Page 1

The monthly publication on ICT and Education

digitalLEARNING Volume III Issue 7

July 2007    ISSN 0973-4139 

Rs 75

Subscriber’s copy not for sale

Education 2.0

Policy Matter: Robert Garnett Lyngodoh, Minister of Higher and Technical Education, Meghalaya, India PAGE 12 in Pakistan PAGE 14 A Centre of Excellence in ODL in the Make Dr M. S. Palanichamy, Vice Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Open University, India PAGE 20 Leaders’ Speak

Capt. Kamaljeet Singh Brar, CEO, Designmate PAGE 27

Vikas Joshi, Managing Director, Harbinger Group PAGE 29

Taking e-Learning Development Agenda Beyond Africa page 42



Volume III Issue VII, July 2007

“Education is the sovereign remedy for all economic ills; higher the standard of education and science applied to industrial calling, greater the wealth produced.We must develop the life and capacity of our people by encouraging in them self-help, power of initiative, courage to change and courage to create new things, a spirit of co-operation and a capacity of organisation” - Bharat Rathna Sir M Visvesvaraya “If you give me a choice between money and information, I will choose information.” - Village elder, Senegal “When you get books they are on one topic and they are immediately out of date. With the Internet, you have access to current information on any topic you want.” - Teacher, Uganda

Cover Story


Transforming Education Through Personalisation of Learning



Dan Buckley

Policy Matter

12 ‘Bold Policy Initiatives to Involve Private Sector is Important...’

School Track

Effectiveness of Online Learning Communities to Enhance Student Learning


Pankaj Gorana

Anu A Gokhale

Higher Education Centre of Excellence in 20 AODL in the Make Interview: Dr M. S. Palanichamy, Vice Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Open University, India

Interview with Robert Garnett Lyngodoh, Minister, Higher and Technical Education, Meghalaya, India

The Foyer


Corporate Diary


Project in Pakistan 14 Linking Students to the Global Community Rabia Garib

‘KidsRgreen’ Talking Children Beyond Classroom

Leaders’ Speak Capt. Kamaljeet Singh Brar, CEO, Designmate

Speak 29 Leaders’ Vikas Joshi, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, Harbinger Group

Taking e-Learning Development Agenda beyond Africa



Mark Your Calendar


10 35 37 44

India Corporate Asia World

All the articles are available online at

digital LEARNING President M P Narayanan


Editor-in-Chief Ravi Gupta

Web 2.0 and Personalised Learning!

Volume III, issue 7 | July 2007

Programme Co-ordinator Jayalakshmi Chittoor Sr. Assistant Editor Rumi Mallick Sub Editor Manjushree Reddy Marketing Siddharth Verma +91-9811561645 (India) email: Debabrata Ray +91-9899650692 email: Circulation Lipika Dutta (+91-9871481708) Manoj Kumar (+91-9210816901) Designed by Bishwajeet Kumar Singh Web Zia Salahuddin Editorial and Marketing Correspondence digital Learning G-4 Sector 39 NOIDA 201301, India Phone +91 120 2502181-85 Fax +91 120 2500060 Email Group Directors Maneesh Prasad, Sanjay Kumar Printed by Yashi Media Works Pvt Ltd New Delhi, India digital Learning does not neccesarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors. digital Learning is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred, directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided. digital Learning is published in technical collaboration with Elets Technomedia Pvt. Ltd. (

© Centre for Science, Development and

 Studies 2007 ( Media

Imagine a classroom where students read and write daily journals that will later be transformed into a polished paper published on the Internet. Students collaborate on solving a problem, maintain contents and resources online, receive teacher feedback online, view, listen, share videos, and podcasts on their project work, or just discuss their school project, homework, complete their notes and share among an entire school. All these are just a few examples of how Web 2.0 can be used to enhance learning. Education 2.0 happens when Web 2.0 technologies - blogs, podcasts, wiki, social networking, and even gaming - are used to enhance traditional approaches. It is about how we use the Web as opposed to what it is. While Web 1.0 was all about one-to-many communication without really any interaction, Web 2.0 is the participatory Web that emphasises collaboration, sharing, and community. Unfortunately, established Web 2.0 education projects are popular overseas, but not here. There are millions of ideas floating around, each of which are being reinvented and bettered than the versions before them. The entire system of education as we know it, has changed. Everything is faster, smaller, more efficient and of course, more interactive than ever before. Personalised education could be the biggest change to teaching and learning for many decades. It has the potential to re-engage the interest of thousands of unmotivated teenagers. It means taking a highly structured and responsive approach to each child’s and young person’s learning, in order that all are able to progress, achieve and participate, there by strengthening the link between learning and teaching by engaging pupils in learning. Web 2.0 could be the best engine to do so! This issue of Digital Learning has illustrated some of the routes by which schools can act centres of empowered, collaborative learning and provide practical guidance as to how this is already beginning to be achieved that for the globally interconnected citizens of the present day ICT is redefining learning. Some of the approaches that schools might want to consider include, providing interventions earlier to prevent children falling behind, making greater use of teaching practices that support personalisation such as assessment for learning, or more imaginative ways of setting and grouping, etc. Through and through our gradual march from Education 1.0 to Education 2.0, we keep hoping that soon there will be a complete immersive virtual learning environment that is more user-controlled, a true read, write, execute web or probably the Education 3.0! We will also try to capture some such visions, views, and viabilities on ‘Education Tomorrow’ in our forthcoming issue, which will be released at the eINDIA2007 forum, the largest platform for knowledge sharing on ICTs for Development. We look forward to seeing you in eINDIA2007 and teaming up with you in our journey towards Education 3.0.

Ravi Gupta Editor-in-Chief

June 2007 |

Cover Story

A new landscape for Education is emerging! Education 2.0 is laying the groundwork for Education 3.0, which we believe will see a breakdown of most of the boundaries, imposed or otherwise within education, to create a much more free and open system focused on learning. The world of Education is moving towards a more Personalised environment!

July 2007 |

Transforming Education Through Personalisation of Learning Dan Buckley [], Principal Consultant, Cambridge Education, UK


ver the last hundred years the design of schools, the curriculum, teacher roles, student roles and organisational structures have all evolved together and just like an ecosystem, are now entwined in complex interrelationships. Research is continuing to demonstrate that changes are needed to improve the system but there is a nervousness and lack of clarity about how we achieve this given the complexity. The introduction of new technologies is a much faster process than turning around an education system so we must start the change process towards e-enabled schools now, even though the prospect of every child with an Internet enabled device seems a long way off, the prospect of a transformed education system seems further. In 2006 the author was commissioned by Microsoft to write a number of holistic future schools visions. The intention was to have an ‘off the shelf’ resource for Headteachers that not only provided them with a range of future schools but, once they had decided on which vision they subscribed to, a clear route map for how to efficiently use resources to get there. He developed three models in detail and then, rather surprisingly found that these three encompassed the views of all the Headteachers and agencies with which we debated the model. Three future schools visions were based on what future relationship would exist between the teacher and the pupil. Evolved School Models (The T-route) • This assumes that despite the growing research evidence to the contrary, the current system is the Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

best we can achieve. In this scenario ICT would tend to be used to make the role of the Teacher easier by providing them with greater tools with which to teach. Transformed School Models (The P-route) • In this case ICT would tend to be used in ways which provide the Pupil with better tools with which to develop their own learning and work collaboratively with others to construct knowledge.

around P (Pupil)-route development including the ‘joyful learning’ and a ‘child-centred’ approaches associated with the revised, competencybased school curriculum. Further developments such as the upgrading of learning environments and positive role modelling through schemes such as the ‘Girl Star’ project have further developed the community’s assessment of the value of education thus reducing those within the no-school group.

De-schooled Models • If there were a third option it would be that schools cease to exist because they can’t compete with home learning or don’t offer a route for the child towards greater opportunity for themselves or their families. This third option is increasing evident in developed countries with numbers of home schooled students increasing yearly and the performance of home schooled children in the UK, Canada and USA now greater than schooled. Systems that place such little importance on collaboration and considerable value on individually written examinations are, in effect, favouring isolated learning and so it is not surprising that if resources of a similar quality are available at home, students will increasingly choose this option.

The concept of P-route schools is not new and there are numerous examples across the globe of systems which provide learners with greater choice and self-determination ranging from the Microsociety schools in the USA and Japan in which children run the school as a mini society to the Danish schools such as HGO based on democratic empowerment. Despite the well researched success of these two examples and many others, it has not been possible to accurately assess how effectively such schemes have delivered in terms of lifelong competency development. Ironically, the instrument which is frequently used to assess their effectiveness is how well the students perform on standard written tests. A good example of this is the education system in the UK in the 1970s. This was an attempt to develop P-route practice on a wide scale but without the monitoring control of a national curriculum and assessment system.

In India, the drive towards universal education has seen a ten fold increase in attendance of schools, largely constructed as elsewhere in the world, around the T (Teacher)-route. For the remaining students yet to attend school there has been some excellent initiatives

In order to ensure that ICT systems can be used to best effect in new P-route schools to identify valuable progress across competencies, we need to be certain about the core design principles including the importance of the following factors. 

owned by the individual the more effective and the less damaging it is. Assessment used overtly to monitor teachers, school performance and norm referenced milestones tends to label individuals, negatively impact on learner independence and learner self-image.

Sites such as have grown exponentially as learners demonstrate that integrating review and assessment into leaning acts as a fuel rather than an inhibitor especially when the learner is of a similar age or ability. The most striking piece of evidence is this was the e-viva project operated by Ultralab. This replaced written questions with recorded messages to the child’s mobile phone. The research discovered that learners would give more complex answers when the recorded message was someone of their own age. PbyP (personalisation by pieces) is the first system to provide such peer assessment as authentic qualifications without the need for teacher verification Collaborative knowledge building We still don’t know enough about how the contribution of individual team members develops shared understanding and how to assess each person’s contribution in terms of the overall outcome. What we do know is that the ability to work in this way is a key component of a 21st century knowledge economy and yet most of the skills development is happening unknown to schools through learner’s online social networks, the growth of which is astounding. An estimated 40% of all UK teenagers have adopted an alternative identity online in order to collaborate anonymously.

Choice of learning context, creativity and approach Every society has different views about what pieces of information are essential and such content would be required in P-route schools although how and 8

when a learner accessed it may be more within their control. In the author’s own school for example, he delivered the national curriculum by providing each child with teacher training and then commissioning them to deliver it. Students had complete creative freedom as to how they achieved this; the only requirement was that they had to evidence what proportion of the class had learnt what they were teaching. Although all 300 children performed better in standard tests than those taught traditionally, but it was in terms of their core competencies that an incredible acceleration of three years was achieved in one year. Hence in the P-route school it is the competencies framework which unites students and drives collaboration rather than the subject content.

Ownership of assessment Research concludes that the more assessment is integrated into the process of learning, understood and

In Finland, teachers own the data and use it to conduct active research into their own practice. This acts as a powerful role model for the students who can interpret assessment as a tool for reflective practice and development. The monitoring role of assessment is not shared widely so that government agencies can use the data to direct support without placing a pressure for driven targets. Sites such as have grown exponentially as learners demonstrate that integrating review and assessment into leaning acts as a fuel rather than an inhibitor especially when the learner is of a similar age or ability. The most striking piece of evidence is this was the e-viva project operated by Ultralab. This replaced written questions with recorded messages to the child’s mobile phone. The research discovered that learners would give more complex answers when the recorded message was someone of their own age. PbyP (personalisation by pieces) is the first system to provide such peer assessment as authentic qualifications without the need for teacher verification and will be discussed later in this paper.

Student leadership Schools which offer the diversity of a P-route curriculum need to develop wide ranges of ‘real’ learning opportunities. In the Five Islands School the author set up teams of student leaders who designed a training course to cover the ICT requirements and manage the equipment. They now deliver the programme to all of the students including the assessment and monitoring. Such opportunities increase the capacity for project leadership and enables genuine empowered partnership as described by Hart’s ‘Degrees of Participation’ which he derived from the work of Arnstein (A ladder of citizen participation, 1969). July 2007 |

One of the most stunning examples of such transformed practice is the Room 13 project in Scotland. In this case, students from ages 5 to 11 were given a room and the budget to run it including funding to employ an adult to supervise. The students employed an artist in residence. To gain access to the room, students had to complete their school work for the day. Students were soon requesting the work a day early so they could complete it at home and spend the next day in room 13. Over the past fifteen years, the author has been devising and implementing projects which can bring about P-route transformation. Many of these such as the ‘Access Manager Scheme’, ‘Eggbuckland Peer Learning Project’ and the ‘ICT passport project’ have achieved national and international recognition having demonstrated significant value added in terms of ‘value added’ measurements and final examinations. In 2004 the author left Eggbuckland Community College to try to develop a toolkit that would enable schools to plot their own P-route without external intervention. Such a toolkit would need to introduce personalisation piece by piece at a pace which enables the school to transform other interrelated practices and structures rather than through radical and instant change. It would need to provide services over the web to every individual student that would allow them to manage their own working and peer assess the work of learners Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

from other schools. It would need to be competency based and enable the school to monitor progression in these competencies at a whole school and individual level. The first step in developing the PbyP toolkit (Personalisation by Pieces) was to define the basic building block of learning at all ages. The author defines a learning cycle which involves the learner choosing a target, discussing this with a mentor, devising a way of meeting the target, carrying out an activity to meet the target, gathering the evidence and finally submitting the evidence for peer assessment before returning to the start of the cycle with a different target. The targets needed to be accessible by the individual and needed to be based on core competencies rather than knowledge. The content of the targets was less important than ensuring they could be achieved and evidenced independently. Children who choose this target can use the PbyP web tool to see how other children from around the world have achieved it. This inspires an idea such as submitting a picture of themselves in front of the class. The child organises the photo to be taken and then submits it. The work goes to another child who has already achieved this target. This second child could be in a different country studying different content but they are effectively an ‘expert’ in achieving this statement and so are able to assess it. If this ‘expert’ agrees that the work has passed then it enters the child’s e-portfolio and adds to the examples

on the web that could inspire others. Like on eBay, the child gets to rate the advice they have been given so that a set of ratings emerge which are capable of monitoring progress measures through feedback. The learner can now progress to the level two statement or switch to another competence. He developed PbyP last year and it is currently undergoing extensive trials in over 30 UK learning institutions ranging from infant schools to university degree courses. He applied the model to a 5-11 school in ‘special measures’, meaning it was nationally identified as failing its students. Within 18 months of implementing a change management plan based on the vision of a P-route school employing PbyP it was declared ‘Outstanding in all areas’. All of the other trials have involved less direct intervention, but all are already reporting improved outcomes, which in two cases have been externally verified. The simplicity of the concept, the ease of adoption and the flexibility to introduce new competences means that the concept will grow as its use diversifies. Examples of this include developing multiple language versions which will allow students to have their language work assessed by a native speaker, implementations in different international education systems to demonstrate the overlap of universal competences and the introduction of specific entrepreneurial skills. In the world’s largest democracy, greater collaborative empowerment and personal ownership of learning will require schools that act as both centres of community learning and brokers of opportunities. In this way the democratisation of learning in the classroom will support the sustainable economic growth of India both within the local and global economy.

