachers who can share challenges, ideas and best practice solutions with their peers, supported by ICT. She commended the teachers, adding that their hard work will give the future leaders of SA the skills they will need for employability. With help of Web 2.0 multimedia technology, the teachers designed learning projects, which includes content from social network sites such as Facebook, as well as blogging, video streaming, video conferencing, online network groups, virtual classrooms, cellphone photography and DVD compilations. Cheryl Douglas, of Bishops High School, in Cape Town, was awarded the Innovation 40

www.digitalLEARNING.in

Utilisation of the latest laptops and high speed Internet broadband use by four schools’ students will enable students to become tech savvy, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between DST Group and Ericsson with the principals of the selected schools. DST group and Ericsson’s joint venture, the joint community ICT project, will bring about high-speed mobile Internet connectivity to schools, was brought together by DST Group and Ericsson. The selected schools included Tanjung Kindana Primary School, Berakas Secondary School, Pengiran Jaya Negara Secondary School and Sayyidina Othman Secondary School. The laptops and Internet broadband will be stationed in each school’s computer labs. The project realises that education is an important area for the society and with highspeed connectivity and easy access to the Internet, learning can be made more efficient and effective.

NIS Sparta to open 50 Community Colleges with IGNOU NIS Sparta, Asia’s leading Training, Education and Learning Solutions provider has been selected by IGNOU as a leading partner, to offer Education through Community Colleges in India. Over 50 NIS community colleges are to open as a part of this collaboration across the country. The concept of providing skill based courses through community colleges is new in India and is all set to take Education to new Mile. Certificate courses, Diploma Courses and Associate Degree programs are to be offered by NIS Sparta under this initiative. Admissions have begun and programs will be offered during July 2009 across India. The initiative is a leading path of the visions IGNOU and NIS Sparta share, that is, to provide affordable employability linked education to the local communities. After completing their 10th standard, students can additionally join a two year Associate degree course after completing the one-year of ‘Basic Preparatory Program’ (BPP) by IGNOU. This two year Associate Degree programme will be available to more than 2000 students initially. NIS Sparta, under the agreement will provide the out-reach network, make available classrooms in over 50 cities and deliver the program through certified faculty. IGNOU, in turn, shall conduct the examinations and award the Certificate, Diploma or Associate Degree whenever required. The beneficiaries under this NIS Community College initiative will be, school drop-outs, late entrants into higher education, and working people who find entry into the formal system rigid.

Microsoft and UNESCO partner for ICT implementation in Higher Education Microsoft has partnered with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in an effort formulated to identify the opportunities offered by Information and Communication Technology for governments to drive change. Within the same context, the duo announced the UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education acted as the stage where Microsoft and UNESCO announced the creation of the task force. The task force aims to analyse conclusions presented by the WCHE as well as feedback from organisations involved in education worldwide.


case study

Nurturing English proficiency through Digital Language Lab www.wordsworthelt.com

T

he pursuit to develop English Language skills amongst students is a very healthy consideration apparent of the global scenario. Schools and Colleges have recognised the need to develop proficiency in English during the academic years that students may gain the competitive edge. Several Governments have supported such initiatives besides efforts to directly reach students and others. The ACTUniv Initiate Words Worth English Language Lab is designed for India and is a highly researched initiative of the ACTUniv Group. It’s expertise in technology, multimedia and content development has been instrumental in presenting a world class Language lab solution for schools and colleges across India. Words Worth has the most comprehensive interactive digital content. It uses the blended learning methodology with digital content for both the trainer as well as the student, enhancing learning, practice and self assessment, judiciously using the best elements of technology and training pedagogy. Words Worth English language lab uses the school’s existing computer laboratory PC’s and classroom resources to create the International class English Language lab. Each implementation is meticulously executed providing the school with product know-how and training of trainers followed by proactive support. Training Methodology Words Worth is a unique product facilitating all round language skill (LSRW) development of the student through the use of modern technology while maintaining the human element (teacher) that matters most in teaching. The training system emphasises on the natural learning approach with emphasis 42

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on listening and speaking and progressively towards reading and writing, for the practical use of English for the real world. Words Worth features Words Worth takes care of the finest nuance of the English language, improving all aspects such as grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, free speech, intonation and modulation besides offering remedy to correct regional influences of the mother tongue. The content has rich audiovisual features offering ample practice and self assessment such as ‘listen-record-compare’ and glossary. The programme allows student to take control of his own pace of learning. Evaluation Several self-evaluation tools power programme. The Listen-record-compare feature provides a unique opportunity to learners for self-evaluation. Additionally the programme includes a performance report engine that allows each student to track his or her own progress through the course and generate dynamic personalised performance reports as needed. Teachers can also use performance reports to monitor the progress of their class. At Schools and Colleges Words Worth English Language Lab can be integrated into the academic curriculum seamlessly, uses the institutions existing infrastructure and minimal additions, reducing the total cost of ownership to the lowest. Words Worth – Junior for schools comprises of eight graded levels of learning, each level has 36 hours of training per year consisting of ILT and CBT sessions. The Words Worth – Senior for Colleges has three progressive levels, each level has 70 hours of training per year.

