Page 1

The monthly publication on ICT and Education RNI No. UPENG/2008/25311

digitalLEARNING INDIA

Volume V Issue 1 January 2009    ISSN 0973-4139 

Rs 75

www.digitalLEARNING.in

Celebrating the

3 Anniversary rd

Bringing together Academia, Government and Technology providers


Contents

Striving To Make India a Knowledge Society

Volume V Issue I, January 2009

Smt D Purandeswari Minister of State for Higher Education, Ministry of HRD, Government of India

‘We Have To Be In Sync With Technology To Bridge Digital Divide’ Subhash C Khuntia

School Track

Positive Stroke: Centre

8 10 11

Interveiw: Subhash C Khuntia Joint Secretary, Ministry of HRD

Interview: Shakila Shamsu

44 47

NUEPA Report ASER Report

Power School: perspective

Joint Advisor (Education), Planning Commission

Positive Stroke: state

52

Interview: V L Balasubramanian

Interveiw: Anita Karwal

62

Interview: Sita Umamaheshwaran

Secretary, Primary Education, Gujarat

12 Interview: Shambhu Singh 14

Perspective: Dr Jyrki Pulkkinen

16

Commentary: James Tooley

CEO, Global eSchools & Communities Initiative (GeSCI)

President, The Education Fund, Orient Global

Higher Education: perspective

22 Interview: Prof. Dayanand Dongaonkar 25 Interview: Dr Rajendra Prasad

Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities

Rector & Professor, School of Life Sciences, JNU

Principal, PSBB Millennium School, Chennai

Corporate diary

Education Commissioner(Schools), Manipur

Development Agenda

Principal, JNV, Kasaragod, Kerala

68 71 78 83 90 94 96

Leader’s Speak (Page 67 - 86) Dr Manmohan Sharma, Educo International Navyug Mohnot, QAI Shantanu Prakash, Educomp Solutions Stephen Dukker, NComputing

Case Study (Page 90 - 103) Case Study: Edurite Innovation: SMART Technologies Innovation: Microsoft

All the articles are available online at www.digitalLearning.in


Editorial digital LEARNING INDIA Volume V, Issue 1 | January 2008

President M P Narayanan Editor-in-Chief Ravi Gupta Group Directors Maneesh Prasad, Sanjay Kumar Programme Co-ordinator Jayalakshmi Chittoor Assistant Editor Manjushree Reddy email: manjushree@digitallearning.in Research Associates Rachita Jha, Dr Rajeshree Dutta Kumar, N. Samungou Singh Research Assistants Angela S Nath, Yukti Pahwa Marketing Siddharth Verma (+91-9811561645) email: siddharth@digitallearning.in Sales Executives Rudra Ghosh, Fahimul Haque Subscription & Circulation Lipika Dutta (+91-9871481708) Manoj Kumar (+91-9971404484) Sr Graphic Designer Bishwajeet Kumar Singh Graphic Designers Om Prakash Thakur, Chandrakesh Bihari Lal (James) 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 in technical collaboration with Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies.

The year that was 2008! As we prepare to usher in a New Year, the year that we bid adieu will go down in history as one of the most eventful phases in the past decade or so. Its impact on the coming years will be significant and defining. The world slipped into the grip of a financial crisis with the world’s top economy, the US taking a severe battering with its credit crisis. The financial markets have nosedived. The market demands and production are running low. But so much for the bad news; a fresh start also requires revisiting the core strengths and solid fundamentals. We turn three with the onset of 2009. In this anniversary issue of Digital Learning we share such moments. Some numbers to start with. In 2007 around hundred authors gave content for the magazine; this grew to 130 authors sharing their ideas through our magazine in 2008. We have in the past year carried forward the mission of forging alliances for ICT content showcasing growth in the education sector. We received contributions from India, Malaysia, USA, UK, Philippines, China, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Singapore, China, Pakistan, Canada and Turkey. To add to the list we received additional contributions in 2008 from Russia, Israel, Kenya, Ghana, New York and Australia. This showcases Digital Learning expanding global reach. Digital Learning delivered total of 778 pages of content in its twelve issues of 2008, out of which 228 were generated in-house articles. In 2008, the themes that featured included ‘a futuristic outlook on ICT, education planning, distance education, Asian scenario on eEducation, and Malaysian scenario. This anniversary issue brings together a composite outlook, spanning across government and private, schools and universities, from India’s education sector and the role that ICT is already playing in making quality education possible for millions. We hope you will enjoy reading the new-look Digital Learning. We wish you all a very happy new year!

Ravi Gupta Editor-in-Chief Ravi.Gupta@csdms.in

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,Learning Sector - 50, Noida, UP 11 November 2008 Digital | Vol 4 Issue Editor: Ravi Gupta




Message

Date: January 1, 2009

Striving To Make India a Knowledge Society India’s education sector today faces multiple challenges of access, equity and quality. Over the past five years, Ministry of Human Resource Development has been busy in attaining the goal of making education accessible to every child, particularly among the marginalised sections in the rural areas. We are also addressing the gap that exists between the market demands and the available skill sets among professionals through the participation of private sector in the curriculum framework. Coming to the aspect of quality, infrastructure and faculty are two major concerns that need to be focused on. We are roping in as many colleges as possible under the ambit of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to upgrade their quality. The UGC and AICTE are also pursuing various measures to lure fresh graduates into research and teaching profession. The government alone cannot address all these challenges. The private sector needs to play a proactive role to supplement the efforts of the government. A PPP model is to be developed with the active participation of stakeholders at the central and state level. The 11th Five Year Plan has kept a target of raising the gross enrollment ratio to 15% by the end of the plan year. This is where ICT steps in. Integration of ICT in education will give an impetus to our efforts to attain our target of increasing our gross enrollment ratio by widening the reach of education to the remote and marginalised areas of our country. With a large percentage of our population constituting the workforce, ICT also gives them space to pursue education at their own convenient pace and time. The role of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) systems, which have accepted and integrated ICT in their functioning and outreach, particularly finds mention here. As we all know education is what ultimately decides the position of a country in the comity of nations, we should all strive to make India a knowledge society. This is what my ministry aspires for and I hope all the stakeholders put in their best in achieving this. I also take this opportunity to wish ‘digital Learning’, a leading magazine on ICT and education, on the occasion of its third anniversary. The magazine has played a key role in providing a platform to all the stakeholders to voice their views and opinions. I hope it carries on this role for many more years to come! I am also happy to know that the publishers of digital LEARNING magazine are organising the eINDIA 2009 on 4-6 August 2009 in the National Capital Region of Delhi. I congratulate the organisers on this endeavour. I am pleased to know that my Ministry is actively participating and supporting this path-breaking event. I wish this event a great success.

(D Purandeswari) MOS - HRD (HE)


Positive Stroke | Centre ‘We Have To Be In Sync With Technology To Bridge Digital Divide’ For a country of our size, it is difficult to implement all the technology solutions at one go in all the schools. So it has to be done in a graded manner Subhash C Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of HRD, , Government of India

The 11th Five Year Plan focuses on education in a big way. What are the key milestones that the government is looking at as far as school education is concerned in the coming year? Since a large part of India’s population constitutes the youth, education occupies a prime position in the 11th Five Year Plan. If you see the Plan allocation, more than 19% of the total outlay is devoted to education, whereas it was 9.5% in the 10th Plan. And again school education gets high priority here. With Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan being a great success, large number of students will soon be knocking at the doors of secondary education and that is why we are planning to ensure that these children get adequate access to secondary education. Similarly those who complete secondary education should be able to move to higher education. Right now the enrollment ratio in higher education is 11%, and the Ministry has plans to increase it to 15% during the Plan period. This can only be achieved if elementary as well as secondary education is given the pre-eminence. We have also set some ambitious targets like increasing the gross enrollment ratio in secondary education (9th and 10th) from 53% to 75% in the next five years. Another target is to reduce the gender

gap in enrollment and also to reduce the gap in enrollment for weaker sections of society. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made an announcement about ‘model schools’. Can you elaborate on it? The ‘model school’ scheme involves setting up of one model school in every block in the country. It will comprise of 3500 government schools and 2500 schools through Public Private Partnership. The model school would basically serve as a demonstration unit and as a focal point to network with other schools in the block to build up a synergy to enhance the quality of education in all secondary schools. The much needed educational technology and connectivity would be available in these model schools so that an ideal environment is created for teaching and learning. In the new scheme where there is a talk of upgradation and maintenance of old and new schools, how is the role of ICT envisaged? Of course, for the new schools we would like to have Information and Communication Technologies incorporated right into the structure of schools so that the paradigm of teaching and learning can be different, making the

process enjoyable for the children. The old schools would require upgradation as far as technology is concerned. There is a centrally sponsored scheme called ‘ICT at Schools’ through which every secondary or higher secondary school will be facilitated with ICT infrastructure and connectivity. The idea is to have effective ICT integration in all secondary schools by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan. There is a huge disparity in quality as well as IT integration in schools maintained by the Central government and those of states. How does the Centre plan to reduce this disparity? The ‘ICT at Schools’ scheme seeks to remove such disparity. Through the scheme we plan to equip each and every school with the required ICT infrastructure. This will hopefully start a kind of chain reaction. The states can further reinforce this infrastructure as per requirements. Schools maintained by the Central government, like Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas, have been successful in IT integration as well as in provision of other resources. State governments having larger number of schools need to emulate them. Needless to say, all schools should maintain a minimum standard in all aspects including ICT.

>> Continued on page 49 

January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Positive Stroke | Centre Pro-Active Role Required For Facilitating Reforms In Education Among the many limitations and bottlenecks which India faces is the attitudinal factor, where there is a built in resistance to use technology Shakila Shamsu, Joint Advisor (Education), Planning Commission What objectives have been laid down in the 11th FiveYear Plan for catering to quality education in India? The 11th Plan is an investment plan for Education and Health sectors. The education sector covering elementary, secondary, higher and technical education will greatly benefit from the thrust given in the current Plan period. The problems affecting quality of education - such as inadequate infrastructure, poor quality of faculty, outmoded teaching methods, outdated curriculum, lack of linkages between knowledge and skills - have been taken cognizance and appropriate corrective steps have been suggested. The Plan includes a coherent ICT based education both at the secondary and higher education. All these can be achieved only if the States adopt a pro-active role in facilitating these reforms. States will have to protect the interests of the marginalised sections of the society through appropriate strategies as educational loans, scholarships, hostel facilities and other material assistance. What role do you foresee for ICT in education? According to you, what are the reasons for India still lagging behind in ICT integration? The buzzword today is ICT in education. But we need to assess the needs, usage and benefits of ICT in achieving educational objectives in a more realistic manner. Given my experience in Distance Education and Open Learning, 10

ICT can produce optimal results only if both the receiver and sender are trained for its proper usage and attuned towards a common goal. Among the many limitations and bottlenecks which India faces is the attitudinal factor, where there is a built in resistance to use technology. There is also a bias that greater use of technology will increase the existing digital divide. Another danger is of top down approach which results in adopting technologies unsuitable for our national or regional needs. Appropriateness of technology is crucial to the success of ICT applications. In your opinion, how can we create an enabling environment for effective and efficient use of technologies in schools? There is a general acceptance of the need to create technology enabled schooling environment. IT enabled learning would perhaps provide new directions in pedagogy and affect students achievement level. Technology seems to be the answer to several problems in educational settings, provided basic infrastructure such as computers and computer labs, multimedia labs, internet connectivity, power backup, etc, are ensured. In addition, human capital in the form of trained teachers competent to use ICT is also required. What role does public private partnership play in enhancing

technology usage in school education? I strongly believe that there is great need to nurture public private partnerships for implementing ICT in school education. Majority of schools in our country are not equipped to effectively integrate ICTs in their activities. Private enterprise can do a great deal not only by supplying hardware and maintenance, but also help in developing content for teaching various subjects, especially in regional languages. Another area where private sector initiatives can contribute is teacher training by developing proper training modules. Lastly, what would be your message for stakeholders in the education sector regarding an ICT policy on education in India? Each one of us directly or indirectly is a stake holder in the education sector. Students, teachers, parents, educational administrators, heads of educational institutions, technology providers, all have a stake in education. The greatest stumbling block in the way of implementing an ICT policy in education is the attitudinal bias which is technology resistant. We need to correct our perspectives and ensure a blended and balanced use of technology along with the human capital to extend the frontiers of education in a global setting. << Note: Views expressed by the author in the interview are her own and in no way represent the Planning Commissionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s views. January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Positive Stroke | state

3rd anniversary special issue

ICT Integration in Schools Slow Due To Sheer Numbers PPP is the only way out for introducing, implementing and sustaining use of technology in school education

Anita Karwal, Secretary Primary Education, Gujarat How can the quality of education delivery be enhanced through ICT integration in school education? As far as primary education is concerned, the scale of operation at the state level is so huge that it is near impossible to ensure 100% results in any intervention. With ICT one is sure of the reach to the farthest corner and also the quality being relayed out from a central communication unit. What role do you foresee for ICT in education? What are the reasons for India still lagging behind in ICT integration? As the world is shrinking and future employments will need some background in it, ICT will have to become an integral part of school education. Ours is a huge country in terms of population to be serviced in schools. In Gujarat itself, we have over 60 lakh children studying in about 32,000 primary schools across the state. Population is not really an issue in most of the western part of the world, while here we are talking about a single state! Therefore, we need to comprehend the reality that we are slow on the ICT uptake in school education due to sheer numbers. Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

Please mention the initiatives taken by the Gujarat Education Department in enhancing the quality of state education. Some of the major initiatives undertaken by the Gujarat government are: • Five thousand schools covered in Phase 1 of the computerisation programme of upper primary schools (Classes 5,6 and 7). Phase 2 of the programme has been tendered and rest of the upper primary schools will be covered by mid 2009; • The facility of BISAG (Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geomatics) extensively used for relaying educational inputs and for teacher training; • Syllabus related teaching and learning software prepared and used in upper primary schools; • We are in the process of developing an education mamagement and information system (EMIS) for the state; • Software being developed for refurbishing knowledge acquired during the academic year at the end. Should public private partnerships be built for enhancing proper usage of

technology in school education? PPP in my view is the only way out for introducing, implementing and sustaining use of technology in school education. The precious resources of the government cannot be utilised for sustaining every new development in technology. Please specify the challenges faced in integration of ICT in education? Also, according to you what are the solutions to these challenges? Some of the major challenges are: Procurement; Capacity limitations; Scale; Remoteness; Language issues; Quickly changing technology; Useless or ad-hoc software; Connectivity; and Lack of proper operating systems. And possible solutions to these are: Guidelines at the national level on ICT integration in schools; Standardising the procurements; Exploring various connectivity options; Constant monitoring of expected outcomes under CAL programme; Constant review of guidelines to ensure availability of latest technology; Using ICT for enabling individual child tracking, monitoring drop outs, etc under universalisation of education; and Funding under SSA of computer labs, service oriented CAL programme. Lastly, what would be your message for the stakeholders in the education sector regarding building up an ICT policy on education in India? I do not believe in piecemeal policies in education. After all we are dealing with the lives of our future. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan has shown us the way as an all encompassing policy. My personal view is that there is no need for a separate ICT policy in school education. It could simply form a part of the SSA guidelines and subjected to periodic revision. << 11


Positive Stroke | state

Access, Quality And Inclusive Education Mantra For Manipur Model schools are being set up wherein the resources of the Government would be committed to deliver quality education exclusively Shambhu Singh, Education Commissioner(Schools), Manipur What role do you foresee for ICT in enhancing quality education? Information and Communication Technologies have a critical role in enhancing quality of education. Though the teacher continues to be pivotal in delivering education to students, amongst the various enabling factors which ultimately ensure delivery of quality education, scope of ICT is unparalleled. For example, it facilitates better comprehension and understanding of various complex phenomena with ease. It also provides access to the unlimited source of digital information available through Internet. It can also play an important role in planning and administration, tracking the performance of individual teacher/student and prompt collection and dissemination of information. Please mention some initiatives undertaken by the education department in enhancing the quality of education in your state. Broadly speaking, the State government endeavours to provide access, quality and inclusive education. It is committed to ‘education for all’. While addressing the issue of access and quality, it is apparent that the two goals are divergent in nature and hence wherever the State government has adopted the policy of ‘one size fits all’, it has not been able to deliver quality effectively. In brief, the State Education Department 12

is making an attempt to review and reassess the efficiency and effectiveness of its present policies and strategies and adopt such policies and strategies which will address the issue of access and quality separately. Model schools are being set up to deliver quality education exclusively. e-Learning in various schools is also being taken up to broaden the horizon of the students. Efforts are also afoot to establish an MIS Cell in the Directorate of School Education with a dedicated website for dissemination of information to the public, with special focus on teachers and students. Specify the challenges faced in integration of ICT in education in your state? According to you, what are the solutions to these challenges? To harness the benefits of ICT in education it is imperative that the capacity building amongst the administrators, teachers as well as students takes place. Knowledge of computer with abundant hands-on practice is a pre-requisite. Hence, ICT in education has to be introduced in a phased manner by first giving adequate exposure and training to all concerned. Specifically the teachers should be encouraged to adopt computer enabled teaching. A unique problem associated with Manipur is the non-availability/ irregular power supply which is compounded by law and order problems.

Manipur is a small but highly sensitive and complicated society. While generating content for e-Learning one has to take all sensibilities into account. The amalgamation of various tribes and the population of the Imphal valley have all different sensibilities and a balance has to be struck before virtual classes can start. As a result, we can depend on outside content providers only for pure sciences and possibly some languages. In your opinion, should Public Private Partnerships be built for enhancing proper usage of technology in school education? ICT per-se does not constitute the core activity of teaching-learning process and wherever feasible the supply and maintenance of its infrastructures could be outsource/privatised. There is no harm in the private sector providing the soft skills also, to the extent that it takes into account the local issues. Any public private partnership can however be made functional only when there is rule of law and contractual obligations can be enforced. How do you envision your state school system with respect to implementation of ICT tools in the coming years? In the present scenario of globalisation and rapid pace of changes taking place in terms of knowledge, employment opportunities etc, ICT has to become an integral part of education in the coming years. The Department envisions a school system in the future wherein the students would be empowered to access the unlimited source of WWW, shift from a memorybased to skill-based test, availability of lectures/notes on the web and also interaction between the teachers and students, parents and teachers through ICT. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Developement Agenda | Perspective Strategising Management of ICT Resources in School Education GeSCI gives strategic advice to Education ministries world over on better management of ICT resources in school education Dr Jyrki Pulkkinen CEO, Global eSchools & Communities Initiative (GeSCI)

Please tell us about your journey with the development of ICT in education. My background is that of an educationist, as a researcher, research manager and an Assistant Professor of education, with over 20 years of experience. In the 1990â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, we lived in pioneering times, when it came to the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT). When I came across ICT, I started programming for educational needs. We experienced many new technologies and applied these for training teachers. We facilitated skill development not only for the primary and secondary school teachers, but also for the adult educators, university teachers, lecturers in education. At that time we also wanted to understand what will be the impact of ICT for the school education system, not only as a tool in your own classroom, but how it will reform the whole education system. As an Assistant Professor in the University of Oulu in 1996, I established a research unit of educational technology. It was the first of its kind in Finland, and was totally dedicated to educational technology. 14

How did you get other universities onboard, within Finland, for furthering the early ideas on ICT into learning and practice? Previously, if you had one year curriculum you had your students over there in the classroom, used technologies for teaching them, sometimes assessing or video conferencing, and you paid all the costs and developed all the curriculum. We tried to change that. We decided among three universities â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Helsinki University of Technology, University of Jyvaskyla and University of Oulu - to share all the costs and implementation of ideas. We decided to have one study group in each of these universities. The three universities constituted a network and contributed money, ideas for developing curriculum through a year long programme. With this network and idea of sharing costs of training we managed to have large-scale impact in terms of the number of students we covered. We used technology as a tool, but it also provided a platform for us to train more teachers in more product areas.

How was this model of networking and decentralising of ICT educational training different from other contemporary models? We never established a virtual university at one university in Finland. We came up with a network of universities, and this finally grew into a national network of Finland. There was a Secretariat or a development unit at the Ministry of Education. In UK, they established one university and tried to run it as a business, which ultimately went bankrupt. Many of the virtual universities met this fate in the late 80s and early 90s. The Finnish Virtual university model has survived so long and is still functioning because of their network model. Can you share some of your critical introspection about ICT in education, particularly in the context of developing countries? In 2000, I went to South Africa as a consultant for the National Department of Education for capacity building model of African teachers. In Finland January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


3rd anniversary special issue traditional classroom of chalk and board. So in India it is not a technical problem, but a pedagogical one. This is my substantive evaluation at the moment. What kind of model do you suggest for the Indian environment? Research has shown the world over that people learn the best through a flexible and collaborative mode of learning. Children are learning together, they can communicate together via Internet or face-to-face. They have to collaborate, not memorise. They have to study, solve problems, make conclusions, and develop something new.

everything was online, but in South Africa, I asked for offline content as it was too expensive to be online. The economic environment was absolutely different. Even where technologies were available, teachers could not be using it constantly as it proved too expensive for the schools. Even the teachers there lacked proper training. So we had to develop a different model. I was in a state of confusion and getting critical. How do you view the specific case of India? I have been attending many global workshops on ICT and innovations, saying that everybody should copy the Indian model. Even Africa wants to copy Indian model! I assumed its because we have a booming outsourcing business in ICT and high-tech in Chennai and Bangalore. Coming to application of ICT in education, I haven’t seen enough to make any evaluation about the situation in India. During my visits to couple of schools, I saw children looking at computer screens and copying everything on to notebooks and memorising what they have seen. Then I felt the problem was not technology, but the methodology adopted by the teachers in the learning process. They were repeating the same mode of teaching which they did in the Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

I was surprised to hear that in stateowned schools, every child learns the same thing, same day, in a same manner. This is not at all innovative. We have other methods too, like the ‘blended mode learning’, where various children learn different things at the same time in a classroom. A school is like a social system, which has to be changed on the whole. We have to address the school management and also the educational system at all levels, from the ministers to teachers. If you want to use technology efficiently with minimum investment and have the best results too, you should invest in the educational management system. That is the best way of introducing ICT in education. After management comes the teachers. The teachers should know how to implement technology in their pedagogy. Otherwise the investments made by the school will go waste. How do you see the role of GeSCI in India in the context of current global education? GeSCI gives strategic advice to Education ministries world over on better management of ICT resources in school education. We advocate the importance of having an ICT infrastructure in education as it is needed for development of the social and economic parameters of a nation. But to accomplish it there has to be a

proper plan. This is where a visionary strategy comes in, and the need for a country-specific ICT policy. India is challenging, because it has a third world economy and at the same, a developed country’s problems. So you have a variety of problems and challenges here. Basically, the Indian experience has been a good exercise for GeSCI and hopefully a useful one for the Indian government as well. However, in the coming years GeSCI would like to contribute to other countries in South Asia. We are developing regional activities in other countries in the region also. We are serving India from a different angle, not as a bilateral country programme but inviting it to be part of the larger community of ICT in education and GeSCI community in South Asia. We want India to share their experiences in policy making and ICT in education, with other South Asian nations. The Asian scenario is different from, say, Africa. That is why we are not developing any country programmes in Asia but rather going for facilitation of knowledge sharing activities in the region. In Africa, we have country programmes because they don’t have the same level of knowledge base or expertise as in India. The government and the private sector have an engagement in India’s education sector. How do you view the coming together of different stakeholders? Every stakeholder has a point of view and interest. They have different entry points to the same issue. But the government cannot provide all services and infrastructure, they need private sector for that. The idea is to create a kind of partnership where there is a confluence of two sides to bring in all round development. But at the same time, the private sector should not be given a free hand as then it goes on an easy profit making mode. This kind of participatory policy making may be new in India, but back home it is a norm. << 15


Development Agenda | Commentary Private Schools For Poor

New Frontier For ICT Investment

James Tooley President The Education Fund, Orient Global

Private schools are blossoming in the slums and low-income areas of India. These low-cost private schools are run by entrepreneurs from the communities. Visit these schools and you’ll find a vibrant atmosphere of learning taking place

I

’ve come to India because something remarkable is happening in education for the poor and I want to be a part of it. There’s a private education revolution taking place – and it opens up extraordinary opportunities for those engaged in digital learning. The accepted wisdom says that the poor need governments to provide their education. But government education for the poor doesn’t seem to be working well. Visiting a government school in poor parts of urban India, for instance, can be sobering. Where there should be ten teachers, there will be only two or three present. And they won’t all be teaching either. Children – bright-eyed, eager young children – will often be seating on the floor, doing nothing. I’m sure that I’m not the only one to feel that the poor deserve much more than what government education has to offer. It would all be deeply depressing if it wasn’t for the fact that the poor, in huge numbers, are already embracing an alternative. Private schools are blossoming in the slums and low-income areas of India. These low-cost private schools are run by entrepreneurs from 16

the communities. Perhaps a woman has started a nursery, then been persuaded to extend it further when parents report that their children are happy with her. Or a young man starts an after-school tuition class, then realizes he can do a better job for his students than their current schools during the day too. Visit these schools, and you’ll find the vast majority of teachers present and teaching, and a vibrant atmosphere of learning taking place. For the last five years or so, I’ve been studying the phenomenon, ever since I first stumbled across my first budget private school in the slums behind the 16th century Charminar in Hyderabad’s Old City. My research teams have combed the slums of East Delhi and of the Old City of Hyderabad, looking for all schools, public and private – not depending on official data, as many of the private schools were unrecognised, off the official radar. The research teams found large numbers of schools in the areas selected – 918 in the slums of Hyderabad, for instance. We tested around 10,000 children in India, taken from a stratified random sample of schools within these poor communities. Children were tested in English, maths

and either Hindi (Delhi) or Urdu (Hyderabad). Questionnaires were given to children and their parents to elicit data to control for a wide range of background variables. What we found was remarkable. In the poor urban areas surveyed, private education made up the majority of provision. In the slums of East Delhi, we found fully 65% of schools were private unaided, and that there were more private unrecognised schools than government schools (28% compared to 27%). In the slums of the Old City of Hyderabad, fully 64% of school children were enrolled in private school, and there were roughly the same percentage of children in private unrecognised schools as there were in government schools (24% compared to 23%). Moreover, the low cost private schools dramatically outperformed the government schools. In Delhi, for mathematics, mean scores of children in government schools were 24.5%, whereas they were 42.17% in private unrecognised schools and 43.9% in private recognised. In English, the performance difference was much greater (children in unrecognised schools enjoyed a 35 percentage point advantage over their public school counterparts, whereas children in recognised schools scored 41 percentage points more). However, these differences might be expected, given that government schools are not in general English medium. However, we didn’t find any government school advantage in Hindi – and most government schools were HindiJanuary 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


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Better, however, but perhaps not good enough. For whatever the advantages of the low cost private schools, clearly their educational quality (as well as their infrastructure) could be improved – and no-one acknowledges this more in my experience than the private school entrepreneurs themselves.

medium. Again, in Hindi, we found that children in private unrecognised schools achieved on average 22% points higher than children in government schools (an 83% advantage). In recognised private schools, children scored on average 24% points more (an 89% advantage). In Hyderabad, similar results were found for mathematics and English. However, in Urdu, the results for government and private schools were roughly similaralthough private unrecognised schools had the highest average score (30.5%), followed by government (29.1%); private recognised had the lowest (25.4%). These raw scores are indicative, but not the end of the story—for it may be that there are simply brighter children from slightly wealthier backgrounds (although all parents were of course quite poor) going to private schools, and hence the private schools have an unfair advantage over government schools. Controlling for the range of background variables, including education and wealth of parents, students’ IQs, and peer-group effects, the differences were usually slightly reduced but generally still large and still favoured both types of private schools in each study. For instance, in Hyderabad, a child attending 18

a private unrecognised school would be predicted to gain 16.1 percentage points more in mathematics than the same child attending a government school. In a private recognised school, the difference in scores would be 17.3 percentage points. In English, the advantages would be even greater—16.9 percentage points more in an unrecognised school and 18.9 percentage points in a recognized school. Interestingly, in Urdu, after controlling for the background variables, there was no statistically significant difference between government and either type of private school. Are these better results because the private schools are better resourced than the government schools? Not a bit of it. Looking at the largest input in schools, teacher salaries, we find that private school teachers are paid considerably lower than government teachers. In Delhi, the average monthly salary for full-time fourth-grade teacher was seven times higher in the government schools than in unrecognised private schools. More market, less government in education – this is how poor parents see the way forward. And they are doing it for a good reason – the low cost private schools are better than the government alternative.