As winner of the BECTA Secondary Leadership award and the National Teacher of the Year award for Innovation and Creativity, Dan Buckley has considerable experience of innovation in learning and teaching. In his current capacity as Principal consultant for Cambridge Education he has presented as key note speaker on numerous occasions internationally on the subjects of personalisation, change management, and school design. He has recently co-written the Microsoft BSF envisioning guide and the ‘Personalisation by Pieces Framework’: a student empowerment, competency based curriculum model currently being trialled in ten schools.

News INDIA Virtual Schools and Learning Home project in Maharashtra

certificate at the end of the training. MKCL will act as the nodal agency to set up Prayog Pariwar Kendras. As part of this programme, computer-equipped laboratories will be set up at 15 talukas as a pilot project in Pune district, which will be digitally connected.

In a unique project, a statewide consortium of 15 organisations and educational institutes will launch Virtual Schools and Learning Home (VSLH) project in Maharashtra, which will include various initiatives based on principles like open educational resources for all, and learning through independent exploration and selforganised groups.

TRAI sets up consumer education fund

The Indian Consortium for Educational Transformation (ICONSENT) consists of institutions like the Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL), the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Indian Institute of Education (IIE), SNDT University, and others. Starting June 30, ICONSENT will launch a series of initiatives, each of which will be executed by a select institution that will act as a nodal agency.

In order to raise money for the corpus, the telecom regulator has instructed all the operators, who may have charged

As part of the initiative to train nearly 20 lakh teachers in the State, the HBCSE will establish an online resource of educational material that can be accessed by anyone at any time. Teachers will also be given a

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) set up a Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund to create awareness among telecom consumers and for protecting their interests. The fund will initially have a corpus of around INR 100 million.

their subscribers any amount in excess of the rates determined under any regulation and which could not be refunded to the concerned subscribers,

Ghost teachers main hurdle in India`s education system: Study

and thus, lying as unclaimed with the service providers, to transfer the excess amount so collected to the credit of the `Telecommunication Consumers Education and Protection Fund.` The fund, to be administered by the TRAI, will be used to undertake programmes to educate the consumers about various measures taken up by the government or TRAI for protecting the interests of consumers and to conduct studies and market research projects on matters relating to protection of their interests.

IGNOU spreads wings abroad The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), one of the largest open universities in the world which already has a presence in 35 countries, is about to expand its reach to six more nations in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The authorities in Syria have approached IGNOU to help in capacity building. Apart from opening a centre, the African country of Botswana wants licensing rights of IGNOU study material. In Bhutan and Bangladesh, negotiations are on for opening branches. While Uganda is interested in IGNOU’s post graduate courses, Yemen is impressed by low cost educational system. IGNOU provides only 50 courses to foreign students. And the six new countries will get the same number. Over 11,000 overseas students are enrolled under IGNOU.

Ghost teachers, who are on payroll but won’t turn-up to take classes, private tuitions replacing the regular classroom and habitual absenteeism are major factors undermining the education system in India, according to a UNESCO study “corrupt schools, corrupt universities: what can be done?” India stands second and next only to Uganda in absenteeism in the primary schools with 25 per cent of teachers missing from the classes. The 313-page study, conducted by UNESCO’s International Institute for Education Planning, says absenteeism has cost 22.5 per cent of the salary budget earmarked for the teachers in India. The figures varied from state to state. In Gujarat teachers absentee rate was 17 per cent where as in Bihar it was as high as 38 per cent. The study also makes an interesting observation that a habitual absentee teacher will continue to be an absentee no matter how near is the school. 10

It began its academic journey by offering two programmes in 1987 with an initial enrolment of 4,528 students. Today, its student base has increased to 1.5 million. July 2007 |

One in 50 has access to a PC, benefits of computerisation yet to reach masses

According to a new survey, one in every 50 Indians has access to a PC. In the fiscal year 2006-2007, the personal computer market in India witnessed a 20 percent unit expansion to over 22 million PCs. IT Research firm, IDC’s India Quarterly PC Tracker, Q1 2007 release, stated that in the overall Client PC market, including both notebooks and desktops, HP topped market share at 21.2 percent. The number two spot went to HCL with 13.5 percent, while Lenovo was able to manage taking 9.5 percent of the market sales for the fiscal year. Looking at desktop PC shipments alone, HP led by a thin margin, followed by HCL and Lenovo. The overall Client PC market went up 15.9 percent in the first quarter of 2007. In the same period, desktop PCs grew at a rate of 6.3 percent, while notebook PCs revealed a significantly larger market share of 73.1 percent. In the notebook PC market, HP maintained the number one lead with market share of 39.6 percent, while Lenovo tagged second with 17.6 percent and Toshiba rose to third spot edging out Dell.

Indian HRD Ministry to create distance education regulator The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) is planning to create an independent distance education regulator to monitor and maintain the standards of open learning in the country. India already has Distance Education Council (DEC) functioning under the aegis of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), but still wants to make it an entity independent of the central university. Under this proposal, the DEC will be an independent statutory body to promote, coordinate and regulate the standards of all distance education programmes offered in the country. The entire range of open learning will be covered from correspondence courses to programmes offered through satellite channels and the Internet.

libraries, hospitals, universities and resource centres for optimal use of information and help create a knowledge network. Delhi, which has already unveiled its e-governance roadmap, will now have Special Purpose Vehicles - as suggested by the NKC - to implement the projects. The key ingredients in this approach are consultations, data sharing, and resource sharing so to enable researchers to undertake collaborative efforts at reasonable costs. A separate SPV will be formed for digitisation and networking of all the libraries. A separate State Translation Mission would also be set up on the lines of

National Translation Mission proposed by the NKC for creating a database of translated texts, undertake translation of texts related to Delhi for making them available to a larger population and develop translation as an industry. A committee on Higher Education would look into all aspects to encourage private investment and e-Governance. A separate group would be constituted on vocational education and vocational training. Good English speaking graduates will be hired to teach English.

Chandigarh Education Dept to ‘employ’ children from poor background The Chandigarh Education Department has come up with a scheme under which it will provide employment to underprivileged children as a part of vocational courses being run in government schools. The department has decided to involve children associated with various NGOs and underprivileged children in government schools in making packets from waste paper. Officials said the packets will be used to put matthis, which will be provided in government schools from July. The children will make these packets in government schools where teachers will teach them how to make packets. The department will tie up with various NGOs in the city in getting children involved in constructive task.

Govt to create ‘knowledge network’

Delhi is all set to become the first state in the country to systematically implement the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission. The government has agreed to form a special purpose vehicle, and various committees to give impetus to areas like e-Governance, elementary education, vocational education, networking of Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007


policy matter

‘Bold Policy Initiatives to Involve Private Sector is Important to Move Ahead’ Robert Garnett Lyngdoh Minister of Higher and Technical Education, Meghalaya, India

Meghalaya, one of the Seven Sisters state is always recognised for its beauty and grace and has now and again been alluded to as ‘the abode of clouds’. The state’s literacy rate figures 63.31% according to the census report of 2001. The state has one central university located at Shillong, besides a few professional colleges. Like all other states in the country, Meghalaya has also adopted the policy of free and compulsory education for its students up to the age of 14. The state also follows a uniform system of education i.e. the 10+2 system as followed in other states of the country. Robert Garnett Lyngdoh, the Minister of Higher and Technical education, Meghalaya, discusses more about education, technology and policy matters of this beautiful State. 12

Could you please give a brief introduction on the education scenario in Meghalaya, with particular emphasis on technology? Is higher education affordable to all? How is the job market for college graduates? Does Meghalaya also put emphasis on technology aided education in higher education? Over the last few decades, Shillong has earned itself a reputation as the hub of education in the North-Eastern region. Students come from all the States in the North-East to pursue their studies here. It is precisely for this reason that the Central Government set up the North Eastern Hill University in Shillong, to cater to the growing needs of the students of the region. Presently, two new institutions are coming up in Shillong, viz., the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), a referral hospital and post-graduate institute on the lines of AIIMS, and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM). Besides these, a number of private institutes, like NIIT, APTECH, etc., have also set up centers in Shillong. The Govt of Meghalaya has been laying special emphasis on technology in the State. As you can see from the above, there are ample opportunities of pursuing further studies within the State and the cost of education in the State is affordable. The College graduates in the State have the opportunity to undergo value added training programmes, either while pursuing their degree or post-degree. However, due to the fact that employment opportunities in the private sector are limited within the State, most are absorbed in various industries outside the State. The State Government has made tremendous inroads, over the last few years, to ensure that the products of the Schools and Colleges are technology savvy and the Government has spared no efforts to ensure that the state of art facilities are provided to the students both in the urban and the rural areas. July 2007 |

In your tenure as an education minister, how do you review the implementation of educational policies and practices? The Education scenario in the State does need a new impetus to propel it forward to meet new challenges of the future. Students have to be given the right skills to enable them to successfully meet the needs of the future. Besides this, there is an urgent need to make sure that classroom lessons are practically implemented in the community. Towards this end, the Government has adopted new paradigms by taking innovative approaches and qualifying hands on experiences and field studies as an imperative where the students would gain additional knowledge through field experiences. The Operational Values, where students implement what they learn by working with the community, and Project Sustainability, where in departments give impetus to vocational training, are some of the steps being taken by the department to propel this dream forward. How is education in Meghalaya preparing individuals and society to benefit from ICT? The synergy that we see through the education department and the IT department will ensure that the students are exposed to the realities of cutting edge technology. The schools right from the elementary sector, are equipped with computers installed through the Computer Aided Learning (CAL) under the banner of the SSA. The Secondary schools through the EFC award and the CLASS project are also implementing computer learning processes. Besides, we have a project under EDUSAT, which would be used for classroom teaching using high end technological tools. The students are, therefore, well equipped to tackle the challenges of new technology. What are so far the consequences of an ICT-integrated curriculum and the use of ICT in occupational practice on the attainment targets of education in your State? We have made a beginning by equipping the students with tools to ensure they have an edge in the new learning Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

The Central Government set up the North Eastern Hill University in Shillong, to cater to the growing needs of the students of the region. The schools right from the elementary sector, are equipped with computers installed through the Computer Aided Learning (CAL) under the banner of the SSA. The Secondary schools through the EFC award and the CLASS project are also implementing computer learning processes. Besides, we have a project under EDUSAT, which would be used for classroom teaching using high end technological tools. The students are, therefore, well equipped to tackle the challenges of new technology. processes. The fact that a large number of students from the State are working in BPOs/KPOs and software development parks outside the State speaks volume of the achievement of the state. We are further endeavoring to benchmark the educational standards to higher levels so that placement offers would increase in the future. One of the trends in Centre-State relations has been the increasing financial dependence of states on the Centre. Don’t you think this need to be changed? How can States tackle this? Due to the resource constraints of small

States like ours we have no other option but to depend on the benevolence of the Central Government for acquiring the necessary hardware and software to be utilised by the student community. There is no immediate formula to overcome this malaise and no cut and dried solution right now. Bold policy initiatives to involve the private sector could be one way out, but, considering the fact that the private sector is still very small in the State, this will take time. How do you see the role of private sector participation in the state’s educational activities? How much support do you get in this line? We would like to encourage the private sector to come to our State and set up joint ventures especially in areas, which are more job oriented and demand skills where we can leverage on. Partnership under the ITES banner has a lot of incentives as elaborated under the IT Policy, 2004. Within the ambit of present Centre-State relations guaranteed by the Constitution and in practice, what are the limitations that you face in your functioning as an education minister? In the field of education, the State is still very dependent on the Central Government for financial support. The emergence of private individuals, as well as private institutions and universities, is a recent phenomenon, which has to be closely monitored and gauged. In 5 years from now, where do you see Meghalaya going in terms of quality education? What is your vision for the year 2012? What is there in your personal agenda? In five years, I would like to see education giving the right skills to the youth, through the use of proper manpower training techniques. I would also like to see educational institutions more financially independent. And, lastly, I would like to see that what is being taught in classrooms is being practically implemented for the benefit of society. 13

project in Pakistan

Linking Students to the Global Community Rabia Garib [], CEO and Co-Founder, Rasala Publications, Pakistan Education does not always have to comprise of the passing of information from educator to student, with the only objective being to make sure that the student has been informed of all that a certain syllabus has to offer. True education, in the real sense of the word, can only be achieved when the educator, comprehending the needs of the student, passes on true understanding of the subject at hand, with there being a transfer of knowledge rather than information. This idea of bringing together students and teachers on to one ‘thought platform’ is the primary idea behind, an online community developed by the Oracle Education Foundation to engage and inspire students. provides a web-based application for school aged students globally, providing its users with an online opportunity to utilise basic technology skills to reach out to a global audience for their thoughts and ideas, and thus enabling a more diversified form of education. This article will address not only the success that Think.Com has had in Pakistan over the past few months, but also discuss possible technology platforms, that will be beneficial for the school communities to make use of, to bring the greatest benefit of the same, to the future generations that lead countries such as India and Pakistan.


he role of the teacher has changed more in the past two years than in the past 50 years. For years, futurists and industry professionals have been talking about how technology will change the traditional classroom as we know it, but only now has the software technology been made available through open source and community development, for those changes to actually take place. For years, teachers have struggled to get students to be creative and original. One of the main reasons students find it difficult to exercise their creativity is they feel constrained in the school environment. After all, our schools have come around to focus more on discipline and rote learning to brainwash the mind to follow pre-defined patterns. But now we have access to the most exciting technologies. There is an 14

endless list of technical platforms available to be used for teaching purposes. Webcasts, Wikis, Online Community Groups, Podcasting and Blogs are already out there, just waiting to be customised and used. You want original content? There is no way to supersede the originality of an idea than to have them capture it. Now that we have leaped across the technological challenges to increase the interactivity of software, we are now able to focus back on the education part of the challenge. Are our schools and educators flexible and creative enough to utilise the power of the Internet to its full teaching capacity? Education 2.0 isn’t about the technology at all – it is about looking at the quality of what is being taught and how it is being sent out to the students. Today’s version of education and technology is about networking and bringing different disciplines together.

