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

Volume II Issue 5 May 2006

ISSN 0973-4139

www.digitalLEARNING.in

CELEBRATING

innovation & enterprise

SchoolNet: e-Learning network in eight Asia-Pacific countries PAGE 6


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Contents

Verbatim

Volume II Issue 5, May 2006

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Henry B. Adams “What scupture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.” Joseph Addison “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” Ronald E. Osborn

Cover story

6

30

UNESCO SchoolNet e-Learning network in eight Asia-Pacific countries Alexa Joyce, Bangkok

Learning ICT in schools Digital Equaliser integrating technology in hard-up schools J. Sundarakrishnan and Srimathi prasad

Focus on Asia

disseminator of ICT4D knowledge Christopher T Coward and Colim M. Maclay

An Asia Pacific Overview Vincent Quah

PC making rural 45 Intel community the end user 29 March, 2006, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

Regulars

ICT4D 19 University University as producer and

Partners-in22 Microsoft’ Learning Initiative

Conference report

40

Augmenting distance learning on the broadcast networks Rama Vennelakanti and Hansa P Joshi

12 28 33 46

News Asia News Asia News World Mark your calendar

Upfront

36

Perspective

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Digital learning community capacity building and a convergent model of knowledge-building Cameron Richards, Austraila

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

Manoo Ordeedolchest President, Software Investment Promotion Agency, Thailand 3


digital Learning invites authors a Nowt h l y mon

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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May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


digital LEARNING Volume II, issue 5 May 2006

Editorial Celebrating innovation and enterprise in Digital Learning Asia 2006

President M P Narayanan Editor Ravi Gupta Editorial Consultant Jayalakshmi Chittoor Sr. Assistant Editor Rumi Mallick Sr. Research Associate Manjushree Reddy Designed by Bishwajeet Kumar Singh Editorial and marketing correspondence Digital Learning G-4 Sector 39 NOIDA 201301, India Phone +91 120 2502181-87 Fax +91 120 2500060 Email info@digitalLEARNING.in Group directors Maneesh Prasad, Sanjay Kumar Printed by Yashi Media Works Pvt Ltd New Delhi, India Digital Learning does not neccesarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors. Digital Learning is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred, directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided. Digital Learning is published in technical collaboration with GIS Development (www.GISdevelopment.net)

© Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies 2006

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

The Internet has unleashed the infinite and often bottled potentials among its users opening doors for rapid learning, human creativity, information access, and global communication. When did these possibilities actually translate into widespread public access to the Internet? It is difficult to specify a date, but one can identify a few key developments and the key actors behind those developments. In Word Matters: multicultural perspectives on information societies, the coordinators, Alain Ambrosi, Valérie Peugeot and Daniel Pimienta share the developing countries perspectives of moving to a knowledge society. In the utopian definition of an information society, access to technology will not be a barrier, nor the diversity of languages, nor capacity to adapt to new innovations and rapid turnover of the technologies. A vibrant and able community of practitioners, who have integrated the new mediums, just as we brush our teeth daily, will nurture this. All this is possible with the concept of sharing knowledge, building collaborations and creating exchanges of information and experiences in a seamless fashion, through inter-operable modes and making it possible to build on the strengths of those countries, regions or communities who are ahead of the others and quickly catching up. Asia is at the brink of such a revolution. Countries in Asia have rapidly adapted to the new world information order and are focussing on education as a key thrust to build a knowledge pool, preparing to service the global needs and responding to growth opportunities. Yet divides remain, and challenges need to be overcome. The papers in this conference special of the Digital Learning Magazine come in the week of Digital Learning Asia 2006, highlighting the essence of the discussions in the conference. The effort is not to reinvent the wheel, but learn from the mistakes of the past. For example, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong who have had major successes in the effective use of ICTs for education both for learning improvements and also education management can share their experiences with other developing countries in Asia. In Vietnam and Thailand, educational policies and processes are needed to be reformed to upscale the successful project and to coalesce these with other policies pertaining to economics, social development and poverty reduction and science technology. The Digital Learning Asia 2006 is an important effort to network and building a collective vision. It is not just an event – it’s a process of networking among people who have the experiences in the policymaking, technologists, practitioners in the NGO sector, the private sector etc. The entire ecosystem players have an opportunity to interact, learn, share and foster alliances and collaborations. And the magazine is the platform to continue these linkages for building the Knowledge capital for Asian countries.

Ravi Gupta Editor Ravi.Gupta@csdms.in 5


SchoolNet

Cover Story

e-Learning network in eight Asia-Pacific countries Alexa Joyce [A.JOYCE@UNESCOBKK.ORG], United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Bangkok

UNESCO Bangkok’s SchoolNet project aims to strengthen ICT in schools and support or establish SchoolNets in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) setting, and is an example of implementation of e-learning in schools in the region. It supports teachers in the integration of e-learning approaches in 24 pilot schools (SchoolNet pilot schools list http://www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=3493) across eight countries in the Asia-Pacific, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines,Thailand and Vietnam, and is funded by the ASEAN foundation (http://www.aseanfoundation.org/) and Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) 6

April 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


Barriers to e-learning in Asia Pacific “The term e-learning is most frequently used to refer to computerbased training which incorporates technologies that support interactivity beyond that which would be provided by a single computer. Elearning, therefore, is an approach to facilitate and enhance learning through, and based on, both computer and communications technology. Such devices can include personal computers, CD-ROMs, digital television, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and mobile phones. Communications technology enables the use of the Internet, email, discussion forums, collaborative software, classroom management software and team learning systems.” UNESCO research (http:// www.unescobkk.org/ index.php?id=1807) has indicated that many countries in the AsiaPacific region do not use ICT and e-learning to their full potential in enhancing the quality of teaching and learning. There are many barriers to be overcome, which can broadly be classified into three main categories: • Technical - lack of infrastructure, equipment and connectivity; • Pedagogical – lack of teacher training in ICT integration into pedagogical practice; • Institutional – lack of requirements or recognition for use of ICT in the curriculum and low/no support from management and ministries. Thus, to fulfill the potential of ICT as a tool for enhancing teaching and learning, ICT must be fully integrated into both pedagogy and school administration, which requires a cognitive shift on the part of teachers, educators, curriculum developers, administrators and policy-makers. In many cases for this process to be enabled, the private sector must be engaged to reduce the cost of infrastructure and connectivity for educational institutions. Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 4 April 2006

SchoolNet project: a backdrop

The UNESCO SchoolNet project aims to:

Taking into consideration the above barriers, the UNESCO SchoolNet project, subtitled “Strengthening ICT in Schools and SchoolNet Project in ASEAN Setting”, was initiated in recognition of the need to assist teachers in integrating ICT into teaching, and facilitate participation of teachers and students in the AsiaPacific region in SchoolNet telecollaboration activities. The SchoolNet project engages target audiences at all levels of the school system in order to bring about change in the use of ICT: officials in Ministries of Education; SchoolNet

·

Explore and demonstrate how ICT can be used in schools to improve the quality of education and better prepare youth for the demands of knowledge societies; Test innovative models of ICT use and of ICT-based teacher education; Encourage use of ICT in teaching-learning and materials development in schools and other educational contexts; Improve connectivity and expand access to the wealth of educational resources available via the Internet;

Discussions, activities and victory in SchoolNet project

managers; technical staff; teacher trainers and teachers themselves.

