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The monthly publication on ICT and Education for Asia and the Middle East

Volume II Issue 6 June 2006

ISSN 0973-4139

www.digitalLEARNING.in

emerging technologies in

educ@tion

Learning, Innovation, and A Way Forward The USAID experience in India PAGE 6

Education via PDA Technology Designing effective learning objects PAGE 10

Rajasthan Education Initiative Interview: C K Mathew PAGE 26 FORTHCOMING EVENTS 23-25 August 2006

Reducing Teachers Absenteeism: Camera in Indian Schools PAGE 32


India 2006

...even sky is not the limit !

23-25 August 2006 Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi www.csdms.in


Contents

Verbatim

Volume II Issue 6, June 2006

The key is to replace a belief in ‘experts’ who ‘deliver’ knowledge of what good teaching is to workshops with communities of teachers who learn through ongoing collaboration and practice. Dennis Sparks I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught. Sir Winston Churchill I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. Mark Twain Education is hanging around until you’ve caught on. Robert Frost

Cover story

6

Learning, Innovation, and A Way Forward

Perspective

26

Conference report

35

Digital Learning Asia 2006 26-28 April 2006, Bangkok Thailand

via PDA 10 Education Technology Designing effective learning Objects Daniel Churchill

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32

Reducing Teachers Absenteeism Camera school experiment Priyanka Singh

*Cover illustration by James

connectivity’ Practitioner’s voice: Dr Alok Shukla

Regulars

15 20 22 45 46

News India News Asia News World On the Web Mark Your Calendar

Upfront

30

Intel Study An archetype for learning and teaching Pradeep Joseph, Bidisha Nagaraj and Tony Salvador

41 Chhattisgarh Going beyond ‘last mile

Partnership in progress Rumi Mallick

The USAID experience in India Sourav Banerjee

Technology Focus

Rajasthan Education Initiative

India Statescan

43

Preparing the Ground for Education and Development First advisory board meeting on Digital Learning India 2006, India Habitat Centre, 25 May 2006

C K Mathew Principal Secretary of Education, Government of Rajasthan, India


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. Please be sure to read and follow the Editorial Guidelines above. Note that contributions may be edited for space and/or clarity. Unsolicited manuscripts and artwork will not be returned.

 Editorial guidelines Digital Learning contains articles and features on the theme of “ICT and Education” and related issues. Authors are requested to follow the following guidelines while sending their articles to Digital Learning. a. Articles should not exceed 2,000 words. For book/ website/ conference reviews, the word limit is 1000. Longer articles will be considered only in exceptional cases. b. Articles/ reviews can be sent through email as an attachment or through post, typed in Times New Roman, 10 point. c. Relevant figures/ tables/ photographs should be sent. Hard copies of submitted photographs should be of high quality in a recommended size of 5 inches by 7 inches. Soft copies of imagery should be scanned at 300dpi at a minimum width of 4 inches. d. Passport size photographs and brief biodata of the author(s) must be enclosed with the article. e. For bookshelf contributions, please mention the title, name of the author/s, publisher/s, year of publication, price, number of pages and a high quality photograph of the cover. Books on Digital Learning related themes published from the year 2000 onwards are preferable. f. We are keen to cover conference/ workshop/ seminar reviews. Please mention the theme, venue, date, and name of the organiser, if you are reporting about an event. Please send photographs of the conference/workshop/ seminar. The conference held in the past two months of the forthcoming issue will be preferred. g. The Editor reserves the right to reject, edit and adjust articles in order to conform to the magazine’s format. All correspondence should be addressed to: The Editor, Digital Learning G-4, Sector-39, Noida, India Tel +91-120-2502180 to 87 Fax +91-120-2500060 Email info@digitalLEARNING.in

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June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


digital LEARNING Volume II, issue 6 June 2006 President M P Narayanan Editor Ravi Gupta Editorial Consultant Jayalakshmi Chittoor Sr. Assistant Editor Rumi Mallick Sr. Research Associate Manjushree Reddy Research Associate Sanjeev Kumar Shrivastav Designed by Bishwajeet Kumar Singh Web Zia Salahuddin, Ramakant Sahu

Editorial Technology in Education - Are we on the right track? Lack of clear-cut policies on technology in education often makes the domain incoherent. The projects that are successful seem to small bits of a complex jigsaw puzzle being identified. With the advent of educational technologies to create new, interactive learning environments and tools, several good practices are emerging. These innovative projects seek to understand the mechanisms that lead to better teaching and learning. However what is needed is to systematically study and rigorously evaluate the outcomes of technology-supported educational innovations. Through frank and free sharing of the lessons and the challenges faced in implementing these technology in education projects in workshops and conferences, which Digital Learning magazine and the Digital Learning India 2006 facilitates, key recommendations and reports can be produced that can have impact for education leaders.

Editorial and marketing correspondence digital LEARNING G-4 Sector 39 NOIDA 201301, India

Often Technology in education remains narrowly focussed on IT training in education, and use of multi-media or ICTs for education and learning. There is a critical and very important aspect of educational management too where ICTs have proved to be effective, and can be used as an entry point for creating awareness among the teachers and administrators for introducing ICTs.

Phone +91 120 2502181-87 Fax +91 120 2500060 Email info@digitalLEARNING.in

Bearing in mind the need to prepare societies to a knowledge economy, there is a need to facilitate rapid change processes, particularly in developing countries. Some key questions that must be borne in mind are: Should technologies enable learning? Should they be geared to imparting practical and livelihood creating skills? Or, should the students be given the chance to explore the applications out of their course and study the topics of their interests?

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.

Introducing technology in education is not without constraints. The technologies become redundant too quickly, and hence, when designing curriculum for training or while developing e-Learning software, this aspect needs to be borne in mind. High infrastructure and maintenance costs are the second set of constraints. To help the schools and educational institutions to introduce technology in education programmes, the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) has developed the Total Cost of Ownership(TCO) calculator tool, which enables 10-year horizon planning of full costs. It is a comprehensive framework for anticipating costs, benefits, and feasibility of technology options for educators. It also has a step-by-step guide to enable them to select appropriate technology solutions.

digital LEARNING is published in technical collaboration with GIS Development (www.GISdevelopment.net)

The private sector players in the digital learning ecosystem have a great opportunity to showcase their products to be assessed through such tools as TCO calculator and be adopted in a fast track mode, without compromising on the goal of building the human resources for a knowledge economy.

Š Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies 2006

Ravi Gupta Editor Ravi.Gupta@csdms.in

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

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Cover Story

Learning, Innovation, and A Way Forward The USAID experience in India Soura Souravv Banerjee [SBANERJEE@USAID.GOV], United States Agency for International Development, India

Lack of a comprehensive policy for technology in education at the national level has resulted in a piecemeal approach towards using educational technologies. The possibilities and benefits of the various technologies for improving the quality of education have not been realised to the fullest. In past few years, USAID funded interventions have been able to offer solutions to some of the long standing challenges in adoption of education technologies 6

June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


Education: an Indian depiction

schools do not even have a functional blackboard. (iii) Shortage of teachers: Data as of September 2005 indicates that in 18% of the government primary schools and 7% upper primary schools, the Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) is more than 70. As many as 14% government primary schools and 3% upper primary schools are single teacher schools.

exposed to new technologies at an early stage. Therefore, the way they see, perceive and know is multidimensional: the way they process and receive knowledge too is varied and multi layered. Thus, there is an emerging need for multi channel learning approaches, with intelligent combinations of face-to-face instruction, technology-mediated applications, more systematically designed print materials and other non-traditional educational resources.

In the past few years, India has made significant progress in getting children enrolled in schools. Of the 200 million odd children in the age group 6-14, about 93% are enrolled in some form of formal or non-formal schooling. In spite of the rise in enrolment, dropout rates continue to be very high. The dropout rate in government schools between grades I to VIII is as high as 52%. Attendance rates are also fairly poor – recent (iv) Untrained or inadequately trained statistics indicate the average student teachers: 32% of the 2.7 million Unfortunately, education attendance rate to be about 75%. As government primary teachers and technologies is often looked upon as per the government’s own statistics, 29% of the 1.4 million government only computers and the Internet, only 28% of the children who enroll in upper primary teachers are ignoring a host of other technologies grade I pass Grade V with a without pre-service training. that are available. Ideally, education reasonable level of education (more than 60% score in exams) while only 15% pass out of Grade VIII. A recent Education technology is often looked upon as only computers and the Internet, ignoring a survey by an host of other technologies that are available. Ideally, education technologies should include Indian NGO all components of the information technology used in the delivery of education revealed that close to 35% of the children in the 7-14 age group (v) Monotonous teaching learning technologies should include all could not read a simple paragraph and process components of the information almost 60% of the children could not technology used in the delivery read a simple story. (vi) Lack of accountability in the of education. education system Why this poor quality? Radio is easily available across large Education Technologies (ET) parts of the country including remote The major reasons for the poor quality for improving quality areas and can be very effective in of education are: awareness building, information (i) Overcrowded classrooms: Effective use of educational dissemination, teacher training and Though the average Student technologies can help to address guiding classroom activities. Classroom Ratio (SCR) at the some of the above issues - especially national level is around 40:1, it is the issues related to teacher Television also has substantial as high as 84:1 in some states like availability, competency and support, penetration in rural India including Bihar. As per a recent which are so central to interactive many schools; along with a Video assessment done at the national teaching and learning processes. Cassette Player, this can be a useful level, there is a gap of 998,000 Information and communication educational resource to a school. It classrooms as of September 2005. technologies (ICT) facilitate dialogue, helps in self-learning and in keeping interactivity, speed and access to children engaged. (ii) Lack of physical facilities: Of the information sharing at lower costs and 890,000 odd primary schools in are crucial for connecting people for a Satellite communications technology the country, 16% are without better world. offers the unique capability of being drinking water and 51% are able to simultaneously reach out to without a toilet. 7% of the Children of this generation are very large numbers spread over large Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

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distances even in the most remote corners of the country. Through audio and video interconnectivity it is now possible to recreate a virtual classroom scenario in a distant mode. Even a technology like the telephone, which now has an extensive coverage in rural areas, can be used for providing dial-in services and answering educational queries – such services are presently prevalent in urban areas during examination time. Access to computers and the Internet has brought about a knowledge revolution. These technologies are a great resource to the students as well as the teachers. With the introduction of Computer Aided Education, the teachers no longer have to depend on a single source of information, typically a textbook, but are exposed to opportunities to use a variety of information sources.

2007. IGNOU broadcasts Interactive Radio Counseling programmes every Sunday for one hour from 186 radio stations of All India Radio. The Center for Learning Resources also runs successful radio instruction programmes for schools in Maharashtra, Uttaranchal and Bihar. There has also been a fair amount of experimentation with distance learning through television and satellite communications. The Satellite Instruction Television Experiment (SITE), the Kheda Communication

Technologies like videoconferencing, dial-in telephone services, satellitebased communication and the Internet can also be of great help in training and capacity building of teachers; unlike the traditional cascade method of teacher training, there is no transmission loss in this case.

National level initiatives The National Plan of Action (NPA) 2003 of the Government of India on Education For All (EFA) lays emphasis on an open learning system through a distance education mode and on computer education at elementary level. In India, the first school broadcast project was commissioned as early as 1937. There are experiences of fairly successful language learning programmes through radio in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) also has an educational FM channel named Gyan Vani. Gyan Vani channels are operating at present in 17 cities and have plans to expand to 40 cities by 8

Project (KCP), the Jhabua Development Communication Project (JDCP), the Gramsat Programme (GP), the Training and Development Communication Channel (TDCC) and the INSAT system have been major efforts in this direction. In September 2004, the government launched ‘Edusat’ or the education satellite, to provide a boost to the distance mode of education. Designed and developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, this is the first Indian satellite dedicated exclusively to the education sector. Networks based on Edusat are capable of facilitating live lectures/power point presentations with student interaction, web-based learning,

interactive training, virtual laboratory, video conferencing, etc. The government has also launched a separate TV channel ���Gyan Darshan’ exclusively for telecasting educational programmes. In a bid to further strengthen distance education, the open school system, until recently restricted to the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), has now been strengthened through the establishment of State Open Schools. With respect to computer education at the elementary level, the government envisages a three-stage approach. The first stage would be computer literacy, the second stage would be computer-aided learning and the third stage would be computerbased learning, according to the manifesto of the Indian Government. To provide for infrastructure and content development, financial provisions have been made under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme whereby each district is provided with a minimum of INR 1.5 million per year for computer education. Some of the initial initiatives in Computer Aided Education taken up under SSA by states like Assam and Orissa has shown positive results in terms of teacher empowerment and improving learning levels among students. A major initiative in computer aided learning (CAL) named ‘Headstart’ was undertaken in Madhya Pradesh under the District Primary Education Programme (and continued under SSA) and has yielded encouraging results. Apart from government efforts, there has been a number of nongovernment and corporate initiatives in recent years with respect to computer education and computeraided learning. Most of the private schools in the urban areas today have computer literacy classes at the elementary level and some of them make effective use of computers and the Internet for learning. June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


USAID initiatives The USAID approach was to demonstrate successful models of quality education that can potentially be scaled up under SSA. In 2002, USAID India started funding pilot initiatives using education technologies. This was based on experiences across the world, in line with similar USAID initiatives in Namibia, Guatemala, Congo, and Uganda under the dot–EDU project to promote digital opportunities in developing countries. The attempt in India was to pilot technologies that are accessible to the vulnerable, are scalable and can demonstrate a positive impact on the quality of education. 1. Technology Tools for Teaching and Training (T4) Technology Tools for Teaching and Training (T4) was the first project to be launched in this direction. The project started with an Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programme on hard spots, tried out in 300 schools in the state of Karnataka. These low cost digitally produced radio modules were prepared to address difficult concepts in the mathematics, science and EVS curriculum of Grades IV and V. A similar pilot intervention using IRI for English language teaching in Grades I and II was tried out in 300 odd schools each in the states of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. An independent external evaluation of the project in Karnataka and Chattisgarh demonstrated significant achievement in terms of learning gains and classroom practices. There was a 7% learning gain among students in the pilot intervention schools in three Karnataka districts. There was an 18% gain in English comprehension and a 16% gain in English speaking among students in the pilot intervention schools in Chattisgarh. These results prompted the two state governments to scale up IRI to all schools out of their own resources. In Madhya Pradesh (which was not a state covered by the pilot), the state government launched the IRI programme on introductory English in all the 60,000 odd schools in the state entirely out of their own resources. The T4 project also tested and demonstrated the use of video films and multimedia CDs to make the teaching/learning process more interesting and attractive to the children. The video films are presently being beamed through the Edusat to all schools that have receiving facilities and television sets. 2. Quality Education and Skills Training Alliance (QUEST) In 2004, USAID established a public–private–partnership called QUEST (Quality Education and Skills Training) to further explore the area of education technologies. An alliance of a few leading Indian NGOs, corporate bodies and USAID, QUEST aims to promote effective and responsible use of educational technologies for improving the quality and relevance of education. The overall approach of QUEST activities has been to demonstrate ET models which, if found to be useful, can be scaled up. In one of the early activities implemented by two of the QUEST partners, Pratham and Dr. Reddy’s Foundation (DRF), unemployed youth in remote areas with low levels of education are being provided with basic education and job skills training through the distance mode.