Even ten years ago, could you really have imagined how critical it would have been for the science teacher to coordinate her syllabus with the computer teacher, so that the students would be able to work on a project using the Internet or Powerpoint? Children love to talk with their friends about one thing or another. Why can’t they be inspired to develop plays or talk into a small recorder so they can put it up online as a podcast? Their stories. Their voices. Their productions. Teach someone else their dialect or something about their culture. For kids that like film, arm a team of students with a topic and let them videotape it as a webcast. These concepts aren’t as far off into the making as you would imagine. Technology companies have been investing in expanding these platforms into the education curriculum for a July 2007 |

number of years already. The Oracle Education Foundation took over the global collaborative web development competition from Advanced Networks a few years ago and went ahead to launch an exclusive educational community for schools around the world. In more than 40 countries, the programme uses Web 2.0 to allow teachers to use the password protected community to interact with their students and integrate their teaching in the classroom with that in the virtual world. The Oracle Education Foundation, with the assistance of Pakistan’s Oracle office and personal endorsement of the regional country manager, Samina Rizwan, took off in Pakistan in September of 2006. The response was infectious. Even in developing countries in the South Asian region, the willingness to use the computer as a tool is great, however the hesitation lies in the fact that the integration of technology will add another element of dependency on an outsider to train, advise and deploy. Schools run on lean budgets and limited resources, however the fact that so many of the private and even public schools are looking at technology with such an open mind, just confirms the fact that all this advancement is categorised as a necessity rather than a luxury. School heads realise that with an initial investment into becoming more technology savvy, they will be able to make the quality of their education higher. Think.Com caught on like a raging fire with the students and surprisingly enough, even teachers who had little experience using computers, were thrilled to be able to publish material on their forums so easily. All of a sudden, members in Pakistan could visit Think. Com members from Australia, India, Malaysia or the United States, and interact with them. Children want to be online in the various platforms that are made available to them. Whether it is social networking communities or sports and entertainment blogs, website development or reporting, Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

there is literally something for everyone because everyone is in charge of executing their ideas and creating massive amounts of content. With the increased access to information, there is an inherent problem that we are soon going to be faced with. For the past several years, the focus of IT has been trying to increase the access to information. Companies have created and perfected the means to warehouse and mine information and paths to those storage areas. Beginning with urban, governments and corporations realised that the rural areas would also need access to the information so that a wider population could be served. eBanking and virtual learning is making its way into the rural areas and organisations such as Unicef and the World Bank are pushing for projects that use efficient and simple technology to allow millions of consumers to engage in simple and instant online activities. It is also interesting to point out the debate that the unfortunate October 8, 2005 earthquake in Northern Pakistan and India triggered off. When the governments insisted on building the structures of schools again in a lot of the effected parts, educators and technology

The Oracle Education Foundation, with the assistance of Pakistan’s Oracle office and personal endorsement of the regional country manager, Samina Rizwan, took off in Pakistan in September of 2006. The response was infectious. Think.Com caught on like a raging fire with the students and surprisingly enough, even teachers who had little experience using computers, were thrilled to be able to publish material on their forums so easily. All of a sudden, members in Pakistan could visit Think. Com members from Australia, India, Malaysia or the United States, and interact with them. 15

professionals argued back to allow the investment to be re-routed in the actual restarting of the education rather than the physical school buildings. That just pushes the point home that education happens everywhere, not necessarily only in the confines of a classroom. The question on everyone’s minds is whether all this virtual interactivity that makes it something like Educationon-Demand, will it ever rid the concept of the actual school. That is the same misconception as the fact that automation gets rid of the need for factories or skilled human resource. If anything, the integration of technological innovation has only impressed the need for a higher quality of labor and more emphasis for the creation of jobs that previously had no position. Teachers will just need to pull up their socks and become a lot more proactive and assertive than they have

been. The only change I see happening in our education system, will be that being a teacher will be more fun and challenging than before, therefore the quality of the teacher will have to be just that much more superior. With increased network infrastructure, more powerful hardware and high speed bandwidth, teaching can be moved from within the confines of an institution, to individual workstations or mobile devices. From mainframes to computer workstations, laptops now down to PDAs and cellphones. As long as communication can be enabled through all of these devices, teaching and learning can also be deployed on

the same platforms. Who cares what the technology is anymore, as long as the right kind of person can use it for the right kind of work. Don’t blame for the teacher for being lost to these nouveau concepts. Right now it just seems overwhelming because it is new. But everyone will realise sooner than later that if the teaching doesn’t catch up with the speed of learning, schools will be out of business very quickly. The impact that technology and the Internet and mobile devices will have on the education process is just beginning. The future is here and now. It is upto us to make the maximum benefit out of it.

Rabia Garib co-founded Rasala Publications in 1998 and is the Chief Editor of Netexpress and other IT trade publications in Pakistan. She specialises in New Media consultancy and production and has been working with teachers and students in a training and IT and Education integration since 2000. She is an Eisenhower Fellow from Pakistan in Spring 2007 Multi Nation programme and is located in Karachi, Pakistan.

Champion of Sri Lanka’s ICT Industry Prof Samaranayake Passes Away Prof V.K Samaranayake, the visionary who laid the foundation of ICT industry in Sri Lanka, died on June 06 in Stockholm, at the age of 68. Digital Learning with sadness have to add comments to the many that will be made about Prof. Samaranayake, the man, may be rightly considered as “Father of Information Technology” in Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka honoured Prof. Samaranayake for his contribution towards IT by the award of Vidya Prasadini in 1997 and Vidya Jyothi in 1998. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has presented its President’s Award for International Cooperation to Prof. Samaranayake in 1996 in recognition of his contribution. His contributions had been instrumental in launching IT Infrastructure, Commerce, Security, Internet technology, Computer awareness and IT education across Sri Lanka. He introduced computers into the governance activities such as national elections and brought the IT revolution to the rural areas by formulation of 16

He served the University of Colombo since 1961 immediately following his graduation from the same University, and retired as Senior Professor of Computer Science in 1994. An academician by profession, he started his career as a Mathematician; with the advent of micro-computer he built expertise in computing and introduced computer education on a mass scale in schools and universities.

the ISO 10646 standard for Sinhalese Characters, development of multilingual web sites and introducing Multipurpose Community Telecentres and community radio. Prof Samaranayake served the Council for Information Technology (CINTEC), apex National agency for IT in Sri Lanka as its Chairman for 12 years. He was a member of the advisory panel of the Asia IT&C programme of the European Commission.

He founded the Department of Statistics and Computer Science (DSCS) and of the Institute of Computer Technology (ICT) of the University of Colombo, and to provide a platform for young students aspiring an career in IT, he founded the Bachelor of Information Technology programme at the University, which has attracted 5000 registrations in the first year of operation. Digital Learning salutes Prof Samarnayake’s tireless committment to the ICT industry that has made his contributions remarkable over the years, and bemoans the loss of the great leader. July 2007 |


Effectiveness of Online Learning Communities to Enhance Student Learning Anu A Gokhale, [], Professor, Illinois State University, USA Considerable attention has been given recently to the ‘Net Generation’, also called the ‘Y Generation’. This group of individuals, born between 1980 and 1994, have been characterised by their familiarity with and reliance on information and communication technologies. Several authors have argued that the digital culture in which the Net Generation has grown up has influenced their preferences in a number of key areas related to education. For example, these students are said to prefer receiving information quickly; be adept at processing information rapidly; prefer multi-tasking and non-linear access to information; have a low tolerance for lectures; prefer active rather than passive learning; rely heavily on communications technologies to access information and to carry out social and professional interactions. The Net Generation has embraced the concept of publishing on the Web, and that bode well for the project’s use of emerging technologies to provide topical modules for discussions, communicate with students, and enhance their understanding of the subject-matter. This project explores and exploits uses of tools like blogs and podcasts, as part of building online communities to enhance student learning in a computer programming class of about 24 students taught at the author’s home institution. The blogs in this project promote a student community knit by common educational interests, and provide a sense of support for students, especially for women and minority students, pursuing a computing major. teaching and learning brings unique challenges which heighten the critical interrelationships between technology, instruction, and the organisational environment in which they are embedded. The technologies being used must serve the needs of the curriculum, not vice versa (Gosper et al, 2007).

What are learning communities?


ennedy et al (Questioning the Net Generation: A Collaborative Project in Australian Higher Education, 2006) purport that universities are ill-equipped to recruit and retain a new generation of learners whose sophisticated use of emerging technologies is incompatible with more traditional practices. The integration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) into Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

In educational contexts, the term “learning communities” traditionally has been applied to programmes that involve first and second-year undergraduates, along with faculty. A variety of approaches are used to restructure the students’ time, credit, and learning experiences to build community among students, between students and their instructors, and among faculty members within and across disciplines (MacGregor in Strategies for Energising Large Classes: From Small Groups to Learning Communities, 2000; Senge et al, Schools That Learn, 2000; Springer et al, Effects of Small-Group Learning on Undergraduates in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology: A Meta-analysis, 1999). Learning communities are popular in current school improvement circles (DuFour, What is a professional 17

learning community? Educational Leadership, 2004), but this concept is not new; it began in the realm of business with the understanding that organisations can learn. Change agents in education borrowed the concept in an attempt to improve student learning.

Why online? The “online” aspect of learning communities is highly relevant, because learning specialists Fernette and Brock Eide (2005) contend that blogging, podcasting, and similar interfaces have tremendous potential for positive impact on students: • Promote critical, analytical, and analogical thinking • Be a powerful promoter of creative, intuitive, and associational thinking • Be a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information • Combine the best of solitary reflection and social interaction

Objectives There were two objectives of this study: • To identify the attributes of blogs that receive highly favorable rating from students, and • To determine if there is a significant difference in performance at the 0.05 significance level, on a class final exam between students who are encouraged to participate in online learning communities versus traditional methods (encouraged to meet in groups).

Methodology This innovative study, involved one or two computing professionals, two senior computing students, and a student with Web design skills organised into teams to run “online learning communities” from a free Web-based service. Students wrote diary-like entries, placed videos, photos, podcasts and more, but it was all related to the computing class. Examples are: quizzes and games based on computing or mathematics concepts; guided discussions; videos on exciting careers related to computing applications; interesting stories about famous and not-so-famous computer scientists, and contributions of 18

Student rating on the importance of different attributes in deciding their “favourite” learning community Academic content Content relevance to workplace Degree of entertainment Degree of cohesiveness Cool features Quizzes Games Videos Response to requests/feedback from members Interactions among community members

4.3 ± 0.1 4.4 ± 0.1 3.5 ± 0.1 3.9 ± 0.1 3.8 ± 0.1 4.0 ± 0.1 3.5 ± 0.1 4.2 ± 0.1 4.2 ± 0.1 4.1 ± 0.1

Student rating on different attributes of their “favorite” learning community Academic content Content relevance to workplace Degree of entertainment Degree of cohesiveness Cool features Quizzes Games Videos Response to requests/feedback from members Interactions among community members

computing professionals in solving societal problems. The student teams were given the following guidelines: 1) Identify their community purpose or goal; 2) Identify their target audience; 3) Think about which interaction tools would serve their purpose and audience and how to structure the space; 4) Think about how they want to host or facilitate their community; 5) Build it, pilot it, and revise; 6) Draw in the members; 7) Nurture it so it grows.

Hiring students as bloggers According to Richardson (Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, 2006), newer features, such as blogs and videos are much more popular with the Net Generation when younger staff members and current students create the content. The bloggers benefit too; the greater the students’ involvement in the academic life, the greater their acquisition of knowledge

3.2 ± 0.1 4.1 ± 0.1 4.7 ± 0.1 4.6 ± 0.1 4.5 ± 0.1 3.5 ± 0.1 3.8 ± 0.1 4.3 ± 0.1 3.8 ± 0.1 4.4 ± 0.1

and development of skills (Tinto, Classrooms as Communities: Exploring the Educational Character of Student Persistence, 1997). The women and minority junior/senior computing majors on the teams offered valuable insight into designing blogs that appealed to these populations. The author met the blogging teams regularly to determine what contributions are being made by each of the team members, and to determine any apparent gender- or ethnically-linked patterns to the ideas contributed by students.