Establish and promote SchoolNet in the Asia-Pacific region.

SchoolNet promotes effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in learning through supporting connection of schools to the Internet and by creating a network of schools. This network is envisaged as a means to build connections among students, teachers and schools; share information and resources; and prepare learners for knowledge-based societies. SchoolNet also encourages the creation of locally-relevant and high-quality educational resources through ICT.

The project was launched in July 2003 and focuses on three subject areas, which are common to all schools in the region: languages, mathematics and science. Curriculum topics were mapped, and where overlap was identified, activities were designed and launched for schools to explore together via online learning circles (Learning Circles: Virtual Communities for Elementary and Secondary Schools http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/ Guidelines/Riel-93.html) in the Bridges to Learning initiative(Bridges to Learning http://www.unescobkk. 7


org/index.php?id=3313). SchoolNet activities were piloted in 24 schools in the eight participating countries.

Exploring the use of ICT Early stages of the project involved researching and documenting eight components of ICT integration in education in a case study of several Asia-Pacific countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philipppines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand). The components werebroader environmental context; policy and regulatory environment; management and financing; ICT in schools – policy, vision and strategy; technology infrastructure and connectivity; curriculum, pedagogy and content development; professional development; monitoring and evaluation. These components provided the key foundation and framework in setting up ICT for education projects, and gave insight and expertise for the further development of the SchoolNet project. A synthesis of lessons learned (Integrating ICTs into Education: Lessons Learned Vol. 1 http://www.unescobkk.org/ fileadmin/user_upload/ict/e-books/ ICTLessonsLearned/ICT_ integrating_education.pdf) was published, which supports the development of tools and blueprints to guide policy formulation and programme improvements.

Encouraging use of ICT in teaching-learning and materials development in schools To enable teachers to develop and use ICT materials for teaching and learning, the SchoolNet project developed a framework for training teachers, and then implemented the framework with teachers from the SchoolNet pilot schools. Before working directly with teachers, a number of academics, consultants 8

Training of teachers on maintenance of SchoolNet

Testing innovative models of ICT-based teacher education A new model of ICT use was implemented in the SchoolNet project- telecollaboration. Although it is becoming increasingly established in Europe via international projects such as the European Commission’s eTwinning (http:// www.etwinning.net) initiative, telecollaboration between schools in the Asia-Pacific region is extremely rare, and the SchoolNet project is one of the very first attempts at telecollaboration in the countries concerned. Telecollaboration is an interesting model for encouraging use of ICT tools, as it is almost impossible for schools to cooperate at a distance without ICT tools, as traditional modes for communication such as post and telephone are often prohibitively expensive, and also too slow to enable a project to take place over the short periods of time available for such activities in schools. Teachers, managers and IT personnel were brought together in two workshops (Bridges to Learning http://www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=3313) to discuss and learn about the mode of telecollaboration for the pilot schools. After some discussion, they selected the Learning Circles model, which has been extensively and successfully used by the International Education and Resource Network, more commonly known as iEARN (http://www.iearn.org/). “Learning Circles are virtual communities that have no fixed locations or time zones. In part, a Learning Circle is a group conversation carried over electronic mail in slow motion.” (http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/Guidelines/Riel-93.html) Learning Circles, entitled ‘Bridges to Learning’ were setup to cover common themes (Bridges to Learning themes http://www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=3325) that were relevant across the curricula of the pilot schools in the various countries: ‘measure by measure’; ‘people and places’; and ‘the world we live in’. In addition, NECTEC offered training via its own learning management system (LMS), which previously had been used mostly at a national level in Thailand, and thus it was pioneering to use this tool with an international group of teachers – few teachers have experience of LMS in many of the countries included in the SchoolNet project. April 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


and other pedagogical experts came together in a workshop (ICT-based Lesson- and Material-Development Workshop http://www.unescobkk. org/index.php?id=1412) to develop the detailed framework for systematically integrating ICT into science, mathematics and language teaching. This workshop also defined strategies and techniques for training teachers in the creation of ICT-based lessons and materials. It became clear in the project definition phase that teachers in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam required basic skills in ICT before moving on to more advanced and innovative approaches. A 10-day sub-regional training course was therefore organised for teachers from pilot schools in these countries. Two training workshops for teachers on using ICT for teaching science, maths and languages were then subsequently organised on the basis of the strategies developed, in Hanoi (Training on the Use of ICT in Teaching Mathematics, Science, and Languages for Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam http://www.unescobkk.org/ index.php?id=3306) and Penang (Training on the Use of ICT in Teaching Mathematics, Science, and Languages for Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand http://www.unescobkk.org/ index.php?id=3305). The Hanoi workshop targeted Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV), while the Penang workshop focused on Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines (IMTP); separate workshops were organised to enable focused training appropriate to the specific needs of teachers from the different subregions. For instance, many teachers in the CMLV countries had required additional basic ICT skills training, while the IMTP teachers required more training in ICT integration into pedagogy. Common more advanced training was given later regarding web content (see the section below ‘Improve connectivity and expand access to the Internet’). Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 4 April 2006

The project was launched in July 2003 and focuses on three subject areas, which are common to all schools in the region: languages, mathematics and science. SchoolNet activities were piloted in 24 schools in the eight participating countries

As a result of the training, the teachers at the pilot schools were able to develop their own ICT-based materials, which were used within their own classrooms and also shared on a national level. 12 teachers from the pilot schools in Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia and Myanmar were rewarded for the ICT materials development by being invited to the Innovative Teachers Conference2 where they displayed lesson plans and associated materials that they had created.

Expanding access to the Internet

More than ICT-based 40 lesson plans are produced in each pilot country. The National coordinators of SchoolNet are currently collecting and sharing lesson plans developed in schools across the pilot group; it is hoped these lesson plans and resources can be re-used by other teachers, and will inspire them to also create their own.