This is where the challenge arises for the digital learning ICT community. Can learning materials be created that can enhance the educational experience of children in these private schools for the poor, at an affordable cost? The technologists who come up with these solutions will be assured of a huge market for their products – I estimate that there are 300,000 low cost private schools across India. And they can be assured that if their offerings work to raise educational standards and enhance children’s enjoyment of learning, they’ll be taken up by entrepreneurs, not ignored or neglected as often happens to innovations in government schools. Why? Because the entrepreneurs are hungry for new ideas. Partly, this is simply because they desire to improve children’s education. But there’s also another powerful incentive: The majority of these private schools are run as businesses, not charities, dependent on fee income and often making a reasonable profit. But the market in which they operate is increasingly competitive. From the roof terrace of one private school in Hyderabad, I can see five or six other schools, all vying for the same customers. Entrepreneurs urgently need to differentiate themselves in this market. They need parents to know that their school is special, to maintain or increase market share. If school improvements seem to have demonstrably better outcomes, they’ll want them for their schools. There’s a huge market awaiting ICT professionals here. I can’t wait to see how those involved in digital learning engage with the low cost private school sector. When they do, we’ll truly see the educational revolution emerging. Which is why, as I say, I’ve moved to India to be a part of it all. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Development Agenda | Commentary Use of ICT in Education

Five Lessons from International Experience Michael Ward Sr. Education Advisor Department For International Development, New Delhi

The mere presence of computers and other new technologies in the classroom is not sufficient; ICT interventions need to be designed and implemented strategically in order to be effective and live up to their full potential

I

nformation and Communication Technologies (ICT) have great potential to develop access, quality and equity in education at all levels – early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary. For example: • radio/audio can be used in place of a teacher to deliver highly structured lessons with pauses for learners to respond, or as a supplement with a teacher present; • television provides visual effects which can illustrate complex or abstract concepts; it can be supplemented by workbooks or other materials; • computers/internet can be used as teaching tools (simulations, online learning communities, professional development of teachers), content delivery tools (online libraries, journals, books), and management tools (assessment, record keeping); can also be used to form community telecentres and virtual schools. • multi-media integrates radio, television and or computers. Already widespread in the schools and colleges of developed countries, ICTs 20

are now being used increasingly in developing countries for “e-learning” applications. At the same time there is some scepticism towards ICTs in education because the impact on student achievement and the cost effectiveness of what are often expensive applications are unclear. What is certain is that the mere presence of computers and other new technologies in the classroom is not sufficient; ICT interventions need to be designed and implemented strategically in order to be effective and live up to their full potential. While the impact of ICT on learning outcomes is still debatable, there seems to be a consensus that ICTs in education can be useful for increasing access to information as well as motivation in the classroom and efficiency throughout the education system. The following are five “lessons” that have been drawn from international experience with ICTs in education over the last decade or so. There are undoubtedly other lessons that can be drawn from the international experience but these five strike me as being the most important for educators in India.

Lesson number one is that those who seek to introduce ICTs into education should be firstly and primarily concerned with the kind of education they are trying to deliver. In particular, they should start by clarifying education goals and curriculum objectives and not begin by asking what (and how much) technology should be introduced to the schooling system. For example, is the educational aim to reach more learners or to help students learn more and better? Is the aim to help teachers to improve their practice or to help make work in the school easier and more productive? Or perhaps the aim is simply to introduce teachers and students to 21st century technology. The second lesson is to know when a technology-based solution to the education problem you have identified is the right solution. This is not always so. To understand what the right solution to their education problem is, education managers need firstly to know their needs and the resources available at present or can mobilise in the future. In thinking these issues through education managers should ask themselves: how and to what extent can technology help me achieve my goals and objectives given my current state? It is important to note that different types of technologies offer different advantages – as well as challenges – depending on how these technologies are deployed. The third lesson is to understand that training of teachers is the means, not the end. The experience is that training teachers does not always January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


3rd anniversary special issue make a difference in terms of changed practice in the classrooms. Teachers need time and an enabling environment to develop technological pedagogical content knowledge. By this I mean the teacher’s knowledge of how to represent concepts using technologies; strategies to teach content using technologies in a constructive way; knowing how to use technologies to address learning difficulties; how technologies can be used to build on existing knowledge; and how to use technologies to develop new ways of knowing and learning or to strengthen existing ones. Managers of education systems should ask themselves whether they provide teachers with the necessary support – institutional, administrative, technical and financial – after a training event to ensure effective change in teaching practice. How well are teachers’ performances and progress with new techniques, methodologies and approaches monitored by the education systems? How does an education manager know when an innovation is working? To what extent are new ways of teaching being assessed in terms of the impact they have on student learning? The fourth lesson is that the sustainability of innovations in respect of ICT and education, and, of course, other educational innovations, depends on establishing a critical mass of innovators that reinforce and enrich each others’ changed practice within schools and across schools. The keys to success are for the managers of education systems to firstly know where the pockets of experimentation, innovation and creativity are in their education community, secondly, to know

Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

how to build on the existing strengths of teachers and, thirdly, to know how to use technology to create, animate and sustain an education community. In addition, sustainability of any innovation regarding ICT and education will only succeed if there is sufficient financial resource to meet the total cost of the technology introduced, particularly the maintenance of machinery, replacement parts, availability of technical support and the updating of software. There are also issues regarding the extent to which the community is involved and the acceptance of ICT by the end users, namely the teachers and learners. Experience shows us that political and technical leadership is also important for the necessary policy support and the effectiveness of change management. The fifth and perhaps most important lesson of all is that planning for ICT should be part of and not separate from general education and school planning. The biggest mistake is to think of ICT and its use as an ‘add on’, an extra aspect of the curriculum. The people involved in planning for ICT must be fully integrated into broader education and school reform efforts. Ultimately, the managers of education systems and

schools must ask themselves how ICTs support and enable school activities, particularly the teaching and learning process. All of these lessons have been learned by developed and developing countries over the last twenty years or so, often at great cost, and it is clear that some countries have been better able to apply ICT in education than others. In the developing world, for example, the Philippines appears to have done well in terms of technology planning for schools and Laos has demonstrated some good practice of developing an approach to ICT in education in a rural context. In all cases it has been found that the transformative power of ICT in education is more likely to be realised when technology is introduced within the context of radical institutionwide reform. <<

21


Higher Education | Perspective

Ensuring Quality in Higher Education

Prof. Dayanand Dongaonkar Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities

With the new economic order, the disparity between rich and poor will widen, particularly in the area of higher education. The quality of education in the rural areas is far below than that being offered in urban India

22

What are the guiding objectives behind setting up of Association of Indian Universities. Please elaborate on AIUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role in the current education scenario? The core objective or function of the Association is to serve as an interuniversity organisation. To play this role, we have to engage in a wide range of activities. For instance, we act as a bureau of information and to facilitate communication. It coordinates mutual consultation amongst universities and liaisons between them and government on matters of common interest. It also acts as a representative of Indian universities in international forums. Please share with our readers AIUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organisational history? The idea of bringing together all the universities on a common platform emerged from the deliberations of a Conference of the Vice Chancellors of Universities convened by Lord Reading, the then Viceroy of India at Shimla in 1924. The Inter-University Board (IUB) of India was subsequently formed on March 23, 1925, with the view of promoting university activities, especially by way of sharing information and co-operation in the field of education, culture, sports and allied areas. The Inter-University Board acquired a legal status with its registration in 1967 as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. In 1973, it assumed its present name - Association of Indian Universities (AIU). The membership includes traditional universities, open universities, professional universities, institutes of national importance and deemed-tobe universities. In addition, there is

a provision of granting of Associate Membership to universities of neighbouring countries. How does AIU plays a role in ensuring quality in higher education? We offer regular membership of this Association only after a stringent inspection of the university, that has sought membership, in areas of infrastructure, manpower, academic programmes, etc. Such an inspection in turn helps ensure quality in these institutions. Besides this, we train both the administrative and teaching through research methodology workshops, administrative management workshops and examination reforms seminars etc. This helps build capacity of the academic and non-academic human resource in university system which ultimately helps in improving the quality of education. How do you reach out to the students engage in higher education, by the way of providing information? Students Information Services Division of the Association of Indian Universities serves the students, academics, parents, other stakeholders and visitors to AIU House by providing them information on the status of Indian Institutions of higher education, professional bodies etc. and on the courses offered by Indian universities and other institutions recognized by statutory bodies like AICTE, NCTE and MCI. It provides extensive information through Universities Handbook regarding accredited courses conducted by Central and State Agencies, teaching staff of university department, constituent/ affiliated colleges, etc. It also brings out other professional handbooks like Handbook on Engineering Education, January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


AIU has initiated a very ambitious programme, the Students Research conventions – Anveshan. The purpose of this is to identify the best talent in research at all levels of the students – undergraduate, postgraduate, researchers – then promote them as researchers Management Education, Medical Education, Computer Education and Distance Education. What role do you play in evaluating degrees from across the spectrum of educational institutions? The Evaluation Division deals with the work of evaluation and equivalence of degrees and diplomas awarded by the accredited universities in India and abroad for admission to higher courses at Indian Universities. The Division provides expert assistance on the status of foreign qualifications to the students, universities, central and state agencies including ministries of the Government of India. The Division also provides assistance to evaluation agencies of the foreign countries. The Division examines the proposals received from the Institutions outside the purview of the Indian universities, for granting academic equivalence to Postgraduate Diploma courses in the area of Management. Does AIU also has any foreign institutions as members. What criteria does AIU follow while evaluating degrees given by foreign institutions? We have three Associate Members – Kathmandu University, Kathmandu, Nepal; University of Mauritius, Mauritius; Royal University of Bhutan, Thimpu, Bhutan. Evaluation mechanism takes into consideration the following points: Educational framework of the country; eligibility criteria for admission for a particular degree course; course content; duration of the course; evaluation modalities and accreditation in the home country. In the era of globalisation of education,India is yet to evolve as favourite destination of foreign 24

students. What according to you are the reasons for this? India has expanded its higher education system from 18 universities to 440 universities, over the last 60 years; the student strength has also risen from 2.8 million to 13 million. We are the third largest higher education system in the world. In India, 80% higher education institutions are managed by the public funds and the most reputed institutions are still in the public domain, where the entry for foreign students is limited. We attract around 18,000 to 20,000 students per year towards higher education. These are mainly from the Asian and African countries. Government has got over 1800 scholarships for students from the developing countries. The demand today is largely for the professional courses and that too in government institutions, as there are very limited opening for overseas students for professional admissions. These are mostly taken care by the private institutions where the fee is higher and restricted to 15% of the total seats. Probably these restrictive policies do not attract more foreign students. By installation of some scholarships, we will be able to attract international talent in professional courses. Please comment on the education scenario in the new economic order, particularly higher education. How successful has it been in giving a thrust to socio-economic development in the country With the new economic order, the disparity between rich and poor will widen, particularly in the area of higher education. The quality of education in the rural areas is far below than that being offered in urban India. Government of India is taking efforts but still the school education in rural set up

is a problem both in terms of quality and drop out rates. A study in Punjab indicates that against 67% of the rural population only 4% of the rural school students are represented in higher education system that too in non-competitive degree courses. The pilot study done by our own Association, local professional university in the management course, there is not a single student who is the first generation learner or below poverty line. These are our indicators that we need to upgrade the quality of education both in schools and colleges in rural set up and urban poor. What is the role of ICT, vis-a-vis higher education? How has ICT enhanced the teaching-learning experience? ICT definitely has a role to play in higher education but it is not substitute for good quality teachers. ICT can give maximum information but does not cultivate the mind of the students and to use ICT you need good quality infrastructure, constant upgradation and available teachers who can utilize these modes for teaching purpose. ICT as a independent mode of learning has definite limitations. Tell us about AIU initiative for aspiring researchers – Anveshan. Any other initiatives in the offing? AIU has initiated a very ambitious programme, the Students Research conventions – Anveshan. By this we have created a platform for the young researchers. The purpose of this is to identify the best talent in research at all levels of the students – undergraduate, postgraduate, researchers – then promote them as researchers. In the first phase, we recognize their merit by awarding certificates and cash prize. Then we are exploring the possibility of giving them exposure in the best research centres in the country and around world. We are in process of negotiating with national and international agencies. We are quite confident, we will make breakthrough for this requirement. There is overwhelming response by different international agencies, but it will take sometime to settle the mechanism of absorbing these students for research careers. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Higher education | Perspective

3rd anniversary special issue

PPP Essential For Quality Higher Education various novel innovative programmes; developing a meaningful and purposeful inter-face between the universities, National Research Laboratories, industries, government and society, etc. ICT in higher education policy may not be able to completely overcome all these challenges though it may play a role in information and resource sharing.

Dr Rajendra Prasad Rector & Professor, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University

PPP is most essential to bring in quality in the higher education system. Governments can ensure PPP through an appropriate policy. However, PPP should not impose academic restrictions What are the challenges confronting India’s higher education system today? Some of the leading challenges before the higher education system are continuous upgradation of curriculum to keep in pace with rapid growth of science and technology; globalisation and the resultant challenges from the international universities; grooming of many private institutions without any method of ensuring maintenance of quality and standard; need for adequate funding to meet the demands of Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

What initiatives have been taken by your university for integrating ICT in its framework? Jawaharlal Nehru University set up a Communication and Information Services (CIS) in the year 1997 to facilitate communications-wide networking. As of now, there are 20 academic buildings integrated through Fiber Optic Cable back bone of 1 Gbps bandwidth. In addition, four buildings are integrated through wireless connectivity and there are more than 2000 network connections. The network is being used for different academic purposes such as web access of other academic institutions, e-mail, on-line journals, and video conferencing and also for e-governance. Do you think Public- Private Partnership model will help in effective integration of technology in higher education? PPP is most essential to bring in quality in the higher education system. Governments can ensure PPP through an appropriate policy. However, PPP should not impose academic restrictions. University Grants Commission and Ministry of HRD should play a major role in developing a purposeful interface between the Universities, Industries and National Research Laboratories (NRLs) as a step towards PPP. Funding to NRLs by the government should ensure the involvement of institutions of higher

education engaged in research activities to facilitate availability of latest sophisticated equipment. Please tell us about the JNU’s recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Agreement of Cooperation (AoC) with two universities from Germany and United Kingdom. JNU has entered into an AoC with the University of Cologne in Germany. Initially, the cooperation is going to be in the areas of Tamil Studies and German Studies with possibility of expanding to other areas. JNU has also entered into an MoU with Queen’s University, Belfast, UK with cooperation focusing on social sciences, especially in GAS and Geography and also Biotechnology. Under these collaboration, research students of JNU, depending upon the research topic, will be in a position to spend some period in these respective institutions to facilitate their Ph.D work. Students go abroad after completing Ph.D. for post-doctoral studies. The retention capacity is low in India and this has to be enhanced. What is your observation on this? The international recognition of any institution is achieved due to high quality of teaching and research. In India, there are not many opportunities for post-doctoral research work in the university system. UGC and MHRD should be providing specific funding for the creation of large number of post-doctoral research fellowship so that best students can look for these institutions for advance research. Some of the other requirements for retaining talent in India are quality infrastructure and facilities, well equipped laboratories with sustained financial support for consumables and also periodic upgradation of equipment. << 25


Higher Education | Perspective

Anna University On The ICT Pathway What are the new ways in which Anna University is using ICT to address similar challenges? When a new engineering college comes up, one the first challenges one faces is the shortage of faculty. Considering this, we have introduced measures like connecting the colleges, using Internet, intranet, digital access to all and so on.

Dr R Radhakrishnan Vice Chancellor, Anna University Coimbatore

We are introducing various new measures to increase enrollment ratio. We are first ones to introduce a three year B.Tech programme with direct entry. We also want to support vocational students, many of whom are poor and cannot afford education What are the main challenges that confront Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s higher education today? Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s higher education sector faces many challenges. These include low enrollment, memory-based teaching as opposed to a more engaging and creative learning process, excessive focus on degrees and lack of exposure to the emerging and latest trends in the field of education. These are the reason behind a high rejection rate of candidates by the industry, which is as high as 80% of the students, with only 20% finally getting jobs. 26

We have provided our students with an online question bank, interactive classrooms and quality education for which Anna University Coimbatore is now setting up a Technical Academic Staff College (TASC). We plan to invite eminent experts and academicians for faculty development programmes at TASC. What do you think about the entry of private players in the higher education segment? Is there a need for stringent monitoring to enforce quality? There should be a monitoring mechanism to keep a control over the private players. AICTE is the only statutary body which is responsible for keeping a quality at an all India level. Such bodies are required at the state level too. Universities should be given a free hand and state government should also be involved in the monitoring mechanism. Just giving approval and maintaining standards is not sufficient. There are local issues which need to be addressed. The private players will have to meet the norms of the state government as well as the university. What measures are underway and in pipeline to increase the enrollment ratio at the Anna University? We are introducing various new measures to increase enrollment ratio. We are first ones to introduce a three year B.Tech programme with

direct entry. We also want to support vocational students, many of whom are poor and cannot afford education. We plan to introduce a separate curriculum for the vocational students and are also introducing engineering in English and Tamil medium from this academic year. How do you plan to increase enrollment from marginalised and rural areas? Anna University has come up with the idea of starting engineering colleges with Public Private Partnership (PPP) under which a private player will be aiding the University by providing infrastructure to run the programme. Our University will look after curriculum and maintenance of the colleges. The recurring expenditures will be met through fees collected from the students by the University. The private player will be given 20% donor seats and 80% of the seats will be kept for recurring expenditure. And 10% of the total seats will be free. How do you plan to increase employability of those who graduate from the Anna University? We are tying up with Sun Microsystems, CISCO and other leading key IT players to provide latest training in the curriculum itself. Therefore, the student gets trained in exactly what the industry needs, including foreign language training and soft skills. Anna University is also the first to tie up with the University of Cambridge, and the Indian partner for the same is E-BEC (Business English Certificates). The way we outsource exams, we also outsource English language training. So Cambridge syllabus is being taught through E-BEC in many of our colleges. The examination is conducted by the University of Cambridge, which also gives an international certification. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Higher Education | Perspective

Mumbai University on Expansion Drive With ICT Unfortunately, currently we cannot fulfill the infrastructural needs and provide quality education in true sense. Leave aside instruments and high profile laboratories, even a good reference book is not affordable for small colleges

universities and some thousand colleges. Unfortunately, we cannot fulfill the current infrastructural needs and provide quality education in true sense. Leave aside instruments and high profile laboratories, even a good reference book is not affordable for small colleges. The cost of education also needs to be revised as it is a major hurdle in the establishment of good infrastructure and delivery of quality education. Physical structure, along with internal infrastructure, is further challenged by lack of funds. It is difficult to pay attractive salaries to teachers particularly in non-professional colleges where the fees is not based on the cost of education. Access to education is another major issue, as it is not keeping pace with the increasing population.

Dr. Arun D Sawant Pro-Vice Chancellor, Mumbai University What are the key challenges that are in face of delivering quality higher education in India? We have moved into the 11th Five Year Plan and the focus now is on the need to increase the access of higher education. But this is a formidable challenge. Our current national target objective is to raise it from 9% to 15%. This will require a herculean effort and a massive infrastructure like hundred 28

What initiatives have been taken by MU as far as ICT is concerned? We have been on an expansion drive and have started many distance education programmes based on IT. e-Governance has been set up with SAP programme for speedy disposal of administrative issue. We have a scheme for laptops to every faculty and have WiFi connectivity. We use the website for all practical purposes including programme schedule, syllabi and examination schedules and now online admissions in distance education. Enrollment of students to colleges using IT application has started. We have a centralised computer unit for examination processes and a Computer Centre for maintaining our website. Our young staff is technology savvy and has easily taken onboard new

initiatives. As the older staff are not very computer savvy, we regularly organise training and orientation programmes to facilitate the process. All our colleges are connected through the Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limitedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s IT programme; the state government has asked the University to be stakeholders in the company and we have taken up the programme for connectivity between students, college, university and interuniversities. What are current focus areas in the field of vocational courses and what new initiatives are on the anvil? We have the Garware Institute, which offers over 45 vocational courses, and we are also coming up with a new Centre of JJ Applied Arts. We have 300plus certificate and diploma courses. We are planning new courses for the Service industry. Many industries now have research and development centres affiliated with the MU. We have industry representation even in the board of management in the university. So itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a symbiotic relationship. We have an MDP programme, where we train their executives in management courses. We also have a collaboration with NASSCOM. We are also in touch with international universities for student exchange and short term programmes for exposure and interaction between students from various cultures. Do you think we need IT benchmarks in Higher Education? IT benchmarks is definitely required. We need an IT rating agency right from the students, teachers and curriculum, to assess and rank each college. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very important. There are enough funds for education; we need to use it for improving the quality of delivery. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Higher Education | Perspective

3rd anniversary special issue

ODL For Uniformity And Quality of Delivery

Savita Datta, Principal Maitreyi College & Director, Campus of Open Learning, Delhi University

Open and Distance Learning is a scalable model, the only model which ensures uniformity and quality of delivery. Moreover, technology ensures that the lessons delivered reach far and wide What are the challenges confronting India’s higher education system today? How do you see your institution deploying new technologies for ensuring quality distance education? Two major challenges confronting India’s higher education system are the lack of good faculty and insufficient places for students in the existing higher educational institutions. The University of Delhi has always believed in expansion and in 1962, on the recommendations of Kothari Commission, the School of Distance and Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

Continuing Education was established. Another measure taken earlier by DU was establishing the Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board, way back in 1948 whereby women candidates living in Delhi were allowed to attend classes on Sundays and holidays and were examined and awarded degrees by DU. From our experience in all these initiatives, we know that some face to face contact and physical examination and evaluation of scripts is a must and is not humanly possible without having sufficient faculty in place. Therefore, introduction of new technology is a must. There is a need not only to deliver lessons online but also have examinations online to overcome these challenges. What role does Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions play in dissemination of information to socially disadvantaged groups or people in inaccessible areas? Open and Distance Learning is a scalable model, the only model which ensures uniformity and quality of delivery. ODL institutions are invariably using technology and the expenditure on students, infrastructure and faculty is relatively less as compared to a regular institution. The socially disadvantaged groups have limited places in regular institutions. The percentage of seats assigned to them is fixed whereas ODL institutions ensure no ceiling on the number or any other condition for entry into the institutions. Moreover, technology ensures that the lessons delivered reach far and wide even to the remotest areas with the help of computers, DVD Players and televisions. What initiatives have been taken by your university for integrating ICT in its framework? We established an Institute of Life

Long Learning where teachers are creating content and online assignments. Blended Learning will have significant role to play in classrooms and science laboratories when the number of seats increase by 54% in the coming years. It will not be possible to appoint suitable faculty or raise infrastructures overnight. As a pilot project with the Open University, UK, DU has created video CD’s and e-instructions for the labs, which are really being appreciated by the students. The students can see the videos and read instructions before coming to the lab. They are better aware of the experiment because of the visual effects and one teacher instead of handling a class of 20 can handle many more students at the same time. This also gives some spare time to the faculty to update themselves and also to create more content for other classes. Do you think a Public Private Partnership model will help in effective integration of technology in higher education? The university teachers invariably are experienced in their own fields and teaching methodologies but there is a lot of variation as there are 7,000 teachers across over 68 colleges of DU. Use of technology will ensure uniformity and quality in delivery of content, but most of the teachers are not technology savvy. Moreover, this may shift the focus of the teachers from the actual content of their discipline to the formatting and designing of the web, which is not desired. On the other hand, if we hire services of private vendors who are experts in technology and allow them to convert the knowledge of the teachers to e-platforms, the integration of technology will speed up which is the need of the hour. Necessary funding should be provided by the funding agencies for this. << 29


Higher Education | Perspective

Leading The Way in IT and Management Education through quality instruction or resource material. Delivering it through web and thereby enhancing the reach and making the content interesting and motivating for learners.

Dr S G Deshmukh Director, ABV-Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Gwalior

The current employment quotient among graduates is very low! This can be enhanced through strengthening the existing curriculum What are the challenges confronting India’s higher education system today? The challenges confronting India’s higher education system are on account of both quantity and quality. That is, increased intake (look at the number of IITs, IIMs, IISERs and IIITs that have been added in last few years) coupled with increase in private engineering/ management colleges. The challenge is to manage these numbers without compromising quality. There is also an acute shortage of quality faculty members who can deliver. ICT can help overcome these challenges 30

What initiatives have been taken by your institute for integrating ICT in its framework? ABV-IIITM Gwalior is the foremost institution providing technical and managerial education in the areas of Information Technology and Management in India. Our class rooms are net enabled. We make extensive use of LCD projectors in the class rooms. We have Digital Library through which students can access journals/books. We are planning to set up a studio through which satellite link can be established.The institute has more than 11 laboratories. All the labs are connected to the campus wide networking backbone for 24 hours Internet connection. We also have the facility to share faculty resources of other institutes such as IIT Delhi and Mumbai through Skypak and web casting. Do you think a Public Private Partnership model will help in effective integration of technology in higher education? Yes, public and private partnership can definitely be a mode of interaction. Through this, one can think of: (a) large investment, and (b) quality service which will enable customer satisfaction. What do you think of the current employability quotient among graduates? In what ways can it be enhanced? The current employment quotient among graduates is very low! This can be enhanced through strengthening the

existing curriculum by giving more hands-on experiments and enhancing laboratory skills, incorporating soft skills in curriculum, making industry projects (at final year) mandatory, inviting speakers/guest faculty from industry in various courses and encouraging alumni to interact with students, etc. In your opinion, what measures are required to increase the higher education enrollment ratio to meet the 11th Plan target? The higher education enrollment ratio can be increased through measures like making higher education attractive by offering incentives in terms of assistantships, loans and incentives to faculty, facilitating industry-institute partnerships, encouraging industry sponsored R & D, facilitating networking of institutes and enter into MoU with various institutes from abroad and make use of technology for enhancing quality of education Do you think India’s higher education system can be compared to the best in the world, especially the UK and US? At present, IITs, IISc and IIMs can be compared to the best in the world. However, the same thing cannot be said about other institutes/universities. This could be due to mistaken emphasis on regulatory bodies, absence of selfregulatory mechanism, lack of respect for higher education in society, lack of confidence in industry circles about our Science and Technology, and inadequate support mechanisms. If we remove these barriers, we can see a bright future as we are endowed with good basic education and our students are strong in quantitative skills. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Higher Education | Perspective

Institutional Steering For Sustenance of DLE Dr Seema M Parihar smparihar@gmail.com

What strikes to be the best approach in vast institutes of higher learning is the top down approach with continuous institutional steering - well blended with the existing -traditional teaching set-up

A

ll this while being a student and a teacher of Natural Resource Management what appeared an apt management strategy for an optimal resource use, development and sustenance was the grass-root approach or a micro level approach. But in the Digital learning environment (DLE) somewhere it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t appear to work more than a pilot. What strikes to be the best approach in vast institutes of higher learning is the top down approach with continuous institutional steering - well blended with the existing -traditional teaching set-up. This paper traverses through the necessary challenges that any traditional institute of wellestablished repute still faces, if use of ICT in Higher Education is its genuine agenda. Maintaining academics, the pedagogy per se and the transformation of the correct knowledge whereby shifting emphasis, sharing successful practices along with student, teacher and the institutional interactions are discussed.

Global Experience In recent years, the use of ICT in higher education has increased enormously but with varied levels of scaling from the state of art wireless to the limited use of ICT tools only in creating or developing study without being holistically embedded in the system. What struck is the anomaly even in otherwise state of the art universities, with modern vision albeit maintaining traditional wisdom 32

and also vast sphere of influence. Though, the maximum success stories have been guided by the institutional support including infrastructure and support mechanisms (CRE report 2000, Liber 1998). However, there have been pitfalls too in last few years and many reports and articles have highlighted this while embedding learning technologies across an institution.