Training programmes for student bloggers The message to the student bloggers was simple: the freshman and sophomores may be intellectually ready for challenging technology-based learning processes and activities, but they may not be personally motivated to seek out online items related to education. It was the bloggers’ task to tap into the current July 2007 |

In response to the first objective, the tables provide a comparative study of student perspectives on different attributes of learning communities. At the beginning of the semester, students rated the attributes on their importance in deciding their favorite learning community. At the end of the semester, students rated each learning community using the same attributes. Values are means ± standard deviation of evaluations, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest rating.


culture of student communication styles and think about what appeals to them, what would strike them as engaging, and then figure out creative ways of applying their own experience to enhance student interest in the field and learning of concepts that may be difficult to grasp. The instructors pointed students in the direction of the online content, but the bloggers had to make that content relevant and engaging to their target audience. The students on the teams previously completed the course themselves, so they knew about the course content, and about the attitudes typical of students enrolled in the course. The bloggers were encouraged to seek help with content and resources from computing faculty and professionals in industry. They were free to be creative and innovative, as long as their work remained responsible and relevant to the project. The online communities were closely monitored by the author and computing faculty, for accuracy and appropriateness of content.

Techniques to motivate participants to explore the blogs One strategy that proved successful in getting the students to participate was to have them cast a vote for their favorite “online community” every week. Although the criteria for evaluation Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

were developed by a team of faculty, the students in the class determined a winner every week. At the end of the semester, a grand prize for the team that won most number of times during the semester. Since a nearly equal distribution of males and females cast the vote, the online community that won represented one that appealed to both genders.

Results and discussion All 24 student participants in the experimental group completed a questionnaire at the end of a 15week experience with online learning communities. Over 90% of them were highly satisfied with the experience and overwhelmingly agreed that they learned collaboratively as a group. Upon close inspection of open-ended comments, it was found that women were turned off by the aggressive and competitive nature of some content, but when the community was perceived as being supportive with a relaxed, warm and sociable atmosphere, they participated enthusiastically in the online discussion. These findings are in agreement with the results of previous work done by the author and other researchers. The study did not find any significant differences among members of different races; however, there was very little racial diversity so the data was insufficient to draw a reliable and valid conclusion on this aspect.

The data shows a discrepancy between what students consider “important” attributes of learning communities, and how they ultimately vote. As an example, academic content was rated as being a very important attribute, but the learning community that won the “favourite” vote did not rate very high on this attribute. In response to the second objective, the effectiveness of online learning communities to enhance student learning and academic performance was evaluated using a pre-test post-test control group design. Using a t-test, the author determined that there were no pretest differences, but the experimental group, when compared to the control group, performed significantly better (t = 2.17) on the posttest (class final exam). It could be argued that more factors are in play and requires more research. The introduction of new technologies has implications for the whole educational enterprise including infrastructure, curriculum, teaching and learning methods, support for faculty and students, and academic policy and practices. The methodologies and outcomes of this study may be used for different purposes: 1) enhance student preparation before they enter college; 2) promote competence of computing students in specific areas; 3) address specialised topics; and 4) target a segment of the population (like women and minorities) to recruit and retain in computing. In effect, this research demonstrated effective use of emerging technologies to create a network that enhances learning and builds communities, at very little cost. 19

Higher Education

A Centre of Excellence in ODL in the Make Says Dr M.S. Palanichamy, Vice Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Open University, India Dr M.S. Palanichamy who has assumed his office in 2003 is the First Vice Chancellor appointed by the Government of Tamil Nadu in Tamil Nadu Open University and is heading the University having. In Tamil Nadu Open University, he is taking steps to provide Higher Education including areas widows, housewives, working men and women, disabled and those who are denied Higher Education due to family and social reasons. He has established study centres at 10 important towns of Tamil Nadu and 300 Information Centres at Taluk levels and is taking keen interest to provide education through Radio Channel “Gyan Vani” and Video Channel “Gyan Darshan” in these study centres. A Grant of INR 1.80 Crores from Government of Tamil Nadu and about INR 75 to INR 100 lakhs from Distance Education Council are expected for providing strong foundation for Tamil Nadu Open University due to his efforts. Dr. Palanichamy was awarded Rastriya Rattan Award for his outstanding individual achievement and distinguished service to the Nation by Global Economic Council, New Delhi, Eminent Engineer Award given by the Institute of Engineers (India) and many more awards honoured to him. Digital Learning takes note on the contributions of Dr Palanichamy and the Tamil Nadu Open University to the world of open education.

In emerging trends of e-Learning, where do you place TNOU? What are the innovative e-Learning solutions, best practices or policies specific to the University that make it a glorified learning destination? Before I answer this question, let me put it in perspective. The Tamil Nadu Open University was established by an Act of the State Legislative Assembly in October 2002. After I assumed office as the first and founder ViceChancellor in February 2003, I would say the momentum in establishing the University began in right earnest. Now, the University offers more than 300 Courses in about 75 Programmes 20

across a wide range of disciplines and at various levels and streams such as vocational, professional, traditional, etc. The University now caters to about 60,000 students distributed across the State through hundreds of learning centres. As regards our instructional delivery, as of now, it is predominantly print-based as is the case in other Open and Distance Learning (ODL) systems in the country. We use self-learning coursewares since the inception of this institution, which is a record of sorts in the State.

ready, we are right now at the stage of augmenting the learning experiences of our students through multi-media stand-alone CDs, which could be used both for synchronous and asynchronous environments. More than 100 such CDs are being created now while plans for the rest are in train. This should clearly suggest that we don’t see e-Learning in its restricted sense of learning materials available on the web. We use e-Learning in its generic sense of providing electronic learning support to students irrespective of who and where they are.

Having created courses in print in self-learning format, which is web-

In that sense, besides learning CDs, we are putting in place mechanisms for July 2007 |

electronic networking of learning centres for better efficiency in the delivery of learning experiences. This includes the 24/7 HelpDesk, touchscreen facilities, networking of student management. Looking at these developments vis-à-vis the fact that the University is barely 5 years old, the TNOU is much ahead of its other ‘older’ ODL competitors in the State. What is distinctive about learning in other places than in the educational institutions, like learning while on move? How might the change evolve through the increasing use of digital technologies? Learning is more important than the mode through which one learns. It is time we demystify the claim that a student studying on-campus could be better than the one off-campus. Let us rub it in our minds that it is the student who learns with or without the teacher. The mode therefore to me is immaterial. Added to this is the factor of clientele. What I mean is you could easily categorise the students in an oncampus situation in terms of age, prior qualifications, etc. This is not possible in the ODL contexts and the TNOU is no exception to this rule, considering the fact that our students are more matured than their counterparts in the on-campus situation. So, I feel ODL has emerged as a seamless provision of education, quite contrary to the often-repeated and clichéd statement that ODL is only for those ‘who missed the bus’. No longer. What are so far the consequences of an ICT-integrated curriculum and the use of ICT for the future professionals? Consequences are that these professionals are well-informed. At the professional and personal levels, ICT-integrated curriculum has achieved what remained for years as unattainable in the teaching/learning contexts. Let me explain. It is not uncommon to hear statements such as curricula should meet not only the societal requirements but also personal learning styles. With the use of ICT, the issue of incorporating what is absolutely necessary and removing what is Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

The University offers more than 300 Courses in about 75 Programmes across a wide range of disciplines and at various levels and streams such as vocational, professional, traditional, etc. The University now caters to about 60,000 students distributed across the State through hundreds of learning centres dispensable and thus making the curricula fit for purpose as well as meeting the varied learning styles through multi-media has become almost non-existent. This is a real boon for teachers and learners and in fact, for all the stakeholders. Nonetheless, the division this creates between information haves and information have-nots is to be addressed on a war footing. How can education prepare individuals and society to benefit from ICT that increasingly permeate all realms of life? How can ICT bring about a better balance between equity and excellence in education? While I reiterate the last sentence in the previous answer, I must also say even where facilities for ICT are available, teachers are still skeptical of their use. Various reasons could be attributed to this factor ranging from insecurity, ideology, etc., to indifference and apathy. First of all, teachers need to be prepared for the use of ICT which could be done only through a nationwide movement. Convincing the teachers and the students of the use of ICT, however, is only half the battle won. By creating the necessary infrastructure, the rest also could be won. As regards equity and excellence, if technology is properly deployed, the best of teachers could be made available to all students, no matter who and where the students are. This is but one example though. What are the challenges you face in achieving the targets that you have set? What has been your forte so far?

The TNOU, like any other ODL institutions, is heavily dependent on outsourced content. However, content creation is just a part of the whole operation of learning delivery. At present, therefore, the University is concentrating on putting together a strong core group, an absence of which has so far been a bottleneck to finish the projects in time. Once this is achieved, creation of quality content (i.e., learning objects) should not be a problem. Our forte has been self-learning materials in print and support services. Now, we want to get the same recognition for e-Content as well. What are the new programmes being planned? What do you see the University five years hence? We intend to make a departure from the imitative, traditional offerings and in so doing we want to be a catalyst for social transformation livelihood improvement. We see the TNOU not only as a University but also as a developmental agency. In other words, we are planning to launch Programmes at various levels that are innovative and need-based. An example could be that the rural youth on completing the Programmes designed for them could become skilled workers. To that extent, we already have several Programmes. However, to meet the growing workforce requirement satisfactorily, we intend to add several more. As per our roadmap, we will be the Centre of Excellence in ODL in India in about 5 years hence, working in purpose-built wireless environments catering to the needs of a wide variety of student clientele. 21

Higher Education Round Up

After IIT, Andhra to have IIM too The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) will soon be set up in Andhra Pradesh, announced Union Minister for Human Resource Development Arjun Singh. The establishment of IIM has been a long-pending demand of the state. The Centre had recently sanctioned Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) for the state, which will be set up in the neighbouring Medak district.

India to open-up education sector to foreign universities India will soon open up its educational sector to foreign universities, according to Science and Technology Minister, Kapil Sibal. The minister said relevant legislation for the purpose was on the anvil. All foreign universities would be allowed in India. He said the main concern of the government was how to actually spread education and allow talents to grow in India.

IBM challenges great Indian minds IBM has announced ‘The Great Mind Challenge 2007’. This challenge provides a unique opportunity for Indian student programmers to develop innovative solutions using open standards-based IT tools under grueling real time situations. The six-month long programme begins this June. The participating students will get an equal opportunity to work on real22

world projects and will be recognised for the same by IBM in the form of a ‘Certificate of Completion’ for all the completed and submitted projects. Out of the submitted projects, top 20 projects will be put on the Internet to be used without charge by end users and IBM Business Partners. The Great Mind Challenge 2006 saw participation from over 700 colleges involving 21,000 students and 3,900 faculties from 24 States.

Ten colleges of Ranchi to get connected

Soon, ten colleges affiliated to Ranchi University (RU) will become hi-tech. The university administration has rooted a proposal, which would be submitted to the state human resource development department, to connect the ten colleges. According to the proposal, 10 colleges would be equipped with all networking facilities as well as get connected to the university headquarters through the network. Each college will have at least 10 computers with Internet connections. The broadband services would also be made available to the students in these colleges. These college include, Ranchi College, Ranchi Women’s College, Marwari College, Jamshedpur Women’s College, Co-operative College, Graduate School College for Women

in Jamshedpur, Tata College Chaibasa, Women’s College Chaibasa, GLA College Daltonganj, and YSN Women’s College Daltonganj.

Explosive growth target in Indian higher education At least one Central University in every state and a degree college in every district would be the national target as India tries to spread quality and affordable higher education across the country. Announcing this, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said each Central University should become a “symbol of excellence, a model of efficiency and an example in terms of academic standards and university governance for other State Universities to emulate.” India’s higher education scenario is pathetic today, with just 20 Central Universities in the country. 16 States do not have a Central University. The government will also bring up to national average 350 districts where enrolment is below national average. The number of scholarships available to needy would be increased to improve gross enrollment rate at the college level. The Prime Minister directed the University Grants Commission and the Planning Commission to jointly prepare a strategy to meet the targets.

United Nations Online Courses for 2007 The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has announce its 2007 e-Learning Course Calendar. For 2007, UNITAR will be conducting at least seven online courses intended for a global audience of finance-sector officials. The suite of online courses for 2007 include: • Fundamentals of Capital Market Development & Regulation • Negotiation of Financial Transactions • Capital Market Development & Regulation-Advanced Course • Debt Rescheduling with the Paris Club • Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution • Basic Course on Public Debt Management • Effective Public Debt Management Registration procedure, fees, and other course details can be viewed from the website at: July 2007 |

3rd Annual ICT4D Conference and Exhibition

India's Premier ICT4D event 31 July - 03 August 2007 Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi, India

7 Tracks 40 countries 75 thematic sessions 200 companies 1200 delegates



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Exhibitors a CL

Foreword R Chandrasekhar Additional Secretary, e-Governance, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India

Subhas Khuntia Joint Secretary Minisry of HRD Government of India

In most cases abroad, the successful solutions in eGovernance and other sectors have been fueled by solutions created by Indian experts. However, such solutions are never found in India. One needs to understand why such absorption and evaluation is not happening in India. Several eGovernance conferences are happening in India. But in most cases, these are dominated by IT experts and there is genuine dearth of domain expertise. The eINDIA2007 conference is extremely well chosen in terms of domains. I look forward to effective knowledge and expertise sharing among the participants and all stakeholders.

The twenty-first century is a century of knowledge economy. ICT skills will contribute significantly to creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge in all spheres of life. To put in place a system which should enable this, there is a need for successful collaboration among Central Government, State Governments, academic institutions, industry, and civil society. In this context, the eINDIA2007 conference focusing on several key themes will be a valuable source of input to the Government and other stakeholders.


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Mapping ICT4D Knowledge

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Top Reasons to Exhibit at eINDIA2007 Targeted audience eINDIA2007 brings the right mix of quality delegates unparalleled at any other INDIAN forum. Unlike many other general IT fairs, it addresses the need to bring region's top public sector buyers at one place thus saving time and resources of focused suppliers.

Visit the eINDIA2007 website (www., which will provide you all the latest information and updates, as well as all the necessary forms, making it easy for you to register online. Constantly updated, the website keeps you abreast of all the latest developments as eINDIA2007 takes shape!

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eINDIA2007 is organised by Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS), who have more than 10 years of experience in organizing niche events on ICTs for Development across continents along with several government partners.