The SchoolNet project’s infrastructure work thus focused on the second group of countries, CLMV, in order to enable them to collaborate with other schools in the project located in the IMTP countries. This was achieved through the following actions: • Funding for national SchoolNets in CMLV – SchoolNet coordinators received budget to

In the SchoolNet project, the eight countries involved were classified into two groups: • Countries which already had established national SchoolNets and equipped some schools with computer labs and Internet connectivity – IMTP; • Countries, which lacked national SchoolNets and had low levels of equipment in schools, and no connectivity – CLMV.

Toolkit training

9


purchase a good quality web server to host SchoolNet services and fund staff (SchoolNet managers) to oversee the SchoolNet activities; Distribution of donated computers in CMLV – a South Korean organisation donated many second hand computers, which were offered to CMLV schools; Funding for schools in CMLV – each pilot school received a grant to purchase 4-5 computers and cover the costs of Internet connectivity.

In addition, a regional training course (Regional Training course of Website Managers, teachers and SchoolNet technical Personnel on the Development and maintenance of SchoolNet http://www.unescobkk. org/index.php?id=2272) was held for teachers, SchoolNet managers and technical personnel. This course enabled them to develop web content

Telecollaboration is an interesting model for encouraging use of ICT tools, as it is almost impossible for schools to cooperate at a distance without ICT tools.Although it is becoming increasingly established in Europe telecollaboration between schools in the Asia-Pacific region is extremely rare, and the SchoolNet project is one of the very first attempts at telecollaboration in the countries concerned will offer further training and technical support where necessary.

Promoting SchoolNet in the Asia-Pacific region To ensure the establishment of national SchoolNets website and services and to begin the development of the regional SchoolNet website and services, a regional workshop (Report on SchoolNet Regional Workshop on the Creation of the national and regional SchoolNet

SchoolNet activities in progress

for school websites, administrate the UNESCO SchoolNet and gain knowledge of maintenance and troubleshooting of the national SchoolNet systems. NECTEC is currently arranging follow up visits to the pilot schools, to ensure they have the equipment configured to their satisfaction, and 10

http://www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/ user_upload/ict/schoolnet/ documents/SchoolNet_-_Report _Regional_Planning_Workshop_46_Apr05.pdf) was held on the theme ‘Creation of National and Regional SchoolNet’. SchoolNet national coordinators and SchoolNet managers all participated in the workshop to develop a master plan for the creation

of the regional SchoolNet website; identify roles and responsibilities of regional and national SchoolNets; develop policies, rules and guidelines for participation; and to gain knowledge about telecollaboration and activity monitoring. In this area, the SchoolNet project is still in progress, and aims to demonstrate a prototype version of the regional SchoolNet website at the final workshop planned for June 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand. The goal of the regional website is to demonstrate the activities and strength of the SchoolNet project, but also to put in place a sustainable platform for teachers to use for telecollaboration. The SchoolNet project is an ambitious and visionary project to tackle in the Asia Pacific region, bearing in mind the many obstacles in all domains. At many times, progress was difficult, and extensive work and training was needed to achieve the objectives of the project. However, so far, the results seem positive, and the success of the second round of the Learning Circles is particularly encouraging. A formal evaluation procedure has been designed and will shortly be implemented to understand the full impact of the project; the regional SchoolNet site will soon be launched and a final workshop for SchoolNet participants for sharing lessons learned will be held in June 2006. For further information about the SchoolNet project, please visit the project web pages at:http://www.unescobkk.org/ education/ict/schoolnet All references are available online. April 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


News ASIA

of an e-Learning centre in Aceh, Indonesia after the region was devastated by the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami disaster.

Singapore schools promote e-Learning in case of emergency closure Some schools in Singapore have adopted an e-Learning system to keep up with lessons for their students in the event of a flu pandemic. In case of an emergency closure, teachers in these schools may upload lesson slides, set homework for their students, track whether the homework is done, and even conduct tests online. Students can discuss study topics with each other and post questions to their teachers all day long by way of online forums. However, the e-Learning system is inapplicable to some neighborhood schools as its operation costs at least 20,000 Singapore dollars (about USD 12,000) a year and some of their students do not have broadband access at home. The Education Ministry is saying that it will facilitate free-to-air television broadcast services to ensure that all students can continue with their lessons once the schools are shut.

Taipei tsunami aid pays for eLearning centre in Indonesia The post-tsunami relief effort of Taipei residents and the city government has facilitated the launch

The centre was built with USD 1.14 million donated by civil groups, individuals and Taipei City Government staff. It will offer free Internet and Chinese language courses to about 2,000 high school students each year.

Filipino schools seeing the benefits of e-Learning The Department of Education (DepEd), Philippines has stressed the need to make the school curriculum relevant. Through the “School-based ICT in Education Program”, teachers have to take on technology as their ally in catching the attention of new learners who are said to be multitaskers and have a penchant for things that are visual and auditory. With these in mind, Genyo, an integrated e-Learning program was developed by Diwa Learning Systems, one of the main sources of books and educational materials for Filipino students for the past 25 years. Diwa Learning Systems believes that “the perfect e-Learning environment is where superior learning happens.” Studies have shown that students only retain: 20% of what they see;

30% of what they hear; 50% of what they see and hear. But of what they see, hear and do simultaneously, 80% is retained. With the superior education environment that e-learning provides, effective teaching and faster learning take place.

Radiant launches Community PC Radiant Infosystems, has launched Community PC, a rural Internet kiosk in the Indian state Andhra Pradesh as a part of its project Rajiv Internet Village, an e-initiative by the government of Andhra Pradesh to enrich the interaction between rural residents and service providers(government/business), by harnessing information ad communication technology capabilities. Designed as a result of defining locally relevant computing solutions based on Intel technology, the Intelpowered Community PC platform is equipped to operate in a community setting while accommodating the varying environmental conditions prevalent in the country. The Rajiv Internet Village has been taken up as a pilot project in Chittoor and Kadappa districts with 10 PCs. On seeing success in the sphere of online activities by villagers, it will be replicated with 1500 PCs in 14 districts in the state.