Background The article is based on the experience of the author with digital learning tools in the portals of higher education since 2002, with a first exposure towards it at department of Geo â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Information Processing, ITC, The Netherlands as a Post-Doc Fellow. With a background of a traditional teacher since 1987 in Higher Education , establishing digital learning environment in the portals of Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi along with a portal team came naturally. Five enthusiastic team members - Dr O P Gupta (Physics), Dr J L Sharma (Chemistry), Dr M C Nahar (Commerce), Dr Ranjana Gupta (Mathematics) and Dr Seema M Parihar (Geography) - coordinated the experimentation from the Netherlands successfully. The team moved ahead by designing and developing teachinglearning infrastructure almost at par with the Black Board Environment with the support of a private service provider led by Ajay and Sandeep. But they just simply could not sustain

in the traditional learning space of higher education existing by then for around 50 years. This happened for innumerable reasons albeit effectively experimenting with it academically for four years as pilot. Now with the University of Delhi introducing ICT through Institute of Life Long Learning (ILLL) at the Centralised Level along with the existing conviction has ignited the hope of furthering the use of digital learning environment in a big way. At present ILLL has a major responsibility in teacher training, developing e-Learning materials and delivery system, developing courses, curricula and content. Presently ILLL is developing courseware and building a question bank for varied courses. All along what is important is to remember is that the University of Delhi is the largest and one of the best central universities in India with more than 3, 00,000 students and around 8,000 faculty members with more than 60 colleges and some colleges established even before 1922.

Sustainability demands Shift in Emphasis The KMC model had technological prerequisites in place but what appeared missing was the top-down shift in emphasis, community acceptance and certain additional form of credits. What becomes imminent is the reallocations required in traditional classroom January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


3rd anniversary special issue teaching methods all in terms of will, resources and interactions in order to secure the sustainability of innovations. The experience guided that any ICT driven course necessarily needs to shift the emphasis : • From idiosyncratic approaches and solutions to institutional as well as inter-institutional technological standards, norms and forms of cooperation. • Uniform standardisation of platforms, software and tools • Linking technological innovations to overall institutional strategy • Collectively overcoming the ICT related issues and problems • From a bottom up orientation of course designing and development, driven by individual research interest to a process of organisational reform and institutional planning initiated and supported top-down. • From project based research oriented forms of “establishing new courseware” to find ways of evolving course ware of existing well established courseware with support from faculty and staff in a broader infrastructural and institutional context • From technology-driven initiatives to the use of technology based on comprehensive pedagogical concepts • Introduction of certain incentives or credits for the anchors – faculty, student and administration

Institutional Approach - A driving mechanism Institutional approaches are needed with a clear focus on the strategic issues involved following three phase technology –adoption model : • Hardware and system support including common driven digital learning platform • Motivating the culture of elearning through staff development workshops, seminars and documentation and enhancing the capacity of faculty coupled with incentives • Production support and assistance with a well defined policy all Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

encompassing templates with simplified guidelines and directions on funding, rewards and leadership

Access Auditing Hence before the implementation of any ICT driven teaching –learning technology in any college or the department, what is primarily required is just on the pattern of the access reports for enhancing the infrastructure for the Physically challenged students is prepared by the University of Delhi an ICT access auditing be undertaken for different colleges and departments. With faculty, students and administration being differently abled in different

colleges and departments, the access reports would direct on the capacity requirements in each college or the department.

Top-down Accepted Policy directions Certainly, ready availability of technology in institute of higher education may not necessarily propel ICT integration in traditional academic set-up. KMC model substantiates this. Despite ready availability of fitness for purpose technological availability, the real success could not be achieved if it does not provide any clear direction for using ICT. The policy after ready availability of hardware and networking with good bandwidth

in every attached college and department should subsequently aim towards creating blended learning environment: • enhancing student- centred learning; • making faculty more accessible to students • increasing the potential for innovative forms and apt visualization • providing flexibility of study mode • providing thematic question banks. • remaining competitive • providing timely credits • Sustaining cost effectiveness at all levels.

Convincing Faculty While evolving on-line learning mechanisms teachers role have to be well understood.Certain bottlenecks have to be overcome even after the availability of the required technology and in traditional academic set-up like the University of Delhi they include (Parihar,2004): • teachers have to make a move to new education, but they lack time; • teachers fear that ICT will dislocate them; • teachers are unsure of the security provisions for their study material • perceived unreliability of networked services and local computing services. 33


This is despite the fact that in most cases the faculty in higher education are hardworking people with consistent good academic records and are the ones who enjoy reading and studying. The learning strategies need to include `just in time supportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, flexible learning modules, some shared material and links,certain incentives and flexible support (Parihar 2004)

Sharing and dissemination of good Practice Sharing and dissemination of good Practice is a very popular term with the staff developers. But what is important is to remember that what a good practice in one situation is not necessarily true for another. As for instance there are more than 60 colleges and more than 100 post graduate departments in the University of Delhi and with many streams in offing ranging from literature, social sciences, mathematical sciences, commerce and economics to subjects with physical and life sciences , comprehending the contextual understanding and variations is actually mandatory. Moreover, exclusive computer science is too a subject along with applied science courses. So generalisation has to steer away from pedagogic principles in real time operational on-line tasks. As a consequence it can be hypothesised that in staff training courses the emphasis should be on the technology and not on pedagogy.

Motivating Students towards Online Learning Institutional strategies have to aptly find ways and means of integrating students. However, there is a very little evidence that institutions at present are giving enough consideration to the student perspective. In the University of Delhi with around 3 lac students, this dimension too needs apt attention. Crucial is to overcome the hyped assumption that present generation is digital savvy and will automatically be motivated or alternatively the coercion would be enough in structured portals of higher learning. Observing and talking to students, adhering to their differently abled nature , evolving new theoretical and practical tools 34

almost becomes as essential as creating digital courseware. Mapping the students with high learning goals and high self worth along with the needs of the students who are simply guided by structured performance driven expectations and even at times low self worth becomes essential in the context. Assessing students in terms of their nature while participating in an online learning experience exploratory or controlling; collaborative or competitive; motivated either by curiosity or anxiety; creative or mechanical or may be able to embrace failure or defends against failure too becomes critical (Parihar,2002). Till now two ways- interaction with the students in the virtual space is almost non-existent in the University of Delhi , though lot of useful information (admission lists, results, syllabus, facilities, etc) other than content learning is placed at www.du.ac.in. Even during admission process when this site gets maximum hits should facilitate online admissions. In 2008-2009 for Under Graduation alone 93,300 X 642 X 63 choices were opted by 93,300 students for 642 courses in 63 colleges . Scope for expanding the use of digital/ audio medium for Visually Challenge students too is immense. Another way could be by making newly constituted Centralised Placement Cell (CPC) of the University of Delhi with both its offshoots: the Core Competency Unit (CCU) and the Corporate Interaction Unit (CIU) web-enabled in a blended way. At present there are around 4000 students registered with it from 50 colleges. DU- CPC Information System may be developed and maintained making students dynamically active and getting all placement related information through it. Further, the soft skill courses too can be posted there and students can get flavour of it in their required format in a flexible way. All these may be directly posted at http://placement. du.ac.in. The two way interaction with the students has already started (plate 1) and is showing positive results.

Security Concerns Colleges and Universities cannot afford today not to be concerned about security

issues. Security solutions definitely need to protect students, faculty and administration from viruses, guard information assets and strengthen data security to meet compliance requirements of university systems and retain and secure the appropriate data while submitting any reports.

Tension Between Local and Central Initiatives and Support In a vast set- up like the University of Delhi an academic discourse on the relevance of centralized or the decentralised model of operation definitely is required if sustenance is the aim. Saunders (2002) finds in a decentralize model of operation -a major potential disadvantage being that local disparate local groups will separate develop systems and tools that will overlap and lead to a cost-time misuse. In a model like DU where the course curriculum is centrally driven with centrally held examination system and the degree allotment schema, the Centralized system promises more acceptance and uniformity. Even KMC experience suggests this. Sharing of the Black board Environment through a centralized system too has shown positive driven results in few European experiences. Even online supporting system becomes easier. Above all the credits given to the students and teachers will have more value and acceptance.

Conclusion Digital Learning environments even in traditional educational set-up of higher education are here to stay. But implementations of DLE depends entirely on your execution strategy. Top-down directions in initial years in traditional set-up will automatically pave way in grassroots performance with long-term sustenance. Blended teaching-learning environment have to be embedded in the traditional system along with academic independence. A large institute of Higher Education of repute like the University of Delhi would certainly have to find ways of overcoming this challenge.For dynamic steering -teachers will always be needed and the centralized driven institutional system will hold the key towards success. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Higher education | Case study

3rd anniversary special issue

Developing Leaders

Driving the future of business Three main programmes comprise the Darden School of Business – Executive Education which offers openenrollment and custom programmes; the MBA program is built around the Case Method of instruction and involves discussion-based learning; the MBA for Executives programme combines offers a schedule suited for working executives to fast-track an MBA degree. The Darden School of Business was an early adopter of Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional technology in enterprise education and relies on the same to deliver educational content, increase business-process efficiencies, and enhance communication via web conferencing and collaboration. ‘We were immediately attracted to the ease of Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional and its manageability. Both faculty and students became comfortable with the solution very quickly,’ says Christan Lehmbeck, Director, Darden Media. Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

Integrating expertise into the classroom In Darden’s Executive Education Programme, the faculty rely on Adobe tools in their work with corporate clients. In addition to this, Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional is used for faculty office hour sessions. Early on in the implementation, the ability to record sessions within Acrobat Connect Professional became a critical component for students unable to attend office hours. It was utilised in the MBA management communications class to help critique student presentations. As the course focuses on communication skills, participants’ presentations are often videotaped for peer-review. High-quality, collaborative programmes Darden recognised that to be successful, the school needed a strong distance and collaborative learning tool in its MBA for Executives programme. In addition to presentations, the synchronised audio narration feature of Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional is widely used in tutorials. The Darden enterprise

also uses Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional for a variety of marketing and administrative projects. Darden offers targeted recruiting and marketing presentations so that potential students can learn more about its programmes. Since candidates are often working full-time, last year the Darden School offered live in-person sessions in various cities, as well as virtual sessions. Quick response time increases brand awareness The school’s admissions office utilises Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional for last-minute sessions with potential students who might have questions about Darden and its programmes. Everyone from the admissions director to the financial director can address questions posed by interested students before they decide to enroll. Lehmbeck also reports using Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional to conduct interviews with those who aren’t able to visit the university. ‘Using Adobe tools during the hiring process, for example, we can complete 35


We were immediately attracted to the ease of use of Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional and its manageability. Both faculty and students became comfortable with the solution very quickly Christian Lehmbeck, Director, Darden Media, University of Virginia Darden School of Business

the first round of interviews, get a feel for the personalities involved, and even see examples of a recruit’s work,’ says Lehmbeck. Expanding the educational horizon Darden uses a variety of Adobe products to improve student achievement and streamline the school’s business processes. For example, finance faculty members use Adobe Captivate software to demonstrate how to review an Excel spreadsheet. ‘The functionality of Adobe tools is remarkable,’ says Lehmbeck. ‘Adobe Captivate is also used for tutorials on how to use online resources in the university library, and for screen captures.’ Lehmbeck reports that Darden launched a series of career services tutorials created using Acrobat Connect Professional software. The tutorials focus on a variety of professional topics, including how to create a great resume and ways to network effectively. New modules will focus on salary negotiation and alumni online resources. 36

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium is also a mainstay at Darden. Adobe Photoshop CS3 is used to help create interfaces and perfect photos for use in the classroom, in publications, for instructional development, and on the web. The Darden development team uses Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 as their web-authoring tool and Adobe Flash CS3 Professional for interactive design on interfaces for educational simulations, as well as for interactive timelines. ‘The total integration among Adobe tools makes communicating and collaborating at Darden that much more seamless,’ Lehmbeck adds. ‘We look forward to growing our on- and off-campus programmes using Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional technology to further our educational goals.’ << For more information on Adobe Education Solutions visit www.adobe.com/education or contact Ms. Nidhi at +91 22 28367005 Or send an email to adobe-hed@erfolgcs.com

Organization University of Virginia Darden School of Business Charlottesville, VA www.darden.edu/html/default.aspx Challenge • Facilitate communication between students, faculty, staff, and corporate clients • Maximize the effectiveness of classroom learning Deliver educational content anywhere, anytime • • Conduct initial interviews more efficiently and cost effectively • Minimise time spent on technical support Solution Use Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional to create and deliver dynamic meeting and course content, reach long-distance job and school applicants, review vendor presentations, and facilitate technical support Benefits Engaged students in intuitive, collaborative • learning solutions Archived key sessions for immediate retrieval • • Provided student prospects with prompt communications from faculty and staff Enabled real-time interactive experiences, • fostering a collaborative environment for students and faculty to more easily critique presentations, homework, and other projects Minimised technical support with interactive Help • system Toolkit Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional • Adobe Captivate • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium. • Components used include: • Adobe Photoshop CS3 • Adobe Flash CS3 Professional • Adobe Fireworks® CS3 • Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 • Platform: Dell and IBM PCs with Microsoft Office 2007 January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Higher Education | Perspective

Building Knowledge Repositories Through R&D IITs build the knowledge skills of students and we hope to empower a larger pool of people with these skills to take on new challenges of technology Prof Krithi Ramamritham Dean R&D, Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre (IRCC), IIT Mumbai What role has ICT been playing at IIT Mumbai? At our institution, ICT is used in two application areas of administrative functioning and as a research tool in R&D activities. Infact, majority of our administrative work has become paperless, which ensures its smooth functioning. We use IT in our internal management of research, finances, academics, management of grades, students registration, etc. The applications used are home-grown, comprising off-the-shelf open software, and we add some local customisation to it. Please elaborate on the various research projects currently on in the field of ICT at IIT Mumbai. When you look at emerging nations like India, you see a research gap between needs and the available technology. We have tried to bridge this gap in collaboration with the industry and academia. IIT Mumbai was one of the first labs of Media Lab Asia. We started functioning as part of Media Lab Asia five years ago and continue to develop ICT based solutions for developing 38

countries. We have had several success stories and the most exciting of them is AQUA (Almost All Questions Answered), which has been active for the past 3-4 years with the support of World Bank. Through AQUA, we answer queries of farmers in rural areas on crops, weather pattern, etc. For those areas in India which do not have Internet connectivity, we have mobile-enabled and voicemail services on forecasts that gives real-time forecasts, including crop specific disease alerts. We have also done extensive work in the area of ICT for education, such as teaching the children of nomadic tribes through laptops using content created locally in villages; creating content in Marathi for schools in Maharashtra thus enabling them to use IT for education delivery. We were also behind the creation of a portal called Shiksha, which is a repository of educative content. What are your plans for R&D efforts at the institute in the coming years? We have a Developmental Informatics

Lab where we work on technologies for development, carrying out customisations. We are developing a portal â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Eklavyaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for mentoring engineering students and teachers to reap the benefit of IIT faculty expertise. We are waiting for government funding to take it to the next level. We are also working on an IT curriculum for primary education and have come out with a book for classes 1-5. We are in the process of implementing the integrated applications of IIT technologies at block level, called the Rahata Block Development Programme. The idea is to deploy technologies to empower people and make them self-sustaining in resources and finances and help them build entrepreneurship. The centre has proposed establishment of new IITs under the mentoring of existing ones. Which new IIT centers are being supported by IIT Mumbai? We are currently mentoring two new IITs at Gandhinagar, Gujarat and Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Our faculty visits these institutes and conducts lectures. In due course of time we hope to put in place a dedicated staff for teaching and administration at these places. Expanding IIT faculty is difficult so we have to make the best use of resources at hand. Hence, with the help of our distance education programme, which has the facility to transmit live lectures along with a question and answer session, we broadcast our courses live on EDUSAT. IITs build the knowledge skills of students and we hope to empower a larger pool of people with these skills to take on new challenges of technology. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


News | India Education moves a step Ahead in Banglore

Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) will now provide end-to-end education solutions and other services through Manipal K-12 Education India, formed jointly with TutorVista.com, an online tutoring company. The venture will also provide management services to existing and new schools under the brand Manipal Schools, as well as ICTbased tutorial service. ‘A third of India’s population is below 15 years. By 2025, India is expected to have the highest youth population. We must ensure they are educated at par with global standards,’ CEO of MEMG Ranjan Pai said.

Schools must adopt free software

Schools must teach the concept of free software and let children learn with them, said Richard M Stallman, the founder for Free Software Forum (FSF). Stallman is widely regarded as the father of free software movement. Addressing a gathering in Banglore organised by Swatantra - Samudaya - Swadeshi Software for Suvarna Karnataka, he said children should have access to the source code, the basic programme of the software which would provide them an opportunity to practically learn the working of a software.

CEO of Manipal K-12 Education India, Meena Ganesh said, the urban-rural divide is visible in schools too. The venture will use a combination of quality teaching inputs and technology to help students as well as improve skills of teachers.

He lauded the Kerala government’s initiative to introduce free software at schools in a phased manner and the Karnataka government’s decision to follow suit.

ICTs and capacity building in Open Learning

Minister of State for Human Resource Development (HRD) D. Purandeswari said in a statement in the Lok Sabha, ‘One of the critical factors affecting the quality of universities and institutions imparting higher education, is our inability to attract and retain young and talented persons to the teaching profession, leading over a period of time to shortage of teachers in central as well as state universities and other higher educational institutions.’

IGNOU has its presence in more than 35 countries, as of now. The Pan-African tele-education & tele-medicine initiative of Government of India, which shall connect all 53 African Union member states through a satellite, fibre optic and wireless networks, should be seen as an effort towards capacity building across cultures. The network will connect five universities - two in India and three in Africa - to 53 learning centres for tele-education and 10 super-speciality hospitals in India and Africa to 53 remote hospitals for tele-medicine. The main objective of the tele-medicine network will be to share the knowledge of Indian medical professionals with their African counterparts through on-line training programmes for nurses, paramedical staff and other health workers.

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Higher Education to be strengthened by Government

Explaining the important features of the revised pay scales and service conditions for teachers, Purandeswari said, ‘No one shall be eligible to be appointed, promoted or designated as professor unless he or she possesses a Ph.D. and satisfies other academic conditions, as laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC).’ ‘This shall, however, not affect those who are already designated as professor,’ she added.

75 B.Ed institutions blacklisted by Bihar Government

The Government of Bihar has blacklisted 75 B.Ed institutions in India and Nepal to check a fake degree racket and irregularities in the teacher recruitment drive for government-run schools, official sources said. Bihar Human Resource Development Minister Hari Narayan Singh said the state government was forced to blacklist the B.Ed institutions to check irregularities in appointment of school teachers, reports IANS. ‘It will help government agencies to identify fake degrees,’ he said. The degrees issued by these institutions were neither recognised by the state government nor the National Council of Teachers Education. ‘The government has circulated a list of such blacklisted institutions to all district level officials and directed them to immediately forward it to officials involved in recruitment of teachers at sub-division, block and panchayat level for scanning the applications,’ Singh said.

Inclusion in School system

Minister of State for Human Resource Development (HRD) D. Purandeswari said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, ‘Inclusiveness is the cornerstone of our educational system and no child, even those that need special attention and special education, will be left out.’ She was replying to a supplementary from Jaya Bachchan (Samajwadi Party) on the additional measures being taken for differentlyabled children. Purandeswari noted that under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), teachers were being sensitised ‘not to segregate such children,’ even as she ‘pleaded’ with the parents of such children to provide adequate support at home. SSA is an effort to universalise elementary education by community-ownership of the school system. It is also an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities to all children, through provision of community-owned quality education in a mission mode, Purandeswari pointed. January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Kalam wants IISc among world’s top 10 institutes

in January. Called Inspire (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research), the programme is an initiative of the Science and Technology Ministry and targets one million students and teachers in the next few years.

Manipal Education buys out Antigua University Former president A P J Abdul Kalam has tasked the century-old Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to work towards ranking among the world’s top 10 institutes by 2030. ‘In the second century of its existence, I want to see IISc rated as one of the top 10 science and technology institutes in the world by 2030,’ Kalam said while inaugurating the institute’s centenary conference in its green campus. ‘As the country’s premier science institute, I have a lot of expectations from its faculty and students over the next two-three decades,’ he added. The faculty and students should focus on sustaining rural development, find techniques to increase food production, discover vaccination to treat malaria, HIV and cancer, develop genetically modified seeds for ushering the second green revolution and design, develop and produce hyper-planes and 90-seater jet aircraft, Kalam pointed out.

PM worried over talented youth ignoring Science

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed concern over talented youngsters giving less priority to science and ‘gravitating to other disciplines,’ affecting India’s competitive edge in the long run. ‘It is a fact that in recent years, the talented youth of the country are gravitating to other disciplines than science. Science is no longer necessarily the career of choice of the meritorious students,’ Manmohan Singh said after inaugurating a special scholarship programme to retain and attract talent to scientific research. The Prime Minister had announced the programme at the Indian Science Congress

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In one of the biggest cross-border deals in the education space, Manipal Education has acquired the entire shareholding of American More Pictures. University of Antigua (AUA) from New York-based Greater Caribbean Learning Resources. Sources said the company has raised $115 million debt financing from ICICI Bank in recent weeks, which will be ploughed into the buyout as well as capex requirements for ramping up the campus. The Caribbean is a well-established market for medical students from the US mainland, where the availability of seats far outstrips demand. ‘We have completed the buyout, giving us control over AUA, which is among the top five medical education campuses in the Caribbean islands along with St George’s University School of Medicine and Ross University,’ Anand Sudarshan, MD & CEO, Manipal Education, said. ‘We saw a huge potential and strategic value in the acquisition as the Caribbean serves the unmet demand for medical seats in the US. The US is estimated to have 16,800 medical seats, while there are over 60,000 students who clear MCAT annually,’ Mr Sudarshan added.

Global slowdown has not affected growth of science in India C.N.R. Rao, who heads the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, at a special session on nanotechnology said, ‘Science and technology has done well and shown steady growth despite economic slowdown in the country. For instance, many positive developments have taken place in the field of nanotechnology because of young scientists evincing great interest in research and development (R&D).’ Projecting bright prospects in nanotechnology, he said, largescale applications are waiting to happen in the emerging field that would have a direct bearing on the quality of life, healthcare and material sciences.

Cautioning students to beware of institutions offering Master’s degree in the specialised field, Rao said since nanotech was still in a nascent stage in India, a Master’s degree in the subject was farfetched. He suggested that colleges and university departments should continue to focus on basic sciences so that students with exceptional interest and talent in the field could prepare for a career in nanotechnology.

Gujarat University shifts to semester system

Work has begun on the decision to introduce semester system in the arts, science and commerce faculties of Gujarat

University, going by decision taken in the latest academic council meeting. So far, GU used to follow the annual exam mode. At a meeting, various faculty directors of the university agreed to accept the decision and have started a ground survey on which will be the best system to adopt. The directors’ concerns include increase in the number of subjects and the faculty that will be needed. Director of the faculty of arts, Dr Vasat Bhatt, said, ‘Semester system is the need of the hour to make our students more competent in the outside world. All faculty heads are open to the idea.’ The faculty of arts, by their own initiative, have even asked for details and syllabus from various universities where semester system is running already. Some of these universities are Pune University, SNDT, JNU, Vikram Vishwavidyalay and Saurashtra University. The report of the same has been submitted to the Vice Chancellor.’ The faculties are hoping to launch the semester system by the next academic year.<< January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


schaool Track | Report NUEPA Report

Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 87% Schools Without Computers The report highlights varying regional access to school computers. Barring Delhi, Maharashtra, southern states, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, access to such facilities remains virtually nonexistent to most students in the country

E

ven as India excels towards the target of elementary education for all, its ICT capabilities, so far as school education is concerned, remains severely challenged by low availability of computers in the schools. However, according to a report â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Strengthening Education Management Information System in Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; , published by the HRD Ministry and the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), the growth in the number of computers in schools since 2004 is truly remarkable. During the period 2003-04 to 2006-07, the number of schools with computers increased substantially, both in percentage and absolute terms. Since 2004, when just 72,000-odd schools (7.68%) had computers, 44

which has now risen to 1,67,000-plus schools (13.43%) for 2007. The number of schools having provided computers during the year 2005-06 was 120.6 thousand (10.73%), during 2004-05, 93 thousand (8.99%) and in 2003-04, 72 thousand (7.68%). Currently, more than 160,000 primary schools in the country had computers in place.

The percentage of government schools with computer has shown improvement over the previous year (6.57% in 2005-06 to 8.57% in 200607). Compared to 8.57% government schools having computers, the percentage in case of schools under private managements is much higher at 34.43%.

Rural and urban variations

This is also true for all other types of schools. About 62% integrated Higher secondary and 59% upper schools under the private managements have computers.

The percentage of Primary schools having computers is much lower at 6.51% than that of the other school types. It is high at 18.20% in urban areas and low at 5.34% in rural areas. As many as 50,747 Primary schools in 2006-07 are provided with computers of which 75% is in rural areas and only 25% in urban areas.

Regional disparities The report also highlights varying regional access to school computers. Barring Delhi, Maharashtra, southern states, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


access to such facilities remains virtually non-existent to most students in the country. Maharashtra has the highest number of schools - 28,882, which constitutes 33.42% of its total schools - that have computers in schools, followed by 19,154 schools in Andhra Pradesh, 16,064 schools in Madhya Pradesh, 13,336 schools in Rajasthan, 11,603 schools in Tamil Nadu. In terms of percentage of schools which have computers in each state, Delhi stands first (68.85), followed by Kerala (60.9), Maharashtra (33.42), Gujarat (24.03) and Tamil Nadu (22.13). Except for Delhi, Chandigarh, Kerala, Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Maharashtra, Orissa, Puducherry, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu, the percentage of computer penetration in primary schools is below double digit in the rest of India.

State of elementary education in India In yet another proof of the poor state of elementary education in India, latest data shows that school rooms in many states have as many as 100 students to a class, with a single teacher in-charge of 67 or more. The 2006-07 District Information System for Education data, compiled by NUEPA, reveals that Bihar (92), Jharkhand (79) and Uttar Pradesh (53) have one of the highest Student Classroom Ratios (SCRs) in primary schools. Assam is at 45 students per classroom, Madhya Pradesh (43) and West Bengal (50) are also on the higher side. As many as 16.45% schools have SCR of 60 and above. The report lauds Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir for their ratios of 15 and 14, respectively. Another key indicator that influences classroom transaction is the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR), and there too the same set of states is at the end of the tally. Against the average of 40:1, Bihar has a ratio of 67:1 in government schools. Interestingly, the case is even worse in privately managed schools. Uttar Pradesh has a ratio as high as 55:1. However, overall the country has shown an improvement in PTR, with the ratio dropping from 36 to 34% from 2005-06 to 2006-07. States like Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi reported ideal PTRs, ranging from 16 to 25. 46

The lowest numbers, 12 Schools, of computer facility is in the Dadra & Nagar Haveli, followed 15 schools in Daman & Diu, 22 schools in Lakshadweep, and 119 schools in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. In Bihar too, the percentage of schools with computers was found to be low at 2.62 or 1,436 schools. However, the spread of computer education has been limited to just 6.51% of all primary schools in the country. And except for Delhi, Chandigarh, Kerala, Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Maharashtra, Orissa, Puducherry, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu, the percentage of computer penetration in primary schools is below double digit in the rest of India. The NUPEA survey highlights the major strides India has taken in terms of making the very basic tool for ICT delivery available to schools. But it also underscores the huge number of schools that are without it and hence only on the fringes of the access to online and audio-video content, which is being looked at with such enthusiasm for addressing the issue of distance and infrastructure. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


School Track | report

3rd anniversary special issue

ASER Report

Drop-out Rate Declines, Access To Schooling Increases

T

he number of girls and boys dropping out of their schools education has gone down, while more and more young people are accessing formal and informal schooling, says the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for the year 2007. The third definitive survey of status of school education across rural India, conducted by non-governmental organisation Pratham, indicates major progress over last two years in

children have dropped in the year 2007, since last year. This decline is visible in all age categories for both boys and girls.For boys and girls in seven to 10 year old age group, the percentage of out of school children in 2007 stands at below 3% for rural India.

increase in the number of children attending pre-schools (anganwadi or balwadi). In 2006, 61.2% of kids threeyears of age were attending pre-schools as compared to 75.3% in 2007. For four year olds, there is an increase from 71.9 to 81.8%.

For girls in the age group 11 to 14, the percentage of out of school children has dropped from above 10 to 7.4 %. For Rajasthan and Bihar, the percentage of out of school children in the 6 to 14 age group was above 10% in 2006. This

Major increase in the proportion of children in pre-schools (anganwadi or balwadi) has been reported in states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Kerala with anganwadi-balwadi enrollment showing a rise of more than 10 percentage points between 2006 and 2007. Himachal Pradesh shows highest increase of 30 percentage points.