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Challenges Notwithstanding the efforts described above, the challenges to the effective utilisation of education technologies are serious: (i) Availability of computer hardware- about 8% elementary schools have computers (ii) Potentials of satellite technology not harnessed adequately (iii) Inadequacy of quality educational content (iv) Inadequate teacher capacity to transfer technology into educational gains Lack of a comprehensive policy on education technology at the national level has resulted in a piecemeal approach towards education technologies. The possibilities and benefits of the various technologies and the ways in which they can help in improving the quality of education have not been realised to the fullest. In the coming years, QUEST (see the box) will attempt to consolidate the learning outcomes of the numerous experiments and pilots across the country and arrive at a shared understanding of the cost effectiveness and applicability of each technology. It would also attempt to put in place a system of assessing and evaluating digital educational content and come up with guidelines on instructional design. It is hoped that the T4 and QUEST activities will continue to provide models that can be scaled up through government funding along with contributing to the development of a comprehensive policy on education technology at the national level. Disclaimer: Although the author is employed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and may or may not be those of the Agency. 9


Education via PDA Technology Designing effective learning objects Daniel Churchill [DCHURCH@HKUCC.HKU.HK], The University of Hong Kong A Portable Digital Assistant or PDA is a small, hand-held device equipped with computer capabilities that nowadays often includes wireless network connectivity, a mobile phone, a camera and a variety of add-on hardware and software extensions. For Attewell (2005), as the number of devices available globally increases, this technology will become “digital life� for many individuals.This tool potentially creates a spectrum of educational opportunities and a new type of student-technology partnership in learning. Equipped with multimedia capabilities this technology permits for delivery of all kinds of digital material such as video, audio, graphic and integrated multimedia presentation

must be designed around key benefits of this technology for learning as well as around its limitations. Key benefits of this technology are portability and being able to act as personal companion to individuals in variety of activities in productive ways. One of the key limitations of PDA is widely considered to be associated with small screen display area. The central focus of the study reported here is to gain understanding of important design consideration that will result in creation of better learning objects for educational applications via PDA technology.

The study of the effective design of Learning Objects for PDA delivery

A

ppropriately designed educational digital material church as learning objects could be effectively delivered to students via this technology any time and anywhere. Learning objects for educational applications via PDA technology

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The preliminary qualitative study reported in this paper was designed to explore the following questions: 1. What types of learning objects may be more effective for educational applications via PDA technology? 2. What may be a more effective context for their educational applications via PDA technology? 3. How can these types of learning objects be designed to manage the challenge of the small display area of PDA technology? There are two stages in this study. In the first stage, a number of educational professionals were interviewed. The condition for including an individual for an interview was that he or she be an experienced education professional who had previously used PDA technology for personal and educational uses. June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


Portable Digital Assistant technology potentially creates a spectrum of educational opportunities and new types of student-technology partnerships in learning.The concept of the learning object opens the opportunity for novel ways of packaging educationally useful materials for delivery using a variety of technologies The interviews were facilitated by a PDA device and demonstrations of different types of learning objects (as classified above). Various learning objects were shown and their educational possibilities for PDA delivery were discussed with the respondents. These learning objects were selected to also permit demonstration of various media (text, visuals, audio) and different kinds of interactions (buttons, hot-spots, sliders, text-entry boxes) in order to facilitate further discussion leading to an understanding of possibilities for dealing with the challenges of a small display area. The design took into consideration the possibilities for dealing with the challenges of small screen as identified from the initial stage of the study through involvement with ten educational professionals experienced with educational use of PDA technology. Students’ experiences of using these learning objects are currently explored through experiments in one primary and one secondary school classroom.

The study insights Data from the initial stage of the study suggests that the respondents in general understood that effective learning objects for delivery via PDA technology should be designed in a Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

way that supports student-centered learning activities, such as problem solving (e.g. troubleshooting, strategic performance, case analysis, design or dilemma - for more detailed classification of problem types). In particular, two types of learning objects from the classification appear to be favoured for delivery via PDA technology based on the perspectives of the respondents: an information object and a conceptual model. As the study continued to involve students and their teachers in the classroom, a conceptual model appeared favoured. In this paper, some discussion about this particular type of learning object is provided. All the respondents suggested that the small display area is a critical limitation of this type of technology, a significant factor that affects the effectiveness of presentations of learning objects, and a factor that might negatively impact general acceptance of this type of technology in education communities. One idea to deal with the limitations of screen size was to provide a facility for students to zoom in on certain areas of the learning object, while simultaneously having access to a thumbnail view of the entire learning object. Another idea that surfaced in the study was the use of a “moveable� pop-up area that houses navigation elements or information. The movable screen

elements could be designed in a way to be semi-transparent to allow partial visibility of the remaining screen behind them. One more idea that emerged was a novel way to utilise a pointing device (that is, a stylus pen). The conceptual model as type of learning objects is discussed here which seems as the most appropriate educational applications via PDA.

Conceptual models A conceptual model is a type of a learning object that represents one or more related concepts or ideas, usually in an interactive and visual way. It might be appropriate to think of conceptual models as representations of cognitive resources existing in the mind of subject matter experts, as useful conceptual knowledge that aids decision-making, disciplinary problem-solving and as key concepts from a discipline representing knowledge as sociohistorical heritage. Previous research with visual educational material introduced a conceptual model (see Mayer, 1989. Mayer suggests that these improve the ability of learners to transfer their learning to solve new problems, because learners have constructed useful mind models that they are able to mentally manipulate when needed. 11


Based on later studies involving technology-based representations, Mayer (2003) suggests that multiple representations facilitate learning because different modalities are encoded and organised in different mind models which, when mentally connected, lead to deeper understanding. Now we have powerful technology-based tools that enable us to add critical dimensions to the design of conceptual models interactivity and modalities. For Fraser (1999), these capabilities of contemporary technology provide unique opportunity for communication of concepts to learners through representational pedagogical models. Fraser writes that “in the past, we relied on words, diagrams, equations, and gesticulations to build those models piece by piece in the minds of the students… we now have a new tool not one that replaces the older ones, but one that greatly extends them: interactive computer visualisation.” Models were also discussed by Gibbons (n.d.). Gibbon suggests that all instruction should be based around three types of models representing

instructional content: (a) models of environment; (b) models of natural or manufactured systems; and (c) models of human performance. However, these models appear to be representations of reality and expert performance, rather than models of conceptual knowledge. Interactivity and modalities allow the creation of conceptual models that potentially represent conceptual knowledge and ideas (not a simulation or demonstration of a performance).

object. Uncovering these relationship should lead to deeper understanding of the key concept represented by the learning object. This deep understanding in the longer run might be supported by perceptual impressions and individuals cognitive ability to recreate interaction in the mind through imagination. However, fundamental in this context of effective utility of a learning object in learning is a task for student that is developed by a teacher.

An example of a conceptual model, “Exploring Pulleys System”, is presented here.

PDA technology allows conceptual models to be available to students in a variety of educational situations, any time and anywhere. An unexplored idea guiding my thinking at this stage is that these conceptual models might act as mediating tools and external supplements to deficiencies in students’ knowledge within a context of intellectual activities which are at the higher level of complexity than their current level of development. Through provision of external conceptual models, student problemsolving performance might be brought to a higher level.

This learning object is an interactive and visual representation of a concept of mechanical transfer of power through pulleys system. It allows students to manipulate a number of parameters and observe impact of the configuration on the pulleys system. In order for full educational potential of this learning object to be realised, a teacher needs to create a task within which students will be engaged in inquiry and exploration of underlining relationships embedded the learning

Interactivity and modalities allow the creation of conceptual models that potentially represent conceptual knowledge and ideas, not a simulation or demonstration of a performance This learning object is designed in a way to allowed use via PDA devices. The zoom tool allows magnification of interface in order to increase visibility on small screens. A student can drag these sliders to change quantitative values of load to be lifted and effort to be placed in lifting this load.

A student can change number of pulleys by clicking on one of these buttons. Once a button is clicked, the visual representation will change by showing corresponding number of pulleys on the display. By clicking on this button, a student will attempt to lift the selected load within the scope of other parameters configured (Number of pulleys and efforts).

Portable Digital Assistant technology potentially creates a spectrum of educational opportunities and new types of student-technology partnerships in learning. The concept of the learning object opens the opportunity for novel ways of packaging educationally useful materials for delivery using a variety of technologies. Although the learning object is defined in a variety of ways that are often contradictory, the study respondents favour conceptual models as the most suitable type for PDA delivery. The key limitation of PDA technology for the delivery of learning objects is the challenge of the small display area. The only way of dealing with this limitation is to re-invent some strategies for more effective design of learning objects and for novel ways of interaction with screen display elements of this technology. All references will be available online at

Example of a conceptual model learning object

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www.digitalLEARNING.in/junemag06/education_PDA.asp

June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


News INDIA NIIT’s computer literacy programme NIIT is looking at expanding its K-12 computer literacy campaign to schools across all the states of India. The company now covers 4,200 schools in both the public and private domains. The company is looking for partnerships with all the states to extend the programme. At present, the company offer this programme in Assam Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and West Bengal.

Computer education for 10,000 schools in Andhra Pradesh The State Government of Andhra Pradesh is chalking out plans to introduce computer education in 10,000 zilla parishad and Government high schools. The Government is also evolving ways to change education curriculum to suit the needs of the industry.

Dell’s community reach programme Dell Corporation has initiated a community reach programme in Hyderabad, inaugurated at the HOPE Foundation, which is backed by funds from Dell Foundation. The centre is equipped with 30 Dell

desktop computers, and will impart computer education to under-served students of the twin cities. The approach is to give under-served students the necessary tools to compete on equal terms. The centre will bring in technology that will allow imparting of knowledge. Dell works on community outreach initiatives under h.u.g that stands for ‘Helping U Grow.’

Rediff iLand to offer Moblogs Rediff.com India Ltd launched Rediff iLand, the first blogging service in India to introduce Moblogs. Now users can upload a picture or text directly from a mobile or any handheld device into their blogs. This service will allow users to blog from anywhere. Rediff iLand also allows users to customise their blogs in several ways.

Bharti group to spend INR 2 billion on primary education projects Bharti group of companies, one of the largest telecom operators in India has announced a corpus of INR 2 billion, which would be spent on setting up primary schools around the country. The project would be carried out through the company’s Bharti Foundation that aims at establishing a few hundred schools over the next 18-20 months. Investors in this group, Vodafone and Warburg Pincus have also supported the cause and would be playing a role in this project. The Foundation would also setup Teachers’ Training facilities throughout the country to improve the level of competence in teachers who would be teaching at these primary schools. These newly

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established schools would be called Bharti Schools and the company plans to spend INR 10-15 lakh in establishing them. Another INR 5-7 lakh (0.1 million) are expected to be spent as operational expenses.

Government of India plans a mega school online The Human Resources Development Ministry in India plans to set up a one-stop education portal for nearly 500 million users in both formal and informal systems, spread to the remotest corners of the country and capable of handling nearly 10 million simultaneous web sessions. The scheme will initially start as a pilot project in Delhi from July covering one lakh senior secondary students and those in the first year of professional or graduate courses. It will eventually go on build a database on the capabilities of 500 million students in the country. Sitting at home or school, a student will not only be able to hone her knowledge in a particular subject but could also seriously pursue areas of interest outside the curriculum.

24x7 Learning to tie up with engineering colleges 24x7 Learning Solutions, a learning management technology company, has created a separate Academic Solutions Group to serve as a finishing school for engineering graduates and is eyeing overseas markets by establishing an Overseas Solutions Group. The company has committed investment of about USD10 million in its expansion and the creation of these services groups is aimed at tapping new segments. 15


85% mobile telephony, broadband to all schools in India; IT minister gives fillip to education All the Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools in India will be covered by broadband by the year 2007. Educational software for Class I to XII and training software for ITIs will also be made available for access through the Internet. These are among few other announcements Dayanidhi Maran, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, India has come up with recently, while listing out the new thrust areas for his ministry. Maran announced 85 per cent of the geographical area of the country would be covered by mobile telephone by the year 2007. 250 million connections would be provided by the year 2007 and further 500 million connections by the year 2010, all paving the way for easy mobile learning to take place. Department of Information Technology has already released software tools and fonts in 3 Indian languages, namely, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu in the public domain. Software tools and fonts in 2 more languages, i.e., Punjabi and Urdu are now ready for release. 17 other Indian languages are expected to be covered by 2007. The other things announced in this line include Indian language webbrowser to bring the benefit of all knowledge available on the web to the rural masses. Educational software for Class I to XII will be made available as approved by the Human Resource Development Ministry. Indian language domain names on the Internet too will come a reality soon.

Students to handle e-Governance in Indian state

Over 400 students are working on 24 project scenarios for 22 government departments. More than 100 faculty members have been trained to help students with the projects.

Now prepare for IIT, JEE online Indiatimes.com, India’s leading Internet portal is now providing online testing services, under its knowledge brand - Indiatimes Mindscape Test Centre.

Engineering students in Karnataka will now handle e-Governance initiatives of the state government. In a novel scheme aimed at addressing e-Governance glitches faced by several government departments, the Board for IT Education Standards (BITES) in association with the IT department and IBM has launched Project INVITE (Initiative to Nurture a Vibrant Information Technology Ecosystem). 16

This service allows students to take a number of practice tests for competitive exams like IIT JEE, CBSE PMT, BITSAT and AIEEE at a very nominal cost. The service will very shortly be extended to various other competitive exams, including CAT, GMAT, GRE, TOEFL and also Xth and XIIth boards.