Digital Butterflies Every student in rural Sri Lanka is encouraged to buy a used computer under the Digital Butterflies program, a project run by Horizon Lanka. Students must save INR 5000 and then the program will find a donor for the other INR 5000. So far about 30 students have received computers. Around 10 more students have saved 5000 rupees each and waiting for donors to match the other half. The value of these computers is not just monetary. They are providing students with access to technologies they could not dream of and parents, too, are being educated in the benefits of computers over TVs. 12

May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


Microsoft in making of selfsustaining rural India Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd is going to launch a rural portal shortly within next three to six months. The company is looking at partnerships to develop the portal with relevant information. The company has unveiled a selfsustaining kiosk model initiative aimed at taking IT benefits to rural India. It is a public-private partnership, called as Saksham (meaning self-sustaining in Sanskrit), on which the portal is being developed. Market linkages will be strengthened in association with ICRISAT and other institutes.

covering soft skills, previous year question papers, mock tests and internet resources. The URL is www.virtualteacher.org/cetonline. The second level course is designed to enable aspirants from rural areas with low bandwidth connection, while the third level course is meant for urban centres with high bandwidth, a web cam and a headset. Those desirous of having one to one tutoring through video conferencing may avail the opportunity through the use of their own computer systems or through the facilities available at Reliance Web World established in Chennai, Vellore, Pondy, Salem, Erode, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Madurai, Triuchi, Tanjore and other towns.

Website for Vedic literature launched in Chennai, India A website on Vedic literature, history and music, www.vedicsangeet.in, was launched at a seminar on the importance of Vedas in modern times in Chennai, India. The seminar was organised jointly by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai Kendra and Vedic Sangeeta Foundation. The site introduces the four Vedas and details events and programmes of the Foundation.

An online course for CET 2006

A separate classroom for Haryana teachers

To help the aspirants of Common Entrance Test 2006 (CET 2006) in India, e-Learning company Radius Consultancy which is involved in the promotion of open source software has designed a novel online course.

The government of Haryana in India and Intel India join their hands together to equip teachers of Haryana to become professionally well in the computerised environment in schools.

CET Online is available as an anywhere, anytime learning course, which will prepare the aspirants to perform better in the ensuing CET 2006 examinations. The web-enabled courses are accessible through the Internet enabled PCs, school computers, service providers network and Internet browsing centres. The first level is an introductory course

The state government has accepted the proposal from Intel to train the teachers. Intel’s training programme for teachers would include their sustained professional development for the integration of ICT in government schools in the state. The programme also includes a posttraining implementation factor. Intel would collaborate with the

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

commissioner and director general, school education, Haryana, to develop independent subject-wise education modules.

Educomp to add 250 more people e-Learning solutions provider in India Educomp Solutions Limited plans to scale up headcount at its Bangalore facility by adding 250 people. The company plans to invest close to INR 40 million in a new 30,000 sqft facility, that would house its global development centre here. Educomp is in the business of developing digital content meant for K12 students (kindergarten to class 12), and has installed its ‘Smart Class TM’ — an end-to-end multimedia learning solution which comprises of nearly 8000 digital modules on a host of subjects — in over 900 schools in the country. Educomp proposes to reach out to 10 million e-Learners by 2008. It has trained close to three lakh teachers in 20 metros and 40 peripheral towns across India, having worked with 5000 schools so far.

India ranked 40th in Global ICT index Despite all the hullabaloo about India’s prowess in IT and skyrocketing telecom subscriptions, the country still figured at the bottom rung (rank 40) in the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2005-2006. US topped the list, followed by Singapore, Denmark and Iceland at second third and fourth positions, respectively. India’s ranking at 40th position amongst 115 economies remained largely unchanged. In fact, India slid one rank from last year’s 39th position. China’s rank dropped 9 positions from 41st last year to 50th position this year. 13


Digital learning, community capacitybuilding and a convergent model of knowledge-building Cameron Richards [CAMERON.RICHARDS@UWA.EDU.AU], Faculty of Education, University of Western Australia

I

n the larger context of an emerging connection is an important basis for global knowledge society and encouraging both dialogue and economy, education policies action to overcome related missing around the world have stressed the links which often frustrate related increasing importance of both ICT policy, project and general imperatives and ‘active’ models of lifelong for the integration of ICT in schooling learning. Similarly, aid for for deep or active models of development has often focused on learning, and the similar goal of local local capacity-building in terms which autonomy in ICT-focused community increasingly refer in various ways to a capacity-building projects. Thus the perceived digital as well as economic paper focuses on identifying and divide between developed and refining a convergent 21st century developing social or community model of knowledge-building contexts. Common to both (also, life-long learning) grounded in formal learning and development is an the local contexts and typical alternately processes of the theoretical and human condition in Common to both informal assumption retreat from topof “knowledgedown, fixed and formal learning building” which is privileged models of and development often contradicted knowledge and or frustrated in education. Such a is an alternately practice because of notion of theoretical and the difficulty in knowledge-building effectively to encourage active, informal reconciling or innovative and connecting topopen-ended learning assumption of down imperatives and capacity “knowledgeand bottom-up development thus aspects of local represents a building” which is context. convergent link often between the alternately informal This article contradicted or and formal aspects investigates how of digital learning on ICT is integral to frustrated in one hand (e.g. new, changing, and practice because Jonassen et al, characteristically 2003; Weigel, ‘21 century’ models of the difficulty in 2003), and the of knowledge in the effectively alternately inevitably community-based connected contexts reconciling or and institutionallyof both learning and connecting toporganised notions of community social capacity development (e.g. down imperatives development (e.g. Weigel & Blumenthal 2003; Waldberger, 2004; and bottom-up World Bank Bracey & Culver, aspects of local Knowledge and 2005). Indeed it Learning Group, argues that context 2005). recognizing this 14

Why new educational theories/ fail to be connected to local contexts of learning and practice “Without sufficient training and support, ICT equipment put in schools [and in ICT centres generally in developing countries] is often under utilised, and in some cases entirely redundant. Any meaningful roll-out of ICT hardware must be accompanied by training to have any impact” – K. Woods, Digital Links quoted in C. Witchalls (2005), ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’, The Guardian, February 17 2005. It is increasingly clear that in the 21st Century ICTs are tied closely to the emerging requirements and opportunities of a global economy and networked knowledge society – also, that a related emerging digital divide may represent the very survival of many local communities and even regional societies around the world. Thus, there is growing awareness of: (a) the related ‘community development’ and ‘educational implications’ of ICTs, and (b) the importance of assisting remote or rural areas in developing countries (Papert & Calvallo, 2002). Many initiatives aimed at tackling both global and regional notions of a digital divide are being funded, supported and investigated by both governmental and NGO agencies in rural and developing contexts of the Asia-Pacific region (Weigel & Waldburger, 2004). Our previous investigations into (and dialogues with others about) both the possibilities and issues of sustainability related to community ICT learning centres in the Asia Pacific region have realised that the key to an effective as well as May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