Sushma Nautiyal (Tel: +91-9873757536)

The Delegate Registration entitles the individual to participate in all technical sessions, workshops, keynotes and plenary sessions, and social functions for all seven: egov India 2007, Digital Learning India 2007, Indian Telecentre Forum 2007, eHealth India 2007, mServe India 2007, e-Agriculture India 2007, and Community Radio India 2007 conferences.

eINDIA2007 Conference Secretariat: G-4 Sector 39, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, 201 301, India Ph.: +91 120 2502180 to 85 Fax: +91 120 2500060 Email:

Key Speakers at eINDIA2007 Ashis Sanyal

Aruna Sundararajan CEO, IL&FS

Aakash Sethi Executive Director, QUEST Alliance, International Youth Foundation

Astrid Dufborg Executive Director GeSCI

G Narendra Kumar Secretary, Department of Training & Technical Education and Higher Education, Government of NCT of Delhi

Senior Director, Department of IT, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India

Amit Goel Advisor, Ministry of Panchayat Raj, Government of India

Arvind Kumar Director (BP&L), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India

Ajay Madan CEO Essar Telecom Ltd.

Basheerhamad Shadrach

Deepinder Singh Bedi

Sr. Programme Officer, India

Director, Tulip IT Services Ltd.

Joselyne Josiah

Capt K J S Brar

Advisor, Communication and Information for Asia, UNESCO

CEO Designmate India Pvt. Ltd.

K. K. Gupta General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

Manish Gupta

Dr M C Pant

Vice President Aperto Networks

Chairman, National Open School

M Moni Michael Clarke Director, ICT4D IDRC, Canada

Maxine Olson United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in India

Dr. P. L. Gautam Vice Chancellor G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology

Deputy Director General , National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, Government of India

M. Rajamani Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India

O Nabakishore Singh

Nancy L. Knowlton

Commissioner, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Government of India

President and Co-CEO Smart Technologies Inc.

Pravin Srivastava Director Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Government of India

R Chandrashekhar

Dr. Ravinder Singh

Additional Secretary, e-Governance, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India

Director, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India

Richard Alvarez CEO and President Canada Health Infoway

Ranjan Dwivedi National Professinal Officer (eHealth) WHO

S. Sadagopan Founder Director International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore,

Shantanu Prakash Shashank Ojha

CEO Educomp Solutions Ltd.

World Bank

S Abbassi Joint Secretary, Ministry of HRD Government of India

Department of IT, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India

Sajan Venniyoor

Shankar Nath Goswami

Trevor Hodge

Vaibhav Magow

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Media Lab Asia

Sr. VP Investment Strategy and Alliances Canada Health Infoway

Director, Marketing HughesNet Fusion Hughes Communications India Ltd.

Subhash Khuntia

Vishal Gandhi Vice-President Life Sciences & Technology, YES Bank

Wajahat Habibullah Chief Information Commissioner Central Information Commission Government of India

Solutions Exchange, UNDP

Where are you?

Corporate Diary | Leaders’ Speak

Designing the Z Axis, the Eureka Way Capt. Kamaljeet Singh Brar, CEO, Designmate in conversation with digital LEARNING

We as content producers or generators do have to contend with the inherent resistance, which is a part of the dynamics associated with any change. The basic concept of Eureka is to be a tool for the teacher, to put across complex topics, for easy comprehension. Individuals, especially children, find it difficult to perceive and conceive in the 3rd dimension – the Z Axis. It is because of this single factor that the results of the science stream are not up to expectations. Eureka is a 3D animated software, which addresses this problem effectively. The resistance that we face is, when some misinformed teachers forget that we have an aid to help them teach, they at times feel that we threaten their existence!

‘As the only animation house in the field of educational content, we have been able to compile a huge volume of data- 135 gigs of top drawer quality animations. Eureka, Designmate’s core product and the dynamic teaching aid, with its 3D animation, helps students in grasping complex scientific concepts relatively faster.’ The present day innovations (like that of Designmate’s) in education, challenge the present pedagogy and schooling system. What are you views on this? Your statement is both true and false. Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

Eureka, our futuristic software, or an innovation as you put it, does not really challenge the pedagogy and schooling system. Whatever innovation that any producer introduces has to be within the present system, to be acceptable.

How did the Designmate journey begin? What made you interested in the educational content sector? You maybe aware that Designmate produced India’s first 3D animated musical. Prior to that, we were one of the first to do 3D graphics work for Ad clips. My studio had the expertise to produce the best and most complex animations that could be done. When it came to marketing our ability, we loose out to bigger brand names that soon entered the arena. For survival, we soon found ourselves doing sub contracted work for studios that took the credit without having the ability. 27

Corporate Diary | Leaders’ Speak As a smaller studio, we were doing only the complex work, not getting the monetary due and worst of all, could not claim the credits for the work. I have lost count of the Hollywood movies for which I have done the animations, but Designmate’s name does not feature in any of the credits. Most of the output has little repeat value, despite the enormous expense. It is because of this that we decided to focus on generating content that had repeat value, for which we could retain the IPR, but yet recover our costs by reducing the price, by increasing the user base. Eureka educational movies are a result of that decision. What are your core products? And what makes your core strength? Designmate’s core product is animation. We are the only animation house that is in the field of educational content. We have been able to compile a huge volume of data – 135 gigs of top drawer quality animations. Our strength is in the dedication of a very fine team of professional that we have been able to build up. We started almost seven years ago, which is a long time in this industry, but we are able

which a school can build up its infrastructure. The school can start by using Eureka on one machine and gradually expand the use of ICT. Eureka, with its 3D animation, will help the students to grasp complex scientific concepts relatively faster; this in turn will enable the staff to cover the syllabus faster and better; thus giving the school time for other non formal, but never the less important educational activities. There is also a limit to the number of models and aids that a school can accumulate. Eureka portrays every experiment and every item of equipment given in the text book. The animations in Biology are accurate and true.

Dr APJ Abdul kalam, the President of India, recently awarded Designmate as the best employer of 2006 in India for hiring the highest number of persons who are differently-abled (67 out of more than 100 employees). For this company, the only ability required is knowledge of the English language. And it is no problem if one doesn’t know the language, because the company runs its own English training class for employees free of cost, Brar explains.

What is the biggest setback to the digital educational content Industry in India? Infrastructure is the biggest setback. Lack of power and broadband connectivity are the two biggest stumbling blocks. Until and unless these two utilities are in place, we

The simplicity and ease of usage is Eureka’s USP. The software can adapt in a 5 star environment or in a single classroom village school - literally ‘under the banyan tree’ with the same utility to keep abreast of the hardware and software developments in this trade. This I feel is our biggest strength; to provide to our users the latest in technology. What are the specific issues within the sector of ICT enabled education in schools that you think your product can address? Eureka is a state-of-the-art product. It incorporates the latest technologies that are available for ICT enabled education. It is a dynamic teaching aid, around 28

are touching less then 4% of our population; ipso facto all talk of ‘bridging the digital divide”, etc. is empty and hollow. Second is the mindset of the decision makers. In education and parenting, one needs to steer clear of a major stumbling block – we tend to give the child what we feel is good for the child; We tend to overlook that our ‘feeling’ may not be relevant. What is the USP of Designmate, and

how far that has been able to position you uniquely in the market? The simplicity and ease of usage is Eureka’s USP. The software can adapt in a 5 star environment or in a single classroom village school - literally ‘under the banyan tree’ with the same facility and utility. Have you ever tried to read the e-Learning market in India in terms of potentials, chances for deep penetration, proving the winning status to your company, etc.? Where do you find yourself in this evaluation, if actually did? Deep penetration in India is possible only by getting entry to Government schools. It is our vision that our software should be in every Government school in India, especially the ones under the banyan tree. But we are unable to offer this price for 1000 – 2000 schools. We have the product, its front-end, back-end bi-lingual facility can revolutionise Government funded education in India. So we are trying. July 2007 |

Corporate Diary | LeaDers’ speak

‘Don’t Only Jazz Up, Create Interactive e-Learning Rapidly’

Vikas Joshi believes that any e-Learning solution should have tools, which facilitate creation of highly interactive and effective online training rapidly. In 2007, Raptivity, the industry-leading product of his company won the e-Learning Guild Platinum Award in Simulations Tool category and Gold Award in Games Tool category for Highest User Satisfaction. An IIT(B)ian and a MS from Syracuse University, the man has been recognised as a Thought Leader by the global Who’s Who of, a leading US-based organisation. Vikas Joshi,

the Founder, Chairman, and Managing Director, Harbinger Group and the Thought Leader speaks more about how his leadership at

Harbinger has resulted in groundbreaking product innovations in the e-Learning industry. Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007


Corporate Diary | Leaders’ Speak You have authored a book on eLearning mantras. So what are the strategic mantras for e-Learning in your view? When I wrote this book four years back, I focused on the pitfalls e-Learning must avoid. Thankfully, the e-Learning industry has changed and will continue to change rapidly. Now it is an imperative that e-Learning has to be exciting, interactive, visually appealing and should hold the learner’s attention throughout. To achieve this, e-Learning courses should consist of interactive elements such as games, simulations, active videos, puzzles, quizzes and more. While keeping this in mind, one has to also ensure that the training delivers true learning outcome to help the learner be more effective and perform better. Which means, simply jazzing up e-Learning is not enough. A strong foundation of instructional design is essential to interactivity At the same time creation of such training should not be time consuming and expensive. Therefore, one important strategic mantra for effective e-Learning is to adopt technology and methods that can help create interactive e-Learning rapidly. Can you throw some light on some of your authoring and collaboration tools? Harbinger has a whole suite of eLearning products, with a user base in over 30 countries, and growing rapidly. Harbinger’s industry-leading product Raptivity is the world’s first rapid interactivity builder. Raptivity facilitates the creation of learning interactions rapidly without programming. Raptivity consists of a library of pre-built interactions based on the best practices in instructional design. In 2007, Raptivity won the e-Learning Guild Platinum Award in Simulations Tool category and Gold Award in Games Tool category for Highest User Satisfaction. 30

The biggest challenge in e-Learning today is to keep learner interested and enthusiastic through the entire duration of the course.This can be achieved through high cognitive level interactions, use of games, active videos / audios, puzzles, simulation and so on. However, sometimes this is compromised due to time and cost constraints during course creation. Elicitus, Harbinger’s award-winning authoring tool helps users create visually appealing e-Learning courses easily. The Elicitus SlideConverter converts Microsoft PowerPoint files to e-Learning courses. These products are compliant with the international e-Learning standards such as AICC/SCORM. On the server side, Harbinger offers the Elicitus ProgressTracker, which is a tracking system, as well as Offline Content Player for offline learning. Do you think e-Learning can deliver productivity improvements? People really think that the need should be about performance improvement and say that e-Learning improves employee performance. Absolutely! Good interactive eLearning built on sound instructional design that makes optimum use of available media, has plenty of scope in what it can accomplish. Interactive learning speeds up the learning process and has a lasting effect on learners. You also have some offline products for the e-Learners having no bandwidth for courses. How effective are they in comparison to the online products? What about their compliance to industry standards? Yes, Harbinger has developed Offline Content Player. It supports full integration with online learning and has download and synchronisation capabilities. The player provides the critical tracking functionality, something that is indispensable for those delivering e-Learning in a distributed mode through CD-ROMs.

We are proud that we are currently writing standards for offline courses along with the Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC). The AICC, an international association of technologybased training professionals, develops internationally accepted interoperability guidelines. What are the parameters you judge and cover about the enterprise world or your customers while delivering the e-Learning solutions ? We believe that any e-Learning solution should have tools, which facilitate creation of highly interactive and effective online training rapidly. We also believe the tools should be easy to use and users need not have specialised programming skills to use these tools. Use of such tools then should reduce the overall content development time and cost. What do you think as the big issue in the field of enterprise e-Learning? How do you think the success of eLearning should be measured? The biggest challenge in e-Learning today is to keep learner interested and enthusiastic through the entire duration of the course. This can be achieved through high cognitive level interactions, use of games, active videos / audios, puzzles, simulation and so on. However, sometimes this is compromised due to time and cost constraints during course creation. The success of e-Learning should be measured by whether there has been a meaningful learning outcome at the end of the learning experience. An unmistakable indicator that training has been useful is when learner performance July 2007 |

Corporate Diary | Leaders’ Speak improves, either back at the job or back in the classroom. How is the market for your innovative e-Learning products abroad in comparison to India? How do you plan to tap the Indian market? Our e-Learning products are well appreciated across the globe. We have customers in over 30 countries worldwide, belonging to a variety of verticals including Education,

companies like Infosys, Wipro, Bajaj Allianz, Reserve Bank of India etc have been making robust use of our e-Learning products. As our products already provide support to Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Marathi and more, we see India as a huge opportunity. We have plans to penetrate this market further with our increased sales team and also looking at signing up resellers.

by making the future of e-Learning realisable in a rapid e-Learning environment as well. Harbinger Systems enjoys the status of a ‘Thought Leader’ in e-Learning. Your comments on this! We enjoy challenging ourselves all the time. Our vision is to be the global leader in learning technology innovation. When TrainingOutSourcing. com, a global community of training professionals, recognised Harbinger

We have customers in over 30 countries worldwide, belonging to a variety of verticals including Education, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, BFSI, Manufacturing, Automobile, Government and NGOs, IT enabled services to name a few. e-Learning Guild Platinum Award and Gold Award for Highest User Satisfaction are testament to the global appeal of our products Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, BFSI, Manufacturing, Automobile, Government and NGOs, IT enabled services to name a few. e-Learning Guild Platinum Award and Gold Award for Highest User Satisfaction are testament to the global appeal of our products. We also have done well in the Indian market. Top IT, BPO, and Insurance

What in your opinion would be the critical concern for e-Learning in future? Where do you see e-Learning moving in another five years? As we speak, e-Learning is going through a paradigm shift. Learning is never going to be the same again. As bandwidth capabilities improve, games, simulations and videos will take the helm in e-Learning interactive content. This is where we come in,

among the Global Top 20 Specialised Learning Process Providers of 2006, we felt that enjoying the position of a “Thought Leader” brings in huge expectations and responsibilities. Being a Thought Leader, we first understand the big picture. Then we apply deep technology skills and design innovative solutions for the market. We will continue to come up with new and innovative products for this industry.