National Knowledge Commission calls for more varsities National Knowledge Commission Chairman Sam Pitroda says that there should be a 15-fold increase in the

number of universities in India for building human resources in the country. The number of universities will have to be increased from the 350-odd to about 5,000. Pitroda emphasised the need for the number of youths studying in universities to go up from the present 8 per cent to at least 10 or 15 per cent, which could only be achieved through more institutions of higher education. He has already discussed the matter with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the commission is likely to submit a report in the next three months.

Oracle Academy to benefit Delhi Public schools through collaboration Marking the first phase in the Oracle Academy and Delhi Public School (DPS) Society partnership, Oracle and DPS are currently hosting their firstever Oracle Academy training event in India. The partnership and corresponding training event are designed to prepare teachers to deliver Oracle Academy curriculum to their students in order to help students prepare for technology careers and higher education. The event kicks off a train-the-trainer model for teacher preparation that will help to rapidly introduce the Oracle Academy programme into new schools in India. The Oracle Academy, part of Oracle’s Education Initiatives, support the needs of the educational institutions by helping to provide schools, districts and ministries, with the tools required to prepare students for 21st century careers. Students can learn database design and programming skills, as well as vital business skills such as criticalthinking, problem-solving, resumebuilding and interviewing, group collaboration and project management skills used throughout the IT industry in companies around the world. June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


An Archetype for Learning and Teaching Intel study vi Koti Pradeep Joseph [PRADEEP.JOSEPH@INTEL.COM], Bidisha Nagaraj [BIDISHA.NAGARAJ@INTEL.COM], Ragha Raghavi on [RAGHAVI.KOTI@INTEL.COM], Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd. TTon onyy Salvador [TONY.SALVADOR@INTEL.COM], Intel Corporation In an attempt to bring in a fresh new perspective to class room learning, Intel research team in India carried out an exercise to capture what parents and teachers had to say about their lives in alignment with that of the children. The needs, dreams and aspirations of children were looked into, with an indepth exploration into their daily lives, surrounding home, school and spaces in between. Parents had a lot more to say in terms of dreams and aspirations and what they thought would be the ideal solution to the drawbacks in the present day education system. Teachers also contributed in coming out with the shortcomings, ailing classroom teaching, which helped ultimately the Intel team in finding out the present day paradigms and the trend settings for a technology-empowered generation for the future. The research provided with myriad insights can be the eye openers for developing a need-based solution for school education, particularly for an emerging market like India.

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ecause of the deep-rooted inclination towards education, any attempt to bring about changes, however big or small, would necessarily have to be explicit in terms of the benefits and value propositions. With this understanding, the research team at Intel in India has found it quite challenging to develop a solution, for the teachers to teach well and the students to learn better. The Intel team study captures student insights through in-depth personal interviews, expert observations and cultural probes. A number of artifacts used by them were also studied and documented in order to bring out the subtleties of personalisation and individual usage models. The study also unraveled the daily routine of a typical student and observations were mapped out within the context and the ecosystem captured as a whole. The research was not just limited to the end users or “consumers” of technology in education, but also to the important drivers, chief stakeholders and also the players in the ecosystem. User research was done to understand the needs and attitudes of primary users, secondary users and drivers. Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

Secondary research was done to understand opportunities in education for middle tier India.

penetration in Indian schools, which is again less than one educational PC per 1000 students in schools.

Secondary research

The focus was on the urban schools, and certain government sponsored schools, which will help to provide reach and network. Municipal and Government schools were not considered owing to low infrastructure.

Areas covered in the research are• Market segmentation • The Ecosystem- Users and Drivers • Government initiatives and vision for ICT in Education • Current education system • In depth need analysis

Market segmentation The target Segment for this study is the middle tier India, and in the education domain. The urban India segmentation is classified as the rich, the consuming class, the climbers, the aspirers, and the destitute. Indian middle tier comprises of the consuming class, the climbers and the aspirers. The rich class and the destitute are not included for this study. The other segment is the education domain or schools, which was considered basing on the statistics on ICT

Ecosystem - Users and Drivers The user study was based on a classification of primary and secondary users. The primary users of any solution in the target segment would be the students. Teachers and parents are the secondary users.

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Schools and the Government (state and centre) who have extended policy level support and funds for deployment of ICT for education in the schools are considered as the primary drivers. Parents and teachers are the secondary drivers.

Government initiatives There are several policies and initiatives proposed by the government both at a central as well as state level, to promote the use of ICT in India education. The current policies by the central government include part of the tenth five-year plan, the CLASS project, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, among others. Among state governments, Kerala, Delhi and Orissa have introduced policies for ICT implementation in education.

Key insights The insights summarising analysis of user research, contain • Understanding of the needs and the motivations of the users • Relationship between the users and their environment • Understanding of current technology usage scenarios and extrapolation to future usages • Choke points and pressure points

Insights from the students The need to carry all textbooks and notebooks everyday to the school irrespective of the timetable weighs

The study was done in Mumbai and surrounding semi urban regions .The user research was complimented by ethnographic studies in Bangalore and Hyderabad schools in southern India. The goal of the user research was to understand the needs and the attitudes of middle tier India, in the domain of education. The user segmentation was done based on the socio-economic classifications, the samples being: students (30 numbers from 5th to 9th standards), schools (20 school representatives like Principal, Head mistress/Master, etc) and parents (15 families). 18

Insights from the teachers The education content contains no value-based teaching and the curriculum is unappealing. The rush to meet curriculum deadlines also plays havoc in their approach to teaching. Lack of parental involvement leaves the moral onus entirely on the teachers to bring out better results. The teachers seek technology as a solution for most of their problems. To them technology has a major share in markedly changing their lives for the better and opine that technology has made it easier for all and sundry except the teaching sector hence it is high time for technology to give them better honor.

Among visionaries, President Abdul Kalam and the Minister for Communication and Information Technology have proposed several initiatives regarding the use of technology in education. NCERT, a government agency, has helped ICT penetration by introducing programmes for the use of technology in education.

User research

computer education and knowledge) and aspires to give his child computer education. Constant complaints about inaccessible learning and inconsistent curriculum are common notes in the research. Lack of innovative teaching and lackluster learning mechanism is what concerns the parents most.

Identified key challenges • down the child. At school, the large size of the class leads to lack of personal attention from the teachers and the unappealing text books coupled with traditional methods of teaching de-motivates the child. An integral part of the Indian child’s life is the tuitions, which along with the schools follow a complete exam focused process. Peer pressure and parental pressure drive the child towards result-oriented education

Insights from the parents Even an illiterate parent realises the potential of computer education (though in many cases they cannot make out a difference between

Traditional, non technology based teaching techniques Stressful life, over crowded classes, long study hours, need to carry heavy school bags, etc. Deficiencies in current education and examination system promoting scoring over learning, theoretical rather than practical, less attention to vocational or technical education, etc.

Towards a solution space Gathered from different perspectives, some solution points are • Innovative content to make learning an exciting experience • Complete the learning experience by bringing together students, parents and teachers • Role of technology enablers (like service providers, content providers) are critical June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


Need to focus on developing the ecosystem to make the solution fruitful and effective Initiatives from the government side and policy implementations which help the education segment develop

Some attempts for change The CBSE, Central Board of Secondary Education, has introduced several initiatives to improve the education in India. It has made attempts to reduce the size of school bags and relieve burden on children, including locker provision and worksheets for homework. The board has also provides students with tips on relieving examination anxiety. A section of schools have introduced creative teaching techniques that include the use of computers and electronic media to impart educational material. Innovative electronic concepts for education are also brought about with private sector participation. Previous studies have pointed out that there have been innovations like distance learning and e-learning, which have made learning a more enjoyable and fruitful experiences. Such endeavors address problems faced by a particular section of users and cannot be a generalised solution. Hence it is necessary to envision and empower a design, which addresses the above-identified challenges that are universal to students, parents and teachers across India. The current research has led us to realise the need for urgent intervention of technology in the Indian educational system to influence and revolutionise the learning techniques. Education is one of the key areas constantly seeking attention from the policy makers and it is high time that technology is integrated by them not only into curriculum but also support for a total education solution on its own. Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

Intel Innovations in Education The Intel Innovation in Education initiative is a sustained commitment to help today’s students prepare for tomorrow’s demands for which Intel collaborates with educators to design and provide programmes and resources to support innovation in teaching and learning. • Elementary and Secondary Education: Increase the effective integration of technology in teaching and learning, improve science, mathematics and engineering education. • Higher Education: Accelerate the advancement of university curricula and research in strategic technology areas • Community Education for Youth: Broaden access to technology and improve technical fluency among youth in under-served communities, promote mathematics and science education beyond the classroom

Intel Teach to the Future In India, Learning Links Foundation has been working as the Regional Training Agency (RTA) for the Intel® Teach to the Future programme. The programme is a part of Intel Education initiative, which is a multi-million dollar effort to help realise the possibilities of science and technology in education. In addition to this, Learning Links Foundation is also managing the Intel Learn Programme, the programme that teaches young people technical skills through hands-on learning in a community center.

Intel Awards for the Best Integration of Technology in Education Teachers are rewarded for the innovative ways in which they have used technology in their lessons for the benefit of their students, while schools are judged on how well they have planned and implemented the integration of technology.

With the governments Today, Intel is working with 13 state governments in India to train teachers from the schools.

Intel IXA Program in India The network processor related University programme based on the Intel Internet Exchange Architecture (Intel® IXA), began in 2002 at the Centre of Electronics Design and Technology, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Intel has supported this specialised Masters level course by donating Intel IXA network processor boards, reaching 500 post graduate students and 20 colleges.

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News ASIA Microsoft stretches IT drive in rural Sri Lanka Compared to many Asian countries, Sri Lanka’s IT drive has been lagging behind with IT literacy recording only nine percent and to uplift the IT penetration levels and awareness in rural communities, Microsoft Sri Lanka further strengthening its commitment to community outreach in Sri Lanka, through a contribution of Rs 16.5 million to fund basic technology and job training to empower under-served people with new skills for better employability. The grant will be utilised in IT capacity building exercises at grass roots level and will be channeled to InfoShare Ltd, a Sri Lankan NGO that focuses on ICT for development. Microsoft’s contribution to InfoShare will help fund hardware, software, development of Industry specific IT curriculum, technical advice, helpdesk support and connectivity at the VTA Centres. Under the project, Microsoft has also made copies of its ‘Unlimited Potential’ Curriculum available, which will be implemented at 60 sites.

eTUKTUK takes internet and radio to the Sri Lankan village The Kothmale Internet Listeners Club in Sri Lanka in association with UNESCO, the MJF Foundation and Suntel has launched the eTUKTUK at the Kothmale Community Radio Station. Kothmale Community Radio (KCR) has been serving as an interface between the rural communities in the central hill region of Sri Lanka and new communication technologies 20

through its Community Multimedia Centres (CMC). This innovative approach to content delivery and radio production is in line with the station’s commitment to increasing access and participation to new and traditional ICTs (Information Communication Technology) while providing a voice and expression to the community it serves. The eTUKTUK is a self-contained mobile telecentre and radio broadcasting unit housed within a tuk-tuk, or three wheeled motorcycle, a favoured form of transport common throughout South Asia. A laptop computer is located inside the vehicle as is a battery operated printer, camera, telephone and scanner. Internet is provided via a CDMA enabled wireless connection and electricity is provided via a generator which in turn charges a battery that is used to provide additional power for short periods of time. The weekly route of the eTUKTUK is broadcast over the Radio to inform the listeners as to the location and time that it will arrive in their community. The mobile design of the eTUKTUK provides access to the most geographically remote areas of the Kothmale region.

ICT audit for schools A company has been appointed to carry out an independent audit on the effectiveness of the development of information and communication technology in schools in Malaysia. Education Minister Datuk Seri

Hishammuddin Hussein said this was to ensure there was no wastage under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. The days when it was emphasised providing schools with computers, laptops or LCD projectors are over. From now on, it will be ensured that only schools that are eligible and have the facilities receive the equipment. Next year, the ministry would carry out a survey on future teacher requirements before offering places for teaching degrees in universities.

Walk for school in Sri Lanka

Sixth form students from Sidmouth College took part in a sponsored walk during their Easter break, to raise money for ICT equipment for one of the re-built Sri Lankan schools backed by Sidmouth’s Rotarians. The 15-mile walk along the Undercliff between Seaton and Lyme Regis, accompanied by head of sixth form Geoff Wake, replaced a planned visit to Thambaddia School on the east coast of Sri Lanka, which the college has been supporting during its rebuild. The idea of the trip is to take ICT equipment, but, more importantly in some ways, to be able to show the people how to use the software that will be donated.

Indian students to study in Bangkok Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, will have tie up with Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) in the Indian June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNINg.in


state of Karnataka from the next academic year commencing in August. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed with VTU soon.

sharing of ideas about e-learning innovations, the assistance will support the ongoing series of international conferences on ICT in education.

EU, China to link up high-speed electronic networks

The understanding between the two universities will provide an opportunity for VTU graduates to pursue their post-graduation in AIT and the AIT students belonging to 50 countries will study in engineering colleges of Karnataka. The understanding covers two-stage master’s programme, integrated engineering and joint research. There are 2,000 students in AIT and 80 among them are Indians. The university has teachers from 30 countries.

USD one million tech assistance from ADB to support ICT in education Asian Development Bank (ADB) grants USD 1 million technical assistance to support innovative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in education in developing countries. The technical assistance will help carry out studies to support the development of policies and strategies in the area of ICT in education, focusing on the contributions the innovations can make to improving the quality of and access to education. The asistance will also carry out pilot studies on e-textbook development and e-teacher training in Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, and Samoa, where ADB has ongoing related projects. To disseminate the technical assistance results and promote the Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

Communication and collaboration among 45 million researchers and students across Europe and China will be greatly facilitated by a new SinoEuropean high-speed network connection. Co-funded by the European Union, China and European National Research and Education Networks, USD 5.67 million-ORIENT (Oriental Research Infrastructure to European NeTworks) project will benefit all Sino-European research, including radio astronomy, sustainable development, meteorology and grid computing, by helping to step up the flow of information between Europe and China. Access to applications such as telemedicine, digital libraries and e-learning will help the general public, as well as the research community, to build academic and cultural links between Europe and China and an open exchange of opinions and expertise between Chinese and European researchers.