sustainable approach lies in (a) the connections between education and community development; (b) a genuinely dialogically or interactive partnership model that allows for the examination of external or ‘top-down’ influences on one hand, and local interests or ‘bottom-up’ contexts on the other, and (c) recognizing and addressing both the sufficient conditions of ICT development (including designing and training for locally relevant models of authentic use) as well as the necessary conditions including ICT infrastructure and general access issues (Richards, 2005a). ICTs represent a dilemma for schools, universities and other educational institutions everywhere in terms of the challenge to transform the rhetoric of new ideas and models into actual practice and an appropriate organisational context (Richards 2004). In other words, it is not always easy to see through the short-term frustrations of ICT integration to understand how this can productively transform education in the long-run. The resulting gap or missing link between innovative rhetoric and policy on one hand, and actual implementation and practices on the other, is often the source of much frustration for both teachers and their students. This is especially the case where (e.g. even in wired societies such as Singapore and Hong Kong) the residual effects of traditional values and an examination-oriented curriculum often make it difficult to translate new and innovative policies into institutional practice – unless teachers redefine their role and authority in the learning process in other ways.

Figure 1: Global dilemmas about educational ‘cultural change’

Learners often want more hands-on, learner-centered and outcomesoriented approaches by their teachers, but also still want the ‘right answers’ bypass the learning process (pedagogical) • Educational institutions have generally embraced the rhetoric, policy and theory of ‘new learning’, but are not often prepared to productively change actual practices • ‘Societies’ today want their young to be somehow innovative and become successful in a future knowledge society or global economy, yet at the same time retain acquiescence to traditional values of the past Adapted from Richards 2004 schools in less developed regions. Such projects exemplify how a strategic approach can do a great deal with limited resources and that the key is promoting a similarly proactive attitude which links into a local community sense of ‘where there is the will there is a way’. In other words, the digital divide in learning is much more an issue of attitude and cultural context than technical capacity or access. We have thus identified three related focus questions that have to be considered together or integrally rather than in isolation as is often the case: 1. What are the infrastructural, requirements for ensuring ongoing access to computer systems whilst avoiding unnecessary costs? 2. How can school-based education and community development be linked to promote the engagement of community members? 3. What are the appropriate training and educational design needs for effective learning?

Figure 2 depicts how ICT-CLCs represent or at least exemplify a convergent future vision of learning, community centers, and new ICTs linked together for integrated educational and social purposes. The key to such a vision is a complementary or dialogical rather than oppositional view of how learning for personal and/or social purposes provides a sufficient or motivating basis for social and economic progress grounded in an ethos of community development. In short, learning is more effective when it goes beyond basic information or skill acquisition to also focus on relevance, process and authentic applications. In terms of the so-called digital divide of rich and poor or centre and margins, such a perspective on the potential role of ICT-CLCs is one of recasting a defensive strategy of mere survival into one a more positive one of potential ‘thriving’.

Figure 2: ICT-CLCs as a convergent future vision of education, community, and ICT integration

Towards positive prophecies of life-long learning Promising capacity development project models indicate that ICT community learning centres do represent potentially viable and transformatory agencies for connecting up local communities and Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

Adapted from Richards 2005a

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Convergently, many of the educational policy initiatives promoting ICTs in schools and higher education are premised on new learner-centred and constructivist theories of learning which project the goal of more active and innovative learners harnessing the educational possibilities of ICTs. Constructivist models of learning (e.g. Jonassen et al, 2003; Weigel, 2003) are typically contrasted with models of teaching and learning which emphasise a hierarchical and linear “transmission” of content or skills from authoritative teacher to passive learner. Such influential concepts as ‘anchored instruction’ and ‘situated learning’ outlined how novice learners develop better applied understanding and generic skills in terms of specific examples, problems and authentic learning contexts – a framework for linking ICTs, problem-solving, and content-specific teaching or learning. In this way ‘knowledgeable’ teachers and/or experts should be able to better transmit their knowledge. Practical concepts such as problembased learning, collaborative learning, project work, authentic assessment and inquiry-based activities all represent alternatives to the linear and hierarchical assumptions of formal lesson-planning and course design. Such approaches emphasize how effective learning should rather be understood as a process, cycle and/or set of stages proceeding from initial skill or information acquisition

to more applied and reflective understanding, knowledge and even innovation. It may be argued that general notions of constructivist learning tend to mix up and sometimes confuse or oppose the alternate cognitive and social aspects of knowledge building. Whilst in one sense they do converge in ‘active’ modes of learning some of these models arguably either directly or indirectly privilege the social and critical thinking over individual and local contexts of practice as well as theory over practice.

Towards a convergent notion of the knowledge-building process Although ‘knowledge-building’ is a central concept in new ICT-focused learning theory it has been influentially defined as the process by which ‘expert groups’ construct knowledge as a social process of collaborative discussion and synthesis of ideas (Scardamalia and Bereiter, 1999). Such a definition exemplifies a common dilemmas of much new learning theory to remain inherently conceptual, top-down and elitist, and thus at odds with the grounded and potentially innovative practice and active learning of ‘every learner’. Just as As indicated above a common ‘communities of practice’ model informs various notions of digital

Figure 3: Towards a convergent framework of 21st Century Knowledge-Building

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learning and capacity-building for either institutional or community development. General organizational learning models such as articulated by Wenger (1998) have especially articulated with social constructivist models of digital learning. Weigel (2003) for instance directly connects various general notions of a ‘community of practice’ with specific learning ‘communities of inquiry’ in constructivist classrooms and related lifelong and virtual modes of learning. A ‘communities of practice’ model is indeed most helpful for engaging with the challenge of ICT integration in particular educational and social contexts. As McNabb & McCombs (2002) point out, professional learning communities (of practice) involve three levels of interaction – community, institutional and individual – which inform two key collaborative approaches to ICT professional development: (a) the collegial sharing of resources; and (b) particular ICT professional development projects. McNabb & McCombs article makes special mention of the e-learning facility of networked learning communities and e-learning professional development – extending from the collaborative use of intranets through to the use of learning management programmes. ICTs have made possible new modes of formal as well as informal ‘lifelong learning’ that are as applicable to communities and institutions as well as individual learners. Á bottom line is that the kind of active experimentation needed to build and transform any kind of personal knowledge can be initiated through partnerships and dialogue but ultimately requires self-organisation and self-learning. A convergent notion of 21st century knowledgebuilding which harnesses the learning possibilities of ICTs serves to overcome the paradox identified in the Knowledge Management literature as ‘if only we knew what we know’. May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