Companies are increasingly realising the importance of focusing on ‘stakeholder’ value and not just limiting themselves to ‘shareholder’ value creation. Let’s meet all stakeholders of ICT and Education at eINDIA2007 Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007


The trigger for reinventing education lies in innovative solutions using technology ICT and Pune University In today’s universe of education, the use of ICT is bringing about substantial changes. The rich representation of information has not only changed learner’s perception and understanding of the world but has also changed his relationship with the educator. These changes are an evidence of the fact that education in India is reaching an age of e-education. But, Hardware and software cannot do it alone. The right environment is required to create innovative solutions in learning. This is what makes Pune University stand out as a shining example. Established in 1948, this University in the north western part of Pune has since become one of the leading centers for research and teaching in the country. It has made itself a pioneer in the use of ICT not just as a part of the curriculum but has taken the initiative forward, by using it as the tool for reinventing creative solutions in education. This process began in 2002 when the Intel® Teach Pre-Service Curriculum was made mandatory for the University B.Ed. syllabi. Each year since then, approximately 50,000 students, from across 53 B.Ed. colleges under the university are being impacted by the ICT courses and training resources, provided by Intel, free of cost. ICT in education is a powerful support for educational innovations. But, it is rightly said that having knowledge is not enough until you know what to do with it. That is where Pune University has made the difference. The teachers have learnt not only to successfully employ the challenges of ICT but also to design innovative instructions by integrating ICT into their curriculum. This enthusiasm began when the master

“Today the Pune University Education includes not just the ICT subject but has imbibed the ICT culture. The ICT fear has transformed into embracing new ICT initiatives.” - Prof. Sanjeev Sonawane, HOD Education, University of Pune

trainers, who were trained by Intel, trained both the teacher educators and the student teachers. This meant the change permeated not just into the pedagogical practices but into those who formulated the pedagogies too. This initiative was then introduced to the student teachers not as part of the curriculum paper but was imbibed into every part of the learning experience for the student teacher. Dr. Sanjeev Sonawane, Professor and HOD, Department of Education, has been at the helm of this Programme. He is a member of the Core Committee of the pre-service programme and has been a great source of inspiration and motivation. His initiatives were carried forward by the teachers to inculcate e-based learning into the curriculum. In the Curriculum Review of 2005 they included recommendations from Intel as a compulsory component into their Theory paper. The Intel PS Curriculum edition 2 is followed as the practical component of the ICT Paper. Their complete B-Ed syllabus which is presently under review and reconstruction includes 4 lessons to be implemented with

Intel Teach Pre-Service Programme : An update The Intel Teach programme is a worldwide initiative to help both In-Service and Pre-Service teachers integrate technology into the classroom to enhance student learning. The Pre-Service Programme provides sustained professional development to teacher educators, which enable them to use technology tools use technology for research, communication and productivity. The programme is working with 30 Universities and 4 SCERTs; impacting more than 3 lakh teacher educators and student teachers. In order to reach the non-English medium student teachers better, the curriculum resources have been translated into 4 regional languages - Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, and Gujarati. In fact, the Telugu version is being published as a B. Ed. textbook for all the 8 Universities in Andhra Pradesh by the Telugu Academy. The programme team takes active part in curricular review and reform. The program has close relationship with apex educational bodies like NCERT and NAAC.


the help of technology during internship and practice teaching. The Intel programme mentor was included in the e-Learning committee Membership in 2006-2007. To strengthen Teacher Educator’s interaction and to facilitate their learning experiences, the teachers set up Online Teacher Educators Network launched by the University in 2005. Their Website indexout.html and their monthly news letter are a platform for co ordination between different departments. A digital library which can be accessed on the net has also been begun. To promote higher-order cognitive skills and problem-solving strategies in students Techno pedagogy Intra University Contest for affiliated B-Ed colleges of Pune University has also been started. As a pioneer flag ship of ICT transition into the academic curriculum the university has also inculcated a few other far reaching changes. The B.Ed annual examination is now available on the net. This prevents any malpractices which can occur otherwise. The most challenging aspect of the Pune University efforts is the near future launch of the E- B.Ed. This will provide opportunity to students even in far flung areas. Pune University stands as a beacon in the transition of conventional practices replaced by creative and innovative ideologies of education supported by ICT. It has highlighted the excellence of collaborative working which can produce a richer pool of information. This is, what will go a long way in creating a work force which can match the 21st century skill sets across the world. July 2007 |


Corporate Diary | Product Gallery

Ebackpack - The Online Campus Tekege Solutions has introduced - an advanced Learning Management Systems (LMS) called ebackpack providing a centralised system that connects all the various users under one platform. “ebackpack is about bringing people together anywhere anytime and irrespective of cost” explains Richie Chauhan, the president of Tekege Solutions and the mastermind behind ebackpack. “For many of our users ebackpack is the gateway to the Internet, so we want it to be a fun experience.” ebackpack’s approach to an LMS is simple – it maps the physical institute to a virtual institute by providing a virtual campus, which comprises of virtual classrooms where all the

ebackpack increases communication among users by featuring advanced modules such as a fully integrated email system and an integrated SMS system.

Its simple ebackpack prides itself on its simplicity. ebackpack has undergone rigorous testing among all categories of users and at varying scales of institutions. “We have worked with faculty, administrators and students from a variety of backgrounds and levels of computer literacy to design the ebackpack graphics and interfaces” says Chetna Singh, ebackpack’s chief designer. “Our goal is that anyone who wants to use it should be able to use it- even if you have never turned a computer on!”

week application setup and installation period; 10 GB to 20 GB storage space; 256 Kbps of bandwidth; secure facilities; firewall protection; redundant Internet connections and complete backup.

Its Expandable ebackpack is designed to cater to a variety of institutions from small private colleges to large public schools. It can easily facilitate any institutions expansion plans without taxing the existing infrastructure. It can host 80 students as easily as it can host 8000 students.

ebackpack offers around the clock support The best part is that ebackpack comes with a 24 hour help line and constant user trainings.

The future of ebackpack But ebackpack is not stopping there. Based on current user feedback, they have already started developing enhancements ranging from an alumni forum, where former students can communicate amongst each other; to a Library Management System (LMS). In addition, a Career Board is being designed to keep students up-to-date on career fairs, internships, jobs and to provide access to online expert career counselors. Any institution irrespective of size, fees or technical capabilities should be able to provide all their students staff and administration with an effective LMS that enhances education. institutions members come together. The virtual campus offers campus specific announcements, documents (such as forms, prospectuses and brochures), calendar, and directory. The virtual classrooms offer a forum for classroom announcements; a place to confidentially post grades; and a single space for all course documents (such as the syllabus, assignments, reading lists, and students work samples). In addition, Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

Quality without cost ebackpack is one of the most cost effective option of an LMS on the market today. It requires no additional infrastructure or IT staff as all the required infrastructure is already in place. In addition, the institution is provided 99% application availability; around the clock customer support; a two

Tekege Solutons who have developed ebackpack is a pioneer in web solutions development. The organisation has a core team of expert web development programmers. Tekege has numerous prestigious clients like MPAA, AJAVA systems and Hewlett Packard. More information on ebackpack at


Corporate Diary | Product Launch Microsoft Unveils Unlimited Potential

Launches IQ PC and MSN IQ Beta Education Portal In India, a country of population of over a billion, access to IT is available to only a 100 million people. Microsoft India with the objective to enable access for the vast majority of Indians announced the launch of ‘Unlimited Potential’ in the country, close to the global launch of the Microsoft Unlimited Potential by Bill Gates in Beijing China.

Orlando Ayala, Senior Vice President, Emerging Segments Market Development Group, Microsoft

“Our founding Vision of ‘computer on every desk and in every home’ has reached the first billion people and with ‘Unlimited Potential’, we are determined to reach the next billion by 2015. India is one of the most exciting and important markets in the world. In addition to being a growth sector of the Indian economy, IT is also the key enabler of social development.

Microsoft will both scale up the existing initiatives and broaden the opportunity beyond institutions and enable access for individuals under a ‘Connected Learning Framework’ called IQ. IQ is essentially a combination of online and offline content tied to all aspects of a student’s learning process and growth. A key offering announced included a pilot programme for the IQ PC. Aimed at school going children from Kindergarten to class 12, the PC will be built on AMD hardware in partnership with Zenith as the designated OEM (Oroginal 34

Equipment Manufacturer). It is likely to be priced at about Indian Rupees 21,000 (US$513). Additionally, Microsoft and AMD are also working towards collaborating with WIPRO to deliver IQ-PC on Wipro’s ultra-value. Microsoft also announced the launch of the MSN IQ Beta education Channel, which will be a repository of educational as well as edutainment content. Students access curriculum for classes Kindergarten to 12th class, avail of online tutoring; competitive exam coaching;online entertainment; referencing and online counseling. Initially, Microsoft will launch IQ offerings - both the PC and the education Channel – in Bangalore and Pune, starting 1st July and will roll out to the rest of the country by November. The programme focus is to create innovative ways for deploying technology to transform education, foster local innovation, and enable jobs and opportunities to sustain a continuous cycle of social and economic growth for everyone. The IQ offerings are supported by a host of partners, both hardware and software, having extensive experience and expertise and leadership in their areas of operations. For content, the partners include, Brilliant Tutorials, Junior Achievement, Pacsoft, Karadi Tales, Gurujiworld, Edurite and Tutorvista. For hardware, Microsoft is supported by Intel and AMD, and for accessibility, a strategic partnership was announced with Sify Corporation. The Sify iWay countrywide chain of Internet cafes will have provision for enabling access to Microsoft’s initiatives for students, job seekers and entrepreneurs.

Microsoft Research in Bangalore is also working on technologies that will make computers more accessible and affordable to students, and has developed a technology called MultiPoint that allows several computer mice to be used with a

Ravi Ventakesan Chairman, Microsoft India

“Affordable solutions must

account for individuals needs and means and use creative ways to deliver technology, through different devices, access models or financing options. It is imperative for technology to be relevant and accessible. Only when we meet these criteria will the adoption of technology grow exponentially. And this is exactly what we seek to deliver through ‘Microsoft Unlimited Potential’. ” PC simultaneously. This technology is targeted at schools in India and other countries that cannot afford to give each student a PC. The other independent research project Digital StudyHall (DSH) supported by Microsoft Research, aims to overcome both the problems of staff shortage and availability of standardised study materials among underserved communities. It records and distributes DVDs of subject classes led by Indian grassroots teachers. July 2007 |

Corporate Diary | News Partner Stack in IQ PC •

• • • • •

• • •

Competitive Exam Preparation Brilliant Tutorials: The most trusted institution in preparation of students for competitive entrance exams for professional courses. Each year more than 60,000 students enrolled across the country with contact prorammes in 15 cities and towns. Curriculum Assist - Edurite: Started in 2000 with the objective to combine education with the core, it has percolated in every field of education arena and already created over 80 eLearning products. Computer-Based Training (CBT) on Computer Basics, Internet Gurujiworld: Pune based entrepreneurial venture with a vision to improve the computer literacy of the people in India is working on Computer Based Training (CBT) application and has successfully launched two localised versions of its computer training software under the brand name of GURUJI. Counseling - Junior Achievement: Junior Achievement is the organisation dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programmes. It reaches apprx 7.5 million students worldwide annually. Edutainment - Karadi Tales: The partnerships aims to make the digitised edutainment content accessible to all. Tutoring Service - TutorVista: The premier online destination for affordable education -anytime, anywhere and in any subject, TutorVista, helps students excel in school and in competitive exams. English Language Programmes - Karadi Path, Gurujiworld Examination Preparation - Edurite Partner Stack in MSN IQ Beta Education Channel Curriculum and homework assist – Edurite Coaching and Tutoring – Brilliant Tutorials, TutorVista, Junior Achievement Edutainment – Karadi Tales Reference – MS Encarta English as second language – Karadi Path

Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

PRODUCT Sub-INR 10,000 computing device by Qualcomm

Experts and Instructional Designers to create eLearning rapidly, using the easy and familiar Microsoft Word as the authoring interface. The tool has a set of pre defined templates which ensure instructional soundness of the course output while also providing flexibility in design. Brainvisa’s RapideL is enabled with support for language localization and supports up to 22 languages. A free trial of RapideL can be downloaded at

Eduventures’ new analytic and evaluation tools for higher education Global patent holder for CDMA chip, the US-based Qualcomm Inc, is engaged in a pilot project to develop a cellphone-based computing device, which can be used extensively in banks, education and e-Governance in rural areas at costs lower than INR 10,000 and free from problems of power crisis, with which these areas are generally plagued. The devices, on which Qualcomm is currently working, would be smaller than the traditional desktop computers and bigger than mobile phones and would not need the paraphernalia and related costs of computers and can be easily installed in rural areas and educational institutes.

Experts discover design flexibility with RapideL Discover RapideL Discover, the rapid elearning content authoring solution developed by Brainvisa has overcome some striking challenges in design. Brainvisa is the learning solution company based at US, UK, Australia and India. It has been observed through Brainvisa’s research that one of the gravest challenges faced in the use of Rapid eLearning methodologies is control over the look and feel of the course output. Brainvisa’s RapideL Discover allows Subject Matter

Eduventures, the leading collaborative research and consulting firm for higher education, launches three new services for colleges and universities: Academic Toolkit to evaluate and identify implications of new or existing courses, Marketing Dashboard to track and measure programme effectiveness and Online Education Blueprint to evaluate online courses. Eduventures Education Services also provides independent education consulting services.