Learning levels improve

Overall reading levels showed improvement over 2006. Across the country, the proportion of children in first standard, who could not even recognise alphabets has dropped from 38.4 in 2006 to 31.9% in 2007. The proportion of children in standard one and two, who can recognise letters, read words or more has gone up nationally from 73.3% in 2006 to 78.3% in 2007. enrollment and availability of schools, teachers, toilets and water in most states. The findings of the survey also show a jump in mid-day meals, state-run free lunches to retain students in the schools. Another significant finding of the survey is increase in aanganwadi Integrated Child Development Scheme coverage, especially in the North India.

Drop-outs drop

Overall proportions of out of school Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

number has decreased to 6.5% in both the states in 2007. Overall, enrolment in private schools has increased from 18.7% in 2006 to 19.3% in 2007. The rise in private school enrolment is noticeable in the older age group of 11 to 14 years. Private schools include government aided, unaided, recognised and unrecognised schools.

More young children accessing education

The survey also reported a substantial

Many states show improvement in reading levels for children in Standard 1 and 2 and there is considerable variation across states. In particular, Rajasthan, Arunachal, Manipur, Assam show an improvement of more than 10 percentage points. Increases are also visible in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka. National figures in 2007 show 58.3% children in Standard 5 can read Standard 47


2 level text. The same figure for 2006 was 53.0%. States in which there are significant improvements in the ability of children in Standard 3 to 5 to read Standard one level text (easy paragraphs) or more are the following: Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh where the improvements are over 10 percentage points. Improvements are also visible in some states in the North East such as Arunachal, Nagaland and Manipur.

Problem solving

All children were orally asked two problems. Both problems were about money and involved children subtracting numbers from INR 50. Children could give the answer orally or in written form.A small proportion of 6-8 year-olds could correctly answer the problems. In this age group, 18% of school going children could answer questions as compared to 6% of non-school going children of the same age group. The ability to solve these problems is higher with older children: 50% of 9-10 year old children can solve both problems and almost 74% children in the 11-14 age group can do the same. For older children (aged 11-14), of those who can correctly solve written numerical subtraction problems, about 66% can solve the word problems. Of children who can solve written division problems, close to 94% can solve the word problems.

Comprehension improves ASER 2007 has explored the 48

relationship between a childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to read and comprehend text by asking children oral questions based on texts of different levels. The ability to comprehend is closely linked with the ability to read. What is revealing is that when children are given a text that is more advanced than they are comfortable reading, a section of children is still able to tackle the text and understand it. For example, among all 6-10 year olds, 23% are comfortably able to read words but not as yet able to read sentences fluently. Of these halting readers, about 11% can answer questions based on the Std 1 level text and about 6% on Std 2 level text. Note that the Standard 1 and 2 level texts are higher than what the child can read comfortably. Among the children reading a Std 1 level, 66% of children in the 6-10 age group can answer questions from a Std 1 level text. Even though these children cannot comfortably read a Std 2 level text, 23% can answer questions based on a Std 2 level text. Similar patterns are visible among the older children (11-14 year) as well. Not only can a majority of children answer questions based on the level of text that they are comfortably reading but a significant percentage try to read a higher level of text and understand it.

School infrastructure gets better The number of schools with fresh water supply has risen from 67 to 72% for primary schools and 73 to 77% in middle schools. Similar improvements

are also seen in terms of toilets. However, there are still a little over 25% schools that either do not have water or if they do have water it is not usable. The corresponding figure for toilets is 40%. In about 92.6% of the schools visited on a random day in October/ November 2007, midday meal was seen being prepared or served. This figure is much higher than the comparable figure in 2005, which stood at 71.1%. Well over 75% of all teachers had received TLM grants for 2006 and over half had received them for 2007. Similarly, for school maintenance grants, over 80% of schools had received their grants in 2006 and over 60% in 2007. It is likely that the remainder of grants may be sent to schools and teachers by the end of the 2007-08 financial year. In India, due to low enrollments in small habitations, children in about half of all classes in visited schools, during the ASER survey, sat with students belonging to another standard. This number ranges from close to 70% in states like Bihar and Jharkhand to as low as 3% in Kerala. The findings from ASER 2007 shows that rural Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s schools are well on course towards the goal of universalising elementary education. It also highlights non-formal schooling providing vital support for the first generationof rural learners. The decline in drop-out rates and increase in teacher attendance are a promising signs of emerging quality education in rural schools. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


>> Continuing from page 8 Earlier ICT products in schools meant computers, computer labs, etc. Now there is no dearth of products in the market like smartboards, digital projectors, interactive websites, etc. How do you see these products being used in the government education system? We have to be in sync with the latest in technology. But for a country of our size, it is difficult to implement all the technology solutions at one go in all the schools. So it has to be done in a graded manner. For example, in the model schools we are planning to use the best available technologies. Introduction of these technologies in other schools will have a lag but hopefully not for long, as our economy is growing at a steady pace and the prices of technology products is falling. So in the coming years it would be easier for the government to introduce technology in all schools and bridge the digital gap. In some states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, the number of students far exceed the capacity of the state schools. As such many students are forced to give exams privately. How does your Ministry plan to address this issue? We plan to address this issue through a new scheme called Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan under which areas would be mapped for the availability of schools keeping in mind certain norms, for example, there should be a primary school within one km, an upper primary school within 3 km, and a high school within 5 km of any habitation. In those places which donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fulfill this criteria, new schools will be set up to ensure an even distribution throughout the country. The governments in Rajasthan and Punjab are looking at the PPP model for setting up new schools, especially in the unreached or underserved areas. Will it be replicated at the central level and other states as well? What are the learnings from Rajasthan and Punjab? We need to learn from the experience of these two States. The PPP model needs Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

stream after class 10. In the higher secondary stage, they concentrate on learning certain skills in addition to general education so that after they pass out of 12th, they are in a position to get employment or go for higher education. At present, only 4-5% of students go to this stream. We hope to increase the enrollment in vocational education through revision of the scheme to make the curriculum more responsive to the market demand, to ensure availability of qualified teachers and infrastructure, and through industry linkage.

ICT in education policy needs to concentrate on effective use of ICT to further the objectives of education and also increase access to it

to be flexible to take care of the needs of individual States. Based on local context PPP can be at different levels, eg, (i) for provision of building infrastructure, (ii) for provision of non-educational services, and (iii) for provision of education services. The states can decide for themselves what level of PPP they want. However, the PPP model is not new to this country. The entire system of government-aided schools is nothing but Public Private Partnership. Please tell us about the Skill Development Mission under the Central government. At present, there is a vocational education scheme under which students are allowed to branch off to a vocational

Do these vocational centres come under schools or is it run independently? Both these options are available. Certain service oriented vocational programmes donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t require much of additional infrastructure and can be run in existing general schools. Wherever specialised infrastructure is required, separate vocational schools may have to be set up. Private sector and industry can be involved in a big way to provide for such skill development. A vocational qualification framework is also being considered. Please tell us about recent developments regarding the ICT in education policy? ICT in education policy needs to concentrate on effective use of ICT to further the objectives of education and also increase access to it. For example, in remote locations where there is shortage of teachers, ICT can make a difference in the quality of teaching through supply of standardised e-Learning material. It also has a role in bridging the gap between the haves and haves not, particularly the gap in quality of teaching in rural and urban areas. ICT policy has to be developed following discussions, deliberations and feedbacks from all stakeholders. It should help the state governments and users in harnessing the potential of ICT to the maximum extent in furthering the objectives of education. << 49


Development Agenda | Perspective Digital Study Hall, Lucknow

Democratising Education Our vision is to democratise education. There are huge inequalities in India. On the one hand you have schools that have resources and infrastructure; on the other hands there are many more that do not have any resources. So, the idea is to share resources, that can be exchanged digitally by including as many people as possible in this process

What is the vision behind the setting up of the Digital Study Hall? Our vision is to democratise education. There are huge inequalities in India. On the one hand you have schools that have resources and infrastructure; on the other hands there are many more that do not have any resources. By resources I mean, quality of teachers, infrastructure and basic amenities. So, the idea is to share resources, that can be exchanged digitally with the use of technology by including as many people as possible in this process. Fundamentally, the vision is to improve the quality of education, to equalise the education and to include people in the whole educational process. What are the challenges that Digital Study Hall encountered in pursuing these ? The first challenge was to find a place and teachers who are willing to work in this project. It was also difficult to 50

Dr Urvashi Sahni, Founder & Director, Digital Study Hall

identify the target student population as we run both private schools and afternoon schools for weaker sections. The second challenge was to get people to use technology as in government schools even getting teachers use something like abacus is very difficult. Another related challenge is to provide a lost cost setting to keep the model sustainable. What pedagogical approach is followed by the Digital Study Hall? Put simply, we follow a ‘mediationbased pedagogy’, which refers to placing a teacher (or a ‘mediator’) in between the students and the TV. The mediator periodically pauses the video and engages the students in various activities, like asking questions, inviting kids to do board work, and organising roleplaying activities. The mediator’s job is to make the class as lively and interactive.

Another variation of the theme is ‘peermediation’, where the brightest fellow student is approached to serve as a mediator during periods when the local teacher is absent. The student mediators appear to display a high degree of responsibility and enthusiasm when they are put in charge. What methodology is followed while creating the content? How is the content disseminated? In terms of the methodology, we select good teachers wherever we find them, specially in vernacular languages and teach them to plan their classes according to the state board curriculum. We map out the curriculum from Chapters 1 to 8. All this is done in a systematic manner twice or thrice a week. The teachers then come prepared in the afternoon with a half-anhour unit and conduct the classes, which are then videographed. Apart from this, we also do some post production work January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


3rd anniversary special issue role of technology and try to make it a substitute for the role people play in education. Secondly, the infrastructural needs must be met in India, where electricity itself is a huge issue. Technology has to keep pace with the infrastructural support available in any particular context.

Work on at Lucknow hub

I would rate technology as a good facilitator for the supplementary role that it can play. But it cannot be a substitute for people in our labs, in which we add pictures from the Internet, put Flash Cards, etc, to make videos even more live. The content is then edited and converted into DVDs, and are sent by hand or ‘Postmanet’ system of transferring digial content through the postal service. According to you, what role does localisation of languages play in spreading education among the disadvantaged group? It plays a very important role because a majority of population speaks only the local language. So if you don’t have the content in the local language, you may be excluding many. That is precisely why all our material is created in the local language. We use Hindi in UP, Marathi in Maharashtra and Bengali in Kolkata. But at the same time we have also included English as our second language. Apart from India, has this programme been running in other countries also? Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

Yes, in Bangladesh, Dhaka, we just started this year, that is very much in early stage. Talks are also on with Cambodia, but it is still in the nascent stage. We had an indication to do something in Pakistan, but given the condition between the two countries, right now we can’t goahead with the plan. According to you, what is the role of technology in education? I would rate technology as a good facilitator for the supplementary role that it can play. It can help in solving the problems. For example, in our project, it is helping us regroup resources so that we don’t take up real time and physical space. I think it is going to become increasingly more important in times to come. In fact, India becomes more networked than it is because the Internet has played an enormous role in democratising knowledge, allowing more and more people to access bulk of information. I think we should not overstate the

Is Digital Study Hall associated with any government agencies or private bodies in furthering its agenda? We have collaborations with Microsoft Research, which is one of our facilitators. Then the Study Hall Foundation, US, is another collaborator. We have partnered with government education departments, government schools and private foundations for furthering our project. We are also collaborating with University of Washington, Seattle and University of California, Berkeley in research projects. We are engaged with the University of California, Berkeley, for a re-evalution project. Among the private foundations, we have the National Science Foundation, which funds us. Then there is Madhavi Kapoor Foundation in Pune and Lorento Convent in Kolkata, which support us. We also have a tie-up with the UNICEF for a teacher training project. Under it, we are providing video content to various districts in Uttar Pradesh to train 14,000 teachers. We also provide our content to 25 Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalayas and talks are also on with the Sahara Foundation to approach schools in urban slums. What are the future plans of Digital Study Hall? We will be starting public schools in the near future. We want to create as much content as we can in as many local languages as we can. We want to increase our outreach, to reach out those who need the help. Many people who get to know about work through websites or through the print media, contact us. So schools from Madhya Pradesh, Agra, Uttaranchal and Gujarat have contacted us for collaboration. << 51


Power School | Perspective

Socialising, Humanising And Academising Children What is your vision for quality education in your school? Quality is a process as well as a product. The ultimate aim of quality education is to help the child to re-orient his personality, whereby he turns out to be a worthy citizen capable of contributing to the world at large. We socialise, humanise and academise the child. What model of curriculum and learning methodology is followed in the school? The Vidyalaya follows the CBSE curriculum for both secondary and senior secondary examinations. Since most of the students admitted in class IV hail from rural areas having studied in regional language medium, the medium of instruction in classes VI and VII is mostly the regional language. However, efforts are also made to strengthen the communication ability in English language. Our learning methodology involves modern techniques of learning transactions through projects, group discussions, seminars, symposia, team teaching, etc. The ultimate aim is to make learning an enjoyable task. What initiatives have been taken in your school for integrating ICT? All subjects are taught through multimedia presentation, project based learning (PBL), language softwares (like Baraha, Madhuri) and interactive programmes in classes VI to XII. The school library has a website, Vidyalaya Blogspot, specially raised in connection with UK-India educational initiative (UKIERI Programme) of which we are a partner. ICT facilities are extensively used in co-curricular activities like quiz programmes, seminars, electronic painting competition, audio recording etc. Training is given in advanced softwares 52

projectors and a separate functional room exclusively for multi-media, apart from the computer lab. Promotion of eLearning is also carried out through the Vyasa educational channel.

V L Balasubramanian Principal, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kasaragod, Kerala

Our learning methodology involves modern techniques of learning transactions through projects, group discussions, seminars, symposia, team teaching, etc like Adobe Audition, Photoshop, PageMaker, Flash Player, Dream Weaver, etc. CBSE subjects like Computer Science & Informatics Practices are offered to the students in classes 11th and 12th to promote an affinity towards software development and computer engineering. What challenges did you face while integrating ICT in your school? Initially, the problem of inadequate number of systems was overcome with the help of MPLAD Fund and the Department supported the Vidyalaya with a VSAT connection. At present our school is equipped with sufficient number of computers, three LCD

In what ways are the teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; capacity built for rendering technology mediated education? To enhance the teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; capacity in implementing ICTs in education effectively, comprehensive training has been provided to them along with specialised training organised by Oracle. com, Indian Institiute of Information Techbology, Intel programmes, etc. Leadership training programmes are also organised for teachers to take leadership in ICT implementation programme. In what ways can Public Private Partnership enhancing technology in school education? As part of partnership programme between schools in India and UK, JNV Kasaragod has been enlisted under UKIERI programme. This gives our students ansd teachers an opportunity to have international exposure and also to exchange serious research based projects in school education. Students of JNV have been presenting their projects through Oracle Think.com and the school has been awarded as the best school of the region by Oracle. What initiatives do you plan to take up in future for effective integration of ICT in your school? Some of the future initiatives of our school include: (1) to expand the computer facilities and e-Learning process with latest gadgets, (2) to take up a project as a pace setting activity to enhance computer awareness among parents during the next term, (3) to integrate the schools with community by training the elders in and around the Vidyalaya, and (4) to provide every student with a note book with campus wi-fi facility. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Power School | Perspective

3rd anniversary special issue

Producing Future Leaders With Global Perspective What is your vision for quality education in Scindia School? The vision of the school is to be a pre-eminent centre of learning in the country producing future leaders with global perspective and an Indian ethos. To ensure that our vision meets it’s motive, each student’s course of study is carefully planned and followed. Each term a student progresses at his own pace unimpeded by others. Those with outstanding qualities are given opportunities to shine and not rust unfurnished, and others lend a helping hand with understanding to reach their potential. Please tell us about the curriculum and learning methodology followed in your school. Our school is from Class VI to Class XII. The school follows the CBSE curriculum from classes IX to XII but in lower classes a lot of innovation is practiced and in most subjects project based learning and experience based learning is emphasised and practiced. The use of technology is prevalent, regular visits to various sites of historical, geographical, scientific experience is part of the regular school schedule. What are the initiatives taken up by your school for integrating ICT in education? Our initiatives can be divided in three areas: Infrastucture development, ie, putting computers and networks in place, procuring software, model class rooms, computer labs, etc; Integrating faculty in this initiative through workshops on technology for almost six months; Exposing students to various initiatives like use of internet, e-Mail in a gradual manner. A concept of e-Portal was developed to serve as a common platform for all stakeholders of the school. Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

I am pleased to note that 99% of our faculty is computer savy and not just computer literate. They enter attendance, Test and Examination Marks, their lesson plans routinely into the system. Most of them use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Power Point with ease.

Nirmal Kumar Tewari Principal, Scindia School, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

The schools which have integrated technology should make it available to schools around them and allow the optimum usage of the infrastucture

Through these intiatives, project-based learning got a great boost and students developed the skills of sifting through the huge information available and creating knowledge, and also learnt the skills of presentation and effective communication. What are the major challenges as far as ICT in education is concerned? The most difficult part was to get the teachers feel confident and address their fear of technology. It required lot of hand holding and was time consuming. But with continued effort and time, we managed to remove these hurdles and

How do you built teachers’ capacity in rendering technology mediated education? This is the most important aspect because if teachers do not own it, the whole process can not be sustained. Therefore, we have capacity of the in-house training as and when it is required. Every month at least two modules are made available to teachers who wish to further improve their skills to learn new things. This is the most regular and continuous process. How do you see Public Private Partnership for enhancing proper use of technology in school education? A lot of work in this area is required to be done. The schools which have integrated technology should make it available to schools around them and allow the optimum usage of the infrastucture. The IT companies need to frame special packages for schools so that the finances for running a facility like this can be kept under control, the gap between ‘have and haves not’ has to be bridged as much as possible. What are the future initiatives/plans for integrating ICT in school education? The main objective is to make the use of technology all pervasive. The ICT setup needs to look at what it can do for any activity or process of the school. It actually does not mean that everything should be done using technology but to ensure that technology should be used to bring greater efficiency and greater educational value to any process. << 53


Corporate diary | Case Study

‘Classrooms For The Future’ Genee Solutions India

I

t is exciting times for India, with the emergence and potential of it becoming a global power. However, if it is to reach such heights there is no doubt that Education will play a huge role in ensuring that this undoubted potential is fulfilled.

schools (as GeneeWorld or Interactive Education) in the UK. What excites me the most is that I can now see this revolution happening in India - the place which my family calls ‘home’. Having developed thousands of classrooms in the UK and the US, me and my company Genee Solutions India feel privileged that we can now make this happen in India itself!

As we enter the 21st Century, technology will continue to play a vital part in the success of India. India now has one of the highest number of IT graduates in the world and what is clear that the Classroom now needs to catch up fast with the modern IT environment of the workplace.

What excites me the most is that the Curriculum Content Development and Research & Development for all out products is done in India. No longer will we develop technology and content to be then shipped to the UK and US to benefit students over there, but our children in India will also be the benefactors of this technology.

As we subject young people to technology in the working environment we must now put some of this technology in to education sector creating classrooms of the future. The younger the students are subjected to such an environment the quicker they will adapt to this technology and develop the skills needed for the economy in the future. This is where Genee Solutions India comes in! We have been developing ‘Classrooms for the Future’ for the last 10 years all around the world! We have played and are still playing a key role in developing thousands of classroom in the UK with this new technology. This technology includes Interactive Whiteboards (Genee Power Boards), Visualisers (GeneeVision), Voting Systems (Classcomm & Census) and Wireless Slates (Genee Slates). However, this technology is only successful if it incorporates Interactive Learning Software and this has always been our specialism since 1999. Where does this drive, determination and focus come from. Well, I myself 54

In this way we are very different from our competitors. Most of them have developed their content in the US or UK and are now adapting the same content for Indian market. We develop our hardware and software in India by listening to the needs of our Indian schools and then providing the exact solution that they require.

was a teacher for 10 years in the UK with the responsibility of integrating Information Communication Technology (ICT) across the curriculum in a variety of secondary schools. I saw ten years ago what impact such technology could make to learning and there is now no doubt that as a company we have made a huge impact in this area. So much so that we are now one of the largest providers of ICT equipment to

Overall, I personally, as well as my company, are looking forward to playing a key role in moving Indian schools forward so that our education system can meet the demands of the 21st Century and also secure our children’s future. The most important thing to me is to ensure that we achieve our potential as a future global power in the world by ensuring our children have access to technology tools in their education to achieve their as well as thecountry’s potential. << By Ranjit Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Genee Solutions India January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Power School | Perspective

Providing An Enabling Environment What is your vision for quality education in Hansraj Morarji Public School? Hansraj Morarji Public School is an institution which provides an enabling environment to its children to develop holistically. We believe in providing quality education to our students, for this we provide them the latest technology like computers with Internet facilities, Audio-Visual room with LCD projector to make teaching-learning more effective and interesting too.

programmes can be organised for teachers and adequate fund allotted for this purpose.

In April this year, we also started a Junior college, which provides Science and commerce streams and has reserved seats for shoolchildren passing out of 10th standard.

Mrs. Anjana Prakash Principal, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri (West), Mumbai

Please tell us about the curriculum and learning methodology followed in the school. We follow the Maharashtra State Board curriculum in our school. Apart from the curriculum, many other activities like Maths Club, Drama Club, Green Brigade Environment Club etc are a part of the student life at our school. We also won the ‘Green School Awards’ in the year 1996.

We do not believe in rote learning, instead we adopt such methods of teaching where a student’s involvement is more. We try to evoke interest in curriculum among the students

We do not believe in rote learning, instead we adopt such methods of teaching where a student’s involvement is more. We try to evoke interest in curriculum among the students, due to which learning becomes easier. For this we equip our teachers with the latest technology in teaching which makes the learning process easier. What major challenges did you encounter while integrating ICT in education in your school? A major hurdle which we faced is lack of knowledge among the teachers’ in 56

this field. As such their involvement in IT usage was seen less. Teachers may find the conventional method of teaching easier than technology mediated education due to lack of expertise in this field. As the teachers may find it time consuming and more difficult to use it for expressing themselves, there may be a shortfall in communication between teachers and students. The school management should also realise the importance of ICT in education so that relevant training

What are the initiatives taken up by your school for integrating ICT in school education? ICT has been incorporated in our school sysytem for the benefit of teachers and students alike and they are using it to full capacity. We organise supervised training programmes for our staff to educate them on the proper use of internet. Teachers are encouraged to use ICT in their classroom teaching, do more research on their respective subjects through Internet and also assist students in usig it for their projects and class assignments. We have also started an inter-house competition on making projects on power points using Internet facility under the guidance of teachers. How do you build teachers’ capacity in rendering technology mediated education? Our teachers are encouraged to participate in various training programmes to enhance their knowledge in ICT use. We encourage them to take part in various inter-school competitions where the use of Internet becomes a must; this brings awareness among the teachers of growing importance of ICT in education. We also send them to various workshops to build awareness among them. How do you see public-private partnership for enhancing proper use of technologies in school education? I would vouch for the PPP model as private companies are better equipped to train teachers in the use of latest technologies owing to their research and advance knowledge in this field. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Power School | Perspective

3rd anniversary special issue

PPP: An Effective Solution For JNVs What is your vision for quality education in JNV, Mothuka? The main objective of JNV, Mothuka is to provide state-of-the-art education to students of rural areas around it. JNVs were opened in rural areas, throughout the country (except, Tamil Nadu) by an inititative taken by our Late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. JNVs are one among the countries biggest co-educational residential schooling system. 70% students are taken from rural background as per the policy of Navodaya Vidayalaya Samiti (NVS). Please tell us about the curriculum and learning methodology followed in the school. JNVs all over India follow the curriculum of CBSE. Modern technology is used in classroom teaching to facilitate better understanding of subjects among students. We also have a migration policy for students of class IX, in which students of JNV Mothuka are sent to a JNV in Maharashtra. This helps students in confidence building and cultivates a sense of unity and national integrity. What are the initiatives taken by your school for integrating ICT in education? We have a very wide application of ICT in our school, not only in classroom teaching, but for all kinds of office work and laboratory purposes. Many projects are on in our school for equipping our staff and students with ICT. Students of Class VII have been provided with the Classmate PCs (CMPCs) in a tieup with Educomp Solutions and Intel Corporation. Now, we are extending this facility for other classes also. We are also equipped with the Wi–Fi, so there is 24-hour connectivity. We have bagged the Ministry of Information and Technolgy, Governement of India, award for best school for use of e-Learning and Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

technology aided learning. Problems if any are reported, then, these are solved at the school level only. Internet has helped in keeping us up-to-date with the recent information and development in IT field.

Dr Meena Singh Principal, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Mothuka, Faridabad, Haryana

We have bagged the Ministry of Information and Technolgy, Governement of India, award for best school for use of e-Learning and technology technology. Our school has also won the Intel Teach to the Future School of the Year Award for implementation of ICT and Technology Aided Learning, twice. Our school website provides an interactive forum for career counselling and reading materials. Recent school activities are updated continuously, including projects made by students and teachers. What are the major challenges as far as integration of ICT in education is concerned? In my view, there is no such significant hurdle in the implementaion of ICT and

How do you built teachers’ capacity in rendering technology mediated education? Our teachers are trained with the help of public-private-partnerships with big IT companies like Microsoft, Intel, Educomp and World Links. Teachers are motivated to work on research based topics using multimedia equipements. Special classes have been assigned to every teacher for Technology Aided Learning. These classes are evaluated and inspected by me or senior teachers from time to time. How do you see Public-Private Partnership for enhancing proper use of technologies in school education? Public-Private Partneships are an effective solution for institutions like JNVs. To deliver quality education in areas where resources are limited, public-private partnership is a boon. In future, more MoUs need to be carried out between the NVS and private organisations, so that, students from rural areas where state-of-the-art education system is not available, can maintain their pace with the technology. What are the future initiatives/plans for integrating ICT in school education? Recently, our school has started working on a project for smart school office management. This project is completely Internet based and will help promote egovernance in JNVs. In the near future, we are also looking for some more public– private partnership with NVS which will help us maintain the pace of ICT and Technology Aided Learning in JNVs. << 57


Power School | Perspective Lending Collaborative And Analytical Approach to Learning How does Tagore International School ensure quality education to its students? We believe in providing a holistic and progressive education which empowers every child with the skills required for the 21st century in a global context. Please tell us about the curriculum and learning methodology followed in the school. Our curriculum and learning methodology are based on a collaborative and analytical approach which fosters the creative thinking process in a child. For this activity based lessons and educational outings based on syllabus are planned. Our children use powerpoint presentations to reinforce their assignments, while teachers use audio visual aids such as OHP, TV, video, charts, models and slides to make teaching more effective. To sum it up, we have facilitated the shifting of the methodology from ‘teaching’ to ‘learning’. We are also part of the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) programme that facilitates strategic partnerships and design and development of joint curriculum projects between schools in India and the UK. As part of the DUKE University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) under UKIERI, two students from our school were selected to attend a three week summer training programme this year at IIM Ahemdabad. Apart from this, online exchange programmes are also conducted with schools in Bulgaria, Romania, Japan regarding curriculum, culture studies, etc. What is the major challenge in integrating ICT in education? Most of the schools are engaging in a big way to provide technology enabled teaching and learning in their facility. But a major challenge is the inability of 58

These initiatives are all integrated into the class timetable, thus ensuring that every student is familiarised with the use of technology in learning. The Language lab has a complete AudioVideo system that facilitates exposure to speech, drama and other nuances of language. Every class also visits one of the two Audio–Visual rooms in the school on a weekly basis for different subjects.

Ms Madhulika Sen Principal, Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar, Delhi

Our curriculum and learning methodology are based on a collaborative, experimental and analytical approach which fosters the creative thinking process in a child our parents to provide a computer and/or Internet facility to their child at home. What are the initiatives taken up by your school for integrating ICT in school education? We have three computer labs with 20 computers each exclusively for the students. There are two K-12 labs exclusively for the teachers. Our Social Science, EVS and Math labs are equipped with interactive boards. Classes 6-8 also use an online Math programme from Educosoft, which is integrated with their curriculum. Classes 1-8 use the EZ Vidya Programme which amalgamates learning of soft skills with the curriculum.