University ICT4D

University as producer and disseminator of ICT4D knowledge Christopher T Co ward [CCOWARD@U.WASHINGTON.EDU], Centre for Internet studies, University of Washington, Coward Colin M. Maclay [CMACLAY@CYBER.LAW.HARVARD.EDU], Berkman Centre for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School

I

n this article we introduce a new concept – university ICT4D – that refers to the university as a producer of ICT4D knowledge and engaged actor in ICT4D practice – 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. Experience has shown that successfully leveraging Internet technologies for economic, social and political change demands new models and new technologies, and depends upon multi-disciplinary and multisectoral approaches. In most developing world contexts, complex problems are paired with limited institutional capacity and scarce funds, making essential the efficient and creative use of available resources. One powerful and oftenoverlooked piece of this puzzle is academia, which has substantial relevant capabilities to offer as investigator, consultant, educator, convener, evaluator and more. Indeed to perform these functions is to achieve the very mission of the university. When speaking of ICTs, we know universities as producers of ICT skills and knowledge in areas ranging from computer literacy to high-end programming. We posit, however, that while there are real barriers to university engagement in ICT4D and the broader revolution in academia it requires or fosters, there is already more happening than many of us realise. Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

As the knowledge society moves from buzzword to real world, with all the twists and turns that characterise any such transcendent idea, it is incumbent upon us to revisit the role and practice of the university, particularly in the developing world As the following examples briefly illustrate, there are a number of less well-known but critically important ways that developing world universities are already making strides towards teaching, conducting research and integrating outreach programs in this field of ICT4D. The La Salle Institute of Governance (LSIG) at De La Salle University in the Philippines is a research and training institution that aims to produce new knowledge, strategies and tools that promote transparent, accountable, participatory, and effective governance. Recognising the growing interest in ICT, in 2002 political science professor Francisco Magno and his colleagues began to study ICT’s contribution to good governance. From this modest start, today they boast an active egovernance program that has a wide range of activities cutting across teaching, research, and community engagement. LSIG conducts workshops for local and national policy makers; produces a quarterly magazine for the League of Municipalities; hosts conferences

Christopher T Coward is Director of the University of Washington Center for Internet Studies and a lecturer at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs. Chris’s primary interest is in promoting greater linkages among the disciplines and between the university and the community with the goal of developing the Center into a catalyst for multidisciplinary innovation in teaching, research and outreach on the pressing issues of the information age. Chris’s research focuses on the societal impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the developing world. Currently he is examining the role of the university in understanding and promoting ICT adoption for social and economic development in local communities. In this article, Chris Coward with Colin M Maclay, Managing Director, Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, deliberates on the need to revisit the role and responsibility of the universities to respond to ICT4D. 19


Examples from universities in other parts of the world demonstrate wide-ranging university ICT4D engagement at the local, national and international levels: • The TeNeT Group at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras develops technologies and business models for the Indian context, targeting low income and rural areas, as well as the growing middle class and ICT sector. The team goes further, actually incubating businesses and working with policymakers to get the regulatory issues right, all while maintaining a strong commitment to preparing students and providing unique experiences for recent graduates. • The Institute for Educational Informatics at the Universidad de la Frontera in Chile works with community members, the private sector and government agencies to support a network of 32 telecenters servicing low income and indigenous people. Better known than these engagement activities are the Institute’s leadership in national and international efforts to provide technology-enhanced learning, and a body of research to make it more effective. • NetTel@Africa, an educational consortium comprised of 13 African universities dedicated to strengthening the capabilities of policy making and regulatory bodies, private sector operators, consumer advocacy groups and academic institutions, offers courses on the legal, regulatory, managerial and technical dimensions of the ICT sector. • The Link Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa conducts diverse ICT research, develops policy advice and offers training for public, private, NGO and community-based capacity within the Southern African region. • The National University of Singapore offers a comprehensive curriculum fusing technology and social science-based inquiry to provide students with a solid understanding of ICTs and the new media industry – from a cultural, economic, structural and regulatory perspective. • Nanyang Technological University’s Singapore Internet Research Centre conducts research into e-services, new media use and social impact of Internet developments in Asia. • The Center for Ethics of Science and Technology at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand was established this year to examine the many ethical questions that have accompanied the rise of the information society. Its focus is on issues specific to Southeast Asia and the impact on this region from technological advances made in the developed world.

such as Civil Society and RightsBased Governance; produces research studies on such topics as “Good Governance and AntiCorruption: A Term-End Performance Assessment”; introduces new courses into the university general curriculum and specialised courses for graduate students; and maintains partnerships with governmental and nongovernmental organisations. From a donor perspective, there are numerous organisations available to implement ICT4D programs across many fields – rural development, health services, e-government, women empowerment, policy reform, NGO 20

capacity building – but surprisingly little academic quality research that analyses the results and implications for future efforts and policies. There are many case studies that are closer to collections of anecdotes written to showcase success, rather than the more painfully learned (and earned) lessons. What has been missing is high-quality, comparable, analytically rigorous, and dispassionate research and evaluation that will allow everyone to learn from past experiences and improve future program designs and implementations. As a Philippine colleague told us, “if you ever find someone doing research on program

impact here, it’s someone from another country.” This situation exacerbates deeper-seated problems, impeding our understanding of the interactions between ICT and poverty alleviation, business generation, improved governance, gender equality and the other issues we care about – it’s essential for developing world researchers to help develop the supporting ideas and methods. In the area of teaching, we encountered widespread agreement that every country needs professionals in government, industry and civil society who understand the dynamics and challenges of ICTenabled socio-economic development. Unfortunately, relatively few developing world universities are adequately preparing students with the knowledge and skills for crafting better telecommunication policies, developing sustainable telecenters that meet the needs of underserved communities, or promoting effective use of ICT by small and medium enterprises. This is made even more difficult due to barriers to elective coursework, cross-listed courses, and other national and institutional policies that limit capacity and incentives for new pedagogical and programmatic approaches. Finally, in the outreach arena, few developing universities engage their students and faculty meaningfully with their communities. Developing educational and beneficial internships, community service, course projects and other programs that offer university expertise to local communities is a complicated affair. Yet these forms of engagement promise both substantial real-world learning opportunities for the university and real results for the communities in which they reside. Until universities effectively engage their communities, both groups will forego valuable fruits that would help advance the university mission and promote social well-being. What are the root causes of these May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


challenges? Many observers (including people within academia) have deep reservations, ranging from doubts as to whether universities should take on these issues in the first place, to dismissing universities as being incapable of fulfilling these expectations. Critics claim, rightly in many cases, that universities are ossified institutions, largely incapable of the internal reform and innovation needed to make them more relevant to

hardly the appropriate environment for curricular innovation. Or, they comment on systemic challenges such as disciplinary rigidities that make it difficult to conduct interdisciplinary work. There is general agreement among ICT4D scholars that one needs to bring a diversity of disciplinary tools to this field, yet universities and the journals where scholars need to publish in order to receive promotions reinforce the very disciplinary