Military Academy to be upgraded to university The Malaysian Military Academy will be upgraded into a university and be

known as National Defence University. The university plan was a follow-up to the forces’ current e-learning long distance education programme called K-Force conducted with the cooperation of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNITAR) since 2002.

Efforts will also be continued to establish cooperative programmes with other local and foreign universities to broaden opportunities for further education for Armed Forces personnel. The K-Force programme offers four types of courses that award a degree or diploma in either information technology or business management. K-Force was introduced to create a lifelong learning culture among military personnel. So far, 218 officers and 621 members of other ranks had signed up for the programme with 153 expected to graduate with diploma and 34 with degree this year.

e-Learning supplements face-to-face teaching: OECD According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey of institutions in 13 countries e-Learning has yet to revolutionise teaching in universities. It has more impact on administrative services such as admissions, registration, fee payment and purchasing than on the fundamentals of classroom teaching and learning. The OECD survey has found that e-Learning typically supplements rather than replaces face-to-face teaching. The OECD says universities are considering how to unleash the potential of e-Learning. The challenges are to use the technology to teach in new and effective ways to get academics and technical staff to work together and to reduce costs by using open standards software, by replacing on-campus teaching and by encouraging peer and automated learning. 21


News WORLD Future school on the net The software developer Future School has created an online learning system that is tailored to the curriculum of each Australian state, with a database to keep students’ results so parents can watch their progress. Students can study mathematics, English grammar and English as a second language on the web at home, with each subject related to what they are learning in class. Future School is also negotiating with TAFE Global to provide vocational learning online. But the big advantages of online learning are its flexibility and reach. Students must download a Future School programme before being able to access lessons on the website (www.futureschool.com.au). The lessons include video tutorials and animation to help them understand topic areas. The students can then test themselves with online quizzes and get their marks immediately, letting them and their parents know how well they grasp the concepts.

Demand for computer skills drives low-cost blended learning solutions Today’s businesses need their staff to be IT literate to compete effectively. This pressing need has led to increased demand by companies for IT competency standards such as ECDL (the European Computer Driving Licence), which tests allround IT knowledge for business applications. This drive for IT standards has prompted gtslearning to develop a complete blendedlearning solution for its ECDL portfolio. This new initiative has been conceived to help educators costeffectively deliver large scale training programmes. Gtslearning, a London-based education solutions provider, has announced the launch of a new blended-learning solution for ECDL study using Microsoft Office 2003, XP or 2000.

Distance education through video conferencing in Ethiopia The Ethiopian Civil Service College of Ethiopia is working with the World Bank and other relevant international institutions to upgrade the distance education with the help of video conferencing and Internet, besides the traditional means of utilising books and papers.

The project would be implemented promptly on the finalisation of the ICT system under establishment at woreda levels. The college has also been working with the Britishbased Open University to standardise its diploma programmes in the fields of law, accounting and administration during the past three years.

US president says learn math, else Indians will take the job Learn your math or watch your job go to China or India. With this modern US version of the Indian parents’ nighttime admonition to sleepless kids about Gabbar Singh, president Bush cranked up a new math initiative in US schools to try and retain US leadership in science and technology. The US president has increasingly invoked competition from India and China to bestir the American public on issues ranging from energy to education. Urging students to study math and science because they were “cool subjects”, Bush announced the setting up of a National Math Panel which would determine best practices for teaching math in the nation’s schools. He also proposed to double federal spending on basic research, piquing student interest by pointing out that both the Internet and iPod were products of government investment in research. Bush’s

Intel launches ‘World Ahead’ to bridge digital divide Trying to promote the use of computers in schools, cafes, and other public spots in developing countries, Intel Corporation, the $39-billion world’s largest chip maker, has launched its new World Ahead Programme (WAP) in India for bridging the digital divide through greater accessibility, connectivity and education. The US$1-billion World Ahead initiative, kick-started by Intel from its headquarters at Austin in Texas, is aimed at boosting technology access, broadband connectivity and effective education to about one billion people in developing countries and emerging markets. It also aimed at helping more teachers throughout the world include computers and the Internet in their lesson plans. The chipmaker is vowing to give schools 100,000 PCs and provide training to 10 million teachers over the next five years. Over the past seven years, Intel has already trained 3 million teachers in more than 35 countries.

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initiatives stems from recent studies that paint a grim picture of declining US competitiveness in the face of the rising number of science and engineering graduates from China and India.

South Africa: Primary school learners get technologically wise Mindset Cabanga (Cabanga is the isiZulu word for “think”) is launched by education minister Naledi Pandor, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Mindset Network in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. Through this project, each school will receive a computer, television set and a satellite dish so that they can access the curriculum-aligned lessons and educator support content. The equipment allows the content to be used on-demand at the educator’s convenience and the various lessons, videos and print content can be replenished and remotely updated via satellite. Mindset Network is a satellite television network that tackles key educational and healthcare challenges. It broadcasts at various times to suit schools and allows for home viewing. It targets grades 10-12 learners and teachers, and places an emphasis on Maths, Science and English.

Global Gateway portal Qatar’s Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) and the British Council have kicked off the

Global Gateway Project (GGP) with local schools. GGP, described as a one-stop free-ofcharge shop for international educational activities, aims to develop and strengthen international educational partnerships between educational organisations around the world. The Global Gateway portal is developed, funded, and directed by the British Department for Education and Skills and operated worldwide by the British Council. In collaboration with ictQATAR, British Council is to hold workshops, in Doha for teachers from Independent Schools, covering all the available tools within the GGP.

Learning Danish online Denmark’s Ministry of Refugees, Immigration and Integration Affairs has developed and launched a comprehensive online Danish course. In cooperation with the Dansk e-Learning Center, Denmark’s Ministry of Refugees, Immigration and Integration Affairs has developed and launched a comprehensive online Danish course at http://www. danskabc.dk. DanskABC is an online language learning tool for students worldwide and besides Danish language schools, many companies, private individuals, elementary schools and prisons are already using DanskABC.dk.

DAA launches new online learning programme Dubai American Academy has launched a new online learning program through Virtual High School. DAA will expand the student’s 21st century learning skills by offering their students access to over 200 online courses to obtain credits, to get ahead or simply to learn about a subject that interests them.

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

This new programme is made possible by a partnership with Virtual High School (www.goVHS.org), the pioneer of online learning for high school students and online course design and instruction for teachers. Students can access the courses from the school terminals or from any other Internet connection at their convenience, and a dedicated site coordinator, Amy Smith - also the IT Director, will act as a liaison between students, teachers and VHS assuming the position of VHS Coordinator.

New Spanish localisation portal for English / Spanish translators Spanish localisation leader, Trusted Translations, Inc., announced the launch of a new portal for English – Spanish translators containing free English - Spanish localisation resources, including accounting and financial English / Spanish dictionaries and other critical translation tools.

First South African schools get connected to a new world of learning Two secondary schools have become the first in South Africa to join an electronic network of 24 African schools with access to worldclass learning material. Ipetleng Secondary School in Free State and Thozamisa Secondary School in Eastern Cape have been connected by the Oracle Consortium under the e-Schools initiative, supported by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad). The initiative is designed to upgrade all of Africa’s secondary schools over the next 10 years by providing them with information and communications technology hardware, software and content, and by training teachers to use the new facilities. 23


India 2006

e-Learning in India: Vision 2010 www.digitalLEARNING.in/DLindia

23-25 August 2006, Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi Digital Learning India 2006

Themes of sessions

Realising the critical importance of education in development, in the last few years,India, like most developing countries has increased its investment in education and have taken several positive steps towards exploring the potential of technologies at all levels of education. These investments and initiatives have come from the government, private sector as well as civil society organizations. However, there are still processes that needs to be put in place, synergies to build and collaborations to be developed, to make the best use of technologies in education.

Keynote sessions

Consequently, knowledge sharing is essential to learn from best practices and finding commons solutions to common problems. There are lessons to learn from countries that are at an advanced stage of ICT integration as well as experiences to share with countries that are initiating such programmes.

The Conference

Important Dates We are accepting papers for presentation on the topics related to ICT in Education. Abstract Submission: June 30, 2006 Acceptance Notification: July 05, 2006 Full Paper Submission: July 25, 2006 Final Confirmation: July 31, 2006 Submit Abstract online @ www.digitalLEARNING.in/dlindia/abstractonline.asp

In August 2006, join the ICT in education decision-makers from government, Industry leaders, practitioners and academicians to share experience, showcase your project/ product and deliberate on strategies for transforming education in India at the Digital Learning India 2006 conference.

Technologies in education: from instructing to learning

ICT and education: building human resource for the knowledge society

National ICT in education policy- where are we?

Partnerships for enhancing outreach and quality

Technical sessions •

Technology for school education practices and innovations

e-learning solutions for classrooms

Technology in education: understanding the key issues

e-learning design and delivery: where do we focus?

Building leadership in teachers: Teachers capacity building

Content and Curriculum: focusing on learning

We invite all associated and interested in ICT in education to participate in the Conference.

Register Today! www.digitalLEARNING.in/dlindia/del_registration.asp

Participants Profile •

Central and State department secretaries, Directors, Senior officers

International development cooperation agencies

Exhibition

Deans, Directors and researchers from Universities and Higher Education sector

Digital Learning India 2006 will have an exhibition of latest e-solutions, services, initiatives and case studies from across Asia and beyond. Professional service providers, IT vendors, consulting firms, government agencies and national/international development organisations involved in the ICT in Education domain are encouraged to participate in the exhibition.

Administrators, teachers and trainers

Corporate training and development executives

Programme managers and education administrators

IT managers, Solution providers

Technology and service/content providers

Multimedia and software designers


Rajasthan Education Initiative Partnership in progress Rumi Mallick [RUMI@CSDMS.IN], Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies, India

In the Rajasthan Education Initiatives, over 15 agreements have been signed between the state government and led private practitioners and industry players since January 2005. The state has demonstrated an openness to work with multiple stakeholders and REI is emerging as a dynamic and evolving concept

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ajasthan being the largest state (in terms of total area) in India covers 3,42,239 sq kms and has a population of 5,65,07,188 (census 2001). The state is largely arid and 76% of the population lives in rural areas. Out of the total population, 11088122 persons were estimated in 2005 in the age group of 6-14, representing 20 % of the state’s population. Administratively the state is divided into 240 blocks, 9187 gram panchayats (village level elected bodes) has 41353 villages. The district elementary education statistics 26

collected in 2005–6 indicates that there are 97204 schools, of which 78106 (over 80% of total) are government run and only 19098 are privately run. In 2002, GOI made the 86th constitutional amendment through article 21 A, which read thus“ The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 and 14 years in such a manner as the state may, by law, determine.”

This was a watershed in the history of India. The Government of Rajasthan, responding to this obligation, had launched several interesting programmes like the Lok Jumbush, Shiksha Karmi project, Jan Shala programme. While the Lok Jumbush initiated the community to actively participate in the education process to improve the quality of education, the DFID-assisted Shiksha Karmi Project initiated education youth to mobilize the community and children to attend school. These programmes have been successful to a large extent in June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


improving the school enrollment as well as increasing the overall literacy of the state. The Jan Shala programme was successful in improving the education level of slum children. The state also implemented national schemes like the Education Guarantee Scheme and the Rajiv Gandhi Patshala programme, etc. Keeping in line with the Government of India’s goals to attain the objective of Universal Primary Education in the country by 2010, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme was launched in 2001-2002 that covers all the states and Union Territories in India. In Rajasthan, the SSA subsumed all the previous programmes (Lok Jumbush programme, Shikha Karmi project, Jan Shala). Even though the SSA goals set out specific dates for achievements, the challenges in implementation are many, the task stupendous and almost Herculean. Although, the SSA programme has resulted in impressive results in Rajasthan, there is still a huge gender gap and a need to address other indicators of quality education and achieving desirable results. When the Rajasthan Education Programme (REI) was launched, inspired by the success of the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI), the state was confronting the challenge of improving the quality of education, bettering the enrollment, improving teachers quality, bettering the infrastructure at the same time empowering education to prepare the students for a competitive global society and various other issues that was affecting the overall achievement of its education goal. The initiative was launched with an objective of creating a catalytic environment for fast track achievement of the Education for All goals. In REI, the state of Rajasthan proposed to emulate, adapt and learn from the JEI to adopt a public-private partnership model as a means to support and augment the state’s endeavors in education. Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

The government of Rajasthan, had initiated computer education in 3600 secondary and senior secondary schools in the state to empower students, enhance the quality of education and build technological capacity of the students. However, for a state of the size of Rajasthan, the efforts made was far too inadequate. Consequently, JEI offered a viable strategy for the state to accelerate the pace of education improvement through a mutually beneficial public-private partnership for education.

government in the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the individual projects within the REI. These core partners are also responsible to evaluate the success of each of the project so as to learn lessons from the experience. A ‘Partnership Document’ defines the roles of each of the core partners and the possible areas of Publicprivate partnerships. Astrid Dufborg, Executive Director, GeSCI explains their role as-

“GeSCI role in REI is like an honest broker or a facilitator. GeSCI has an in-depth understanding of what works and what does in ICT in education. In REI GeSCIs role is to facilitate in identifying those components that effects that success of the programme, to push the partners especially the Department of Education to secure those components in place and fill the gaps in implementation process and management of the programme. At present along with the state government, we are trying to put this framework in place at the same time letting the programme evolve naturally. Changing the education system is an enormous task that is something not possible at such a short time. But I am quite sure that this programme will fringe and will encourage and push forward such a change”. In REI each partner is committed to fulfill certain objectives that will contribute to the attainment of the overall education objectives of the state, while the state government oversees the whole process, evaluates and monitors the activities of the partners and sees to it that the objectives and activities of the partners in REI matches with the overall education goals of the state. The state government with other three core partners, namely the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Global eSchools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), through their respective roles, are committed to facilitate and assist the state

Thus while GeSCI will primarily facilitate the strategic planning and implementation of REI and assist the government in structuring the initiative for ensuring optimal value, the World Economic Forum (WEF) will mobilize international private organizations to join the REI and provide expert support in the management of the PPPs. In the words of Alex Wong, Director, Information Communications and Entertainment Industries, World Economic Forum-

The partnership in progress Since its conceptualization in January 2005 over 15 agreements have been signed between the state government and lead private practitioners and industry players. The commitment and 27


the political will of the state to have an open policy has encouraged lead players to join this initiative. The state has demonstrated an openness to work with multiple stakeholders not only with respect to the

and improve the overall learning objectives besides preparing the teachers and the children to gear up to the potentials of the information economy.