In what ways do you enhance teacher capacity in rendering technology mediated education? The TIS staff is 100% computer literate. The teachers have undergone training in ICT in education from Intel, Schoolnet and EZ Vidya. In-service refresher courses for the teachers are conducted every year. The teachers use the K-12 labs for preparation of lesson material, exploring and updating subject knowledge, and preparation of question papers, worksheets, assignment sheets and results. What is the role of Public Private Partnership in boosting technology integration in school education? A Public Private Partnership is essential as there are limitations that the school faces as far as preparation of material is concerned. Apart from in-house material prepared by our own teachers, we also use material prepared by subject experts from various e-Learning companies like Bhartiya Vidya (JIL Technologies), EZ Vidya and Educosoft. Any future intitiative you would like to mention for integrating ICT in your school in the coming year? We are aiming at making technology available to our students in their classrooms by providing interactive boards in every classroom. There is also a plan to provide every teacher with a laptop. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Power School | Perspective

3rd anniversary special issue

Grooming Children To Fit Into Zero Conflict Society What is your vision of quality education at Kothari International School? Our philosophy is to groom the children in such a way that they are equipped to pursue a future of their choice once they are out of the school. The most important thing is to have balanced well groomed children who can fit into a zero conflict society. Please tell us about the curriculum and pedagogy followed in your school. Although we follow the Central Board of Secondary Education curriculum, we have an international child centric approach. Our classes are in tune with the modern pedagogical approaches, which involve a lot of group activities and research. We believe every child has an inherent talent, which needs to be identified. We first try and judge a child’s capability and interest and then build upon it to enhance their creativity and critical thinking. What major hurdles or challenges did you encounter while integrating ICT in your school? Today’s children are in sync with technology as they are constantly in touch with it at school or home. But as far as teachers are concerned, sometimes we encounter resistance to technology integration. So we make it a point to recruit those teachers who are familiar with IT. Initially when we introduced IT in our school, our teachers felt a little restricted. But once they got used to it, they realised its potential of enhancing the teaching and learning process. For example, its visual impact helps the students to assimilate concepts faster. Of course, everything has a positive and negative side to it. With abundant Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

into our school system. Right from interactions between parents and teachers to making day to day lesson plans, all will be possible on this single software, which is in the design phase. For instance, if a child faces any difficulty at home with any assignments, she can immediately log onto the website with the help of a password and seek assistance. For this, we are developing our own software with professional help.

Nidhi Sirohi Principal, Kothari International School, Noida

We first try and judge a child’s capability and interest and then build upon it to enhance their creativity and critical thinking information available in today’s world, a major challenge that we face is making the children use it in a constructive manner. Otherwise children mostly use computers for games or chatting or visiting social sites like Orkut, Facebook etc. What initiatives have been taken up by your school for integrating ICT in your system? We are a new school and this is our third year of running. Technology is an integral part of our entire curriculum and lesson plan. We use videoconferencing and LCD projectors for aiding our classes. In the course of next three months, IT will be completely integrated

How do you build teachers capacity in rendering technology mediated education? We have regular training programmes in our schools where our teachers are trained by professionals from the field. Teachers also share best practices among themselves. For example, a teacher shares her experience, which may have aided her teaching, with her peers. So training happens both horizontally and vertically. Can a public/private partnership give a boost to technology integration school education? A PPP model has its own pros and cons. A balance of public/private partnership is certainly beneficial. But then it is essential to keep in mind that the arrangement has to be flexible enough to allow room for customisation later to incorporate the needs of the class. What are your future initiatives for integrating ICT in your School in the coming years? We want to expose each and every child, starting from the primary classes to technology. For this we are in the process of equipping our school with smart boards, learning software and other technology tools. << 59


Power School | Perspective

Imparting Modern Education With Values And Awareness What is your vision for quality education in JNV Khumbong Imphal? The vision of our school is to impart quality modern education along with inculcation of values, environment awareness, and physical education, to students predominantly from rural areas and to aid their physical, mental, and spiritual growth. Our JNVs also strive to serve as focal points in each district for improvement in quality of school education in general through sharing of experiences and facilities. Please tell us about the curriculum and learning methodology followed in the school. Our school follows the NCERT curriculum and is affiliated to CBSE. The learning activity of the Vidyalaya is highly integrated to ICT. Teachers use Power Point presentations, animated multimedia presentations, etc. to deliver their lectures. Internet is also used by teachers to retrieve various subject related topics. It is mandatory for every teacher to use some element of ICT in classroom. A register is maintained to record the ICT based classes taken by teachers. Our students make their project work using Microsoft Word and Power Point, download various subject related topics, sample papers, fill online forms for many competitive examinations using Internet. What are the initiatives taken up by your school for integrating ICT in education? The school has provided enough infrastructure, procured various educational CDs, made arragement for conducting ICT classes in two different rooms with LCD projectors and computers. We also have the EDUSAT facilty for interacting with different educational institutes, organisations, 60

N Dhiren Singh Principal, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Khumbong, Imphal, Manipur

It is mandatory for every teacher to use some element of ICT in classroom. A register is maintained to record the ICT based classes taken by teachers experts, etc. Teachers make projects using Power Point presentations, make every teacher take class using ICT at least once/twice a week. Students are also allowed to use computers and Internet twice a week for every class i.e., from VI to XII. What are the major challenges as far as integration of ICT? Some of the challenges faced by our school while implementing the ICT programmes/projects are: • Frequent power cut and load shedding hampers smooth use of ICT. We try our best to solve the problem by using a generator of 25KVA and 15 KVA stand by

generator. Maintenance of hardware components like UPS, CPU Monitor, etc. is another problem as it is difficult to purchase such hardware components. Misuse of technology by students is yet another challenge. Students want to use computers for entertainment rather than as a learning tool.

How do you build teachers’ capacity in rendering technology mediated education? Our school have given training to almost all the teachers through Microsoft programmes. Knowledge of the teachers is further enhanced with the use of Internet, as they can draw new concepts, ideas and detailed material on their topics, which enhance their teaching. This further helps them in their professional growth while producing good results in examinations. How do you see Public- Private Partnership for enhancing proper use of technologies in school education? Both the sectors need to be aware of the various uses of technology in school education and its importance, so that they in turn can venture to improve or enhance this field to give quality education to our students. What are the future initiatives/ plans for integrating ICT in school education? For bringing about an effective integration of ICT in education, we should try and enhance the knowledge in the domain for both teachers and students by interacting with differents firms, organisations, experts, etc. There is also a need to update our ICT technologies as far as possible to improve teaching learning process. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Power School | Perspective

3rd anniversary special issue

Blending Tradition And Modern Technology For Excellence What is your vision for quality education in your school? The mission of our school is to provide opportunities for students to achieve their personal best, become responsible and productive citizens, and embrace life long learning in a safe and positive environment. To achieve excellence in education, using a blend of traditional and modern technology based learning to face the challenges of the future. Bhavan’s Vidyashram’s vision is to produce citizens of tomorrow by instilling confidence and leadership qualities in children, helping them grow into worthy human beings and befitting members of the society and nation. The school emphasises the core values of empathy, righteousness, secularism, cooperation and acceptance. Please tell us about the curriculum and learning methodology followed in the school. Dramatisation, animation, power point presentations, role-play, circular time audio-visual aids and group discussions are among the means used to enhance teaching and learning at our school. All the teachers are computer literate and use ICT extensively for teaching lessons. Curriculum needs change and it is important to develop processes, upgrade facilities and train constantly. Meditation and spiritual activity are an integral part of the curriculum as are music, dance and dramatics. What are the initiatives taken up by your school for integrating ICT in education? At Bhavan’s Vidyashram, technology has been integrated into various spheres, right from the classroom to school administration. The school has three state-of-the-art computer laboratories, both teachers and students use extensively to generate and store projects. Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

the education process, there are some concerns and problems with integrating the same into everyday curriculum and functioning. Maintenance and troubleshooting of ICT equipment; inequality in access to computers at home; information overload among student; and fast pace of changes taking place in technology; plagiarism as in blindly copying from the Internet; and slow connectivity and power issues, are some of the challenges.

Smt. C Rama Devi Principal, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Public School, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, AP

Bhavan’s Vidyashram’s vision is to produce citizens of tomorrow by instilling confidence and leadership qualities in children, helping them grow into worthy human beings and befitting members of the society and nation With ICT, teachers are able to create their own material and infuse their subjects with new insights and methodologies, thus, ensuring that classroom teaching remains exciting and fun. Technology is used to complement other aspects of good teaching rather than replace them. What are the major challenges as far as integration of ICT is concerned? While the use of ICT is beneficial to

How do you build teachers’ capacity in rendering technology mediated education. Teachers are acquainted with Teaching Thinking Technology (TTT) and have completed courses. They have been trained to develop students’ critical thinking and collaborative skills. All the teaching staff have received various stages of training through Intel programmes. How do you see Public-PrivatePartnership for enhancing proper use of technologies in school education. ICT enhanced curriculum requires significant regular funding for keeping abreast of the changes, maintenance, etc. Technology changes rapidly and it is for schools to keep abreast of these changes. Having a dedicated fund towards ICT education is one way of managing, while a public-private-partnership may also work out in some cases. What are the future initiatives/plans for integrating ICT in school education? For integrating ICT in school education in the coming years, training should be provided to teachers on web designing to update their class activities. Moreover, online forums should be used for interacting with parents and for improving knowledge and teaching techniques. << 61


Power School | Perspective

Helping Children Become Lifelong Learners is done at our School through a series of workshops by Educomp Solutions especially designed to equip the teachers with the knowledge of handling the modules and making them comfortable. The next stage is to help them plan their lessons. Ultimately it is the teachers creativity and interest that helps her graduate from a good teacher to an effective teacher.

What is your vision for quality education in PSBB Millennium School? We firmly believe that as an institution dedicated to the cause of education, we must passionately help children to recognise their true potential and shape them into confident, responsible, and multifaceted individuals; Become lifelong learners and globally competitive citizens with firm rooting in Indian values; and inculcate in them the need to achieve human excellence. Please tell us about the curriculum and learning methodology followed in your school. The PSBB Millennium School follows the curriculum guidelines and syllabus laid down by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Our syllabus is built on a rich foundation of reading, writing, and arithmetic, which is then layered with history, science, music, geography, and the arts to ensure there are no gaps in instruction. Our curriculum follows the principle of subject integration with topics lending to each other irrespective of the Subject. This develops higher order thinking skills and promotes content mastery. What initiatives have been undertaken by your school for integrating ICT in school education? Ever since its inception four years ago, ICT has played a major role in our school. The Smart Class modules are used for set induction, driving home of a concept to give greater clarity, and as an instant quiz for gathering the level of assimilation among children. This instant feedback helps her either proceed further or stop for another strengthening of the concept. This also saves time for the teacher as they do not have to wait for the evaluation exam at a later date. 62

Sita Umamaheshwaran Principal, PSBB Millennium School, Chennai

Our curriculum follows the principle of subject integration with topics lending to each other irrespective of the Subject What major challenges did you come across in integrating ICT in your school? Initially, in any institution the first year of implementation is always the toughest. The institution needs not only the complete support of the management, but also a conviction of the teachers actually using the technology. Untrained teachers need to be given specific training and a lot of hand-holding. How do you build teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; capacity in rendering technology mediated education? Initially the teachers have to be taken through the entire process of going through the methodology of using technology mediated education. This

How would you rate the role of Public Private Partnership in enhancing proper use of technologies in school education? Considering the fact that public schools or government schools are actually trying to come forward in making the teaching learning process as effective as is being done in the private sector, it would be really nice if companies came forward to help the government run schools and train the government teachers. Once this is in place the great divide will become narrower and children will have the opportunity to shine and excel no matter what background they come from. What are the future initiatives/ plans for integrating ICT in school education in the coming years? The PSBB Millennium is already three steps ahead of other institutions as we have done away with the chalk and talk method. Interactive-Digiboards and LCD projectors complement what the teachers teach. The inclusion of Oneon-One (O3) computing where every child from Class 3 to 7 has been given Intelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CMPC (Classmate PC) has made the classroom even more exciting and also helped in inculcating a sense of confidence. Going forward we intend to make classroom learning a more vivid experience, proving that the world has indeed shrunk and that seamless learning can happen anywhere. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Students’ Blog Competition

Climate Change In India: Issues And Challenges

Aaditi Sinha

As part of the new Students’ Blog Competition on the Digital Learning website, we bring to you the winning blog entry of December, 2008. The author of the entry is Aaditi Sinha (aaditi_1990@ rediffmail.com), who is a student of B.Tech.(Hons) Computer Science Engineering at Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar-Ludhiana G.T. Road, Punjab. Aaditi bagged the National Climate champion – 2008, awarded by the British Council, New Delhi.

C

limate is the average pattern of weather for a particular region over a long period of time. Climate Change refers to a significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period. Burning of coal, oil, and natural gas, deforestation, various agricultural and industrial practices are altering the composition of the atmosphere. These human activities have led to increased atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrousoxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and tropospheric ozone in the lower part of the atmos-zphere. In developing countries like India, climate change could spell an additional stress on ecological and socioeconomic systems which are already facing tremendous pressures due to rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and economic development. India is highly vulnerable to climate change as its economy depends mainly on the climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture and forestry. A recent study done by our group from Einstein Club, Rewari, Haryana on various climate change and bio-diversity issues have brought out the following observations: • 82% of population thinks that climate change is a big threat and 64

the Government should bring out some legislation to curb the excessive use of natural resources. It should institute awards for people and organisations working towards protecting environment. 62% population believes that industries, SEZ, malls, housing societies etc. are disturbing natural habitat and eco-system. 71% population believes that government and NGOs should take initiatives to protect the climate of the region 71% of population follows a life style pattern of consuming more and more natural resources.

Climate change studies undertaken so far have revealed the need for community campaigns and long-term action to protect India’s water cycle. This is essential since the livelihood of a vast population in India depends on agriculture, forestry, wetlands and fisheries and land use in these areas is strongly influenced by water-based ecosystems that depend on monsoon. Changes in the water cycle may also cause an increase in water borne diseases. Agriculture and allied activities constitute the single largest component of India’s economy, contributing nearly 27% of the GDP. Given that 62% of

the cropped area is still dependent on rainfall; climatic changes could have a profound impact on agriculture. The local as well as global community can be engaged on the climate change in the following manner: • Sustained media campaign on the issue, including in regional languages • High focus and long term vision of government agencies in promoting green technologies • Strong political will to support clean environment issues • Highlighting good practices, glorifying achievements of people/ institutions in preserving climate on earth. In order to sustain a fast pace of socioeconomic development, immediate action is required on the part of government, experts, media and the public at large to slow down climate change. We need to ensure that the same natural resources that we have at our disposal are also available to the coming generations. Developmentof bio-fuels need to be accelerated, aided by favourable policies. The good news is that, combined action on the part of each and every individual to stop climate change can reduce its impact on our planet earth. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


School Track | Case Study

3rd anniversary special issue

Project Prakash

Integrated Approach to Quality Transformation in Schools By IL&FS Education and Technology Services Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are being used world over to lay down physical and social infrastructure. The use of PPP models was initiated in the 1970s and 80s due to deep concerns about increasing public debt. India utilises public-private partnerships through SPVs or bidding processes to set up roads, ports, airports, health and educational infrastructure. PPP is also being used as a way to meet the challenges presented by the education sector. In PPP projects the various stakeholders contribute not just finance but bring in expertise and project management talents. Advantages include: cost sharing; risk sharing; knowledge and resource sharing; and innovations to meet challenges.

Creating Social Infrastructure -IL&FS Education and Technology Services IL&FS Education and Technology Services (IETS), was set up in 1997 by IL&FS -- a pioneer in publicprivate partnerships in India. IETS is working with several state governments in various aspects of education such as creation of multi-media learning modules for transmission through EDUSAT; computer aided learning; capacity building of teachers; English language teaching; classroom management; soft-skills training; as well as design and implementation of MIS systems for schools.

Project Prakash Among the many projects is a partnership with the Pimpri - Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and the Science Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

and Technology Park to transform 152 schools to global standards. This holistic transformation project will impact around 60,000 students. Conceived as an ‘integrated project’, Project Prakash is all set to change the way teaching-learning takes place. Goals and interventions in the transformation process were set by a Joint Review Mission, which assessed the status of schools, defined areas in need of improvement, and recommended action points. Each intervention is planned in an integrated manner with the participation of every stakeholder. The project is focusing on providing quality education from Balwadi to 10th standard students. Specific interventions are designed to uplift the performance of students with special needs. All the 152 schools of PCMC will undergo transformation to meet global standards in all aspects of education

such as: • Create multimedia content based on syllabus • Introduce English, Math, and Science kits • Introduce Computer Aided Learning for students and teachers • Train teachers in English, IT, Classroom Management, Behavior Modification techniques and care of special needs children • Set up state of art IT infrastructure in terms of computer labs with Internet connectivity • Linking of all schools through WAN • MIS systems for administration • Intranet and Internet website and portals for the schools The partnership will go on for a period of three years and in that time the PCMC schools will be self sufficient, achieve global standards, and contribute towards the creation of a knowledge based society. << 65


News | Asia Kuala Lumpur: Mini-laptops do away with textbooks

Under an e-book programme which will start from early next year, Terengganu students throughout the state will eventually discard their textbooks for virtual textbooks stored on Intel-powered Classmate PCs once the Kuala Lumpur state goverment replaces their hefty textbooks with mini-laptop. Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said the project was aimed at giving ICT exposure to students as well as to lighten their schoolbags. The programme will start with 25,000 laptops which will be given to Year 5 students throughout the state.

Ahmad Said said that in order to supply the laptops, the state government would build a factory to assemble laptops. The factory will be built at a cost of RM8.5 million. It will start operations in February next year. The first batch of laptops is expected to be delivered to the students some time in April or May. The factory will have a capacity of 10,000 laptops per month.

Sri Lanka: ESOFT patronises EDEX - 2009 as Gold Sponsor

ESOFT, a premier institute in Information Communication Technology (ICT) education in Sri Lanka, recently announced entering into an agreement with the organisers of EDEX - 2009, the country’s most reputed exhibition, in order to patronise the event as its Gold Sponsor. ESOFT sees the importance of guiding and moulding Sri Lanka’s youth through education. They should be armed with the necessary skills to be competitive in a global arena as well. EDEX too, believes in a similar ideology, which is empowering Sri Lankan youth to be globally competitive. Dr. Dayan Rajapakse, Head of ESOFT stated that ESOFT and EDEX share many common interests. This was the key reason behind undertaking the EDEX - 2009 Gold Sponsor-

66

ship. Chairman of EDEX 2009, Kamal Abeysinghe acknowledging the sponsorship said that it was gratifying for the organizing committee to observe the significant contribution made by ESOFT during the past several years.

Digital age dawns in Hong Kong classrooms

of implementation of the Mindanao opportunities for vitalized education and upgrading of Science (MOVE UPS) project that will be jointly undertaken by the DOST and the Department of Education. The initiative would benefit a total of 60 schools. The project also intends to increase the number of qualifiers from recipient schools in the Philippine Science High School system.

Training Workshop: An Introductory Course on ICeXCELS for School Principals and Administrators The hawksbill turtle was one of the hottest attractions at Hong Kong’s Asia World Expo Centre (AWE). Fong Yin Kuan, a teacher at Beacon Primary School in Singapore, was sharing her insights about her project, which involves seven-year-olds in the area of reading and writing. And just behind Kuan, Sarietjie Musgrave, one of four South Africans in the AWE, had set up her home away from home for the next three days. What Iman, Kuan and Musgrave have in common is, in essence, their ability to adapt. When information and communication technologies began reshaping our world, they opened their classroom doors and invited a new set of learning and teaching tools inside. Moreover, these teachers have been using these technologies in such pioneering ways in their own countries that they were hand-picked to join 260 of their peers from 64 countries to share their groundbreaking methodologies on a global platform.

Philippines: ICT equipment in 20 Schools in ARMM The Department of Science and Technology in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOST-ARMM) in partnership with the Science Education Institute (SEI) handed over Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment to 20 elementary schools in the provinces of Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan. DOST-ARMM Secretary, Pendatun Nur said the equipment, which included a laptop, LCD projector and a tripod screen, is intended for instructing science and mathematics in a more comprehensive and interesting manner. The supply of ICT equipment is part

UNESCO organised a special training workshop, ‘An Introductory Course on ICeXCELS for School Principals and Administrators’ in collaboration with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH) to address the competency requirements of school principals and administrators and to enhance their capacity in carrying out their responsibilities more effectively. The 2-day workshop was an abridged version of the full length 4-week course developed by SEAMEO INNOTECH based on the Competency Framework for Southeast Asian School Heads and validated by the Ministries of Education for ten SEAMEO Member States.

Asians top achievers in global mathematics, science says study

According to a report by Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Asian students were top achievers in mathematics and science in both the fourth and eighth grade levels. In mathematics at the fourth grade level, Hong Kong SAR and Singapore were the top performing countries, followed by Chinese Taipei and Japan. At the eighth grade, top achievers were Chinese Taipei, Korea, and Singapore, followed by Hong Kong SAR and Japan. In science, students from Singapore and Chinese Taipei were top performers at both grade levels. At the fourth grade, Singapore was the top performing country, followed by Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong SAR, said a TIMSS release. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

3rd anniversary special issue

Designing India’s Talent Pool

Jayant Bhadauria, Head Education Solutions, Adobe Please tell us about Adobe’s strategy for building India’s talent pool. Adobe revolutionises how the world engages with ideas and information. This mission is our driving force. In India we have tied up with the largest university in Tamil Nadu, which is now using our software for their multi-media labs. Talks are also on with various other universities for partnership. Our aim is to develop a talent base, which can be employed in animation, web designing, media & publishing, e-Learning, software application development and advertising. Adobe India also plans to tie up with educational boards like CBSE and ICSE at the school level for building an employable talent pool. We believe that India needs to make digital skills compulsory at school level to create a national talent pool for the future. What are the various offerings from Adobe’s stable for the education sector in India? Our key offerings from Adobe’s stable for education sector in India are: Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium and Web Premium which empowers students to master design challenges and also equips them with the tools used by professionals for web applications. Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

Our aim is to develop a talent base, which can be employed in animation, web designing, media & publishing, e-Learning, software application development and advertising

Adobe e-Learning Solutions, reflects its ongoing commitment to helping faculty, students, and administrators at higher education institutions. The key components of e-Learning solutions are: Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro 7, Adobe Presenter 7, Adobe Captivate 3, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Training, and Adobe Acrobat Professional. What has been the response of the domestic educational institutions to your products? The response is astonishing. Many domestic educational institutions are changing the way they teach; they have more Interactive Classrooms and the emphasis is on computers/ multimedia. Many Engineering colleges, polytechnics and colleges offering IT related courses across India are teaching Adobe Creative Suite tools. Even schools have started including Adobe products in their curriculum to inspire creativity and digital media excellence in schools. Please tell us about the initiative Youth Voices. Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) aims to empower youth in underserved communities around the globe with

real-world experiences and 21st-century tools to communicate their ideas, exhibit their potential, and take action in their communities. Launched in June 2006, Adobe Youth Voices is The Adobe Foundation’s global signature philanthropy programme. In India, currently ten non profit organisations and educational institutions from Noida/Delhi and 14 from Bangalore are participating in the programme. What, according to you, are the main challenges of the educational system in India? The quality and relevancy of higher education in India and its ability to produce informed and skilled citizens able to compete in the 21st Century global market place is in question. Employers assert that the college graduates they hire are not prepared for the workplace, lacking the new set of skills. Higher education needs to address the fundamental issues of how academic programmes and institutions must be transformed to serve the changing needs of a knowledge economy. New curricula and technologies need to be developed, particularly in the area of science and mathematical literacy. << 67


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

From Empowerment To Engagement Our mission is to ‘empower the teacher to engage students’ by capturing in digital media, well known presentation and assessment techniques Dr Manmohan Sharma President, Educo International Please tell us how Educosoft was conceptualised? Educosoft has evolved from my own experiences as a teacher for more than 40 years, enriched with inputs from educators across the world through interactions at seminars, conferences, and research symposia. Based on these, we identified three critical areas where appropriate technologies can help improve quality of instructional outcomes: 1. To empower the teachers to be more effective as presenters and discussion leaders in classes, 2. To provide technology tools and question banks to teachers that can assist in periodic assessment, 3. Technology tools must be easy to use and learn and help teachers save time How effective is the Educosoft online learning system in enhancing the performance of students? Our mission is to ‘empower the teacher to engage students’ by capturing in 68

digital media, well known presentation and assessment techniques. Educosoft provides class notes replete with graphics and animations, tools like online grade book, online homework and frequent self assessment, communication tools (announcements, e-mailing, and chatting), survey creation and administration, and features to add content or create custom courses, tutorials, varieties of tests with solutions, etc. Educosoft turned out to be more effective than our expectations. Its effectiveness has been measured in several ways, including national surveys in the US; published PhD dissertations; results of student performance in state examinations; and comments from principals, teachers, and students exposed to this system. What kind of feedback have you received for your product in India? Educosoft was officially launched in India in April 2008 after piloting its

use in some select schools in National Capital Region. In the last eight months, we have organised 34 seminars attended by 1357 teachers from 456 schools. After each seminar, we conducted half day training sessions for seminar participants. Almost all teachers exposed to Educosoft have endorsed this platform as unique and comprehensive than any other initiative. There are however, some implementation hurdles related to the lack of appropriate technology infrastructure in schools and resistance to the use of internet. To counter these, we have launched a new initiative by providing schools with Local Area Network (LAN) solution to deliver content. What pattern does Educosoft follow for its assessments? We follow a unique pattern as all assessments including home work, section quizzes, chapter tests, or comprehensive course tests are delivered in Free Response mode. Students have to work out the solution and enter the answer on screen, instead of clicking an option in multiple choice. If the answer is correct the system will grade it correctly. All assessments are recorded automatically and saved for review later. Homework assignments have built in tutorials and all tests provide instant feedback, with step-by-step solutions. Another very powerful feature is SMS messages or e-mails to keep parents informed about their ward’s progress. Are there any plans to cater to other subjects apart from Math? We will have science courses by the beginning of the new academic term in April 2009. For sciences we will be having additional component of actual simulated labs, along with the theory presented in the same format as in Math courses; embedded with illustrations through dynamic graphics and animations. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


The moment you keep the student, teacher, parent communities in isolation, it would limit their role in the education system. Every individual is a learner. Learning is a lifelong process and each individual can be a teacher and facilitator Saurabh Saxena, Director, Axiom Education What makes India’s education sector a deserving case for implementation of ICT? Over 26 million children join India’s primary education system each year which is even greater than the population of many countries. The challenge is to get adequate number of professionals to mentor these millions of new students.

and hence technology can provide a platform here to support.

If education remains people-centric, then we will have to find an army of professionals with skills for delivering this. Taking the sheer number into account, we need to ask, is this physically possible? And how long can we keep pace with this? This is where technology comes in as an enabler, in the form of components like computer, printer, projector, etc.

Please tell us more about iken and how it fosters a collaborative approach? We have built a complete collaborative platform portal, www.iken.in. ‘I’ means my and ‘ken’ stands for knowledge horizon. So, ‘I can’ do, this is what we wanted to imbibe. We have launched the beta version where users can share the experiences and publish their content online. Axiom’s own content is also available and we are open to collaborate with everyone, so that it becomes the biggest knowledge resource.

Please tell us about the idea of a collaborative platform like iken.in? Today, we say technology has made the world a smaller place, that’s the real power of IT. It dissolves all boundaries because of Internet, telecom and other forms. Our intent was to create this platform within education to provide infrastructure to support people coming together and sharing their thoughts. A school with 1,000 students has a base of 2,000 parents, who may not physically be present in the school to contribute 70

The moment you keep the student, teacher, parent communities in isolation, it would limit their role in the education system. Every individual is a learner. Learning is a lifelong process and each individual can be a teacher and facilitator.