In most developing world contexts, complex problems are paired with limited institutional capacity and scarce funds, making essential the efficient and creative use of available resources. One powerful and oftenoverlooked piece of this puzzle is academia, which has substantial relevant capabilities to offer as investigator, consultant, educator, convener, evaluator and more. Indeed to perform these functions is to achieve the very mission of the university

the changing needs of society. Or, they point to external constraints such as higher education policies that, for example, have a five-year process for introducing a new course, Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

boundaries we need to overcome. Indeed, getting technologists to work effectively with social scientists and the professional disciplines is a central question of ICT4D research.

This dual observation – the emergence of university ICT4D programs and the increasing awareness of the need for scholarly attention to critical issues of societal ICT integration, juxtaposed with the overall scarcity of such programs and firmly held critiques of universities – has led a research team from a coalition of developing and developed world universities to embark on a year-long study to uncover the current practice and potential for university ICT4D. This study, sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and the APEC Education Foundation, builds on earlier conferences on this topic held at Makerere University in Uganda, Cornell University in the US, and De La Salle University in the Philippines. The research will help us answer the following question, artfully summarised by our colleague William Melody. “How is it possible to build on the many individual programs in various corners of universities, to get university-wide commitment to embedding ICT4D issues in the ethos of the university and through all of its relevant programs? Most ICT4D programs exist because of the driving commitment of a few people without any significant support or commitment from the university, and very often with lots of opposition. The case studies are heroic, but they aren’t going to have a major impact until the universities change. This is a problem in most developed world as well as developing world universities.” For more information and to become involved: www.uict4d.org

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Microsoft’s Partners-in-Learning Initiative

An Asia Pacific Overview Vincent Quah [VINCENT.QUAH@MICROSOFT.COM], Asia Pacific Public Sector, Microsoft Despite real improvements in access to, and use of, information and communication technology around the world, there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that the digital divide between and within countries is growing. In response to the significant challenge microsoft had launched its global initiatives called the Partners-inLearning Programme. Vincent Quah, Regional Academic Programs Manager, Asia Pacific Public Sector, Microsoft, gives an Asia pacific overview of this programme and Microsoft’s visions in a conversation with Rumi Mallick of Digital Learning.

? Can Public-Private Partnership as a framework address the challenges in education in Asia? If you look at a lot of government and the kind of investment they are putting into education it can be pre-daunting and can be unsustainable. For example, in a populous country like India, how do you try to address the education divide in India, will the country be able to put the necessary investment to support and ensure that many children can access quality education and technology? Therefore, the whole notion of Public Private Partnership as a possible framework for sustainable manpower development, is now even of more important consideration than before. And so Microsoft is one such example of Public Private Partnership to work with government to understand the major, more important priorities of countries so as to help them to begin addressing the challenges in education.

? What are the other challenges to education in the Asia Pacific? The same challenges faced by Asia pacific is also faced by Europe, faced by Africa, in Latin America, in US. The challenge is that people have not 22

been able to benefit from the impact and the investment the government is making in technology. We keep learning the good practices, great examples how teachers and students really blossom as a result of technology, though we have not seen the widespread, cyspanic, embracing use of technology and how technology has impacted, that is one challenge. The other challenge is having something at the country level that will enable to become comparative work force, enable them to have digital literacy and helping them with an improved quality of life.

? Why Microsoft has been focusing on teachers’ in most of the programmes? Teachers are very keen in the education sector. With technology, teachers are no longer going to be relevant, but on the contrary teachers are becoming more important, have very different role, of an expert, a manager and a facilitator. Teachers are the key for students. So it will be a much easier approach to make the students learn and understand if the teachers are properly trained. Students are digitally literate where as the teachers are digitally illiterate. The

problem has to be addressed from the core. Not only the teachers, the school leaders and the policy makers as well need to be digitally literate. You have to ensure maximum results out of implementation.

? When you refer to ICT enabled education, what kind of innovation will you highlight? We need to start changing our terminology here, putting emphasis on ICT-enabled education, not ICT integrated. It is an assumption that it is the foundation. May be we should not think about the kid. ICT one day will become like a calculator, like a pen and paper, where we should really focus in the innovation, and the change in the pedagogy and curriculum, the change in the assessment system, the change of learning and relearning and applying lessons learned into the system.

? What are your future visions for the rural area? The future is like envisioning what the school can be like. That picture, that vision could be different for different schools and different regions. The future of a rural school can be, how am I going to be relevant to the rural May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


children to ensure that they can have a good career in future and so they can design the school around that vision. Important is what is a great, mighty or important thing in one country need not necessarily be applicable in your own context.

? What is your experience so far in working with the Asian countries? I think the governments in Asia Pacific are in a real high demand stage. It is not actually a question of over-supply; it is a question of overdemand. So much that has to be done at the country level; they embrace different programmes including Microsoft into part and parcel of their overall national strategy. And our experience working with governments is very very positive. The partnership learning initiative has been the most successful programme of Microsoft. We never had so many partnerships; as of today we have 101 countries on this programme.

? You might have faced some challenges working with Asian governments. Can you relate a few? Working with Government is all about establishing trust during relationship. When we started in some countries, government was little concerned and skeptical as organisations like

Microsoft want to make partnership with them. But I think when they see that we meant what we say, we meet the commitments, we do the things we are going to say, that is where the change, the trust begins to grow, that is when they become more prepared to have more in-depth discussion about some of the things that are working and some of the things that are not working in the country.

? What is the Microsoft vision of education worldwide? Microsoft vision of education worldwide, not just for Asia is that we believe technology can play very important role in the whole business of education, in the teaching and learning area as well as meeting the lifestyle of the students and teachers. We believe the technology can help them fulfill their potentials, that is Microsoft’s ultimate vision.

? What do you think has been your major achivement? If I can see a sparkle in the eyes of the students, in the eyes of the teachers, in the eyes of policy makers with whom we work. At the end of the day it should be about creating better opportunities for them, it’s about impacting positively.