“REI one of the projects under the Global education initiative of World Economic Forum.WEF is working as a neutral worker. Our main role is to bring input form the international private sector like Intel, Microsoft, HP, CISCO, NIIT. Today in REI, these are the companies who are the members and partners. Our role is to facilitate collaborative public private partnership and in REI we have built this whole new way of multiple companies offering to the REI its services to help fulfill the state’s overall education goals”. implementation of the programmes, but has also involved the stakeholders to build an integrated participatory model of implementation of REI. Since all the partners, including the government are experimenting with a new and innovative way in delivery of education, the REI is a emerging as a dynamic and evolving concept. The REI is inspired from JEI, but the challenges faced by Rajasthan were unique. Consequently, localisation and innovation had been an integral part of the REI. Rajasthan is trying to tackle its problems through strengthening models of teaching and learning methodologies through state curriculum and learning assessment models. Since November 2005 till April 2006, several programmes (both ICT and non-ICT) have been effective in several parts of the state. From a target set at the beginning of the programme as 70000 schools, the programme now realistically aims to ensure that the public private partnership model for education, demonstrate the success possibilities in about 700-800 schools. The programme objectives more focused to ensure better enrollment, quality training to teachers – both in-service and pre-service, reduce drop out rates 28

There are six ICT related programmes being implemented by private sector or civil society partners. They are: Azim Premji Foundation on Computer Aided Learning Programme is expected to reach about 200 schools in Tonk and Sirohi districts. The programme will extend in all the 32 districts. In 15 sites in Jhalawar, Tonk and Dholpur, the Hole-in-the-wall Education Limited with UNICEF will deploy joyful learning technique to improve academic performance, confidence level and increase

India Private Limited will operate in 6 districts over five years up to 2010 to provide comprehensive IT session plan spanning over 12 days to government school teachers and expose them to latest computer technologies. The American India Foundation is working in 200 schools across Jaipur, Alwar, Dausa, Tonk, Sikar, Bharatpur and Ajmer in a programme called Digital Equalizer to provide teacher training and capacity building inputs to upper primary and secondary schools in their implementation of CALP. High End IT Training programme will be conducted by Cisco for one year for senior secondary class teachers and students. This includes hardware and computer trouble shooting course, concepts in networking administration using open source. Educate Girls Globally is a programme undertaken in two educationally backward blocks – Sumerpur and Ahore of Districts Pali and Jalore, to ensure 100 percent enrolment and retention of girls in the age group of 6-14 years. Bodh Shala programme is being implemented in 324 un-served or underservered localities of Jaipur city and is implemented by Bodh Shiksha Samiti.

“The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) will garner resources and skills for the REI and mobilize its members, especially the small and medium scale enterprises to ensure the creation of local capabilities and capacities in making the REI sustainable. “

collaborative behaviour among children. Intel will work in 26 districts over five years from 2005 to provide comprehensive IT session plan development training to government school teachers and expose them to computer technologies. The project is called Teach to the Future. Intel will also assist in designing suitable ICT in Education policies. Partners in Learning programme of Microsoft

Other activities include project GRACE, departmental computerization, solar PV power packs for CALP schools, schools computer education programme, foundation for excellence, scholarships through Akshayapatra, government scholarships for challenged girls of classes IX to XII, and adoption of indigent children for education, mid day meal programmes, June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


low cost village knowledge centres, adopt a school programme, e-content development in sync with curricula, back office administration etc. Again, one crucial success factor of the programme would be the level of buy-in that the local education officers had for the programme. Unless there is a feeling of ownership among the local stakeholders, be it the education officers at the district and the local level or the community at the village level, effective implementation would be impossible. Additionally,

The consultative process, Rajasthan Education Initiative first update meeting In April, 2006, the Rajasthan Government, Ministry of Education, with support from GeSCI had organized a two day conference/meeting to take stock of the progress made and challenges faced by the partners in REI and in the process develop a comprehensive framework for the effective implementation, monitoring and implementation of REI. As a precursor to this meeting, GeSCI had organized a two-day workshop as a pre-conference consultation with partners and practitioners to identify their challenges and concerns and processes that can be put in place.The main objective was to develop a common understanding of the partners in REI and to reflect on the status of the ecosystem, provide critical insights and feedback, define the public private partnerships and recommend the mechanism for drawing a framework for project management, monitoring and coordination with the partners. The Government of Rajasthan’s Education Principal Secretary reiterated the commitment of the REI to be aligned with the objectives of the overall Education for All objectives, which are being implemented under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The two-day partners meeting was focused on collaborative planning for implementation of REI. The conference gave a platform to the partners to express their views and concerns to the highest authority and chalk out a workable implementation module for the programme. The two-day GeSCI workshop followed by the two-day partners meeting identified several issues that needed careful consideration and planning. While REI has been successful in attracting committed private partners and stakeholders from outside the state to complement the key education activities of the state, several crucial components still needed to be put in place for the overall success and sustenance of the program. One component of the system that needed to be focused on was the ‘champions’ and the main ‘drivers’ of the programme. Across the board, among the partners there was agreement that teachers should emerge as the main drivers of this programme. Without shifting the focus from the child or the learner and keeping education learning-centric, rather than instruction-centric, attention has to be paid to motivate the teachers to drive and sustain the programme. Teachers training needed to be standardised, especially in cases where there are multiple organisation involved in training teachers and adequate infrastructure/opportunities must be provided such that teachers can practice their skill that they gain through trainings. Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

there needs to be a guiding policy framework that that can not only chalk out the process of implementation of the program, but also define the specific goals of each partner, outcome measurement indicators and timeline of programme. Attention has to be paid to providing end-to-end solutions, be it the teachers training from learning to use the computer to using the computer to create content and ultimately using digital multimedia content for teaching or orienting the local education officers to spearhead or ‘champion’ the programme to training them to monitor the programme. Rajasthan Education Initiative is an ambitious plan for leapfrogging from achieving ‘Education for All’ to strengthening models of teaching and learning and building global competencies in human resources. The processes are positive and affirmative; be it the openness to collaborate with private players or building the Project Management Team to monitor, evaluate or measure the genuine impact of each intervention. So far, political will has also been in favour of the process. However, REI is still evolving, building in corrective mechanisms and putting frameworks in place. How far REI is able to build sustainable models for up scaling will depend as much on the state government’s and partners’ commitment as on buy-in of the local stakeholders. 29


Chamapioning the cause C K Mathew, the Principal Secretary of Education, Government of Rajasthan, explains the objectives of the REI and discusses the crucial components that need attention, in an exclussive conversation with Rumi Mallick of Digital Learning

What will be the character of REI, will it remain as a programme within the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), fulfilling the gaps in SSA or will REI emerge as a totally independent programme of the Rajasthan government? The REI as you know started with the discussions the Chief Minister had in Davos in January 2005 in World Economic Summit (WES). Presently, the REI has a separate identity, which is putting it at a level much beyond what the usual SSA or secondary school system would provide. REI is looking at a unique combination and partnership of public government sector, the private sector and the civic society and community. We have also decided that we would look at the pilot projects. We cannot think of covering 75000 to 80000 schools in the state. It has to be pilot because public and private sector cannot work together over such a large area. Thirdly we have decided that these pilot models will be successfully demonstrated and then only we will think of up scaling-up. These pilots will have to be tested against the overall objectives of education for all the factors like retention, dropout, girl child education etc. We have adopted a large number of schools within the 30

REI, which are in the secondary set up. So REI has its unique identity. It will cover certain areas of secondary and certain areas of elementary education and right through out look at the key objectives of the learning capabilities of teacher performance, teacher training, and capacity building.

You mentioned in the meeting that REI is based on a very loose partnership, what is the government doing to strengthen this partnership? Do the partners have the common vision? Are you trying to build up sort of a common vision for the partners and cementing these partnerships?

How are you planning to sustain REI’s ICT interventions in rural areas where there are either regular power cuts or no power at all?

Let me explain the existing structure of partnership of REI first. There are three umbrella kind of agreements that are on the top of the structure; with Global e-Schools Initiatives (GeSCI) and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and with the World Economic Forum, along with the partnerships description documents between the four partners. So all along it has been a large umbrella agreement and within that agreement there were nine separate MoUs. Presently, we have given to all the partners a document that gives a clear vision along with a copy of partnership description.

There are certain infrastructure facilities that is dependent upon let us say power, if you put up a computer in an area where power does not exit, there is no point in doing it. But again you have to bring the benefits of information and communication technology to the rural areas too. Hence we are trying out different mix of technologies for example in rural schools where there is no power, we are looking at solar panels. We will have the alternative energy resources for powering computers. So we are not just concentrating in schools that have preset ICT labs, we are also working in schools in rural areas that are still struggling with the lack of basic infrastructure. We realize that these alternatives are not cost effective. Solar panels costs almost a lakh (100000 USD) for a unit. But we have to bring the benefits of the ICT and elements of new thoughts in these areas and even if it cost a little more we cannot exclude those areas from the developmental process. So we are exploring this mix of technology options.

The purpose of the partners meeting was to let people know of the partnership framework by studying our partnership document, and then allow people to raise issues. As I promised in the meeting that in the next two months we will sit with each and every of those MoU partners, chalk-out a programme, sort out the area of coverage, bring a calendar into place, what are the milestones as we go ahead, in next two to three years what we intend to do, what are the final outcome and that outcome should match with the overall June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


objective of Education For All (EFA). So now we are taking - a halt, looking at all these MoUs in detail, discuss with the partners and sorting out the problems of implementation. How are you engaging the teachers and the local community in this initiative? We have a three-pronged strategy. First strategy is that the government’s role, the government –is the command and control systems, which has both a friendly and a very grim face. We have to ensure that the educators perform their duties and also be friendly in the sense that we have to look after their grievances. If they have any genuine problems we look after them. The second part is to bring about systemic improvements in teacher’s skill up-gradation. We have a training programme in the state but we are not addressing new issues, pertaining to a girl child, problems regarding girls not going to school, special need students, those belonging to the disadvantageous societies etc. We are putting into place a massive reorganisation of a training programme that can address these key issues, which had pulled down the state in terms of dropouts or retention of students. If we look at the parameters across the country, Rajasthan level is bit low in all these parameters. This will be improved if you have a very vibrant teacher’s training programme. The third part is getting the community involved. And I really feel that if the parent of the child can go to the teacher and confront the teacher and say that you are not teaching my child and we want you to teach him in this way, that will put the fear of law to the teacher not the government. The government has to perform its own role. Ultimately the power lies with the people. It is people who will ultimately improve the school system. Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

India has a legacy of pilots. Don’t you think that - REI will end up being just one of these?

symbols that we use. All will have to be customised for Rajasthan then only we can use it.

Well, there are some really worrisome points that is whether it will remain as pilots because the area of the problem is so large. A pilot will give you certain lessons. You may not to repeat the project but the lessons learnt can be useful for future initiatives. The GRACE initiative for example, is being implemented in all the schools, it will give some idea of how the knowledge is transmitted, what are the learning levels involved and how can competency be improved. Even without ICT/ computers there, which is the medium, you can get the lessons. These lessons can be transmitted across the state too. You have good teachers, if you explain the issues to these teachers and also focus on upgradation of the skills in a particular manner the child gets the benefits of this even without the computers. Computer is a new invention. Earlier there were only teachers and children with out any kind of intervention sitting under the tree

You mentioned about the most important Project Management Team (PMT) that is going monitor this whole programme. Who would be a part of this team and how would they monitor the programme?

We heard that the curriculum is being revised in Rajasthan. Will the plans for ICT-based content development and use be matched with the curriculum? Yes. This is started both at secondary and the elementary level. We have given the task to the board of secondary education to look at eContent at secondary level and at elementary level we are doing it with our Rajasthan Council of Primary education. We intend to bring out a tender seeking the expression of interest in next 15 to 20 days. But our point that we keep hammering is that we can not have readymade eContent. There are hundreds of vendors in the market with the ready made e-Content. We will make it very clear that we will not accept readymade e-Content because there is a location specific requirement for Rajasthan, language, and the type of

The Project Management Team will first and foremost have a Board of Directors, which will involve the state governments and the three partnersthat is Global e-Schools (GeSCI), World Economic Forum (WEF) and CII, representatives from these organisations will serve as the board of directors. Within the Board of Directors, there will be several streams for each MoU. Each of those officers would report to the Board of Directors about what is happening at the ground level. Do you feel that PMT will be able to build all the synergies that we are talking of? I think so. That will require monitoring at the State government levels that means we also will be involved. I will have to spend much more time than what I am currently doing but I think I will be able to do it. How do see REI after three years? REI will demonstrate successful models. Hopefully we will have good outcomes, which will demonstrate the success. But I am really looking forward to an upscaling across the state, although that, I think, should not be our objective at this point. If we can get the good models and learn lessons from them, which can be replicated through traditional methods of teaching, then we have achieved our objectives. I am sure that the traditional teaching models across the state will achieve a great deal with inclusion of ICTs in the teachinglearning process. 31


Reducing Teachers Absenteeism Camera School Experiment Priyanka Singh [EDU@SEVAMANDIR.ORG], Seva Mandir, India

Seva Mandir, an NGO working in 161 villages of Udaipur and Rajsamand districts of Rajasthan, India, has initiated an interesting experiment to reduce teacher absenteeism using a camera to record the presence and attendence of teachers in the classrooms which determined the teachers a pay, the organisation not only reduced teachers absenteeism but also improved students performance. This article discusses in detail this experiment towards improving the quality of education for children, especially those marginalised by the mainstream education system Context of Udaipur region Udaipur region of Southern Rajasthan in India is mostly hilly, with large parts of the hills now being barren. The natural resource base is highly degraded consisting of agricultural land, forests, pasturelands and wastelands. Most of the land is owned by the Government and are degraded and poorly managed. Due to the inadequacy of the natural resource base in providing ample livelihood options, most families engage in physical labour outside their villages. The local population also fares poorly on indicators of health and education.