Collaborative learning through web seminars - students in India sit with students from other countries and solve academic problems - is a possibility at www.iken.in. You also have the best teacher training programmes available online. There are two sections on the website. One is for the students and the other

is for professionals, we have included graduate students also as professionals. There is a segment called ‘create’ where you can draw up your own content and publish it as a learning resource. The section ‘Learn’ has all the ratified content from various recognised content providers across the world. The ‘connect’ segment provides the convergence model to connect to community of mentors, project advisors, peer groups, study groups, etc. What is your vision for the website five years from now? Five years from now, www.iken.in is going to be the preferred mode of education delivery across all levels. Education will be more customised, which is the need of the hour, and more individualist catering to their talents and learning curves. People will identify and work upon their strengths and weaknesses. What are challenges that were seen in bringing this mode of education delivery in formal education system? Benchmarking ourselves has been difficult as ours is a unique solution. So we found it difficult to improve and upgrade as we had nothing on the same lines to benchmark against. A major bottleneck is going to be the infrastructure. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

3rd anniversary special issue

Facilitating ‘Operational Excellence’

Navyug Mohnot CEO, QAI Please trace your journey from being an engineer to an entrepreneur. QAI has been an interesting journey. When I returned to India after completing my PhD from USA, there wasn’t much of an IT industry those days. There were only few companies that existed and an antenna on the top of the Texas Instruments building in Bangalore was a tourist attraction. With this as context, QAI India was set up fifteen years ago, in association with QAI USA to be an ‘enabler’ for the Indian IT industry to emerge. India and the Indian IT has come a long way since. We started with helping companies with Quality and today our charter has increased far beyond that to helping global organisations facilitate Operational Excellence. We have been partnering the journeys of over 300 clients in 30 countries. We also have wholly owned subsidiaries in Singapore, Malaysia, China, UK and most recently, USA. What, according to you, are the major issues confronting the Indian IT industry today? The economic meltdown that has Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

The Indian e-Learning market today is estimated to be around US$ 122 million growing at a whopping CAGR of around 70% brought the US economy to deep recession has also impacted the Indian industry. To face the current financial crisis, the Indian IT and BPO sector need to plan for a slower growth rate. As manpower is one of the most substantial cost factors, the biggest impact of the slowdown would be on company’s HR spends. Hiring would take back seat for most of the organisations; many would also be looking at reducing manpower. In this hour of global meltdown it is important for the organisation to reduce cost while maintaining their competitive advantage. For this, organisations need to retain competent people. This is where training and certifying people becomes important. What are your views on the standard of training that is provided in IT finishing schools, particularly from the employability perspective? Current training provided by most IT Finishing Schools falls short of expectations by the corporate. Most of them are designed for teaching skills on programming languages. Many IT schools fail to appreciate and educate the importance of process, quality,

behavioral skills required for a job. Majority of the training is instructor led and the poor quality of the faculty affects the programme when you scale. It is very important to involve the industry practitioners in the programme to make it more meaningful. How do you see the e-Learning market in India evolving? What are the key challenges or drivers? The Indian e-Learning market today is estimated to be around US$ 122 million growing at a whopping CAGR of around 70%, while the global e-Learning market is growing at approximately 50%. The e-learning market is sitting at the cusp, waiting to explode. The timing, model and the value propositions are just right. In my opinion, the IT and the BPO sectors would consume huge market share of the e-Learning industry in the near future. The key challenge is that the e-Learning industry still faces conventional mindset which believes that e-Learning does not have as much credibility as classroom training. This challenge can be overcome by internationally recognised certifications or by a blended learning programme. Please tell us about Six Sigma and its current application. Six Sigma is a business strategy, which intelligently blends the wisdom of the organisation with proven statistical tools to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation in meeting customer needs. At one level, Six Sigma is a philosophy - that all business problems need to be solved using a scientific and structured methodology. At other level, this is operationalised through a series of Six Sigma process improvement projects and through a well-developed tool set – both statistical and non-statistical. The ultimate goal is creation of economic wealth for the customer and provider alike. This is of paramount importance especially in to today’s turbulent times. << 71


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak Partnering in Universalisation of Education We are increasingly moving towards Public Private Partnership to impact the larger sectoral education initiative in the country. We work to supplement and enhance the quality of large educational programmes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA) Shabnam Sinha IL&FS ETS Please tell with us about your company’s engagement with educational infrastructure. What are the goals and objectives? IL&FS is one of India’s leading infrastructure development and finance companies. Our engagement in the field of education is through its subsidiary IL&FS Education and Technology Services Limited (IETS). We offer learning content and training modules for schools, colleges, vocational training institutes, governments, and the corporate sector.

classroom management systems using technology platforms.

How does IETS approach Public Private Partnership as an important aspect of expansion of education? We are increasingly moving towards Public Private Partnership (PPP) to impact the larger sectoral education initiative in the country. We work to supplement and enhance the quality of large educational programmes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

Talking about curriculum, can you give specific examples of how you go about it in schools that you are associated with? Under PPP the schools are handed over to us in various states of dis-repair. And we are asked to give them a quality standard and a uniform and signature look. A protractor is actually drawn on the floor at the door, so when it opens it makes an angle. You can thus measure the angles that you are covering as you open the door. Thus each corner of the building becomes a learning corner.

How do you support government efforts for universalisation of education? We have been engaged in teacher training for a while, but we are now up-scaling. As part of the SSA, we have trained one lakh teachers in Jharkhand in two months. We also help the schools and classrooms in doing their MIAS and 72

What are the challenges and issues that confront India’s education system right now? There are many issues related to equity, in terms of social and gender dynamics, within the large education programmes. We in our interventions are covering girls, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. We are working with the government of Delhi on 300 schools for enhancing the school infrastructure.

What are the various other offerings of IETS? Unlike most of the companies which are product oriented, we are process

oriented as we work in the area of PPP. Our programmes are usually long term, from three to five years. Here I woould like to mention two critical programmes -- one is the Delhi schools programme dealing with infrastructural changes. We are impacting 300 schools located in 202 buildings through this programme. So, we are doing this entire physical infrastructure upgradation for quality improvement. The other is that we provide complete holistic solution. Talking about skill development, do you have any programmes for younger generation and college students, for enhancing employability of youth? There is a very interesting programme which I would like to mention, i.e., Developing Life Skills package. We did this project with ILO. This Life Skills package was developed for child labourers and the unemployed youth to make them functional in a work situation. The package comprised 13 skills which were identified by us at the national level. We are now planning to take this project to SSA schools for upscaling. The project is important as it has a strong component of entrepreneurship, negotiation skills, financial planning and budgeting involved, which is highly relevant in the current context. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

3rd anniversary special issue

Unleashing Unlimited Potential Microsoft’s vision for education in the 21st century is driven by the shared belief that the use of technology in education will help remove limitations, foster innovation, and enable students and teachers to achieve their fullest potential Please take us briefly through Microsoft’s engagement with the education community in India? Microsoft has a long-term partnership with India which goes back to 1990 when we set up operations in the country. We believe that technology offers new educational possibilities that can help empower both teachers and students everywhere. Under the Unlimited Potential effort, Microsoft India is focused on long-term investments for facilitating relevant, affordable access to technology in areas which are aligned to India’s priorities – education being one of them. The investment made in it over the years is what has propelled India’s growth in the knowledge economy. What are the challenges in providing high quality education in India. How successful has technology been in meeting those challenges? India has the largest education system in the world – but it will never be large enough for us to reach every student in every corner of the country. Such a massive education, though admirable in its reach and magnitude, faces the issues of infrastructure, sufficiency of quality teachers, relevant curriculum and administration. The issue of equipping teachers with the wherewithal to impart quality education Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

concerns us. The answer is not to wait until we have enough teachers – but to increase the impact of the teachers that we do have today. The vision Microsoft has for education in the 21st century is to help remove limitations, foster innovation, and enable students and teachers to achieve their fullest potential. Technology has the power to revamp teaching and learning methods and extend the walls of classrooms across the globe – Technology Assisted Delivery can be a solution, Microsoft’s Multi Point can be a solution. How do you rate the success of Partners in Learning Program in India? What has been its outreach? In December 2003, when Bill Gates launched Partners in Learning - Project Shiksha - in India, the goal was to train 80,000 teachers in five years. As the stated timeline draws close, we have surpassed the target by more than 300%. Surely this outlines the success and popularity of this programme – and we are very encouraged by it. What is also very encouraging is to see the increase in the number of teachers who enroll for the programme each year, and also in the number of entries we receive each year for annual International Teachers Leadership Awards. We have opened over 10 IT Academies in States and also used the

Rajeev Katyal Director Education, Microsoft Government DIETs for imparting training to teachers. It is amazing to see the teachers empowered with IT skills, making them better educators. They also share their own learning with peers through the Shiksha portal. The students, in many cases uninterested and lagging in technical skills, become more involved in their studies. What kind of involvement does Microsoft see with governments and NGOs in India as part of its agreement with the OLPC. Microsoft’s association with the OLPC programme is an agreement making the Microsoft Windows operating system available on the OLPC’s low-cost XO education laptops to children around the world. Please tell us about the future plans of Microsoft in India. Any new initiatives in the offing? Microsoft continues to explore new ways to deliver its technology and we aim to provide customised solutions to meet the specific requirements in diverse geographies and economies. One interesting initiative coming up in India is IT Academies that bring the power of e-Learning to Engineering colleges in India to set up learning labs for developing skills. << 73


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

Building A Knowledge Repository YoKnowledge is based on the philosophy that every student has his own question bank, which may be packed in textbook lessons or written in notebooks or queried by teachers and parents Gautam Goradia CEO, YoKnowledge.com How did Hayagriva come up with the idea of having a dedicated product for assessment as YoKnowledge.com? Although I don’t come from an IT background, I am good at writing software applications. I had done few applications for our family textile company which were very successful. So I thought of diversifying. It has been a long journey since I started out in 2001. We launched our first product in 2008 and have four to five new products line up in the next six months. The idea for YoKnowledge came to me from my wife, who is an avid quizzer and a consultant with schools. As she had difficulty in frequentlyupdating the question bank for quizes, I made a software for her where she could keep a bank of questions in different folders as per age of contestants or the difficulty level. She could also put images, video or audio files in them. Those days in 1994-95 many quiz-based shows such as Kaun Banega Crorepati had already come in market. So then I decided to make this application commercial. YoKnowledge is based on the philosophy that every student has her/his own question bank, which may be packed in the lessons of our textbooks or written in notebooks or queried by teachers and parents. The product personalises learning as YO means ‘Your Own’. Now we also have 74

YoQuestions Pro, an authoring tool, and YoQuestions Lite. It is a desktop based product and hence does not require Internet except when you want to download questions. In what ways does YoKnowledge empower the teacher with new age tools and technology use in classrooms? Every teacher loves collaborative learning but they don’t have the tools to do it. The authoring tool gave them the power to go beyond textbooks. India is yet to integrate the system of collaborative learning in its education system in a big way. YoKnowledge goes beyond regular testing for students; it has in-built tools for teachers responsible for bringing collaborative learning into the classrooms with printable worksheets, flash cards, snap cards etc. The teacher is an intuitive author and the tool liberates her from the book publisher and empowers her to ask her own question. The software also empowers her to create worksheets, chose topics within a chapter, and format it as MCQs. You can also add a video clip along with the question, which can then be stored and shared later with other teachers and students. The package has 6,000 questions for offline study and for online mode, practice and test sessions

are available on our website. A study done in the US found that repeated assessment gives better results than repeated studying. How do you keep up with competition? Currently we are not active in the mainstream competition. Our philosophy is unique and the simplicity of our product is its USP. The advatage derived throgh its offline/online mode gives our products an edge over others in the market. Which markets are you looking forward to for launching your products? We have started out in India and are in close contact with several companies in the Middle East, the UK, US and many African countries as well. Although the market is huge in India and there are many companies doing testing, ours is the only company which gives more than one source of content and helps build a community. We aim to cater to every examination system in India, including all professional examinations such as banking, etc, in the next three years. We also want to expand to become a 15-million-dollar company in the coming three to four years. As English is the most preferred language across the globe, we also plan to launch our language improvement solutions as the next product line. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

3rd anniversary special issue

Linking Technology With Training We are offering schools a complete package of management support, ranging from curriculum and teaching methodology, teacher training and management, and day to day school operations

Having taken over as the MD of Edurite Technologies, what plans do you have for Edurite in this segment? The K 12 space in education is an area of significant opportunities. We continue to focus on providing IT based content to schools to supplement the teaching process in the classrooms. Additionally, we are offering student led e-learning content through the retail market place. Through the Edurite Tutorials brick and mortar centers, we are providing supplemental training to students to help them with their exams as well as preparing them for Engineering and Medical entrance exams. We have recently launched the end-to end school management which we are offering schools a complete package of management support, ranging from curriculum and teaching methodology, teacher training and management, and day to day school operations. What, according to you, ails the K-12 education in India? In what ways can technology engender a change in this system? There are about 220 million students who are part of the K-12 education in India. About a 90 million of these study in 75,000 private schools, while the balance go to about a million Government schools. There is a great deal of inconsistency in the quality of Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

education that gets delivered across these schools. Availability of qualified and good quality teachers is an ongoing challenge. Technology can help to level the playing field to some extent. The content that companies like ours provide, are linked to the various central and state syllabus and act as a very strong tool to the teachers in ensuring that the students’ are able to understand concepts more effectively. In places where access to teachers is difficult, these tools can help ensure a consistent level of inputs to the students. We have worked extensively in Government schools in upcountry Karnataka and have seen that our solutions have helped improve the scores for the students in their SSLC exams from 50% to 63% over a twoyear time frame. How has partnership with TutorVista. com helped leverage educational content and technology? Please tell us about any new inititatives following the acquisition. TutorVista.com is in the business of providing one-on-one supplemental education to children in the Global marketplace, with Indian teachers. TutorVista.com acquired Edurite Technologies last November with a view of using the Edurite model in the entire domestic market place. The

Meena Ganesh CEO & MD, Edurite Technologies Edurite Tutorial model is actually a great way of combining technology and instructor led training, along with 24/7 online support using the TutorVista.com model. TutorVista.com has also found the content that Edurite has created over the last many years a great tool for their teachers to use as part of the Online tutoring services. What sets Edurite Tutorials apart from other players in the field? Edurite Tutorials brings together the work that we have done over the last 8 years in the area of academic content for the K-12 space. The tutorials offer the students the best in content in a structured environment, meant to improve their performance in the key exams. How successful has Edurite’s entry into retail business been? What brought about this shift? India has 7 million Home PC’s today. Edurite has a suite of more than 200 products for children of different syllabi and grades. They are available at more than 400 retail outlets across India like Crossword, LandMark, Reliance, Sapna etc. Edurite’s entry into the retail business has been very successful. We reach around 200,000 customers through this vertical every year. Edurite is the largest player in the organised retail educational CDROM vertical in India. << 75


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

Integrating Technology Solutions With Training Innovation is an organisational culture. One has to have the right manpower with the right attitude and measure impact on key assessment parameters Please share with our readers how Tata Interactive System started out and the journey so far. In 1990, when I set up Tata Interactive, India did not have a significant market for Internet, so we had to look towards the international markets. Today, large organisations almost spontaneously think of e-Learning and technologybased learning solutions, whereas 10 years ago, these concepts had just arrived in the country. Though the sector has matured overtime, it’s still a very small industry as compared to its potential. I got interested in training technologies and so I proposed if we can successfully merge technology solutions for training needs to cater to the national and international markets. Today we churn out more than 300 products annually. How has the year 2008 been for TIS? What has been the focal change in the approach this year? We have had a very good year. Our clients are pretty happy with our work, so that has been a major prerogative. We have been successful in enhancing our value in key corporate. We aim to strengthen energies towards catering to corporate needs and are in the process of shifting our business mix towards solutions for corporate initiatives. So, when we meet our clients, we try to find out their key initiatives and offer solutions accordingly. We have been successful in enhancing our value proposition 76

towards key corporate, organisational initiatives. Who are your major clients in the field of education? Our clients in education sector include big publishers, Universities and government, including various US and federal governments and departments. One of our biggest clients has been the University of Phoenix. In India, we have been working with all the major companies and each year we see a greater interest in e-Learning solutions. What is innovation in e-Learning? Innovation in e-Learning operates at two levels – Product and Process levels. We have a trademark approach called StoBle - Story-based learning objects, and another called SyMob - Stimulation-based learning objects. So, product innovation happens in the e-Learning market and then there is process innovation. So, both are important. Other forms of innovation include business value changes and enabling corporate as well as organisational initiatives. TIS is known for its innovation aptitude, can you tell us how do build the innovation culture within the company? Innovation is an organisational culture. One has to have the right manpower with the right attitude and measure impact on key assessment parameters. It’s a process that you have to keep working on. An investment in R&D comes through aggressive targets on key

Sanjaya Sharma

Founder and CEO, Tata Interactive Systems parameters we measure, so innovation comes through product forms and process improvements. Operations, financial client satisfaction, efficiency are some of the parameters on which we measure success. We have won more than 40 awards in the last 10 years which validates our success in the international sphere. In what ways has the global slowdown affected the e-Learning industry? How prepared is TIS to weather the storm? The current economic slowdown will impact everyone and training is one of the first expenditure that gets cut in this situation. So, we are predicting a slowdown in the market in 2009, but in this scenario, people begin to appreciate technology-based solutions as a cost-effective way to spend their training budget. So, initially there will be an impact on small suppliers but then the e-Learning market will grow more rapidly. TIS is a global player in multiple markets and operates on a bigger scale. Our global presence in different geographies and segments have empowered us with knowledge applications to scale quality processes. TIS has good cash reserves and is well positioned to weather the storm. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

Redifining Classroom ‘One on One’ Educomp is now entering Professional education and Training space to address the huge skill gap in India

Your company has made it to the Forbes Best Under A Billion list for the Asia-Pacific region. How does it feel to make it to the list of 200 companies? It is indeed an honour to be featured among the top 200 under billion (USD) companies in Asia-Pacific region. All such recognitions serve to further motivate us. What is the Educomp 03 Learning System? Educomp O3 Learning System is a new age learning system that facilitates One on One learning in schools and is all set to redefine classroom teaching-learning. It has been developed by Educomp after years of intensive research and provides teachers with a host of tools, strategies and applications to facilitate learning in a One on One computing environment. It is a comprehensive one stop solution enabling a more engaging, interesting and experiential form of teaching and learning. Under the Educomp O3 programme, every child in class will be equipped with an Intel powered Classmate PC, fully loaded with applications and features designed for One on One learning in schools. Teachers will also be equipped, trained and empowered with intensive teaching learning strategies. Most of the Educomp solutions are for the K-12 segment? Any plans for the higher education sector? Over the years, Educomp has clearly established its leadership in the K-12 education space and is now entering the zone beyond K-12, into Professional education and Training space to address the huge skill gap in India. Our aim is to help thousands of students out of school who are looking for career guidance and coaching for professional courses of their choice. Educomp’s most recent initiative - ETEN program - seeks 78

Shantanu Prakash CEO, Educomp Solutions to address the employability training needs of students across the country through VSAT enabled classrooms. Our recent JV with Asia’s largest education group, Raffles Education Corp will also strengthen our presence in the higher education space. Please elaborate on Educomp’s foray into school management, vis-a-vis its acquisition of 51% stake in Takshila Management Services. This is a strategic tie-up to widen our reach into Tier II and Tier III cities where Takshila will be setting up high quality schools. All these schools would be using our advanced Millennium Learning system. Please tell us about your foray into the pre-school segment. How is Roots to Wings different from other playschools? Pre-school, being the first educational level for the child is where the roots are established. It is therefore imperative that it begins on the right note. It is here that the child’s roots are nurtured and they develop the wings that enable them to navigate successfully through their schooling years and prepares them for life after. Educomp’s ‘Roots to Wings’

(R2W) learning centre provide an ideal environment for all this. What sets R2W apart from other Preschools is their scientific approach to learning and unique curriculum design — a result of over 2, 40,000 man hours of research by a group of early childhood educational researchers — which is based on a combination of the project method, multiple intelligence, play way, Montessori and theme-based model. Are there any plans for tie-ups with the civil society or state governments to extend technology to those who are less-privileged or live in rural areas? Educomp today works with close to 10,000 government schools under the PPP model, wherein we take the best of technology and digital content to underprivileged children across India (including remote areas and interiors). We are today the largest player in this space. Does Educomp have any plans to venture into other countries? At the moment we are focusing on the US and South Asia market and will soon foray into China (via JV with Raffles Group). << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

3rd anniversary special issue

Encouraging Innovation Through Technology

Anshul Sonak Manager, K-12 Education Intel India Please comment on the status of education in India. What measures are needed for improving the education scenario here? How have Intel’s educational initiatives impacted the education sector? There are many dynamic changes that are happening in India today, thanks to the efforts of Ministry of HRD and Departments of Education in states. The move to increase the number of institutions of higher education and excellence makes us hopeful of seeing some cutting edge research and innovations coming from here in the future. NKC has tabled some interesting recommendations especially in the area of improving the quality of teachers and the quality of the teaching – learning schools and institutions of higher education, focused on enhancing employability of the youth. To further enhance the education scenario, improvement is required in the quality of our teachers at all levels. Teachers trained in the ability to use technology and its resources effectively will be able to provide this enriching learning environment. Intel has initiatives like Intel Teach and Intel Learn Programs that focus on Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

Intel’s Education programmes provide localised content and services, online tools and resources to connect technologies to villages, suburbs, and cities around the world to deliver access to community information, education, and healthcare improving teaching and learning through effective and judicious integration of technology; Higher Education Program and IRIS (Initiative for Innovation and Research in Science) that focus on scientific research and innovation. We have a long and sustained commitment to education and we believe this is the way to progress. What role has technology played in arresting drop-outs, facilitating universalisation of education in India? Technology used effectively has the potential to be the great leveler. It has the ability to provide quality resources in the form of content to a large number of students. The issue of teacher quality can be addressed easily by integrating technology in the curriculum and in the teaching and learning process. Project based approaches in a technology enriched environment, will help connect learning to the real life and make

JNV, Mouli (Panchkula)

learning a more involved process. Very often technology is not used effectively because teachers have not been trained on effective use of this powerful tool. If these tools are provided, then change can happen at a fast pace. Education policies also need to be amended to support this cause. We have seen some encouraging results in rural India where students themselves, given an opportunity to solve authentic real life problems and given right technology resources, with right guidance of trained teachers, have addressed issues like girl child retention, bringing back dropouts to mainstream schooling etc. 79


creating newer and more innovative ventures.

An IRIS Participant at ISEF 2008

Please tell us about Intel’s initiative to promote scientific temper among students. At Intel, we believe that by encouraging a research temperament and innovative thought in students we can produce a generation of students who can be leaders of the 21st century. In our efforts to promote a scientific temperament amongst students in India we have introduced the IRIS (Initiative for Research & Innovation in Science) with help of Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The mission of IRIS is to promote and nurture science and scientific research amongst young Indian innovators, recognize and reward outstanding projects and provide a platform for the young innovators to get recognised at international events . Every year we see some encouraging innovations coming out from rural India through such platforms. For example, one of the girl winner this year from Navodaya School, Mandya came up with very innovative research project titled ‘Fast germination and growth of seeds using Rhizobium’ … well that kind of innovations are really happening across India. Please tell us about Intel’s involvement in the higher education sector in India? In what ways does it address the problem of employability in the sector? Intel believes in supporting students 80

for innovation, for making the workforce employable. By providing entrepreneurial opportunities we believe that Indian students can get the motivation to match skills at a global level. The Intel Higher Education Program focuses on advancing innovation in key areas of technology and developing a pipeline of diverse world-class technical talent for Intel and the broader industry. The Program also focuses on research, curriculum, student opportunities as well as entrepreneurship. In India, Higher Education Program covers more than 300 Engineering Colleges focusing on developing industry expertise in cutting edge technology areas like Multicore, VLSI and supports research engagements and innovation and entrepreneurship development programmes across the academia. In what ways has the current economic slowdown impacted Intel’s CSR activities in education? The current slowdown has impacted industries and economies globally. With India as one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the focus being on development of India’s knowledge resources, our commitment to education initiatives still remains top priority. Our partnerships with the government sector have motivated our growth over the years and we expect these relationships to prosper,

What are your views on the Public Private Partnerships in education? Our relationships with stakeholders across India, especially with central and state government education departments have increased and strengthened the reach and depth of our education initiatives. These partnerships are a brilliant opportunity for collaboration and growth of the knowledge economy of India. Motivation from the government will definitely bring about the desired changes. Intel is looking forward to newer models of partnerships where it can bring to the table its unique educational assets which will benefit stakeholders across the country. Our strategic collaborations with developmental agencies and NGO partners, will also help us in reaching out to beneficiaries at the grass root level. Is Intel planning on any new initiatives in the education sector for India? Our World Ahead Program focuses on connecting the next billion people to uncompromised technology around the world. The vision of World Ahead is to provide greater accessibility, increased connectivity, quality education and localized content and services. We are also committed to improving education on a larger scale across India. With an ongoing focus on students and teachers, we are making an impact with technology solutions and quality education that support the development of 21st Century skills, including digital literacy, problem solving, and critical thinking. As citizens use the Internet, the need to create localised content is the key. Intel’s education programmes provide localised content and services, online tools and resources to connect technologies to villages, suburbs, and cities around the world to deliver access to community information, education, and healthcare. We intend to keep adding to our commitment for a better India. We are extending our various programmes to the North East and other untouched parts of the country this year for this purpose. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader Speak

Building a Strong Academic Foundation The industry demands for individuals who are beyond books and hires personnel based on their conceptual clarity and strong fundamental back up Muralidhar K S, CEO, 24x7 Guru Please tell us about the vision behind setting up of 24x7guru. 24x7guru.com is an outcome of a dream, a dream of experienced professionals who were stirred by the stress levels, low self esteem arising due to low scores in exams, and increasing level of suicides by students today. The team then committed themselves to the cause of spreading quality education beyond examination to cater to knowledge that increases the child’s self esteem, acts as a platform to enhance learning, facilitates in identifying their strengths and develops on potential. 24x7guru concentrates on Math and Science subjects. Any plans to widen the scope to other subjects and also include classes 11 and 12? 24x7guru.com caters to the universally accepted concepts streams of academics, Math and Science. Currently, we are catering to students from class 3 to 10 and we would shortly be extending our services to the students of +12 for the next academic year. How was Destination NASA Knowledge Challenge conceptualised? We wanted to test ourselves with the 82

quality of students that we have been producing and the progress these students were making in academics. We then decided to reward these students with the platform, Destination NASA to provide them with the global exposure in the field of Science and Technology. Two meritorious students per grade from class 6 to 10 were therefore rewarded based on their conceptual clarity in academics. Destination NASA was a platform provided to 24x7guru.com subscribers with the objective to reward 10 meritorious students with an all paid trip to the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, USA where each student was accompanied by a parent and a teacher. The Knowledge Challenge concentrated on fundamental and conceptual clarity amongst students at their respective grades. Are there any educational outreach programmes to extend this online learning system to the underserved in the country? Yes, we do. For example, 24x7guru had volunteered to extend the application to a school run by Kasturba Gandhi Trust in Sevagram consisting of 600 students.

We extended the application free of cost to them. For any such worthy organisation, 24x7guru.com would always be in forefront to help, especially the students from classes III to X. How successful has been your venture offering educational services on the DTH platform, vis-a-vis your tie-up with Tata Sky? The reach of the TV exceeds over 120 million homes today and is also the main source of information dissemination and entertainment. 24x7guru.com is the content partner for Tata Sky’s Active Learning platform, where we extend a sample of our content. Viewers get 50 new questions & answers each day from Science, Math, General Knowledge. This way, 24x7guru reaches out to millions of households and introduce them to new ways of interactive and fun learning that appeals not only to the students but also the family at large. What are your views about the examination pattern in current system of education in India. The current definition as prevailing in schools revolves around examinations where a child’s intelligence is judged from the marks they score during a three hour examination. The industry demands for individuals who are beyond books and hires personnel based on their conceptual clarity and strong fundamental back up. The percentage of marks obtained by one on his report card is of least influence to his employability. The only thing that matters is his fundamental foundation in concepts learnt during his course of academics, which has given into today’s education system as a memorising tool for examination for the purpose of scores alone. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader Speak

3rd anniversary special issue

Betting Economic Slowdown

With NComputing, 11 Users Share 1 PC the PCs available today are capable of delivering more, adding more to this minimal power. Now imagine, if the PC is used to its fullest! Imagine, if the power wasted can be banked on for productive use! ‘Aligning ourselves with this fact, we are committed towards enabling affordable access to computing; computing for education, which is one of the national priorities for India. We are continually looking for innovative and affordable technology solutions that can sustain social and economic progress.’ Stephen Dukker, Chairman and CEO was sharing the bright, innovative thoughts of NComputing with the Digital Learning team, while visiting India recently.