PROJECT Career education in IBM Software for CCASE students College of Computing and Applied Software Engineering (CCASE), under the aegis of Rai Foundation, has introduced a three-month Database Administration (DB2) programme with IBM at their Faridabad campus in India. Under the initiative, IBM has trained CCASE faculty to use IBM’s latest software tools, which they would impart to the students. The programme will enable young graduates with IT-orientation to have a hands-on experience in IBM software products - DB2, WebSphere Rational software testing tools and Tivoli. 35

Corporate Diary | News PARTNERSHIP Educomp acquires Singapore based Ask n Learn India based e-Learning solutions provider, Educomp Solutions Ltd, has acquired Singapore based education technology company, Ask n Learn Inc. The company has signed the sale and purchase agreement with a majority of the shareholders to acquire the company. The total acquisition price is Singapore $5.98 million in cash in addition to options worth S$1.05 million. This acquisition will provide Educomp a substantial share of the education market in Singapore and add over 100 schools to its portfolio as well as serve as a platform for penetration into the larger Asia-Pacific region.

Wipro to offer e-Learning skills to Indian University students Wipro Infotech has signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aligarh Muslim University

(AMU), India to provide training, skills and consultancy services to the latter’s Centre for Distance Education in the university. Under this MoU, Wipro will organise regular seminars and workshops by leading experts to train the staff and students of distance education in all aspects that concern e-Learning. The centre would be engaged in the development of electronic learning courses. The company will engage four students from the campus for training during summers, and shall also offer projects to the students of AMU in IT products marketing.

50 teachers honoured for ideas on technology use in education Over 50 teachers from schools in Tamil Nadu in India were honoured at a programme jointly organised by Intel India and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) wing of the State Education Department. The teachers were winners of the State level competition on `Best use of technology in education’ organised by

the SSA wing and Intel India recently. Nearly 800 teachers across 30 districts submitted their entries and a few were short-listed for the State level contest, from which winners were selected. Prize winner P. Magdalene Premalatha, chose to address the issue of child labour. The English teacher from Panchayat Union Middle School in Tiruvarur identified 12 children who were employed and admitted them to schools. Intel, through its `Intel Teach’ programme has so far trained about 19,000 teachers in the State, to impart technology-aided education to students. As part of their `Intel Teach’ programme, over seven lakh teachers have so far been trained in India.

MeritTrac Services and Carnegie Speech in strategic partnership MeritTrac Services, India’s leading skills assessment company, announced a strategic partnership with Carnegie Speech, US to bring the worldrenowned Carnegie Speech Assessment automated voice evaluation technology to India. On the occasion, MeritTrac also formally unveiled a thought paper on voice evaluation, which throws new light on benefits that can accrue to the voice-based BPO players by adopting a different philosophy on assessments. The new automated speech testing technology/tool usually grade users against a general benchmark of English fluency and goes onto classify the quality of individual’s speech providing a cost-effective, objective assessment capability to BPO companies and educational institutions that need to 36

assess large number of applicants. Commenting on the partnership, Angela Kennedy, CEO, Carnegie Speech, said,” Carnegie Speech Assessment provides micro feedback on parameters such as vowel sounds which would help companies make their training programs more effective.” While sharing key highlights of the unveiled thought paper, Mohan Kannegal, Co-founder and Director, MeritTrac Services said, “Last year when we unveiled the Communication skills index in Delhi we highlighted the challenges facing the talent pool. Post that we were keenly looking at ways to help the industry address this challenge and we figured that if accurate inputs can be generated for training in voice, it

will lead to better yields - thus allowing the industry to tap into more of the existing pool. This will be of immense help to the voice-based BPO players and our thought paper has a case-study which just validates this possibility.” The tool uses classified customer data for customising the assessment to categorise the prospective agents in the most useful way for each customer, which is unique to Carnegie Speech. The technology could also be customised to focus on known regional speech difficulties, which is of particular relevance to India. Carnegie Speech, US, is a speech assessment and tutoring Software Company focusing on testing and improving English pronunciation for non-native speakers. July 2007 |

News asia ICT at AL exams in Sri Lanka from 2009 Information Communication Technology ICT will be included as a subject in the Advanced Level examination curriculum from 2009 in Sri Lanka, as informed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Education Ariyarathne Hewage. He said approval for the ICT policy for education will be obtained soon and it will help develop capacity, train teachers, set up ICT centres and build private public partnerships. Ariyarathne said information technology and computer science has grown at a phenomenal rate to a US$ 1 trillion industry but the country has not been able to keep pace with developments due to the lack of skilled IT personnel. The challenge today is to get IT professionals for the market. The IT workforce grew by 10,000 during 2004-2006. Over 14,000 IT workers are required to meet the industry needs in the next two years.

Bangladeshi Solar power boat for education

The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, held in London, United Kingdom, awarded ventures from Bangladesh, China, India, Laos and Tanzania first prizes of USD60,000 each to further their schemes. One of the prize winners for Education, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha designed a fleet of solar-powered boats to deliver education and supplies to the remote Chalanbeel region of Bangladesh. The locally produced boats provide floating classrooms for primary level schoolchildren, and are equipped with a library and Internet access.

Pakistan Govt to offer satellite based e-Learning programme

Varsities adopt ICT curriculum to meet market needs The government in Malaysia will ensure that higher learning institutions (IPT) implement curriculums that meet the needs of the industry in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) in efforts to fill up the 60,000 vacancies in that sector in the next four years. Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said the implementation of such curriculums was necessary as some of the human capital churned out could not meet the market requirements to the extent that further training had to be carried out. He said, a new curriculum on software engineering would be introduced in local IPTs beginning with the July session to produce more ICT professionals of world standard. Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

colleges through Wide Area Network (WAN). The establishment of an IT Directorate will develop, maintain and provide IT services to the university, students and tutors, as well as improve quality of assessment of students and reform examination system using online assessment methods and tools.

Singapore Foundation to set up schools in Indian State

Pakistan Government is working on a satellite based distance learning programme to deliver TV, content and Internet for Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). The project will develop the infrastructure for a modern technology based distance education including interactive satellite based TV channels. The programme will create digital content and deliver the content through a satellite based network from studios to study centres, schools, and colleges. The Higher Education Commission (HEC), will connect the main campus to regional centres, elected schools, and

Singapore-based Global Indian Foundation (GIF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat (India) Government to set up world-class schools in the tribal districts of the State. Under this MoU, the first such school would be set-up at Vejalpur in the Panchmahals district, known as Mahatma Gandhi Eklavya School, and it would be managed by the elite Navrachana International School, Vadodara. GIF, a non-profit foundation set by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) of Gujarat has already established schools in Asia-Pacific region at Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand and India. Now GIF is planning to open more schools in Australia and the US. 37

Knowledge Bank ‘KidsRgreen’ Taking Children Beyond Classroom The new media in this information age has revolutionised the way information is available and accessed. Increasingly, CD ROMs and the World Wide Web are becoming an important and indispensable reference resource for students and teachers. www.kidsrgreen. org an web resource designed and developed by Centre for Environment Education, is an innovative and interactive environmental education outreach programme harnessing new media to motivate, facilitate and support learning. It uses the strength of the World Wide Web to take children beyond classroom and textbooks and encourage independent learning.

hands-on activity ideas that can be carried out individually or in a cooperative situation. It also has an environmental calendar which gives ideas to observe days of environmental significance by giving the purpose of the day, theme if any, for the day, and related activity ideas. The website is in the form of an interactive e-magazine that comes out with a fresh issue every month, inviting children to explore, investigate and discover different facets of the world we live in. The topics for the 12 monthly issues focus on the themes announced for various environmentally significant days and on issues of

School Track Spaceship Earth is a regular feature in every issue. Each one talks about an interesting aspect of our planet earth. Key points supported by illustrations help to explore different environments, plant and animal life, and learn about systems that support the rich life on earth. In the Green Games section, children can “logon” and play games that not just challenge skills and abilities but set one thinking, and at the end convey an environmental message. The Let’s Do It! section gives simple do-it-yourself activity ideas. Children can do them on their own, or with friends. The Celebrate a Day section has a calendar of environmentally significant days, giving a brief history or background of why the day is observed including some ideas for activities that would help anyone to observe these days with in school or with family and friends.

The site uses the web as a medium to encourage and foster the spirit of enquiry through its in-depth lead feature, games that are entwined with environmental messages,


current significance and importance. It includes relevant games and activities that harness the potential of interactivity that the web medium offers.

The Krg Club is a forum where children can share poems, paintings and thoughts on the environment. It is a chance to let other children in the world know more about oneself and what one does to improve the environment The Green Gifts section has attractive downloadable offers. How exciting to select designs for personalized July 2007 |

stationery like letterheads, visiting cards, and bookmarks. Teachers and schools also play an important role in introducing students to use such self learning resources, which provide the opportunity to enrich textbook earning and open up windows to a larger canvas of environment. Teachers can effectively use such resources to complement and supplement the curriculum. However, there is an overload of information on the web. It is often difficult to look for information that is correct, relevant, current, and presented without any bias. Utmost care is required while introducing children to resources on the web. It is important for the teacher to choose and sieve relevant information on the web and use it effectively. Kidsrgreen offers information that is current, relevant and accurate without being pedantic or preachy. The relevance and usefulness of such a website is reinforced in the light of the New Curriculum Framework and the national imperative to infuse environmental perspective to all syllabi, as well as the demand of activity and project ideas. The different features of the website provide information in a child friendly way, and also a variety of “do-it-yourself” ideas that support “hands-on” involvement and the “joy of learning”.

Digital Learning Power School Award 2007 The Digital Learning Power School Award 2007 provides a means for sharing innovative classroom strategies and the innovations of schools across the wider education community. If your school takes the advantage of innovation and technology, and brings out the best in your students and teachers, here is the opportunity to get recognised.

Nominate your school for the Digital Learning Power School Award 2007

CEE established in 1984 as a Centre of Excellence in Environmental Education, supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, is a national institution engaged in developing programmes and material to increase awareness about the environment and sustainable development. Pankaj Gorana ( ) is the Project Officer at the Children’s Media Unit of Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, India.

Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

Visit for more about the Power School Award 39

Learning Curves Oracle Education Foundation honors ThinkQuest award-winning students The Oracle Education Foundation honours the winners of the ThinkQuest International 2007 Competition. ThinkQuest, a programme of the Oracle Education Foundation, is a renowned global contest that challenges students to create innovative Web sites to share with their peers around the world. The winning teams collaborated in the research, writing and creation of Web sites on educational topics ranging from sustainability and energy alternatives to poverty and the effects of war on children. This year’s winning students hailed from 17 countries, including Argentina, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Vietnam and the United States. Student

Hi-Tech boost for pupils A four-year United Kingdom Governmentfunded study into how making technology a key part of education could boost learning, found it improved attainment and classroom practices. The ICT Test Bed project, managed by the education technology agency Becta, studied 23 primary schools, five secondary schools and three further education colleges. The results of the study showed as the new technology was introduced, a school’s national test outcomes improved beyond expectations. It provided greater interaction between teachers and students, enabling them to work closely together to set targets for achievement, and pupils were able to learn in ways tailored to their own needs.

BSNL to help bring all Indian schools under the Net The ministry of human resource development in India is working on a plan to roll out an Internet communication backbone for the entire education sector.

teams create educational content to be The award winning project ‘Living on the brink’ website is designed with the objecused by teachers tive of increasing the awareness of the alarming and rising problem of endangered animals around the world. Simran, the 12 years old student from Mumbai, India, and students studying in Standard 8 is a team member of this project who has worked under the assistance of coach Heeral, who again represents India. around the world; their work is published in the popular ThinkQuest Library, visited by 30 million learners each year. The competition is utilised by teachers to engage their students in developing critical skills for life and work in the 21st century. Over the course of completing their team project, students learn important skills including teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, self-direction, and utilisation of technology. The first, second and third place winning teams will travel to the ThinkQuest Live celebration held in San Francisco, California in November 2007. In addition, each student and teacher participant of the thirty winning teams will receive a computer laptop, while their sponsoring school will receive a prize of USD1,000.


At the school level a tentative budget estimate for providing ICT facilities in all 1,81,520 schools has been worked out to INR 24,160 crore. In the first phase, in the school segment, a provision of providing ICT facilities may be limited to 50% of schools that is, 90,760 schools. In schools, the present scheme and its four components will be enlarged to encompass more schools. The four components include, partnership with the state governments and union territories for providing computer education and computer-aided education to secondary and higher secondary government and government-aided schools. Second is the establishment of SMART schools. Third, Universalisation of Computer Literacy through the networking of Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas with neighbouring schools. July 2007 |


Taking e-Learning Development Agenda Beyond Africa The second eLearning Africa conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training closed on May 30, with the total number of 1403 participants, an increase of over eighty percent compared to the inaugural event in 2006. eLearning users, newcomers, providers, and experts from 88 countries spanning all continents gathered during the three conference days at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Approximately 73 percent of the participants came from 43 African countries, making it a truly Pan-African event. Kenya, the hosting country, had the largest participant group, followed by the Nigerian delegation and big groups from South Africa and Uganda. From Europe, the UK sent the largest contingent. Canada and the USA were also well represented. The conference was attended by e-Learning experts from universities, schools, companies, the health sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) engaged in capacity development and education, government representatives, as well as from major development bodies. The programme featured the Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

input of 308 speakers from 55 countries, including presentations from major development organisations, such as UNESCO, UNEVOC, the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN), and the World Bank, as well as national and governmental institutions, mainly from Africa but also from Europe, Asia, and North America.

first African Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Summit “Access to and Inclusion in TVET in Africa Through New ICT-Based Solutions”, which attracted more than 120 participants.

ICT on the Agenda – The Conference Plenaries

Projects and initiatives from all over Africa were presented, and the agenda featured leading example of how the latest developments in e-Learning are being put to work in the service of learners regardless of their location or level of technology. e-Learning at school and in medical and public health education featured significantly in this year’s agenda, as well as free open content and the provision of open education resources for all types of training.