Background of Seva Mandir’s education programme Seva Mandir started its work in the 60s with adult education. Over the time, the focus of Seva Mandir’s education programme shifted to children’s education, especially for 32

those marginalised by the mainstream education system. As part of this, it is running 174 rural schools. An evaluation of these schools done in 1995-97 showed that the schools were not faring very well on children’s learning abilities. The main reasons for that were related to the teachers’ own academic competencies and the pedagogy they used in the classroom. For the last 6-7 years, Seva Mandir has invested a lot to enhance the teachers’ own abilities and their understanding of children’s learning processes. This has led to improvement of the teacher’s abilities and motivation thereby impacting positively the children’s learning and enrolment. Some meaningful partnerships have been forged with external agencies for this work, like the Vidya Bhavan Society.

Objectives of Seva Mandir’s education programme •

Provide quality education, to enable children in the age group of 6 to 14 years who are deprived of education to independently read and write with comprehension Create spaces which allow people to recognise and articulate the need for an alternative, higher quality and more meaningful form of education

Why the camera experiment? As said above, by and large the teachers are fairly motivated and the June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


children in these schools are also doing well in their studies. Yet, in these schools also teacher absenteeism has been a concern. Teachers often would not come to school without giving any prior information. The organisation therefore was looking for ways to reduce this absenteeism, looking for ways, which would not increase patronage between the monitor and the teacher. It was in this context that the idea of using a camera came from Prof. Esther Duflo of Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT). Seva Mandir had an old relationship with MIT and it decided to conduct an experiment to see the impact of cameras on teacher presence.

About the experiment 120 schools were selected to participate in the study, of which the camera was given to 60 randomly selected schools (the “programme schools”). The pictures taken at the start and end of each working day were used for determining teacher attendance, and thus determining teacher pay. The monthly base salary was set at INR 1,000 for 21 days of work in a month. Teachers received a bonus or a fine (INR 50 per day) for days more or less than the number of “valid” days where they actually attended. A “valid” day was defined by a day where the opening and closing pictures were separated by at least five hours and the number of children in both pictures was sufficient to indicate that children were present (at least eight). The fine was capped at INR 500; hence, a teacher’s salary could range from INR 500 to INR 1,300. In the remaining 60 “comparison” schools, teachers were paid INR 1,000, and were told as usual

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

that they could be dismissed for poor performance. The payments were made on a bi-monthly basis. Each school in both the treatment and the control categories received one unannounced visit per month (“random check”). The enumerator noted whether the school was open or closed, how many children were in class at the time of the visit, and what the children and the teacher were doing. In collaboration with Seva Mandir, the evaluation team (MIT and Vidya Bhavan) conducted three exams, in August 2003 (at the start of the programme), April 2004, and September 2004. The tests covered basic Hindi and Camera was given to 60 randomly math competencies. The first test followed the usual selected programme schools. The methodology: children were pictures taken at the start and end given either a written exam of each working day were used for (for those who could write) or an oral exam (for those who determining teacher attendance, could not write). For the and thus determining teacher pay. post-test and the mid-test, both the oral and written exam was administered to all comparison schools prior to the children. Children who were unable to programme. A pre-test exam was write received a zero score for the administered to the 2,230 students written sections. enrolled in all 120 non-formal education centres in September 2003. Results of the experiment In the pre-test, 17 per cent of children in the treatment schools and 19 per Prior to the programme, school and cent in the comparison schools took teacher quality was similar for the the written exam (the difference is not programme and comparison schools. significant). Those who took the oral Before the programme was exam were somewhat worse in announced, the attendance rate was programme schools though the 66 per cent and 63 per cent, difference is not significant, and respectively. However, this threethose who took the written exam were percentage point difference is not somewhat better in treatment schools. significant. Other measured aspects of school quality were also similar Teacher absence and teaching (number of students present at the activity time of visit, infrastructure, teacher qualification). The impact of the incentive programme on absence was large and Student academic performance was immediate, as measured by randomsimilar across the programme and check data. In September 2003, 33


teacher attendance increased relative to August in programme schools, and decreased in comparison schools. Between September 2003 and October 2004, teacher absence was, on an average, 18-percentage points lower in the programme schools than in the comparison schools. Thus, the programme halved absence rates in treatment schools. This reduction in absence is due to both, some teachers starting to attend work all the time and to a complete elimination of entirely delinquent teachers those who come less than half the time. Subsequent to the implementation of the programme, the total number of children found in open schools did not differ between programme and comparison schools. However, the fact that programme schools are open more days should result in a larger number of days of teaching per child. The children-days measure is constructed as number of children who are found in class at a random check if the school is open, and zero if the school is closed. On average, three more children are present in a programme schools, increasing the number of children-days by roughly 30 per cent. Assuming there are about 27 days of work in a month, this figure translates into 88 more children-days of instruction in the programme schools.

Effects on learning Children in treatment schools got an average 30 per cent more instruction time than children in comparison schools. Did this result show an increase in test scores? To minimise the impact of attrition of children on the study, considerable

34

attempts were made to track down children who were not present at the mid- and posttest, and to administer the post-test to them. In total, out of the 2,230 students who took the pre-test, 1,893 took the mid-test, and 1,760 took the post-test. The test data reveal that the programme had a significant impact on learning, even as soon as the mid-test is over. In the mid-test, children in treatment schools gained 0.11 standard deviations of the test score distribution in language, 0.15 standard deviations in math, and 0.17 overall. Children with higher initial education levels gained the most from the programme: children who took the written pre-test have test scores that are 0.25 standard deviation higher in programme schools than in comparison schools at the mid-test.

The monitoring system through cameras linked with financial system helped reduced absenteeism in Seva Mandir Schools. It led to improvement in learning levels too

Overall, after one year in the programme, children learned significantly more in treatment schools than in comparison schools. In the post-test, children in treatment schools gained 0.15 standard deviations of the test score distribution in language, 0.16 standard deviations in math, and 0.17 overall. As in the mid-test, most of the gains in learning levels can be attributed to children with higher initial education levels. It can be said at last that the monitoring system through cameras linked with financial systems helped reduce absenteeism in Seva Mandir schools. This point is important that in Seva Mandir’s case, it led to improvement in learning levels. Even in programme schools, if there had been no efforts at improving quality across the schools, it is not very sure if increased presence of the teachers would have led to increased learning

levels of the children. Also, the fact that the system of using photographs to calculate payments was rigorously used helped instill the teachers’ faith in the system. If the system had been misused to tamper payments, there is no certainty if the teachers’ would have cooperated in letting the experiment go on. In the above experience, “quality education” has many components, of which teacher presence is only one. The camera project has helped establish the fact that teacher absenteeism can be reduced using creative methods. This article draws on Prof. Esther Duflo’s write up on the research, especially in the section on results. Two articles in particular have been referred to, I) Addressing Absence- By Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo and 2) Findings from a programme to reduce teacher absenteeism in non formal education centers- By Esther Duflo June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


CONFERENCE REPORT

Digital Learning Asia 2006 26-28 April 2006, Bangkok,Thailand The Digital Learning Asia 2006 Conference organised by the Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) held on 26-28 April 2006, Bangkok, Thailand deliberated on education strategies in Asia and showcased trends and practices in ICT in education. A brief report of this conference is presented here.

T

he overarching aim of the Digital Learning Asia 2006 Conference and Exhibition held between 26-28 April, 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand, was is to deliberate and learn from the current National ICT and Education strategies of Asian countries and to understand the recent trends in e-learning practices. The conference held in conjunction with egov Asia- the e-Governance conference and Asian Telecentre forum and saw over 450 participants from Asia and outside. The Digital Learning Conference featured the work of 70 practitioners from 20 countries in Asia and brought together over 150 exponents of technology enhanced learning from Asia in a rich agenda mixing in a variety of formats and programme elements. The agenda was created with the support of the conference Programme Advisory board that included leading exponents and experts of technology enhanced learning. The Exhibition had various government agencies and leading private sector organisations who showcased their projects, products and solutions. The conference had assumed immense importance with the commitment and support of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Royal Thai Government, Ministry of Education (MOE), Royal Thai Government, South East Asian Ministers of Education Organisation, (SEAMEO), Asia e-Learning Network Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

(AEN) Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) Thailand, UNDP APDIP, National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC), Thailand, British Council, Thailand, Danish Technological Institute (Denmark), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA)-National Online Learning Project (NOLP) Thailand, USAID, India, Thailand Software Park, University of Washington, National University of Singapore and many others as supporting partners. The conference had also received support from the leading private sector organisations involving e-Learning.

Ready to begin the sessions

The ICT and Education minister, Royal Thai Government

Conference Programme The Conference saw 4 keynote sessions, 2 plenary sessions, parallel sessions, panel discussion and workshops. The first day began with the inauguration of the conference. The Minister of ICT, Thailand, Suchai Charoenratanakul and the Minister of Education, Thailand Chaturon Chaisang along with the President of the Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies, M P Narayanan, inaugurated the conference and the Exhibition. The inauguration was followed by the Keynote session titled the ‘Vision Session’. R Chandrashekhar, Additional Joint Secretary, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India, discussed the synergy between eGovernance and ICT for development

Suchai Charoenratanakul, the ICT Minister

Chaturon Chaisang, the Education minister

Exhibition

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R Chandrashekhar, Add. Secretary, Ministry of IT, India

Sussane Ornager, Unesco

Conference in progress

Attendees pay heed to inauguration ceremony

Speakers of the plenary - Leadership Reflections in ICT ...

Dr Yosiko Terada, AEN 36

and pointed out that e-Governance, ICT for development especially ICT for education and capacity building should converge to create a new paradigm of development. Dr. Susanne Ornager, UNESCO Adviser for Communication and Information, Bangkok, Thailand elaborated on the development challenges in education and the knowledge society and the need for re-engineering education. She also explained that ICT reflects the increased emphasis on communications and education and is the lead target sector for improvement. She said “Knowledge society cannot exist without highly educated citizens and Education is sine qua non for the creation of knowledge societies”.

interconnect universities through UniNET and Thailand Cyber University initiative.

After Lunch, the first session of the day began as a plenary session titled ‘ICT in Education in Thailand’. The Ministry of Education, Royal Thai Government, organized this session. The objective of the session was to get an overview of the Ministry of Education initiatives in education and how ICT are being integrated at various levels of education. The session started with the Keynote address by the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr. Charuaypon Torranin who in her presentation, ‘The ICT in Education Roadmap in Thailand: Thai Panel on Education’, highlighted that the Thai Government’s focus is to improve the quality of higher education and modernize Thailand education process through ICTs.

This session also saw presentation by Siripan Chumnum, Advisor Secretary General, Office of the Vocational Education Commission, Thongchul Khankaw, Office of NonFormal Education Commission and Nattavud Pimpa, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education who spoke on the various initiatives of their respective offices with respect to ICT enabled education and expressed their confidence on the future of ICT in education initiatives in Thailand, in reforming the education process delivery.

This plenary session saw key presentation from the Ministry of Education, Royal Thai Government officials. Asst. Prof. Anuchai Theeraroungchaisri, Deputy director, Thailand Cyber University Project, Commission on Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Thailand, elaborated the role of the Commission of Higher Education and described the Ministry’s initiatives to encourage the use ICTs in higher education in Thailand and flagship initiatives to

Suwat Saktrikul, Director, Bureau of Technology for Teaching and Learning, Ministry of education, outlined the Thailand ICT Master Plan 2010, National ICT for Education Master Plan, Ministry of Education ICT Policy, ICT Plan and Implementation. He pointed out that as a policy the Ministry focuses on three points: bridging the digital divide, knowledge and content development, science and technology strengthening, and presented the details of activities under the National ICT for Education Master Plan (2004 – 2006) suggesting the importance of training teachers in ICT knowledge.

The second Plenary of the first day was titled “Leadership reflection in ICT in education in Asia’. The objective of this session was to understand from leading organisations and key experts, how ICTs has been used to improve the efficiency of education and training. Dr Yoshiko Terada of Asian e-Learning Network (AEN), Japan, identifying the various barriers to widespread take-up of ICTs in training and capacity building, pointed out that the government of Japan is spreading and promoting proactive use of e-Learning in the business and higher education for creating e-Learning professionals. Hammed Aghakhani and S. June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


Mohammad Reza Nasserzadeh of Iran Telecommunications Research Centre discussed the critical success factors of e-Learning in Iran, pointed out that there are a lot of overlap of activities among the government organisations and there is a genuine requirement of need assessment and assessment of the programmes that are active at present.

all the stakeholders in education especially the teachers and the community.

Dr Chadamas Thuvasethakul of National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC), Thailand and Dr Panjai Tantatsanawong of Commission on Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Thailand presented various programmes of the Thai Government, while Dr Chadamas discussed NECTEC’s initiatives in education and presented a model of inclusive school education in the ‘The Hon’l Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn education programme’, Dr Panjai discussed several models of ICT use in Higher education and research in the Inter-University Network (UniNet),Thai Research & Education Networks, etc., all of which support distance education programmes and provide other education facilities.

Parallel to this plenary session, a tutorial workshop was organized by NSTDA-NOLP, Thailand on SCORM and its applications. Surasit Vannakrairojn, Director of National Online Learning Project (NOLP) in the workshop, explained the concept of ‘Standards’ with reference to eLearning, concept of Sharable Object Reference Model (SCORM) 2004 and its organisation, application and benefit. In the interactive demonstration session he also elaborated on content packaging, runtime environment, content aggregation model, meta-data, sequencing and navigation and SCORM conformation.

Lim Kin Chew of Dniem Pte.Ltd. Singapore gave an overview of the e-Learning history of practices in schools, Universities and corporate bodies in Singapore. He also pointed out that presently Singapore has emerged as a leader in utilizing ICTs for all kind of capacity building especially in providing end-to-end solutions in education. This session’s last speaker was Dr Ashish Garg of Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI). Dr Garg gave an overview of the GeSCI initiatives and activities in Asia. Dr Grag pointed out that ICT enabled education will be successful and sustainable when there is a guiding policy by the Ministry of education and a National standard for teachers training, a comprehensive implementation plan and a buy-in from Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

Discussion in this session primarily focused on how pilot programmes in ICT in education could be scaled up and what factors have to be kept in mind and frameworks to be put in place for sustaining such initiatives.