Stephen Dukker

Chairman & CEO, NComputing

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magine the schools that do not have adequate budget for buying Computers. Imagine the schools that have computers in their lab, but keep investing to upgrade their computers in few months or years. Imagine the running cost they bear on electricity bills. There is no second say to the fact that users tap only 4-5% of a computer’s processing power for their requirements which are limited to office applications, browsing, entertainment,...etc. Whereas Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

Dukker has spent his entire career driving down the cost of computing. He brings more than 30 years of experience in computer manufacturing and retailing to NComputing. Prior to NComputing, he was the founder and CEO of eMachines, a company dedicated to making computers affordable. NComputing’s shared computing solution taps the unused capacity of a PC so that it can be simultaneously shared by many users. NComputing uses only 1 watt of electricity and is rugged, durable and easy to maintain. ‘NComputing is a great complement to the desktop computer business as it enables budget-strapped schools and business to maximise their PC infrastructure,’ Dukker explains. In addition to lower up-front purchase costs, the NComputing solution also

significantly reduces ongoing costs. NComputing access devices only use 1 watt of electricity compared to 110 watts or more for typical PC. This massive reduction in energy consumption is especially critical in places where electricity is limited and expensive. The X-series desktop virtualisation kits are needed to enable a PC to serve 11 people at once. The kits come with NComputing access devices, a PCI plug-in card and vSpace virtualisation software. And users need their own mouse, keyboard and screen. Dukker says, NComputing created the software and access devices to turn that excess capacity into an ultra-low cost computing system for schools, businesses and other organisations.

11 users sharing one PC This leading provider of shared computing technology, recently has been chosen to supply a massive computer education programme in the Indian state, Andhra Pradesh. The programme is slated to provide computing access for the first time to 18 lakh school children throughout the state. Each of the 5, 000 secondary schools will have a 10-seat computing lab with 2 desktop PCs and 8 NComputing systems. ‘The decision to deploy NComputing’s low-cost and eco-friendly solution will establish the Andhra Pradesh government as an innovator in educational computing and as a model for other governments considering similar projects’, Dukker hopes. ‘NComputing is proud to have been chosen by Andhra Pradesh to fulfill its 83


‘Desktop virtualisation is the solution that spins the old technology for a new revolution. It takes those 95% otherwise wasted cycles and shares them among multiple users at a fraction of the cost of buying more PCs. It’s like the old dumped terminals and mainframes, except today’s PCs are the mainframes,’ Dukker discusses on some more technicalities. NComputing can deliver high-end computing to more users compared to traditional PCs by turning a single computer into a shared network. Each additional user shares the CPU and memory of the host computer. This enables superior savings towards outlay of hardware and software maintenance. Computers normally use more than 250~ 300Watt. NComputing products can dramatically save electricity with a maximum of 1Watt consumption per terminal.

vision to improve learning and computer literacy throughout the state. By leveraging NComputing, the government will save nearly INR 80 crore in up-front and ongoing costs. The government will also use 90% less electricity compared to a traditional all PC solution. At about INR 4,500 per seat, our solution is the ideal platform to enable schools, business, and government to maximise their PC investment. We are the world leader in desktop virtualisation and the scale of this deployment further extends our leadership position,’ Dukker comments on being chosen for this pivotal role of bridging the digital divide in government schools. The Andhra Pradesh programme is based on an innovative outsourcing model developed by the Andhra Pradesh government. The model is referred to as Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) 84

and requires outsourcers to install, staff, and manage the labs for a five-year term. This arrangement helps ensures that the labs are installed quickly and strict performance benchmarks are met. The other best technologies and the qualified educational IT companies that are associated with NComputing’s shared-computing solution to help secure the deal, includes NIIT, ECIL, Educomp, Everonn, IEG, Terasoft, and Social Computers. NIIT will be responsible for managing 2,005 of the schools. The NComputing solution will be integrated with desktop PCs which will be supplied primarily by Acer and HCL. These computer makers have tested and endorsed the NComputing solution and will integrate the NComputing hardware and software at their factories.

‘You load the virtualisation software onto the shared PC. It allows multiple user accounts to be used simultaneously. The hardware is called an access device. It is a simple box that each user’s monitor, keyboard, mouse, and headphones plug into. Then you run a cable from the access device to a PCI card (also included) in the shared PC. Each advanced Xseries kit delivers a rich multimedia computing experience to an additional five users on one PC for a list price. You can install 2 kits into one PC, so that gives you 5 + 5 + 1 users, or 11 total on one CPU. The kids even notice that an NComputing station is faster than the old PCs used in the labs,’ Dukker says. In less than two years, NComputing has shipped more than one million seats, making it the largest provider of ultra-low-cost computing solutions. NComputing’s simplicity and ease of use have contributed to rapid worldwide acceptance. Anyone with basic PC skills can install an NComputing solution and the savings are immediate. Over 25,000 organisations in 100 countries have deployed NComputing to slash their computing costs and electric consumption. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Leader’s Speak

Scaling ICT Competencies Please highlight the key focus of HCL’s engagement with education and training? How has the journey been so far? HCL gives the entire ecosystem for education. We are primarily in schools, colleges, university education and research. Our focus on school education has been on ICT/Computer Aided Learning (CAL) for government schools and the ‘HCL Digischool’ offering for private schools. Do you feel the global recession in the financial markets will impact spending on ICT support to the education sector? The global slowdown might affect the government spending on the education sector. Please take us through the idea and goals behind K-12 academy? How far has this experiment been successful in bridging the gap between the demand and supply of industry-ready ICT

professionals? HCL Digischool offering is for K-12 education. We are creating a better environment for computer aided teaching and learning. Our plans are to create maximum ICT competent teachers so that the gap in the demand and supply of industry-ready ICT professionals is filled properly. There is always a consistent demand for ICT professionals. How is the curriculum decided? Do other companies play a role in informing the skills needed for the technical manpower? Curriculum is based on the standards of the education and companies are really involved in the national curriculum designs. We should have a clear mission towards global education and knowledge education. In your opinion, how can ICT be taken at the very village level? Rural ICT practices are very well

B Gopala Krishnan Deputy General Manager - SI, HCL structured. The real challenges like connectivity, power and skilled manpower, which need to be addressed. Many companies are concentrating on rural education as part of their CSR initiatives while the government focus is heavy in this area. <<

HCL

digischool

empowering learning

HCL, India’s leading IT solutions, System Integration and Services Company, is at the forefront of revolutionising the education process in India. In this effort, it now offers HCL Digischool a smart class solution from HCL. HCL digischool offers multimedia class rooms equipped with hardware like interactive white board, multimedia projectors, servers and customized digital multimedia content that suits school’s specific teaching needs. HCL digischool is an instructor led learning which will supplement the teachers for an active learning environment and creating a ambience for the student for active learning. HCL Infosystems has forayed into the educational segment 86

by providing end to end single window solution for different requirements like, Multimedia content creation, ICT, CAL, Teachers Training, Facilitation for leading certification, School Role out, Campus Network, ADMS, University Management solutions, E-learning, distance learning solution, library management, campus management, Interactive language Lab of teaching different languages ,etc. In Digischool offering, HCL offers following solutions: 1. Computer Aided Learning 2. ICT Learning 3. School Management software 4. Automatic Vehicle tracking systems for school buses and Vans. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


News | Corporate Gibson’s philosophy is not about IT per se, but to create rounded citizens

Under the brand Merseygrid (MGL), the Liverpool-based firm, provides specialist ICT services to more than 550 schools across the North West. Over the last three years, MGL has installed 10,000 PCs and 200 local area networks in schools, including wireless networking. At just 31, MGL director Carl Gilbertson heads a business which has an annual turnover of £5m-plus and has offices in Ellesmere Port and Manchester, employing 67 full-time staff. Last week, a major new report was published by Sir Jim Rose, the Government’s chief adviser on primary schools, calling for the most radical reforms to primary education in 20 years. Gilbertson said, “This is not just about teaching IT skills per se, but about creating rounded citizens. We need to do a lot more than just produce millions of touch typists”.

Microsoft hosts ‘School of the Future Summit’

Microsoft Partners in Learning will be hosting the fourth annual School of the Future World Summit at Seattle, US. The event will see participation from school administrators and policymakers from more than 30 countries around the theme, ‘What’s Possible’. More than 250 participants will attend the Summit to facilitate a global discussion on what schools in the future can look like by examining the areas of instruction, organisation design, technology, challenges of implementing new policy and emerging trends everyone faces as students prepare for the 21st century global workforce. Through the event, Microsoft aims to push people to collaboratively address new ways of thinking and provide specific strategies to implement within their local context, allowing them to turn possibilities into reality.

Audio-video education to be popularised by Macmillan

Macmillan Publishers India Ltd. announced a tie-up with Edurite Technologies, the Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

3rd anniversary special issue Indian arm of the UK-based online education services company TutorVista, to introduce audio-video education in 18,000 schools across India. Macmillan has a reach of 15,000 schools across India and Edurite has a reach of 3,000.

College, this is all supported by the use of advanced technologies, such as PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView, that enable learning and teaching to take place within the broadest range of opportunities available to students, staff and the community.

Intel honors outstanding communities of learning

The 3rd Intel Teach Awards for 21st Century Educators was held at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. The awardees were the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology/Iligan City Division, which received a P120,000 fund grant while Surigao City and the province of Laguna took home P100,000 each. Through this tie-up, we are trying to popularise audio-video education in these schools using a software - DigitAlly, Macmillan senior vice-president (sales and marketing) Alok Lahoti told. The combination of Edurite’s ‘technology-driven learning methods’ and Macmillan’s ‘proven strengths in providing quality content’ and its ‘vast presence’ will ‘do the trick’ for Indian classrooms. The contents offered by DigitAlly, developed by Edurite, are based on a range of syllabi of various state boards (of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal) as well as Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Examination (ICSE).

Ericom Software Helps UKBased College Feel More Secure Ericom Software today announced that Northampton College has selected its PowerTerm WebConnect RemoteView to provide its staff and students with secure remote application access capabilities. Based in the United Kingdom, Northampton College offers a wide range of courses and currently serves over 13,000 students. The college has become one of the largest Further Education Colleges in the region and is currently going through a major transformation taking over 3 years to complete. Expected to cost over 70 million pounds, this upgrade will provide the Northampton community with an updated, innovative, fit-for-purpose learning environment. According to Northampton

The event was organised by Intel Philippines in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development (FIT-ED) and the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP-NISMED). Intel Teach is Intel’s professional development programme designed to help teachers effectively integrate technology with learning. In the Philippines, Intel Teach has trained 91,616 teachers since the programme was launched in 2001.

First ever ‘Smart Science Station’ launched by NIIT Chennai

NIIT, in partnership with Fourier Systems, a worldwide leader in Science education, launched NIIT eGuru Smart Science Stationan innovative learning solution which integrates Science Lab with classrooms. NIIT eGuru Smart Science Station enables a range of technology-aided Science experiments covering topics on heat, electricity, sound, measurement of air and water pollution etc. As part of the alliance, NIIT will make available technology-enabled learning solution to explore science through computer-aided experimentation, while

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Fourier Systems will offer NOVA 5000 science data logger with a vast range of science probes for capturing relevant data. This novel concept is part of NIIT eGuru’s offering of Interactive Classroom (ICR) for schools. The solution will help implement National Curriculum Framework 2005 guidelines in schools and will cover subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Sciences for standards 6 to 10.

Intel Strengthens Commitment to East Africa Development, Advances Digital Access and Education

Marking his first visit to Kenya, Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett announced an agreement to help accelerate the spread of wireless and broadband computer connections to encourage Kenya’s social and economic development. He also initiated a major program to train teachers in using technology to improve educating young people. The three-way agreement, signed by Intel, Alcatel-Lucent and Kenya Data Networks (KDN), sets the stage for rolling out the country’s first mobile WiMAX trial. The pilot project will be the first in Kenya to use nextgeneration WiMAX 802.16e technology – better known as mobile WiMAX. It is widely considered an ideal solution for providing high-quality wireless broadband service at an affordable cost. ‘Digital access is key to ensuring that Kenya gets a seat at the table in the 21st century knowledge economy,’ said Barrett, who also chairs the United Nations Global Alliance for Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Development. Barrett also announced that Kenya’s primary school teachers will begin receiving training through the Intel Teach program early next year.

Edurite set to foray into formal education sector

Bangalore-based Edurite Technologies is planning to enter the school management space and setting up its own network of schools. TutorVista, an international player in the web-enabled education services

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segment, which acquired the company in 2007, is expected to assist in Edurite’s expansion plans through a round of funding it is considering.

education in India, to truly empower every aspiring student and professional to be able to succeed in their educational and career pursuits.

Meena Ganesh, CEO Edurite Technologies said that the company has offered its content and educational services to 3000 schools across the country of which 1500 are government schools. The company targets to manage five schools by the next academic year and will look at setting up its own schools thereafter. It is expecting to have 50 schools consisting of both managed and owned ones in the next two years.

If a student ever missed a lecture at school or college or wanted an instructor to teach the related topic again, www. topchalks.com is an invaluable asset to solve all queries.

Wipro may go slow on campus hiring

Wipro Technologies said the company might go slow on its campus-hiring plans till demand picks up. The move comes in the wake of Wipro delaying to absorb to absorb around 10,000 campus recruits, who were scheduled to join before the end of the current financial year. ‘Given the uncertain business environment, the company will maintain a wait-andwatch policy,’ said Pradeep Bahirwani, Vice-President (Talent Acquisition), Wipro Technologies. In 2008-09, the company had issued offer letters to 8,000 people, who are supposed to be absorbed in the company in 2009-10. However, the process of fresh recruitment is getting staggered, owing to the changed business environment as a result of the global meltdown. Last week, Wipro issued letters to some of the 2007-08 campus recruits, giving them an option to join their BPO division in technical support roles for 12-18 months before starting their career in the IT services business of the company.

Catura introduces Topchalks.com

Topchalks.com is a property of Catura Broadbands systems Pvt Ltd., a three year old company with offices in Gurgaon, Haryana and Santa Clara, California, USA. The company’s vision is to democratise

The portal was recently launched as a part of bigger vision of promoting company Catura Broadboand Systems Pvt Ltd that envisions to liberalise education and make it more student friendly at all levels. Topchalks.com is an initiative taken by Dinesh Mehta and Narender Oruganti, US based NRI entrepreneurs, both sharing same passion of bringing revolution in the world of education.

Zain support to schools in Ghana

Zain, a mobile telecommunication service provider, recently presented educational materials to Sota and Odumasi District Assembly Basic schools in the Dambge West District in the Greater Accra Region.

Addressing a cross session of pupils in Accra, Ms Ursula Owusu, Director, Corporate and External Affairs, Zain, Ghana, said the donation formed part of the company’s social responsibility to help the less privilege to acquire a profession to help build the nation. She said as part of the Zains’ contribution towards the promotion of education in the area, the company would soon provide the school with a modern information communication technology (ICT) facility to enable the pupil gain knowledge in ICT. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Foyer

3rd anniversary special issue

Intel Education Initiatives

‘Technology Integration at Its Best’ W hen did a teacher know that information would be just one click away? Thanks to technology, the teachers of today are not restricted to the age old chalk and blackboard methods of teaching. Information and Communication Technology has come of age and has permeated in all areas of our lives and is a significant factor in increasing productivity in different fields.

topics. It also acts as a motivational force, guiding the students to go after their goals. These contests serve an important purpose of spreading knowledge and determining the progress and ICT strength of the schools. As part of these contests, a number of interactive sessions are conducted which boost the confidence level of the students and improve their 21st century

in the remotest parts of the country. Each year, several teams of students compete and awards and certifications are presented to winners at both district and final competitions. Recently, a state-level competition on ‘Best Use of Technology in Education’ was held in Tamil Nadu on November 10, 2008. The purpose was to motivate teachers on effective implementation of Project Based Learning and showcase the projects done by teachers and students. Ten teachers from the districts of Chennai, Cuddalore, Kanyakumari, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Thiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli and Virudunagar were selected as State level winners. The projects developed and implemented for the contest helped create an impact in their communities. The highlight of this event was a project on ‘Creating Awareness on Evil Effects of Usage of Tobacco.’ A group of students explained how they motivated the entire village to refrain from consuming tobacco.

ICT is now being used in Science and Technology education and in other areas of the curriculum. Intel’s foray in the field of education through various initiatives like contests in best technology practices, has effectively integrated technology into classrooms. The main objective behind these contests is to inspire teachers to try out ‘new tools’ and assist the students in increasing their understanding of various Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

silks like communication, technology literacy, collaboration, critical thinking etc. Such contests are jointly organised by Intel Teach Program and Navodya Vidyalaya Samiti every year to identify ‘Best Practices of Technology Integration in Education’. Held in collaboration with NVS schools across the country, these contests are a platform for rewarding the outstanding and innovative practices adopted by schools

On December 3, 2008, Intel with support from Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT) Karnataka, organised a contest in Bangalore and felicitated students, teachers and principals who have done exemplary work in innovative use of technology. The contest has been organised since 2004, and the response was overwhelming this year, with more than 300 entries received from government schools across the state. << 89


Corporate diary | Case Study

ICT In Learning: The New Wave

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nformation Communication Technology (ICT) has become, within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Organisations, experts and practitioners in the education sector are increasingly recognising the importance of ICT in supporting educational improvement and reform. ICTs are transformational tools which, when used appropriately, can promote a shift from traditional to a learner-centred environment. In this post-modern world of technological advancement, rapidly changing markets and increasing competition, teachers are faced with new

of education. For instance, text alone simply does not allow students to get a feel of any of the concepts in Mathematics. In teaching biology, an instructor cannot make a killer whale come alive in a classroom. Multimedia enables learners to experience their subject in a vibrant manner. The key to providing this, is having a simultaneous graphic, video and audio experience. • It provides students with opportunities to represent and express their prior knowledge • Multimedia applications engage students and provide valuable learning opportunities • Students learn more and retain their

traditional modes of instruction. It has also been noted that the level of student engagement was significantly higher amongst students with both high and low abilities. With multimedia, not only does the learning process become fun, it also becomes • Goal oriented, • Participatory, • Flexible in time and space • Tailored to individual learning styles ICT also helps to enhance the quality of education in ways explained below: a) Motivating to Learn: ICTs such as videos, multimedia computer software that combine text, sound and colourful animated images can be used to provide challenging and authentic content that will engage the student in the learning process. b) Facilitating the Acquisition of Basic Skills: The transmission of basic skills and concepts that are the foundation of higher learning and creativity can be facilitated by ICTs through drill and practice.

academic and pedagogical challenges, and the chalk and talk traditional method of teaching often falls short of meeting these challenges. Let’s see how and why multimedia enabled education scores over the traditional way... Besides being a powerful tool for making presentations, multimedia offers unique advantages in the field 90

knowledge better The collaborative environment helps in grasping concepts better and faster

With the help of multimedia, students learn in a stress free atmosphere and subsequently absorb and retain at a significantly higher level. Studies support distinctive differences in ways students retain information gathered and applied using multimedia versus

c) Enhancing Teacher Training: The traditional way of teaching and learning can be made more effective and interesting by using ICTs. For example, when a teacher uses audio, video, or power point presentations in his/her lecture, the whole class becomes more attentive. Such activities also help students understand the concepts better. The audio visual dimension is at the heart of educational enterprise, as it offers students and teachers a rich array of new and potentially interesting facts, immensely aids in achieving the objectives of a subject and opens the door to a world of fantastic experience. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Case Study

3rd anniversary special issue

Shattering Barriers in Education With ICT

e-SchoolNetwork Program

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udiksha Learning Dimensions was founded in 2002 with the mission of offering innovative learning solutions using ICT and other tools. It offers end-to-end e-Learning services for enterprises, NGOs and educational institutes. As an ecosystem alliance partner with Intel for its Classmate PC solution, Sudiksha is now announcing a path breaking new offering, the e-SchoolNetwork Program (eSN). The eSN idea emerged when Sudiksha’s academic and pedagogy team observed children learn in different schools. They also interviewed many adults who were able to solve advanced problems in school curriculum even decades after completing their schooling. When probed, these adults could visually recall the exact learning interaction when a particular concept was thought in great detail. (In one case, this included a memory that the teacher had dyed her hair on that day!) All this validated what they had learnt about pedagogy and effective teaching. Some of the key factors noted were: 1. The clarity of concept is a function of the level of engagement of the student at the time of learning the concept. For example, a child who acted in a play about Emperor Ashoka demonstrated great confidence in dates, acts and events related to the same topic. 2. A strong foundation in the primary or middle school level facilitates the ability of a child to build upon the concept in the later years. For example, if a child had internalised the process of skip counting well, then in the 2nd grade, concepts like multiplication tables and reading time on a clock become relatively simple. Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

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On the other hand, if a child had difficulty in visualising skip counting in the first place, then learning tables by rote or trying to learn by heart what the various positions of the hands of a clock mean can become a nightmare. Concept clarity in the early years ensures long-term retention and accelerated learning.

For example, when asked, ‘What is respiration?’ The most common answer across age groups is, ‘Breathing in and Breathing out.’ It takes a lot of sweat and toil for high school Biology teachers to correct this view of respiration! These points may sound very familiar but unfortunately, many children, parents and teachers are grappling with school level education. Not even a rank holder would claim that getting through school exams is child’s play! Coming to our education system, it is indeed very difficult for a single human to address the learning needs of different children in the same class. With studentteacher ratio ranging from 20 to 60, in any modern day school, millions of little knowledge gaps slip through the chinks in the system. Models like Differentiated Classrooms and 1-on-1 learning have evolved to fill these gaps in traditional education. The eSchool Network Program is designed using a unique collaborative

design approach. This approach involves a team of diverse stakeholders including, Education Psychologists, Special Educators, Teachers, Theatre Professionals, New Media Experts and most importantly Children. The design process is aimed at creating academically sound products, which elicit voluntary and happy learner engagement. The eSN will constantly evolve under the vigil of its stakeholders. Users can access paid and free services on this portal. The Intel powered CMPC is a great way for children to use eSN features. In collaboration with Intel, Sudiksha plans to facilitate implementation of CMPC based Differentiated Classroom and hand hold teachers. ICT has unquestionably improved the quality of our lives in many ways. We connect, communicate and collaborate in our personal and professional lives. Education cannot be far behind! << For more information contact info@ sudikshaindia.com 91


Corporate diary | Case Study Connecting Knowledge Agents Worldwide

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ever had the world looked smaller before the advent of the World Wide Web. The Internet has brought about a revolution in the way information is construed, passed and perceived. With its proven benefits in the field of corporate and governance across the world, it is time for us to witness an Internet revolution in the field of education as well. www.iken.in is designed to make the most of this new connected world. A social-educational-networking portal, it promises to get you engaged for a lifetime - gathering and sharing knowledge, creating interesting content, and getting feedback from like-minded people from all over the world. With formal education comprising only a small fraction of student’s life, achieving major gains in learning requires that students’ constantly lead a educationally fulfilling life. This necessitates close cooperation and shared responsibility for distributed learning among society’s educational agents (families, social service agencies, workplaces, mass media). Iken allows students to connect with peers from school and all over. It also allows greater interactivity among parents, teachers and professionals in distant places, cultures and traditions. Study circles can be formed sitting at home; collaborative projects across geographies are no longer an impossibility. There are five fundamental functionalities to www.iken.in : Iken Learn: A repository of ratified e-learning content from the world over, Iken Learn satisfies a learner’s educational and training needs through films, presentations, e-learning modules, crosswords, puzzles, journals and many other resources. Content on K-12 curricula, degree and diploma courses, professional training 92

courses, teacher-training modules to parenting modules – this section compiles everything that is education and learning. All Axiom ‘IkenTools’ are also published and accessible at Iken Learn. Iken Test: What good is learning if there is no way to test what is learnt? Iken Test offers iterative assessment and feedback that allows users to put their knowledge to test, receive constructive feedbacks, iterate upon their shortcomings and get better at the subject. The algorithm keeps a track of all user given tests and the cumulative performance of the user. Tests are available for students in K-12 curricula, Indian as well as international competitive exams as well as all other e-learning modules at Iken Learn. Iken Connect: Welcome to the human networking section. Here people interact and collaborate – for knowledge sharing, tutoring, combined educational and learning projects, raising questions and solving queries. Iken Connect is a gateway to contributing more to development of a knowledge economy. Iken Create: Iken is not just a readonly website, but a place where users, from various backgrounds can voice their views and share knowledge by uploading content in any conceivable format - photographs, videos, presentations, illustrations, documents etc.

Iken Play: Iken Play is a collection of games that provide entertainment as well as learning. There are sections on strategy and logic based games, educational games and some mindless stress busters that can simply recharge your batteries for the next learning session. Ken – The knowledge currency of the Iken World! Users can buy Kens using money and invest it for their learning, testing and knowledge gathering needs – in the process rewarding people who share and provide them with these learning resources. Further to the fundamental architecture, Iken offers a platform for publishing different applications that can help users create content, share knowledge and even interact live with other users across the world. Applications like comic creator - where one can create comic strips and publish online - or Wiki search – that makes the entire user generated content at wikipedia available at the portal - are supplements to other learning resources. Users can also take part in online lectures or project discussions through live web conferencing and desktop sharing applications. Iken reflects Axiom Education’s inherent philosophy, that ‘Foundations of our education are based on simplicity.’ << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Innovation

Building An Education Platform Through SMART Technologies

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t is a rare occurrence in K-12 education when a technology moves from being a useful classroom tool and becomes an education platform upon which an entire teaching philosophy is built. But that is precisely what has happened over the course of the last two decades, as interactive whiteboards from SMART Technologies (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) have become the focal point of the technology-driven, 21st- century classroom. Technology companies like SMART that have created a fundamental shift in education all have one thing in common: they provide an overall solution that is greater than the sum of their product’s component parts.

SMART Technologies’ overarching philosophy to provide a complete solution is a key reason that the company has been able to effect a monumental change in K-12 education. At the core of this philosophy, according 94

to David Lapides, Director, Education Market Development at SMART Technologies, is the company’s ability to design and develop products that enable teachers to successfully complete the same educational task in multiple ways. ‘Today,’ says Lapides, ‘SMART offers a robust set of resources and a full ecosystem of support—bringing a new level of interactivity to everyday lessons—that enables teachers to reach every student in the classroom.’

that connects to a computer, the SMART Board interactive whiteboard has brought a whole new level of interactivity to the classroom. However, Lapides is quick to point out that the SMART solution is much more than interactive whiteboards. At the heart of the SMART solution is SMART Notebook, which according to Lapides, is the most advanced collaborative software platform available for classrooms.