Partnering Government initiatives The company has supported several Government training initiatives to develop English language proficiency amongst the masses. The Society for Creation of Opportunity through Proficiency in English (SCOPE), an initiative of the Government of Gujarat has been a beneficiary where the Company has trained over one lakh youth annually. Words Worth English Language programme is the exclusive training system chosen by the Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation Limited, an initiative of the Government of Rajasthan. The Rajasthan State Certificate in English Language (RS-CEL) proposes to train over 50,000 youth per year through its network of 500 plus learning canters , across the state. International Language certification Words Worth programmes confirm to International standards by ALTE and CEFR of the Council of Europe. Renowned International Examinations bodies, Pearson Language Assessments and Trinity College London offer International Qualifications certifications that are recognised globally. Reaching the corners of India The over 150 installations in institutions besides others, stand testimony of the quality in product, implementation, training and the continual service provided by ACTUniv and its committed network of dealers across India. The Company plans to add the names of another 500 schools and colleges across India to the privileged list by the end of this financial year. \\ More information on Words Worth Digital English Language Labs can be obtained by writing to jasvinders@actuniv.com or call 098250 05363


NEWS

world

MoU between CISCO and MCITA A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Moscow Centre for Informational Technologies and Analytics (MCITA) with Cisco to increase the number of Cisco Networking Academy sites in the country. The aim of the collaboration is to improve the quality of Russia’s secondary and college education systems. It will be implemented in the form of a two-year programme that will train and provide professional development for teachers in

secondary schools and colleges, and provide easy access to modern information and communications technology (ICT) for pupils and teachers. The number of networking academy sites in Russia will increase from 125 to as many as 400. Bob Agee, Vice President Russia, at Cisco, said that the company is pleased to work together with leading institutions like MCITA to develop and promote excellence in education throughout Russia by providing students and teachers with the latest curricula and means of access.

High-speed broadband at two Ireland Primary schools The Communications Minister Eamon Ryan, while launching the 100mpbs Post-Primary Schools Project, announced that two primary schools in Meath, Ireland, are to receive upgraded high-speed broadband. The schools are to get high-speed wireless broadband connectivity as part of the Government’s pilot plan to give students instant internet access anywhere in the school. Under the existing schools’ broadband programme, primary and post-primary schools in Ireland can access a basic level of broadband. Students in these schools will be able to benefit from high-

speed wireless broadband, meaning that students will be able to upload and download material faster, access high-volume digital educational content and connect instantly to websites from any part of the school. It is expected that the speeds will be similar to those offered to high-end national and multinational companies operating there.

OLPC chooses Rwanda for learning centers The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) group has agreed to start learning centers in Rwanda to support the use of the computers in Rwanda and other African countries. Countries in Africa including South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia have also ordered the laptops for use in schools. But Rwanda tops the list of the number of computers that have been ordered. 5,000 laptops have been shipped to Ethiopia, and South Africa and Ghana have each received at least 100 laptops. Rwanda is to be the home of a pilot learning center for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project in Africa following the country’s progress in promoting the use of computers in schools. In addition to helping Rwanda achieve its objectives in promoting ICT in education, the center will also act as a reachout center for the whole African region. The center will be located at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology and will be called the OLPC Learning Center. Rwanda has been promoting the use of computers in its education system and has so far ordered 100,000 laptops worth more than US$18 million from the OLPC initiative.

Tie-up between Oxford and McGill universities for brain research Two prestigious universities - Oxford in Britain and McGill in Canada- have joined hands for research on the human brain. The two universities are among world leaders in neuroscience research. Montreal-based McGill University said on Friday that it is partnering with Oxford ‘to broaden understanding of the human brain and take research to new heights.’ Under the collaborations in training and research in neuroscience, the two universities will have regular exchanges of students and professors. McGill University, which has 34,000 students

from 160 countries on its rolls, runs one of the largest integrated programmes in neurosciences, aided by its Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. Oxford University has over 130 principal investigators conducting brain research. It also has about 250 research assistants and more than 200 postgraduate research students. Its Centre for Functional MRI for the Brain offers the latest developments in brain imaging.