Manno Ordeedolchest, President, SIPA

Douglas Bell, EDC, India with his presentation

Visitors at Exhibition booths

Second day of the conference Day two of the conference began with a keynote session on ‘ICT and education: strategies and best practices in Asia’. Prof Dr Pavich Thongroach, Secretary General, Commission for Higher Education, Thailand, gave an insightful perspective on the strategies and practices of e-Learning in Thailand Dr Pavich pointed out that “The challenge for e-learning in the future is how to incorporate virtual, social and moral values into the media of elearning, such that e-learning have real value for education.” The second keynote address was by Prof Dr.Srisakdi Charmonman, Chairman and CEO of the College of Internet and Distance education at the Assumption University. Dr. Srisakdi presented an analysis of the existing situation of e-Learning in Higher Education in the ten ASEAN countries and a recommendation for

Alexa Joyce, Unesco

Jahan Choudhury, University of Wolverhampton, UK

The session in progress - a side view

37


Dr Edilberto C. de Jesus, Director, SEAMEO

Prof Choo Fook Hoong, Robert Kheng Leng, Singapore

cross accreditation in order to promote development and free flow of skilled personnel. Dr Cameron Richards of University of Western Australia, the third keynote presenter argued on the kind of ‘dialogical’ approach needed in the digital age to better organize, manage and apply the tacit or informal knowledge in ICT in education, that is to do with learning process and cultural change, with particular reference to an Asia-pacific context. Post tea break there were joint session on “e-Learning: Pedagogy and Practices” and “e-Learning Practices in K-12 Education. Erna Surjadi of the Ministry of Woman Empowerment, Indonesia, chaired both these sessions. This joint session was chaired by Rakesh Sood of Educomp India. Dr Robert Gay Kheng Leng of Nanyang Technological University, ICIS, School of EEE, presented his paper titled ‘Redefining e-Learning’ and focused on some basic concepts and challenges of e-Learning and pointed out that current e-learning systems focus more on information access and distribution rather than learning. While the session on Pedagogy and Practice in e-Learning delved on redefining e-learning, the parallel session on “e-Learning Practices in K-12 Education” saw a several case studies from Asia. The objective of this session was to discuss different models and perspective on how ICTs have been used for the efficient delivery of education. Madhusudan 38

Erna Surjadi, Ministry of Women Empowerment, Indonesia

Padhi, State Project Director, Orissa Primary Education Program Authority (OPEPA) Orissa, India presented the state initiated Project e-Shishu where a dynamic Child Tracking System (CTS) was developed to track children by their demographic, educational and physical status. J. Sundarakrishnan, American India Foundation (AIF), an NGO based in India presented a model of using ICTs to improve learning in underresourced schools in the ‘Digital Equalizer Program’ model that focuses on primary school children (aged 6-10 years), trains teachers through an inhouse facilitator and a visiting trainer, and provides a graded curriculum. Alexa Joyce of UNESCO, Bangkok, presented UNESCO’s drawing from UNESCO’s experience in SchoolNet projects in the ASEAN countries. She pointed out that the model follows a blended learning approach combining traditional learning with ICTs. The post-lunch parallel session focused on ‘ICTs in Non-formal Capacity Building’. This session had four speakers who presented case studies from India, Bangladesh, and Iran. Jahanzeb Chowdhury of Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT), University of Wolverhampton, UK tried to analyse the extent to which IT services are being promoted in the rural communities by NGOs and the potential role of IT services in the development of skills especially for children. Randeep Kaur of Plan International, an NGO based in India

presented three models of ICT for capacity building using Radio, PDA, digital photography and internet resources. Latha A of Education & Research Department, Infosys Technologies Limited, India presented a framework of capacity building of employees in an organisation. Another experience of e-Learning in Iran was presented by Mazid who focused on how web-based learning had effected the attitude of physicians who underwent online trainings. Ramlee Mustapha of National University of Malaysia, discussed the goals and purposes of non-formal adult education in Malaysia and recommended on how the Malaysian government and other stakeholders can work together to support the initiatives. The other panel session was on e-Learning practices in higher education which saw two case studies. Dr. K. P. Hewagamage of School of Computing, University of Colombo presented a paper on how Learning Management System (LMS) has been adapted in Higher education system in Colombo. Mohammad Mehedi Hassan, an IT specialist from BRAC, Bangladesh gave an overview on how BRAC has introduced and successfully implemented Computer aided learning into its various educational programmes. During the afternoon tea, participants took a break from the intensive sessions for some informal networking. Post-tea, while the session on ‘Technology for Education and Training’ continued in one hall, a panel discussion on “The role of Universities in ICT for Development’ organised by the University of Washington, continued in the other. The session on ‘Technology for Education and Training’ was chaired by Chip Cleary of NIIT. This session had four presenters who presented various technology options for enhancing learning. Daniel Churchill of the University of Hong Kong elaborated on an ongoing study into June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


issues relevant to the design of Learning Objects (LO) for educational applications via PDA Technology. Prof. Jussi Puhakainen of Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland deliberated on Wireless Networks for facilitating learning with reference to their initiative SparkNet which has been used to connect existing wireless networks into a larger entity. Professor Choo Fook Hoong, Professor Robert K L Gay and Mr Teo Chao Boon from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore discussed on the methods and frameworks of announcement, calendar, courses, assessment, assignment, whiteboard, etc. as tools for collaborative learning and knowledge sharing. Rama Vennelakanti, HP Labs India, showcased ‘Printcast’, a new technology developed by HP Labs, that enables data broadcasting on existing broadcast networks and discussed the preliminary observations and trend in its usage. The panel discussion on ‘University Role in ICT for Development’ organized by the University of Washington, focused on the need to redefine the role of universities to become the producer of ICT4D knowledge and an engaged actor in ICT4D practice. This is understood as the teaching, research and outreach activities of universities that link ICTs to the development needs of their communities and advance the transition to the knowledge society. The panel discussion was meant to discuss the project initiated by the University of Washington, Centre for Internet Studies in collaboration with 10 other universities in Asia, namely National University of Singapore, Chulalonkorn University, Thailand, De La Salle University in the Philippines, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and several others. The project aimed to map the university practices in ICT for development in terms of teaching, conducting research and

outreach programs. The panel was led by Chris Coward (University of Washington) and included Nguyen T Anh (Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vietnam), Royal Colle (Cornell University, USA), Soraj Hongladarom (Chulalonkorn University, Thailand), Pamela Koch (Nanyang Technological University), Francisco Magno (De La Salle University, Phillippines) and Colin Maclay ( Harvard Law School).

Third Day of the conference The third day began with a Keynote sessions on Public-private partnership for ICT in education. Manoo Ordeedolchest, President, Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), presented the key events that drove education reforms in Thailand and explained how SIPA has supported developers in e-learning content development in Thailand. Vincent Quah, Regional Academic programme manager, Asia Pacific, Microsoft, explaining Microsoft’s education initiatives through PPP, pointed out that PPP are one of the most effective means to tackle the digital divide. He pointed out that a stable transparent framework, guaranteeing equality; political will, economic viability and social legitimacy form the framework for a successful PPP in education. Namapong Dejpongsarn of SAP Thailand described SAP partnership with education institutions through the SAP University Alliance Program. Dr Rangsun Wiboonuppatum of the Ministry of Education, Royal Thai

Sussane and Benjamin, Unesco

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

Government elaborated on the Ministry’s partnership with various private organizations in ICT in education. After the keynote session, the first parallel session was on “ e-Learning Design, Development and Delivery’. The objective of this session was to understand from practices, the key components that needs kept in mind while designing and developing any e-Learning courses, content or curriculum etc. The session also aimed to explore the possible options of delivery of e-learning products. In this session, while Douglas Bell of Education Development Centre (EDC), focused on the designing and delivery of educational software that is a hybrid of rich multimedia and pedagogical strategies, Subrata Kumar Dey of the Independent University, Bangladesh explained how the designing and development of education software needed to be aligned with a product-process oriented curriculum. Pradeep Joseph of Intel India Pvt Ltd further elaborated that products have to developed after a thorough assessment of the need of the users. Ganesh Subramanium of EZ Vidya, India also pointed out that designing a well thought out holistic curriculum with the diligent use of technology, delivered in a learning environment that is conducive, can enhance higher order thinking in learners. Bunita Pravalpruk of NECTEC, Thailand presented a process for choosing type and format of data for e-learning system according to the receiver’s environment.

More discussions, less formal

39


This session also saw presentation by Dr Suresh Reddy of Byraju Foundation, an NGO based in India who focused the delivery process of e-Learning content and curriculum through the Kidsmart programme for developing reading and cognitive skills in under-privileged primary and pre-primary kids with the help of technology and age-specific digital content. Raghuveer K of the National Institute of Engineering, India presented a framework of designing and development of feedback mechanisms in distance learning programmes that improved the interaction between teachers and the students. The other parallel session in the morning was on ‘Regional Practice sin ICT in education’. The objective of this session was to get a flavour of the various e-Learning practices in Asia-pacific. Erna Surjadi of the Ministry of woman Empowerment, Republic of Indonesia, focuses on capacity building of Gender personal in Indonesia. This presentation was followed by an interesting presentation by Woralak Jumsai Na Ayudhya of Chulalonkorn University of Thailand. Woralak presented a interesting model of ICT-based curriculum and instruction that can bring out a balance of Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Intellectual Quotient (IQ) in the students. Jayanthi Ravi from classonweb, India presented her experience and perspectives of effective e-learning for virtual classrooms. Julito Contado Aligaen, representing the Department of Education, presented his experience in implementing the Partner-in-learning programme of Microsoft Philippines.

Chris Coward, University of Washington, USA

40

After lunch, while the parallel session on e-Learning Design, Development and Delivery continued, a very interesting panel discussion organised by South-East Asian Minister of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) titled ‘Cyber Education: Management Dimension’ was organised as a panel discussion aimed to provide an opportunity to reflect on how e-Learning can be managed. The session was chaired by Dr Chantavit Sujatanond, Deputy Director (Administration and Communication) and saw presentation from four distinguished experts on various issues of e-Learning management and models of management. Prof Dr Srisakdi Charmonman Chairman of Board and CEO, College of Internet Distance Education, Assumption University, Thailand, drew from his experience in running a online master degree programme at the Assumption University. Prof Dr Paulina Pannen, Director, SEAMEO Regional Open Learning Centre (SEAMEO SEAMOLEC), Indonesia in her very interesting presentation titled “ Managing e-Learning: managing the probable”, identified and explained the need and requirement of each components associated with the management of e-Learning. Associate Prof Dr Supannee Sombuntham, Director - Thailand Cyber University (TCU) presented her experience in managing the TCU’s online and distance Education programmes. Alan K Jolliffe, Project Officer, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Bureau for Education, discussed how to use a development model to manage and develop e-learning events, which can be used with e-learning dependant and full delivery events.

M P Narayanan, President, CSDMS

The last sessions of the day were on “Enabling policies for ICT in education” and “Emerging technologies in education”. Bejamin Vergeldedios, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Bureau for Education, in his presentation “ Policies that make sense” pointed out that there is a need to create policy awareness and support for policy networks among the decision-makers. While in the session on “Emerging technologies in education” speakers Surasit Vannakraironj, NSTDA-NOLP, Thailand, Dr Suchai Thanawas of Sripathum University, Thailand and Bruno von Niman of European Telecommunications Standards Institute, Sweden presented different technology options that are increasingly being used as popular tools for learning. The conference offered a wide-ranging selection of papers delivered by a cross section of practitioners, decision-makers, learning technologists and researchers, not only on how technologies are being integrated in education, but also on what process need to be build, frameworks developed, change management initiated and stakeholders needs to be involved and oriented, for exploiting the full potential of technologies in education. This conference paved the way for thinking of ICT in education in a more holistic way, focusing on people-process-program as against technology-structuresystems. A full report of the Digital Learning Asia 2006 Conference with key discussion will be made available online at www.digitallearning.in

The valedictory session

June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


Chhattisgarh

Going beyond ‘last mile connectivity’

T

he Information Technology (IT) and IT enabled Services (ITeS) policy in Chhattisgarh announces that it would make computer education compulsory in schools and colleges in phased manner. Information Technology will be used in school education in two distinct segments: Computer literacy and skills in information technology; Use of IT to enhance the effectiveness of teaching in other subjects.

Chhattisgarh has a dream of creating a knowledge society, a vision for an effective‘e’nabled society, and an endeavor to harness the power of Information and Communication Technology and to leave no stone unturned in making its dream come true. Many initiatives in the ICT and education sector have been intoned to achieve the dream

Simputers in the hands of school students Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

Apart from this, the Education department will make IT education compulsory from class VI, covering all students from class VI level to degree level in a phased manner. Gyan Vinimay and e-Classrooms’: Chhhattisgarh is the first state to create state of the art virtual classrooms for the Government Engineering colleges. Connection between two classrooms in the State at Engineering College Raipur & Department of IT, University of Bilaspur to IIT Kanpur has already been Established with a further hope of eClassrooms helping in up scaling the knowledge base. Indira Soochna Shakti Yojana launched for providing free information technology education for girls belonging to poor families studying in government high schools and higher secondary schools. It is the first scheme of its kind which cuts across caste and community lines. Chhattisgarh State has organised some Distance Education related activities at the elementary level under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Construction of Digital Audio Studio in State Council of Education, Research and Training (SCERT), training of teachers to conduct interactive radio classrooms, training

India Statescan

of untrained teachers through interaction with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Education Department introducing video-conferencing for regular review, “reinventingeducation.org”, the website developed to help the educational planners & administrators preparing various projects, developing audio CDs for blind, touch-screen computers in schools are some such activities making SSA programme quite effective in the state.

Radio instruction - dot-EDU The state government has implemented an EDC-developed interactive radio instruction initiative (IRI) to reach approximately one million children. The work is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented with numerous NGO and government partners. The Technology Tools for Teaching and Training (T4) programme works to produce and deliver quality education, notably for girls and other vulnerable populations.

Simputers in school education PicoPeta’s Simputer, a completely indigenously developed hand held computing device has been used in a project that involved education of tribals in Chhattisgarh. Critical indicators for education in order of not to remain low, quality of school education is focussed upon in the State. English language is being taught from class 1. The ban on recruitment of teachers in rural schools is lifted. Government finalises the rules and guidelines for the recruitment of teachers on contract. Taking the sprit of decentralisation further, village panchayats are empowered to select teachers and to enter in to contract with them. 41


P ractitioner ’s voice

Changes are to be sustainable Dr Alok Shukla, Secretary, School Education, Chhattisgarh speaking exclusively to Digital Learning on the progress the state has made so far in school education with a focus on integration of ICT there in ? Can you discuss the vision and the major thrust of current education policy in the state of Chhattishgarh? Chhattisgarh has shown healthy improvement in its literacy rate over the last decade and has achieved a literacy rate of 65.18%. The female literacy rate has shown remarkable improvement and has almost doubled in the same period, the male literacy is higher than the national average.

broadcast is being used for teachinglearning of English language at primary level.

improving both quality and outreach of education.