The main conference agenda got off to a superb start with a plenary on 29 May chaired by Prof. Karega Mutahi, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Kenya, with the welcome address made on behalf of Prof. George Saitoti, Minister for Education, Kenya by Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Education, Kenya. The Kwame Ampofo Twumasi, Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Sports (Secondary and Technical), Ghana then gave a spirited presentation on the potential ICTs in education holds for his home country.

UNESCO-UNEVOC, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Africa, and the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, organised the

Ken Mbwaya, Managing Director, HP East Africa followed with a presentation entitled “Helping People Achieve Key Performance”, in which he highlighted the work being done by HP in building products and services that are playing 41

a key role in enhancing and improving African’s use of information and communication technologies. Esam M. Abulkhirat, ICT Senior Policy Officer, Human Resources, Science & Technology Department at the African Union, was the final speaker and gave a presentation entitled “ICTool for African Youth Empowerment”. In his presentation, Esam focussed on what he described as the “revolutionary transformation” that is required of African educational systems if they are to benefit from the opportunities increasingly available through an expanded use and deployment of ICT that needs to be part of every country’s development programme and strategy. The evening’s plenary focussed on the topic of “Building Partnerships for Education and Capacity Development in Africa: Finding a Sustainable Role for ICT-Supported Initiatives” and brought together panellists under the leadership of Tim Unwin of the Partnerships for Education Programme, World Economic Forum/UNESCO. The participating panellists were Bill Souders, Cisco and NEPAD e-Schools Initiative, Micheline Ntiru, Nokia Corporate Social Investment, Mark East, Microsoft Education Solutions Group, Dr. Martina Roth, Intel Education, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Monika Weber-Fahr, World Bank Institute, and Afzal Sher, SPIDER, Sweden. They discussed the value and impact of Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Education (MSPEs), which are seen as offering potential ‘solutions’ to many of the problems facing those seeking to enhance the quality and quantity of education and capacity development in Africa. The conference’s closing plenary was again chaired by Prof. Karega Mutahi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kenya, and featured presentations by Hon. Prof. George Saitoti, Minister for Education, Kenya, Dr. Kenneth E. Keirstead, The Lyceum Group/Le Groupe Lyceum, Fredericton, Canada & Conakry, Guinea, and Anju 42

Visen-Singh, SMART Technologies Inc., Canada. Prof. Saitoti spoke about the success of eLearning Africa 2007 in bringing together such a significant number of participants and the impact this could have on the take-up of eLearning in Africa. Dr. Keirstead spoke about the changing face of learning in Africa and elsewhere and how ICT can be best used to improve the educational offerings, particularly to those in developing countries, while Anju Visen-Singh illustrated her presentation with examples of projects that SMART have supported in this area.

Sustainability is the challenge – The conference programme The conference programme featured special-focus sessions headed by leading organisations in the field of African eLearning, including NEPAD, which offered insight into the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative. The session run by UNESCO focussed on the UNESCO Teacher Training Initiative for SubSaharan Africa (TTISSA), and the one organised by the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) featured interviews and a discussion about GDLN as a global network, with a special focus on Africa GDLN and the Association of African Distance Learning Centers (AADLC). The topic came to a close with a discussion highlighting the work of the Forum for African Women

Educationalists and the Africa Gender and Development Evaluators Network, Kenya, amongst others. Health featured significantly in this year’s agenda, with presentations of various examples of online learning opportunities for health professionals. These include the African Medical and Research Foundation’s (AMREF) initiative to upgrade 22,000 nurses in Kenya, supported by Accenture, the Global Healthcare Information Network and the Chartered HealthNet, Uganda, supported by the International Development Research Center (IDRC). While setting up projects and initiatives in the field of e-Learning may be relatively straightforward, the challenge for those attending eLearning Africa lies in finding sustainable models, and this topic was the subject of both a presentation and a lively discussion. Examples of efforts to highlight the issue of sustainability included projects for dispersed communities in rural Canada, the Ethiopian Civil Service College e-Learning initiative, as well as the work of Digital Links International. The ensuing discussion brought together several long-term practitioners who strove to identify best practice in creating sustainable initiatives with the input of the audience. African Showcases were spread throughout the agenda, with examples of digital courseware and learning materials developed with a focus on African learners presented by organisations such as Addis Ababa July 2007 |

University, Ethiopia, National Curriculum Development Centre, Uganda, University of Nairobi, Kenya, and ISPU Quelimane, Mozambique. Free and open content and the provision of Open Education Resources for all types of training featured significantly on the agenda, including the presentation of the Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) programme, aimed at supporting teacher training throughout the Continent, and the Open Learning Platform from UNESCO. Finding ways to support learners in rural areas of Africa continues to be an important challenge that brings together several concerns, not the least of which is how to operate successful telecentres in rural regions where access to infrastructure can be very problematic. Mobile technology brings new hope to rural learning initiatives, along with rethinking the value of traditional media like radio, and examples of projects that highlighted developments in this area which are being undertaken by the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs in Kenya and the Municipal Development Partnership in Zimbabwe were presented. Universities continue to lead the way in Africa in the implementation

of Information and Communication Technologies, and there were several sessions devoted to exploring how this is being realised. African cases that illustrate challenges in this area included those put forward by the University of Botswana, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya, Tshwane University of Technology, Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 7 July 2007

South Africa, University of Lagos, Nigeria, and the Association pour la Promotion de l’Education et de la Formation à l’Etranger (APEFE), Congo (DRC).

Centre d’apprentissage du HautMadawaska, Canada, Ministry for Education and Vocational Training, Malawi, and the Lycée Joss Douala, Cameroon.

UbuntuNet and the efforts being made throughout Africa to link research networks attracted quite some attention to the general topic of connectivity. This discussion was enhanced through the presentations of experiences, such as those put forward by the African Virtual University and LinkNet Zambia.

A Networking and Meeting Place Harambees or networking sessions were a new addition to the agenda this year, and the response from participants to set up and lead one of these informal sessions was overwhelming. In small groups and an informal setting, participants discussed topics such as LMS‘s in African Schools and Universities, ICTs and Rural Development, Teacher Training Initiatives, Developing Africa’s Business Leaders Using e-Learning, and many more.

Using an innovative format called the World Cafe, a significant number of participants took part in sessions on the agenda designed to network training practitioners and help them explore and discuss ideas and issues relevant to their work. These sessions helped attendees find out more about new and existing networking initiatives, such as those built around the ItrainOnline Partnership - a network formed around a portal on ICT4D training resources. This session was led by the ItrainOnline Partnership and hosted by APC, Bellanet and IICD. The general topic of introducing e-Learning to the school system proved to be very popular, with sessions

devoted to teacher training, effective partnerships for African Schools, and successful strategies for implementing ICT in schools. Organisations taking part included WITAR, Burundi, Ramos University of Aveiro, Portugal, Umeå University, Sweden, Intel IT Innovation, Ireland, HP Education Services, France , SIVECO Romania, Romania,

Hosted and chaired by the Prof. George Saitoti, the first African High-Level Policy Maker and Industry Leader Round Table and Retreat on 28 May 2007 became a milestone in interAfrican ministerial collaboration related to African technology-enhanced education programmes. The Round Table endorsed a communiqué comprising three recommendations and a work plan. The accompanying exhibition at eLearning Africa featured 43 major e-Learning and learning technology providers as well as organisations and institutions from the development network. eLearning Africa ( is a conference organised by ICWE GmbH and Hoffmann & Reif that focuses on ICT for development, education and training in Africa. Each year a different African country is served as the venue. eLearning Africa 2008 will take place in Accra, Ghana from May 28 – 30, 2008. 43

News world Call to equip African teachers with ICT skills Fifteen million teachers need to be retrained if Africa is to achieve universal primary education by 2015. Education ministers from the continent resolved that another hundreds of thousands of teachers require Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills to help achieve this goal. The first African ministerial round table on ICT for education, training and development also identified the need to involve corporate organisations.

Africa fifth region to open Microsoft Technology Innovation Centre

Africa has become the fifth region to open a Microsoft Schools Technology Innovation Centre (STIC) after Europe, the European Union, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, which provides teachers with information, training and equipment to encourage the use of ICT in teaching and learning. The Africa STIC will enable teachers to meet with the latest educational innovations and help schools to adopt learning technologies. The STIC will support skills transfer and teacher training for a 21st century education system. It will expose teachers and learners to innovative technology to move towards greater employability and active citizenship.

ICT course developed for Ireland primary teachers Educational software company Flúirse has developed a series of online summer courses aimed at improving the ICT skills of primary school teachers around Ireland. In light of a recent survey carried out by Flúirse, where it was found that 32pc of primary school teachers did 44

not feel comfortable with technology in the classroom, the company decided to develop this series of course aimed at helping teachers get to grips with ICT basics. The content of these modules, such as using broadband, Open Office, computer security and Web 2.0, is fairly basic but is a good place to start. So far 100 schools have signed up for this “summer school for teachers”.

NIIT offers scholarship in ICT to 50 Ghanaian students NIIT Ghana has offered a 100 percent scholarship valued $50,000 to 50 needy and meritorious Ghanaian students under its 50@50 initiative. The scholarship was awarded in association with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports as part of NIIT’s corporate social responsibility. NIIT’s annual scholarship programme, “NIIT Ghana Scholarship 2007,” was also launched to boost the Information Communication Technology sector as many students and working professionals have benefited from the programme in the past. NIIT (Ghana) was set up in 2000 and now has four centres in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tema. NIIT trains 5,000 students in Ghana every year.

Jamaica’s e-Learning project on thrust The Government of Jamaica is planning to set up the necessary equipment and network infrastructure for its e-Learning

project to enhance the teaching/learning environment in the country. The Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce has commenced the implementation of four of five components targeted in the first year of the pilot phase in 31 educational institutions of the country. These include the provision of necessary technology to the Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY) and to the schools, the development of instructional materials, providing teacher training, and performance measurement. The Ministry has identified a site for the Central Repository for Education Materials (CREM) and is procuring computers for the schools, equipment for CREM, and supporting technologies. CREM will support the electronic access by the school system to educational materials. The Union Cabinet and the National Contracts Commissions have approved a $670 million contract for the installation of networks, air-conditioning units, as well as uninterrupted power supply systems in schools.

MSU initiates communication programme for students The Mississippi State University (MSU) of US has initiated a new communication programme, named Maroon Alert for the students of the university. The university is implementing a variety of methods to notify students, faculty, and staff of emergency situations. Soon the university will launch a text message notification, which gives students and employees the option of receiving emergency messages on their cell phones. They also may choose to utilise instant messaging options to receive emergency pop-up messages on their personal computers. It has an emergency web page, which provides continuous updates about the situation with email messages sent to official campus addresses. The new alert system offers announcements on the campus radio station and through other public media outlets. July 2007 |

Mark Your Calendar july Blending High Tech and High Touch: Improving Customer Service and Student Retention 12 - 13 July, 2007 Boston, United States

International Conference on Imagination and Education 18 - 21 July, 2007 Vancouver, BC, Canada

Case Study: The Implementation of a Student Success Course at One Community College 27 September, 2007 Online

october 2nd Athens International Conference on University Assessment: Assessing Quality 12 -14 October, 2007 Athens, Greece

31 July- 3 August, 2007 Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi, India


Institutional Research and Accountability in Higher Education 17 - 19 October, 2007 Reno, NV United States

International Conference on Management of Technological Changes - MTC 25 - 26 August, 2007 Alexandroupolis, Greece

Teaching and Learning in the Changing World of Higher Education 30 - 31 August, 2007 National University of Ireland, Ireland call.html

september 2nd AeA EduAction Thematic Workshop 8 - 16 September, 2007 Hyderabad, India

iPED Conference 2007: Researching Academic Futures 10 - 11 September, 2007 Coventry, England, United Kingdom jsp?d=3182&a=18618 Digital Learning | Vol 3 Issue 5 May 2007

november 13th Annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning 7 - 9 November, 2007 Orlando, Florida, United States

International Conference on Teaching and Learning (ICTL 2007) 15 - 16 November, 2007 Putrajaya, Malaysia, Malaysia

Teaching in Public - The Future of HE 21 - 23 November, 2007 Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom

ICODL 2007 - 4th International Conference on Open and Distance Learning 23 - 25 November, 2007 Athens, Attiki Greece

UNESCO ICT in Education Prize: Call for Entries Open Access to Education is the theme of the 2007 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education. Launched in 2005, the prize aims to reward the projects and best practices of individuals, institutions and NGOs in using information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance. Funded by the Kingdom of Bahrain, the USD50,000 Prize is divided between two winners. The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2007. Winners will celebrate at an award ceremony to be held on 19 December 2007 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Candidatures must be presented by the government of a Member State of UNESCO or an international non-governmental organisation, maintaining formal consultative relations with UNESCO and active in the relevant fields covered by the Prize. Each government or international non-governmental organisation is entitled to nominate only two candidates per year. A selfnomination cannot be considered. The nominations should be sent to the address below, which can be contacted for any further information: Division for the Promotion of Basic Education Education Sector UNESCO 7, place de Fontenoy, F-75352 Paris 07 SP, France. E-mail: Phone: +33 1 45 68 08 07 Fax: +33 1 45 68 56 26/27

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digital Learning invites authors We invite editorial contributions from our readers in the field of Digital Learning. While no guarantee is made or implied, we will make every effort to incorporate all views and experiences in the relevant issues so as to better serve the ICT and Education community at large. Note that contributions may be edited for space and/or clarity. Unconsolidated manuscripts and artwork will not be returned. Please be sure to read and follow the Editorial Guidelines available at All correspondence should be addressed to: The Editor, Digital Learning G-4, Sector-39, Noida, India Tel +91-120-2502180 to 85 46 Fax +91-120-2500060

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2007 31 July - 03 August 2007 Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi, India The Players The Performers The Victors The Champions The Thrashers The Conquerors Join the List Join INDIA


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...and many more

...and many more

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Web 2.0 and Personalised Learning! : July 2007 Issue  
Web 2.0 and Personalised Learning! : July 2007 Issue  

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