Gates Fund for Community College Postsecondary Research Project

The Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College in New York City’s Columbia University has received a three-year US$5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help identify the most productive investments in community colleges for the foundation’s Postsecondary Success (PS) initiative. Owing to their openaccess admission policies and relatively low tuition rates, community colleges enroll a high proportion of young adults from lowincome families. The goal of the PS initiative, launched last year, is to double the number of low-income students who by age 26 earn a postsecondary degree or credential. Led by director Thomas Bailey, CCRC will produce a set of concrete recommendations for the PS initiative by early 2012. These recommendations will be based on a synthesis of knowledge gained from past research, from ongoing studies by other organisations, and from a new set of CCRC studies chosen to supplement what is known about increasing community college student success. The idea is that low-skill students can learn more effectively and can advance to college-level programmes more readily when skills are taught in the context of instruction in a content area. digital LEARNING

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The 2nd International Workshop on M-Electronic Commerce Technology and Applications (WMCTA 2009) 18 to 20 September 2009 Cairo, Egypt http://www.iacsit.org/wmcta/index.htm

Learning Technologies Africa 21 to 23 September 2009 Abuja, Nigeria http://www.learntechafrica.com/

CEFPI’s 86th Annual World Conference & Expo 27 to 29 September 2009 Washington, D.C., United States http://www.cefpi.org

Stronger Smarter Futures Summit: Successful Strategies for Indigenous Education 28 to 29 September 2009 Queensland, Australia http://www.strongersmarter.qut.edu.au/

EC-TEL 09- Fourth European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning 29 September 2009 to 2 October 2009 Cannes, France http://www.ectel09.org/

In Times of Crisis 2 October 2009 Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States http://www.michcea.org

Building a Donor-Centered Stewardship Effort 5 - 7 October 2009 Austin, Texas, United States http://www.academicimpressions.com

College Teaching & Learning Conference 5 to 7 October 2009 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States http://www.CluteInstitute.com

Assessing the Needs of Commuter Students 6 October 2009 Online Webcast, United States http://www.academicimpressions.com/ web_conferences/1009-commuter.php

2009 IACSIT Autumn Conference 9 to 11 October 2009 Singapore, Singapore http://www.iacsit.org/2009ac/index.htm

2009 International Conference on Distance Education and Open Learning (DEOL 2009) 9 to 11 October 2009 Singapore, Singapore http://www.iacsit.org/deol/index.htm

Conferencia IADIS IberoAmericana WWW/Internet 2009 21 to 23 October 2009 Madrid, Spain http://www.ciawi-conf.org/

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2-4 December, 2009 Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS), India and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), Sri Lanka have joined hands to organise 4th annual eASiA 2009 conference and exhibition in Colombo, Sri Lanka to celebrate the year 2009 as the year of ICT and English as declared by Mahinda Rajapaksa, President, Sri Lanka and to promote growth of ICT4D, through consultative dialogue, knowledge networking and business partnering. eAsia 2009, is the annual international event on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for development providing opportunity for all stakeholders in the ICT arena to share a level-playing ground through active conferencing and networking. Spanning over three days, the event will comprise of unique thematically inter-related conferences, in the domains of e-Governance, Digital Learning, e-Health and Telecentres, Emerging eTechnologies. The five tracks of eASIA2009 are: • eGov Asia • Digital Learning Asia • eHealth Asia • Telecentre Forum Asia • Emerging e-Technologies Asia Call for Papers eASiA 2009 seeks call for abstracts/proposal(s) for speakers who illustrate innovation in using ICT for development, by September 15, 2009 Abstracts and Extended Abstracts Submission: September 15, 2009 Notification of Acceptance of Abstract: October 1, 2009 Full Paper Submission: November 3, 2009 Submit your abstracts/proposals at rajeshree@csdms.in Exhibition eASiA 2009 will also host an exhibition featuring the best in cutting edge technology across Asia and beyond. The list of exhibitors will be made available online and will be updated regularly in the run up to the event in December. For more details on the event, log on to www.e-asia.org/2009

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RNI No. UPENG/2008/25311

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K-12 @ Hyderabad : August 2009 Issue  

[www.digitallearning.in] With the aim of promoting and aiding the use of ICT in education, Digital Learning education magazine focuses on th...

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