We have already started using the facility provided by EDUSAT in 50 schools in Koria district. We intend to extend it further to other districts.

development in the elementary and college/university level of education?

? How best the scope of using ICTs in state education can be harnessed?

Chhattisgarh is committed to its agenda of imparting education to all and has allocated a significant share of its plan outlay for this sector. Plan outlay for the social sector at 15% for Chhattisgarh compares favourably to 7% for all India figures. Chhattisgarh has already introduced teaching of English from Class 1.

We feel that in modern times ICT has become a necessary tool for education. Knowledge of ICT itself should be imparted in all schools. Computer literacy has become as important as any other form of education. ICT should also be used for teaching of other subjects. ICT can be used for training and teaching through distance mode.

? What is the current strategy

? While implementing the innovative

adopted to make ICT an integral part of the educational system in the state?

education programmes do you think Chhattishgarh ever needs a state specific vision other than the guidelines provided by the center?

We have many schemes for using IT in education. Under SSA we have started a scheme called “Eklavya Computer aided self learning”. In this scheme fully animated multi-media software has been created based on textbooks of classes 6 to 8. This has been loaded on touch screen computers, and has been kept in the school corridors for easy access by children. Under Indira Soochna Shakti Scheme, free computer education is being given to more than one lakh girl students at secondary level with the help of NIIT. Interactive radio 42 Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

Every state must have its own vision depending on the local situation. In Chhattisgarh we are committed to use ICT more and more at every level for

Plan outlay for the social sector at 15% for the state Chhattisgarh compares favourably to 7% for all India figures

? Any remarkable change or

Sustainable change is always a slow process. We are gradually moving towards a knowledge society. Apart from the schemes described above we have introduced e-Classroom in Government Engineering College Raipur, and Telemedicine in Government Medical College Raipur.

? How improved is a teacher-training facility in Chhattisgarh with which imparting ICT enabled education becomes easier? Teacher training facilities are still in their infancy in Chhattisgarh. We have an ICT cell in SCERT that is responsible for ICT related activities.

? Would you like to give a view on education activities being carried out through the delivery capabilities of partnership programmes? We are in favor of Public-Private and Public-Civil Society partnerships. We are willing to explore possibilities in both these fields.

? What are the major hurdles faced in this direction so far and the challenges ahead for the state? Poor last mile connectivity and shortage of funds are the main constraints. The challenge is to find innovative and alternative methods of overcoming the constraints. June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in42


Report

Preparing the Ground for Education and Development First Advisory Board Meeting of Digital Learning India 2006, Jacaranda Hall, India Habitat Centre, 25 May 2006

W

ith the buzzwords like Globalisation and ICT, the idea has come to stay now that time would be constant and learning would be variable. And time has come when we started feeling, there is an indisputable need to maintain continuity, change and growth, all at once. With this feeling and objectives in mind, Digital Learning India 2006 started preparing the ground, with the first advisory board meeting conducted at the Jacaranda hall of India Habitat Centre on 25 May 2006. Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies is organising the Digital Learning India 2006 in hotel Taj Palace in New Delhi from 23 to 25 August 2006 in conjunction with two other conferences- egov India 2006 and Indian Telecentre Forum 2006. The objective being to provide a platform of interaction for all stakeholders- experts, practitioners and researchers and the aim is to envision the trends by the year 2010 and to strengthen the linkages between ICT and education and e-Governance. As a pre-cursor to the event(s), the advisory board meeting paved the way to optimise all the event plans and programmes well ahead of time along with bringing out various perspectives on different dimensions of the event. The meeting was chaired by R Chandrashekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and cochaired by Subhash Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

R Chandrashekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Communication and IT chairing the meeting, also present Subhash Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources Development (co-chair), M P Narayanan, President, CSDMS and Ravi Gupta, Director, CSDMS among others

In the meeting, the President of CSDMS, M P Narayanan pointed out that the need for e-Learning has been recognised by the Government of India simultaneously with e-Governance. Decision makers from South East Asia, South Asia and Middle East are showing great interest in e-Learning. Making an opening remark Chandrashekhar said, “I attended the triple conference – Digital Learning Asia 2006, egov Asia 2006, and Asian Telecentre Forum 2006, recently organised by CSDMS at Bangkok and realised that Digital Learning, e-Government and Telecentre is a good combination and each of them actually drives the other.” In line with the initiatives of the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Dayanidhi Maran towards governance and education, improving broadband connectivity, etc. “Synergising all these is a mammoth and daunting task. But organising such events would surely prove to be an effective platform for

the practitioners, policy makers and solution providers to deliberate on these important issues”, he said. S. Khuntia, pointed out that Digital Learning India 2006 comes at a right time, as there is a knowledge explosion in the world currently. He said, “We have been trying hard to provide connectivity in rural schools so that the advantages of e-Learning can be availed by the students in rural areas.” He also stressed that the efforts should be made to address issues such as infrastructure, availability of material for learning, and training of teachers particularly those in-service. The Director of CSDMS Ravi Gupta while drawing a brief overview of the planned conference(s) presented the 3D model (Documentation, Dissemination and Discussion) of service the events and the organisation aim to provide. The 3D objectives are being fulfilled by the three niche magazines on ICT (i4d, Digital Learning and egov) that are 43


Advisory Board meeting in progress

published every month, through portals (www.i4donline.in, www.DigitalLearning.in and www.egovonline.net) and through the conferences respectively. According to Ravi Gupta, the three conferences would act as a suitable and effective platform wherein key policymakers, solution providers, state bureaucrats, and stakeholders from various countries would be able to deliberate on issues confronting the numerous initiatives, and learn from best practices. The conference would also identify the future agenda and action plan and recommendations that are the expected outcomes of the conference. The key elements of the forthcoming conference according to Mr Gupta, is the keynote sessions, which will provide vision and direction, panel session which will be based on comparative viewpoints and building perspective, parallel tracks which will

explore dimensions through case studies, workshops and exhibition. Three types of organisations will participate, policy makers from government (Ministry of Communication and IT, etc.), NonGovernment (World bank, ADB, UNDP, SIDA, etc.) and Industry (Information Technology and eLearning solution providers, etc.). A workshop is planned for Digital Learning India 2006 on Total Cost of Ownership of Education projects with Global eSchool and Communities Initiative (GeSCI). The meeting was overwhelmingly participated by members from Sun Microsystems, Arrkey Informatics , GeSCI, Plan International, Department of Information and Technology (DIT), Government of India, DIT, Internet Services Providers Association of India, Brahamm Net Solution Pvt.Ltd., Ernest and Young, Gartner, IBM, Gartner, Hewlett-Packard and SAP

amongst others. The participants actively participated in the discussions that followed the presentations, steered by the chair R Chandrashekhar. Discussions mainly centred around building synergies between national e-Government plans and initiatives and national education institute. All the participants expressed their concern that unless links are building into these tools, development efforts will be incomplete. Capacity building of human resources, developing skillsets of man power is the first step towards effective development and the foundation for the success of e-Governmence. The discussion mainly focused around content and connectivity issues involving stakeholders from government, decision makers, and implementers in rural areas. Digital Learning India 2006 planning and final design moves forward with the rich and valuable suggestions.

Key suggestions for Digital Learning India 2006, 23-25 August, 2006, New Delhi (We look forward to receiving your suggestions for the coming conference) • •

• • • • • • • 44

A session on Right to Information (RTI), where education related issues should be one of the sub-themes Discussions on ways and means to involve the rural population in a big way in e-Learning. Efforts should be made to get the demand created by the villagers themselves so that they are effectively integrated in the system on their own. Deliberations of the important issue of development of Indian languages to involve the rural population more and more. A separate workshop on the need to integrate e-Learning with earning (income generation) Need to define educational objectives (framework) of the particular state or schools. Also, discussing on how to train teachers and motivate them to create an ICT-enabled environment Need to address economic empowerment for students. Workshop on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Need to discuss on content for rural schools, involving ISRO in a discussion on delivery of this content Need for Resource mapping for different age groups; a Panel Discussion on localisation of Content Emphasis on National and State level strategies June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


Every Child Needs a Teacher

On the web

www.campaignforeduction.org makes the Global Campaign for Education grow strong Alex Kent [ALEX@CAMPAIGNFOREDUCATION.ORG], Global Campaign for Education Every year the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) has grown bigger and bigger, as new organisations, schools and campaigners have added their voice to the campaign. This year education coalitions were active in over 112 countries. The international flow of information would not be effective without the website: www.campaignforeducation.org To fully capture everything that GCE does on-line is no easy feat. This year’s Global Action Week (24 – 30 April) was vast and varied, as campaigners marched, shouted, sang, danced, researched, drew and made huge amounts of noise at events that grabbed the attention of politicians and education policy makers. Below are a few examples of how GCE’s website and on-line tools have helped turn international attention to the need for more, better qualified teachers in order for every child to have the education they deserve. The international scope of the campaign is demonstrated in the country-updates page http://www. campaignforeducation.org/action/ action_country_updates.html which alphabetically lists the countries active in the campaign. Each country page sums up key and exciting information about the country’s education coalition: important contact details, a summary of national campaigning events, photos, and the campaigning materials. This year we created a flashing Web Banner – Every Child Needs a Teacher, which including the 2006 logo and started with the text “If you can read this… thank a teacher...”. Ending with GCE’s Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 6 June 2006

logo the banner linked through to the Global Action Week page. http:// www.campaignfor education.org/ action/action.html. The banner was shared widely via email with our partners and subsequently was displayed on many of our supporters’ website including ActionAid, Data, Education International and Oxfam sites. Online Actions have been very useful tools in capturing the views of campaigners who are connected to the Internet. Last year’s action was to make ‘friends’, visual representations of children who cannot currently go to school. Each ‘friend’ contained a message to a world leader to Send My Friend to School… A multi-lingual easy, on-line tool was set up: http:// www.sendmyfriend.info so that anyone on-line could create and design a ‘friend’, with a written message to send to the G8 summit. Blogging has proven a popular effective campaigning tool in

capturing opinions and turning them into a tangible lobbying resource. This year France created a special website for teachers to blog www.educationpourtous.org. It became a place where anyone concerned with education could meet and exchange views. The online messages then became a tool for pressuring the French President Chirac, before the G8 summit, to put education and teachers higher up the international agenda. As the Global Campaign for Education continues to grow, so does the possibilities for digital and online campaigning, and as a result we continue to push education up the global agenda. Online tools help GCE provide a joint campaign that represent the voices of over 5 million campaigners across the world. This year politicians in rich and poor countries alike heard our call to achieve the dream that every child can have an education of good quality by 2015. 45


Mark Your Calendar

Global Junior Challenge Award 2006

june

The fourth edition of the Global Junior Challenge Award is open for entries for the year 2006. It is a global award promoted by the Digital Youth Consortium, a non-profit organisation founded by the Municipality of Rome and six major ICT companies. The Global Junior Challenge is dedicated to all young people, from school children to teenagers and youth taking their first steps on the job market. It concerns cities, institutions, local authorities, businesses, NGOs, communities and individual citizens.

Microlearning 2006 08-09 June, 2006 Innsbruck, Austria

e/merge 2006 10-21 July, 2006 Online Southern Africa http://emerge2006.net

http://www.microlearning.org

World Education Forum 2006 21-23 June, 2006 Singapore

Mobile Learning 2006 14–16 July, 2006 Dublin, Ireland http://www.iadis.org/ml2006/

http://www.wef.com.sg/wef2006/

International Conference on e-Learning 22 June, 2006 Montreal, Canada http://academic-conferences.org/icel/ icel2006/icel06-home.htm

International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems 26-30 June, 2006 Jhongli, Taiwan

ICET 2006 17-19 July, 2006 Calgary Alberta, Canada http://www.iasted.org/conferences/2006/ calgary/icet.htm

Campus Technology Conference 2006 31 July-03 August, 2006 Boston USA

http://its2006.org/

http://www.campus-technology.com/ conferences/summer2005/

july

august

DEANZ 2006 Enabling E-Learning Approaches in C21 3-5 July, 2006 Auckland, New Zealand

22nd Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning 01-04 August 2006 Madison, Wisconsin United States

http://www.deanz.org.nz/conf2006/

http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference

EU eLearning Conference 2006 04–05 July, 2006 Espoo, Finland http://www.elearning2006.fi/main.site?action= siteupdate/view&id=2

Distance and e-Learning for the Future 10-11 August 2006 Vancouver/Burnaby British Columbia, Canada

International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education 2006 6 July, 2006 Rhodes, Greenland

http://www.open-universities.org

http://www.icicte.com/isite/home/

http://www.wikisym.org/ws2006

WikiSym 2006 21-23 August, 2006 Odense, Denmark

The 6th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies 5-7 July, 2006 Kerkrade, The Netherlands

23-25 August, 2006 New Delhi, India

http://www.ask.iti.gr/icalt/2006/

www.digitallearning.in/DLindia

46

Projects The Global Junior Challenge is looking for projects in all fields of youth education and are up and running at the 31st of December 2004. The challenge welcome every kind of project- from the web site created by children of a primary school to a global e-learning environment for online training. This year there is a new category called Educating Cities, dedicated to educational projects promoted by public local administrations.

How to apply Directly through the online form (http://www.gjc.it/2006/en/ submit.php) or downloading the ‘doc’ format form (www.gic.it/2006/en/ forms/gicengform.doc) filling it in and sending it to: info@gjc.it Fax to: +39-06-42000442 Post to: Consorzio Gioventù Digitale Via Umbria, 700187 - Rome, Italy

Deadline The deadline for submission is the 31 July 2006. Global Junior Challenge website http://www.gjc.it/2006/en/index.php Important Dates Abstract Submission: June 30, 2006 Acceptance Notification: July 05, 2006 Full Paper Submission: July 25, 2006 Final Confirmation: July 31, 2006 June 2006 | www.digitalLEARNING.in


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emerging technologies in educ@tion : June 2006 Issue