The foundation upon which the SMART solution is built is the company’s fully-featured interactive whiteboards. According to Lapides, SMART Board interactive whiteboards are the most

SMART Notebook collaborative learning software enriches classroom learning with more than 30 tools and educational resources. The SMART solution also includes an interactive assessment tool, called the Senteo interactive response system, which is designed to enhance learning. Further, the company’s comprehensive suite of software enables various models for technological options. For instance, SynchronEyes classroom management software, provides teachers with a means to support one-to-many down to one-toone environments. Another important tool in the product suite is Bridgit conferencing software, SMART’s remote conferencing application that provides a quick, easy, and effective way to share voice, video, and data over the Internet.

trusted line of interactive whiteboards on the market today. Since 1991, the SMART Board interactive whiteboard has led the way in engaging students around the world. Combining a touchsensitive display and digital projector

Sophisticated software and hardware components like these are only the beginning of the SMART story. SMART understands that maximising value in the classroom takes more than just advanced products. That’s why, according to Lapides, the company created the SMART Learning Marketplace, a world-class collection of more than a million learning resources that teachers January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


3rd anniversary special issue effectively for them, it drives student learning outcomes. This is the crux of our mission. Not only do teachers immediately become better teachers, but they also become stronger advocates for their profession. When a technology reaches a point where there is a critical mass of people using the solution, it becomes part of its appeal. The use of SMART Technologies in the classroom has already reached that point. Not only do teachers benefit from it, but principals, technology directors, and superintendents benefit from it, too, through lower total-cost-ofownership and world-class customer support.’

can bring into their classrooms. This is in addition to scores of online resources available from SMART’s website (education.smmarttech.com) at no cost. Plus, SMART offers education solutions to support every component of a successful implementation. These solutions include content and resources, professional development, community networking, and service and support. ‘SMART has moved from delivering technology product solutions to delivering an overall, world-class education solution that provides the best user experience for teachers and learners. Our solution is the most intuitive, easy-to-use, best integrated, and most modular line of technology on the market,’ says Lapides. To further facilitate the implementation of the 21st- century classroom, SMART has created an online community, called the SMART Exchange, which consists of teachers, school district

Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

administrators, SMART employees, and other experts in the field. ‘The SMART Exchange fosters real professional development that stems from the solution itself,’ says Lapides. ‘We believe that professional development is most effective when it is ongoing and collaborative; it is a crucial part of our overall solution philosophy.’ It’s precisely this synergy among the educational community using SMART that has brought the company to the point of creating a paradigm shift in education. ‘The fact that there is this vast, global group of educators sharing their best practices with one another makes our solution a phenomenon in education,’ says Lapides. ‘By creating the SMART Exchange, we systematically provide access to a wide range of teacher-created materials, so teachers can learn from, borrow from, and share information with their peers.’ Lapides continues, ‘When teachers find something that works

As Lapides’s comments suggest, the widespread adoption of the SMART solution is playing a significant role in assisting school district administrators and district information technology directors to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, a wide choice of online and on-site training modules, and 24x7 comprehensive online support (smarttech.com/support) as well as phone support make it possible for school districts to ensure effective use of the SMART products in their classrooms. Lapides concludes, ‘All of the elements of our solution provide significant benefits that enable those responsible for maintaining and supporting the technologies to do so cost-effectively and with maximum efficiency. We’ve designed our solution so that teachers, administrators, and technical support staff can all have a hand in improving the educational process and reap the benefits of the SMART solution in the classroom.’ <<

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Corporate diary | Case Study

3rd anniversary special issue

Bridging Digital Divide Through Content

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hen dealing with education, across all ages, the basic necessity is to accept that the child is ahead of us in this digital age. We need to make an effort to catch up with youth, periodically, and give them what they need. Parenting and education are both very traditional; they both resist change. There is a common pitfall for both: you and I know ‘everything’; we feel that we know exactly what our child needs and set about providing for that need, as we perceive it. We take that perceived need for granted, while dealing with children and rural society. In any ICT intervention, the start is by using the intervention to perform an existing function better. But to really utilise the full potential of ICT, after a certain stage there is a need to bring down the existing edifice and restructure. But dismantling and restructuring are easier said than done. We need to be clear as to the path we want to follow, and avoid redesigning the wheel, before we start gradual and incremental implementation; we need to be mentally prepared for constant midcourse corrections necessitated by changing paradigms; and not get frustrated by these constant changes. Whatever practices we bring in, must be the best. Avoid hand me downs. That is the only way to bridge the digital divide. Hand me downs include second rate practices. The use of a projector to teach kids is a classic ‘hand me down’ example. To take ICT to the child we convert existing classrooms in to dark rooms, and use a home application projector which casts a weak image and want to teach with it. Britain has done away with projectors! Each child has a machine. It will be a while before we reach that stage, we need to think laterally, not violate the basics Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

of pedagogy. Use of TV can be an intelligent interim measure. No two scenarios can be the same. The variables that exist are: Infrastructure – The infrastructure and equipment available are of extremes varying on a scale of 0 to 10. This includes the ‘one to many’ approach where the nearest interactive methodology usable is ‘polling’ devices, and a one machine for minimum two hours per child per day scenario. Human Resource – The quality of the teachers and their ability to use an ICT intervention, both vary on a scale of 0 to 10. Within this single factor is a third variable – evolving pedagogical practices, which as said are evolving and will remain a flux. Target – The students; a factor which affects the teaching methods to be adopted, also varies on a scale of 0 to 10. Content - The requirement and quality of content that we need differs from junior school – middle school – high school – college – university – post graduation – adult education – self learning. While knowledge is doubling every three years, necessitating evolution of teaching content; this is not so till school level where the knowledge that a child acquires is ‘static’; but there is a need for the child to derive lessons and interpretations from the same. This is one variable that is not so easily ‘gradable’. But the content for school children should be suitable for repeated viewing. Unless content engages the child to further explore or experience, child will not waste time to view again. We also need to learn from the mistakes of others – UK 20 billion Sterling total

expenditure on schools, content not being used; Malaysia has spent RM600mn [value of one Ringit Malay is approx Rs 12] in developing courseware from Form 1 to Form 5, teachers and students do not use it. Educational content needs to be treated like any other content, from the quality perspective. We must take the best content to our rural children. We all talk of bridging the digital divide, hardware is not going to bridge it – only content can. Give to the poor the very best. Thus when we talk of ICT intervention in eLearning we have to synthesis - 1. Infrastructure; 2. Equipment; 3, 4, 5 Teacher related; 6. Students; 7, 8, 9 and 10. Content need, quality, purpose and level; i.e. 10 variables, most of them on a scale of 1 to 10. The person needs to have the flexibility of mind to be capable of ‘lateral’ and ‘spatial’ thought. There is no one stop solution. We are dealing with a very complex subject. In our region we need to devise our own solutions. We need to transcend technologies, varying human attitudes, both teacher and child; transcend evolving pedagogical practices; there are over a hundred thousand single room single teacher schools in India, besides some 1 million teachers are absent on any teaching day. These villages get only two hours of electricity every alternate day, and that may not be during school hours. The practices need to transcend the complete spectrum. The model that we introduce should be dynamic, should be able to evolve with pedagogy, the infrastructure will improve as also the ability of the teachers. Do not cater for only 3 to 4% of the population. It is a tall order. << - K J Singh, Director, Designmate [I] Pvt Ltd 93


Corporate diary | Innovation

Harnessing The Magic of Software

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reamSpark is a software giveaway for students – a suite that provides access to the latest Microsoft developer and designer tools at no charge. Aligned to Microsoft Unlimited Potential, the company’s global effort to creating sustained social and economic opportunity for everyone, the programme aims to equip a new generation of technology leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to harness the magic of software to improve lives, solve problems and catalyze economic growth.

Microsoft platform resources • SQL Server 2008 Developer • SQL Server 2008 Express • Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition • Virtual PC 2007

institutions, government bodies and student organisations across the country to ensure that all students get a chance to benefit from DreamSpark. The DreamSpark initiative in India is designed to join the dots between

Training Resources • 15.IT Academy Student Pass

software access, which means making training and enablement complement simple access to technology.

Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all students whose studies touch on Technology, Design, Math, Science and Engineering; as well as technology hobbyists keen on pursuing a career in the field. Worldwide, several million people use the software suite that will now be available free of charge. An estimated 10 million students in India are qualified to avail of the giveaway. The cutting-edge software that will be available to empower students includes: Microsoft developer tools • Visual Studio 2005 Express • Visual Studio 2005 Professional • Visual Studio 2008 Professional • Visual Basic 2008 Express • Visual C++ 2008 Express • Visual C# 2008 Express • Visual Web Developer 2008 Express • XNA Game Studio 2.0 • 12-month free Academic membership in the XNA Creators Club Microsoft designer tools • Expression Studio 2, including • Expression Web • Expression Blend • Expression Design • Expression Media 96

This broad range of professional level software will be available both online on www.dreamsparkindia.com; and in offline format via DVDs distributed by programme partners NIIT, Aptech and Hughes Net Fusion Centers. A student merely needs to offer a proof of identity at a branch of these institutes to avail of a DreamSpark DVD. There are 125 NIIT, 175 Aptech, and 200 Hughes Net Fusion Centers participating across the country. These programme partners will also provide technology training on the DreamSpark software tools at a nominal cost; as well as have the option of soft skills training in languages like English and Hindi. Microsoft India is also working with academic

DreamSpark will also facilitate student participation and registrations into Microsoft’s annual marquee contest, Imagine Cup, through some of the contest categories like software design, short films and photography. Students from India that qualify for the Imagine Cup 2009 World Finals will get to travel to Egypt. Technology is one of the chief drivers pushing worldwide economic development and job creation. DreamSpark not just gives students exposure to the tools they can expect to use in the workplace, it also has the power to amplify the impact of their studies and fire up their imaginations about the power of software. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Innovation

3rd anniversary special issue

Bringing Lessons To Life The New FX –Series StarBoard Board room presentations and classroom goes digital with the launch of Hitachi’s interactive whiteboard called the StarBoard. Hitachi StarBoard technology brings lessons to life and makes it much more enjoyable for the learner. In addition it delivers real benefits in terms of expediting speed of learning, attaining higher levels of learning and engaging individuals. The StarBoard includes the most advanced presentation software available – StarBoard suite of Software. Easy to learn and install, it is feature-rich, fully customisable and is designed to help the user become confident with the interactive whiteboard within minutes.

Features 1.

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Durability: The Hitachi StarBoard is not the typical fragile interactive whiteboard, as it employs Infra Red and Ultrasonic technology in a clever manner. Its greatest advantage is that it is made without embedding and wires or any such material in the board itself, giving it greater durability to a level that in case the board surface gets damaged the board continues to function. Conferencing: Hitachi StarBoards can be used for remotely conferencing between two StarBoards, being used in two different cities. With the help of Internet the two StarBoards can be connected to replicate whatever is done on each of them. You can also record your live sessions (audiovisual) to replay later. Remote writing: In case the user wants to use the Starboard from a distance, without approaching the board, he can do so by connecting through a Hitachi Bluetooth Tablet such as BT-200. Internet connectivity: Hitachi StarBoards offer the feature of viewing and navigating the internet

Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

from the whiteboard and displaying websites which the entire room will be able to see. 5. Pens: Various pens are available to the user, such as Normal Pen for writing / Intelli Pen suited for automatically drawing geometrical shapes / Highliter Pen which allows the user to highlight with various colours. 6. Annotation: Hitachi StarBoards allow users to write over the top of presentations / pictures / spread sheets / text. It even allows the user to write on movies without needing to pause the movie, to highlight and annotate points. 7. Using multiple pages: Normal whiteboards allow users to use only one page, and if they erase the whiteboard, the handwritten notes will be gone. But StarBoard allows users to use multiple pages electronically and also move forward/back as desired. 8. Data storage and transfer: StarBoard software allows teachers to review and reuse lessons afterwards as they are stored as electronic data. Teachers do not need to create fresh lesson plans every year anymore. Lessons can also be emailed to those absent. StarBoard Software supports PDF, HTML, Images (jpg, png) output. 9. Customised toolbar: The tool bar can be customised from a wide selection of tools to meet your individual class needs. Upto two users can programme the Starboard Toolbar buttons as per their need. 10. Multi-media facility: Starboard can receive inputs from various multimedia devices like camcorders so that colour presentations, video clips, movie files or DVDs can be made. They also enable manipulation of text and objects, calculations on screen, and use of a variety of pens, backgrounds and effects, making learning and

presentations engaging. 11. Hygeine: No chalk dust, no marker smell - this is beneficial from the health and safety angles.

The StarBoard BT-2G The StarBoard BT-2G tablet is a light weight graphics tablet which when connected to a projector and PC, enables presentations to be displayed on a large screen and the computer to be controlled remotely from anywhere in the room. A cordless pen is used to annotate onto the tablet, which communicates wirelessly with an adaptor connected to computer’s USB port. By moving the pen across the surface of the tablet, the user can control the mouse movements of the PC. Several tablets can be used in a session if desired, so that different people can interact with the computer. It features 12 function buttons, making it very simple to operate, and is also RoHS compliant (restriction of hazardous substances).

The StarBoard T-17SXLG The StarBoard T-17SXLG provides the full functionality of an interactive whiteboard through a 17 inch LCD display screen. It is ideal for writing digital notes and annotations directly on top of content and presentation materials. A pen driven, icon orientated user interface allows the user to move from Windows to digital video applications to annotating over them. A VGA output connector provides an easy method of connecting projectors and monitors and enables simultaneous viewing and annotation by multiple systems connected either locally or across the internet. << 97


Corporate diary | Case Study

Educosoft Offers New Directions for Teaching and Learning

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romising to improve the quality of Math and Science education through online learning activities, www.educosoft.com was launched in India on April 21, 2008 by Educo International Inc, an American company owned by Non-resident Indians. The launch of the portal was preceded by three years of work on aligning their content with NCERT curriculum and other secondary boards in India. The Educosoft platform offers unique and powerful features to empower teachers with state-of-the-art content and comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS). The portal is unique because it has several distinct characteristics; some of these are listed below. 1. It is online, available 24x7 from anywhere to teachers, either for class discussions or for self professional development, and to students for self study or to complete their assignments. For schools where Internet is not available or is slow or they do not want to use, they provide Local Area Network (LAN) solution. The LAN content is piped to the classrooms and learning labs in real time mode. 2. Each topic contains several learning activities that are interactive and are presented in Macromedia Flash with dynamic graphics and animations. The activities include: a) Multimedia Electronic Teaching Notes for teachers and Tutorials for students, embedded with dynamic graphics, and pedagogically sound animations; b) Several examples on each topic to re-inforce 98

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the concepts; c) Several sets of practice tests for each topic; d) Progress and activity reports for students; e) Tools to create and administer online surveys; and f) Several communication tools like announcements, internal and external e-mails, and chat session between the teacher and students. The assessment component of this portal is also unique in the sense it is in free response format where a student has to do his/her work in the notebook and enter the answer

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For students, it offers Self Learning Portal that provides all the learning activities and assessments for each section and chapter of the respective course. Students register online or through any of the regional centers of the company.

on the computer, instead of just clicking a choice as in multiple choice questions provided by other platforms. Teachers can create and assign different types of assessment including online homework, quizzes or tests, or practice tests. Students get different but similar assessments that are self graded and recorded. All assessments after completion provide instant feedback, performance analysis, and step-bystep solutions.

access to the Self Learning Portal if their schools adopt the LAN version of the system. With LAN solution school gets access to all courses for K 6-12 for mathematics and sciences, and free access for their students from home for the first year. <<

All the other details of this system including demos, training programmes, regional seminars, and pricing structure are explained on www.educosoftnews. com . It costs less than Rs.160/pm for 24x7 access to Self Learning Portal for students. Students can have free

For more information, contact Pushpish Chandra Tel: 011-45553888, Email: pushpish@educo-int.com or Vinay M R Tel: 080-23463680/77, Email: vinay@ educo-int.com January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Innovation

Turning Ordinary Whiteboard Into An Interactive One Mimio Interactive + Capture

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o enable students to be more interactive and engaged, Plus Business Machines Ltd introduces a portable attachment for any ordinary white board which converts it into Interactive white board. It comes with various options such as Capture kit and Wireless kit to enhance effectiveness of teaching. Mimio Interactive + Capture combine the features of Mimio Interactive and the Mimio Capture kit to provide a complete Interactive Whiteboard and note capture system. When used with a multimedia projector, you can use the Mimio Mouse stylus like a cordless mouse to control any document from computer directly from the whiteboard. It makes teaching more convenient & interesting as teacher can control Power Point slides, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, browse educational websites on the Internet, navigate interactive instructional CDs, annotate, mark-up, and edit slides or screens directly at the board. Perfect for presentations, training or instructional sessions and front-of-class teaching. With Expo dry-erase markers inserted into the mimio stylus pens, everything that you write or draw on the whiteboard 100

is digitally recorded - in colour and real time - in a highly portable and versatile digital data format. You can print board notes - in colour with perfect resolution, email recorded Ink files, post the board notes as HTML files on websites, copy or drop any mimio whiteboard notes into other applications, link directly to NetMeeting or 3rd party conferencing solutions to share your whiteboard with remote locations. Now your audience can concentrate on the information presented knowing that your whiteboard notes are being electronically captured. With Mimio Wireless upgrade kit you no longer need to worry about tripping over cables or whether the USB cable is long enough to reach your computer. Mimio Wireless works with your existing Mimio Xi capture device and works on both Windows and Macintosh. The wireless module slides into the bottom of your existing Mimio Xi capture device (replacing the linkUSB module) and provides a wireless connection from the whiteboard to your computer. It has a range of up to 30ft with no line-ofsight requirement.

Plus also offers you one of the essential products Multimedia Projector from TAXAN to complete the Digital learning experience. TAXAN offers DLP Projectors which are light weight and ultra-bright with brightness range from 2500 Ansi to 3500 Ansi. Its high contrast images make it possible to view the pictures in well-lit rooms. TAXAN has also introduced lightest LED Projector which offers very high lamp life of 20000 Hrs. It also runs Divx files directly from pen drive making it possible to use it for high quality movie viewing. You can also display photographic images through the pen drive making it a perfect personal projector. << For details, visit www.plus-india.com or contact: Vinay Khetawat (022) 4007 4000/2686 3151, vkhetawat@plus-india.com January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Case Study

yoknowledge.Com YOKNOWLEDGE.COM, a company based in Mumbai, has just launched software solutions for teachers to introduce collaborative learning in the classroom using teaching tools like Worksheets, Snap cards (question loops), and Flash cards. The company has also introduced a superb solution for students to self-test using a robust desktop software which students can use for a lifetime for exam-prep and testing. The products offer features that will bring a new way of learning both in the classroom and at home.

Problem teachers face 1.

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Teachers do not have the means to create their own teaching tools which can bring collaborative learning to the classroom – most teachers have to depend on book publishers for teaching tools. This means that a teacher would not be able to question her class using questions that may be more relevant to what she teaches. Most ICT solutions are rather inflexible, complex, and expensive.

Solution Try YO QUESTIONS PRO, a unique must-have software that helps teachers introduce a fun element, while reducing teacher burden. Besides allowing teachers to create and share their own question banks, this robust software will allow teachers to: 1. Create Worksheets (Multiple Choice or Q&A format) 2. Create Snap Cards (Question Loops – a fun way to learn) 3. Create Flash Cards 4. Take interactive Practice and Test sessions 102

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Share their Q&A Banks with other teachers and students as well

Price YO QUESTIONS PRO comes to a school at a price of just INR 3,500/- per license. A minimum of just 10 licenses need to be ordered.

What does the Student solution do? YO QUESTIONS LITE is a student’s personal ‘electronic Q&A book’. where thousands of Q&A can be ‘collected’ on a variety of subjects (so with the same software, students can continue to aggregate Q&A irrespective of the grade, board, or career), and be used for practice and self-testing. Research shows that self-testing helps retain information better. Consequently, this would lead to better scores.

YO QUESTIONS LITE comes pre-loaded with 3000 great General Knowledge Q&A in multiple choice, on a variety of subjects, covering various age groups, and three difficulty levels. Then, students can keep on updating themselves with fresh content from YOKNOWLEDGE as well as from their teachers. This software, which does not need an Internet connection (except to download fresh content) effortlessly creates study-aids like Worksheets, Snap Cards, and Flash Cards, thereby making learning exciting and fun.

Price YO QUESTIONS LITE comes to a school at a price of just INR 300/- per license. A minimum of just 500 licenses need to be ordered. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Corporate diary | Case Study

3rd anniversary special issue

Rethinking Education Through Assessment

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ur education system continues to be enmeshed in a paradigm where notes accumulation and reproduction of information is equated with learning and mere memorisation. The system today equips students with factory like efficiency where in doing well in the school exam drives everything. The output, the system thrives on churning out standardised children like graded products in a factory, weak in reasoning and thinking. But then where is the disconnect in the system? There exists a complete disconnect in what is being taught within the system, both in the immediate context of the child and what it may mean to their foreseeable future. If the future demands for thinkers, why are we producing parrots year after year after year? The philosophy, purpose, method of education itself needs to be re-thought. We need a system that teaches students their value, acts as a platform to enhance learning, facilitates in identifying strengths and develops on potential. We need to harness this efficiency instead of ignoring or letting inefficiencies continue. The above has been the ethos behind our online assessment application, 24x7guru.com, were-in the objective was to complement the efforts of the school, teachers and parents to empower students to become conceptually strong. The application fundamentally believes that once a student understands the concepts, they are less likely to forget, as opposed to merely memorising the text. 24x7guru.com is a web-based intelligent assessment application that enables a student to take tests as per the course curriculum, chapter-wise, periodic and customised. Students can take these Digital Learning | Vol 5 Issue 1 January 2009

tests at their convenience and from any browser without any downloads. The application is parameterised in terms of complexity levels and provides a new set of questions each time a student attempts to answer. The scalability is scientifically designed and is aimed at drilling down apart from conceptual comprehension, functional and relative clarity amongst students. 

not only to the students but also the family at large.

The portal provides for objective type questions with instant results on feedback of performance every time the child takes the test. The application maps the progress, duly highlighting the strengths and weaknesses in the student.

The contest was designed with the objective to lay emphasis on concept and fundamental based learning amongst students in schools. In addition to creating a competitive environment and to make the students better equipped, the programme was also conceived to reward the teachers who play an invaluable and pivotal role in molding the students.

From computer to television- 24x7guru. com is the content partner for Tata Sky’s Active Learning platform, where we extend a sample of our content. Viewers get 50 new questions & answers each day from science, math, general knowledge. This way, 24x7guru reaches out to millions of households and introduce them to new ways of interactive and fun learning that appeals

Destination NASA – Knowledge Challenge 2008 24x7guru.com conceptualised a contest christened Destination NASA - Knowledge Challenge 2008 that was launched by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan in November 2007.

‘Destination NASA’ was a mission to strengthen conceptual clarity and academic understanding amongst students. The objective of the Contest was to inspire the next Generation of explorers by launching endeavours to shape their future << 103


News | World e-Learning Initiative launched by UN

A new UN e-Learning initiative launched on December 6 in Berlin. This will offer developing countries opportunities to draw upon a rich array of training and capacity-building resources. At a forum meeting organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) during Online Educa Berlin, 16 UN agencies agreed to establish UNeLearn – a UN-wide network on technology-supported learning to share information and expertise, and to collaborate on the sustained deployment of e-learning. The UNeLearn network will provide targeted training and outreach to help UN country teams implement common programmes for work in over 160 developing countries. As a first step towards the implementation of the project, a comprehensive stocktaking exercise is planned to commence, early in 2009, to identify and integrate quality-assured training resources from across the UN system. The initiative aims to maximise the coherence and effectiveness of UN projects at the country-level as parts of efforts to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Ugandan Parliament backs Makerere University on fees

Ugandan Parliament okayed the decision

of Makerere University to charge library, ICT and developmental fees. Social services committee Chairperson Rosemary Seninde (Wakiso NRM) said that given the need to finance the library project and the maintenance of ICT facilities, the new fees were justified. On September 10, the Makerere University Concerned Students’ Association petitioned Parliament to stop the university from hiking fees. The committee observed that all first-year students’ admission letters contained these functional fees and the students agreed to pay by consenting to the terms and

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conditions of admission. MPs advised that the fees also be paid by continuing students because they would benefit from the infrastructure improvement.

Universities lose billions as recession builds

With the worldwide collapse in financial markets, the result has been catastrophic. Komazawa University, a major private institution in Tokyo, incurred losses of 15.5 billion yen or almost US$170 million in trading high-risk derivatives. Likewise, Keio University, the alma mater of numerous Japanese politicians including former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, accumulated 22.5 billion yen (US$233 million) in unrealised losses on investments ranging from hedge funds to real estate investment trusts.

Rwanda Commended On Promotion of ICT Education

Rwanda has been commended for promoting Information Communication Technology (ICT) education through its ‘One Laptop per Child’ programme and for training teachers in the use of ICT technology. This was highlighted during discussions that were part of the activities of the second Uganda - Rwanda Education Expo that took place in Kampala last week.

In the US, the University of Texas has reportedly lost $1 billion so far on its investments and endowments in 2008. The wealthiest universities, among them Harvard and Yale, have begun cutting on spending, cancelling new building plans and upgrades, and putting a halt to hiring new staff.

Point Park gets $2 million grant from Heinz Endowment

Downtown Pittsburgh based Point Park University has received a US$2 million grant from the Heinz Endowments to support the architectural design phase of the school’s ambitious master space plan. Endowments Chairman Teresa Heinz said that Point Park University’s campus space plan weaves its presence into the Downtown fabric in a very exciting way. It expands considerably the opportunity for Point Park students to engage their academic programmes in a vibrant urban setting. The grant will underwrite a comprehensive design process for construction of the Academic Village, Point Park’s US$210 million redevelopment project, which calls for new student housing, a public park and ground-floor retail. The university also will move the Pittsburgh Playhouse from the Oakland neighborhood to Downtown Pittsburgh.The grant will also support a university architect/planner to oversee the Initiative in its entirety and to help construct an environmental and sustainable overlay for the project.

Rwanda received praise for translating e-content materials into local languages to benefit the local communities. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the exhibition, Namirembe Bitamazire, the Ugandan Minister of Education and Sports, reaffirmed that Rwanda had demonstrated leadership in the region concerning ICT education, emphasising that other regional countries including Uganda have a lot to learn from her.

Higher education spending to boost German economy

Germany’s Education and Research Minister Annette Schavan has come up with proposals to fund measures in higher education and research as a way to help stimulate the country’s flagging economy. Schavan said that investing around EUR15 billion (US$20 billion) in higher education infrastructure and providing tax incentives for small and medium-sized business to spend more on research could provide a vital boost to business. Such measures would support local industry, especially in the building sector, and promote modern energy-saving technologies. Procuring new computers and other equipment would help commerce. << January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


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Announcement 5th

India's Largest ICT Event

Mark Your Calendar january 2009 International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) 2009 4 - 7 January 2009 Vancouver, BC, Canada http://www.icsei2009.org/

College Teaching and Learning Conference 5 - 8 January 2009 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States http://www.cluteinstitute.com/

International Counseling And Social Work Symposium 6 - 7 January 2009 Penang, Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia http://www.usm.my/education/ICSWS/

e-CASE 2009 --- International Conference on e-Commerce, e-Administration, e-Society, and e-Education 8 January 2009 Singapore http://www.e-case.org/2009/

e-Technology 2009 --- International Conference on e-Technology 8 January 2009 Singapore http://www.e-case.org/eTech2009/

International Conference on Managing Creativity and Innovation (ICMCI, 2009) 9 - 10 January 2009 Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India http://imt.edu/icmci2009/

Management Education - Issues & Challenges 29 - 30 January 2009 Durgapur, West Bengal, India http://www.conferencealerts.com/seeconf. mv?q=ca1x63aa

College & University Performance Conference 2009 28 - 30 January 2009 Arlington, VA, United States http://asmiweb.com/events/B267.html

The Higher Education Summit 2009 2 - 3 February 2009 London, United Kingdom http://www.neilstewartassociates.com/jb245/

I Congresso Luso-Brasileiro de Psicologia da Saúde (I Luso-Brazilian Congress of Health Psychology) 5 - 7 February 2009 Faro, Algarve, Portugal http://eventos.ualg.pt/cips/

Subjectivity, Creativity and the Institution 10 - 11 February 2009 Perth, Australia http://subjectivitycreativityandtheinstitution.com/

Physical Education Conference 2009 13 - 15 February 2009 kuala lumpur, Selangor, Malaysia http://www.pec-upm.com/

IADIS International Conference e-Society 25 to 28 February 2009 Barcelona, Spain http://www.esociety-conf.org/

6th Conference on e-Learning Applications 10 January 2009 Cairo Egypt http://www.aucegypt.edu/ResearchatAUC/conferences/ elearning/Pages/default.aspx

The International Society for the Social Studies Annual Conference 26 - 27 February 2009 Orlando, FL, United States http://www.theisss.org/

4-6 August, India Expo Centre, Greater Noida (Delhi NCR), India Fifth annual eIndia 2009, the largest event in India on Information and Communication Technologies, will be held on 4-6th August at India Expo Centre, Greater Noida. This threeday international conference and exhibition is a unique platform for knowledge sharing in different domains of ICT for development and facilitates multi-stakeholder partnerships and networking among governments, industry, academia and civil society organisations of various countries, including India. The objective is to bring together ICT experts, practitioners, business leaders and stakeholders of the region onto one platform, through keynote addresses, paper presentations, thematic workshops and exhibitions. eINDIA 2009, through its four seminal conferences, will focus on four emerging application domains of ICT for Development: e-Governance, Education, Rural Development, and Health services. The four tracks of eINDIA are: • eGov India • Digital Learning India • eHealth India • Indian Telecentre Forum

Call For Papers eINDIA 2009 seeks abstracts/ proposal(s) for speakers who illustrate innovation in using information and communication technologies for development, by 15 April 2009. Abstract Submission: 15th April 2009 Notification of Acceptance of Abstract: 15th May 2009 Full Paper Submission: 30th June 2009 Submit your abstracts/proposals at papers@ eINDIA.net.in

Exhibition eINDIA 2009 will also host an exhibition featuring the best in cutting edge technology across India and beyond. The list of exhibitors will be made available online and will be updated regularly in the run up to the event in August. For more details on the event, log on to www.eINDIA.net.in

2nd Indian Hospitality Congress -Hospitality

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January 2009 | www.digitalLearning.in


Bringing together Academia, Government and Technology providers : January 2009 Anniversary Issue  

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