? Any specific achievement in last few years? Wherever I travel I always meet up schools and teachers, educators, senior level officers, ministers. We run a conference for senior government people in the ministry so that we can understand their problems, at the same time we help them realise that this is how the world is moving, technological advances are happening, they need to be aware of some of these things as well. So we make the relationship and make it grow and I think this is one big area that I can count as my achievement in helping develop this trust and this relationship between government and Microsoft.

? How do you see Asia in ten years from now? Asia will experience very explosive growth. Hopefully in ten years time we will be looking to new challenges rather than focusing on old challenges which we would have overcome by then. The people who are involved in the education sector would be much more savvy with what the current fence of the world. The students we are teaching are going to experience very different lifestyles after 20 years from now.

Partners-in-Learning Bringing sparkle in the eyes of policy makers, students and teachers

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espite real improvements in access to, and use of information and communication technology around the world, there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that the digital divide between and within countries is growing. Many less affluent areas of the globe continue to lack basic access to technology and training, widening the gap across communities in quality of life, competitiveness, and economic development. Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

In response to this significant challenge, and as a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to education and learning, Microsoft has launched a new global initiative called ‘Partners in Learning’. Partners in Learning includes three key components: • Partners in Learning Grants Programme These grants will provide investments to create a

sustainable model for improving the use of technology in teaching and learning. Fresh start for donated computers This program provides primary and secondary (K–12) schools with Microsoft Windows 98 or Windows 2000 licenses for donated PCs at no charge. School agreement subscription licensing programme This annual subscription 23


2nd Innovative Teachers’ Conference, Korea

licensing agreement offers academic pricing and reduced administrative costs for K-12 schools. In addition, Partners in Learning provides eligible* primary schools with the opportunity to receive even lower pricing for Microsoft Office XP Professional and Windows XP Professional Upgrade licenses through their Microsoft School Agreement. Since the launch of the initiative in July 2003, the Partners in Learning initiative is active in 16 countries in the Asia Pacific region. Details on some of the countries can be found at Microsoft’s Partners in Learning website at http://www.microsoft.com/ education/partnersinlearning.mspx. This article seeks to provide readers a general overview of the initiative in the Asia Pacific region. One of the primary focuses of the Partners in Learning initiative is to develop local capacity through our Grants Programme. In total, we have trained over 250 Master Trainers from 16 countries. Another aspect of the Asia Pacific Partners in Learning initiative is the annual Innovative Teachers’ Conference. The conference was organised to support the following objectives: 1. Bring together a community of teachers as learners 2. Facilitate the creation of collective knowledge 24

Teachers training workshop in Thailand

3.

4. 5.

6.

Create a platform for the advancement of best practices and adoption of innovation Provide training and access to technology resources Deliver integration confidence to teachers using technology in the learning process Engage teachers intellectually and offering opportunities for them to be active stakeholders in their profession

Since the launch of the Partners in Learning initiative, Asia Pacific have conducted two Innovative Teachers’ Conferences, the first being in Singapore and the second in Seoul, Korea. Close to 500 ministry officials, professors of education, principals and teachers have attended both conferences. To support teachers in their profession, the Asia Pacific region will soon launch the Asia Pacific Innovative Teachers’ Portal. Below is a quick survey of some projects in each of the countries in Asia Pacific: Australia – The projects range from integrating ICT into the classroom through the provision of basic ICT skills to projects around capacity building for school leadership. There are also some projects within these areas with a particular focus on teachers in remote and isolated circumstances. Bangladesh – Microsoft Bangladesh

is cooperating with the Ministry of Education to provide training to 10,000 teachers and to have more than 200,000 students impacted through technology. China – The officially launched MOEMicrosoft China Partners in Learning (PiL) program in China will have a special emphasis on : • The establishment of Information Technology teacher training centers • To build 100 computer classrooms to support teaching and learning • To work with local partners to develop distance education (e-Learning) technologies and solutions • To launch software courseware and IT training courses for teachers Hong Kong – Microsoft Hong Kong has partnered with Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB). The Partners in Learning Grants has been used to address School Leadership Development (more than 300 principals have been trained), Teachers’ training and the localisation of three other sets of curriculum, including the deploying Student Technical Support Solutions curriculum. India – Project Shiksha, or ‘Empowering the future’ is a focused programme designed to deliver affordable software solutions, comprehensive training and May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


curriculum leadership for students and teachers in government schools. The key deliverables of the project are to: Accelerate IT literacy for over 200,000 school teachers and 10 million students across schools in the next 5 years; partner with state education departments to set-up 10 Microsoft IT academy centres; create and deliver a localised IT curriculum in the local language among others. Indonesia – Through the programme, Microsoft has established a good working relationship with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Research and Technology. Korea - The U-Learning project seeks to investigate the impact of Tablet PC in teaching and learning as a new model for ICT education. The schools

schools have resulted in more than 250,000 PCs being deployed in 10,000 schools across Malaysia. Microsoft has rolled-out the Student Helpdesk Programme to Malaysian schools in equipping students with to manage ICT implementation in schools and help ensure effective usage of ICT resources. New Zealand - Some of the unique projects implemented include: • The Microsoft Innovative Teachers Scholarships (MInTS) • MindSpring Learning Objects community developed to support schools and teachers • Microsoft Learning Objects design, development and classroom application • Research Philippines – DepED and Microsoft will establish an ICT-enabled

Korean students participating in the U-Learning project

also had access to the Microsoft Learning Gateway, a portal cum repository, including locally developed Tablet PC-ready applications. Microsoft and the Ministry of Education has established an IT training center and the centre will train more than 1,000 students across the nation. Malaysia – Since PiL was introduced in June 2004, Microsoft through the long-term partnerships with key stakeholders in the education community, have touched more than 70,000 educators reaching out to more than 2 million students. Efforts to increase access to computers in Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

education system or “EduSystem” that can address access to ICT and build the capacity of schools leaders and teachers. By 2009, over 50,000 teachers, 5,000 school leaders and millions of students will already be part of this EduSystem. Also known as the PiL 21st Century School System, the PiL EduSystem will produce high school graduates who can economically-productive already knowledge workers. The PiL initiatives in the Philippines can be accessed at www.pil.ph. Singapore – The BackPack.Net initiative is a strategic collaboration between Microsoft Singapore and

InfoCommunication Development Authority Singapore (IDA) supported by Ministry of Education & National Institute Education Singapore. Through this initiative, the collaboration with ISV, Microsoft and other partners for development and deployment of inking applications has increased and brought some of the schools to work closely with these commercial entities to create new applications and Tablet PC inking applications that widely use character recognition technologies. Further details can be obtained from www.backpack.com.sg. Sri Lanka – The programme “Navalova labs”-meaning new age labs- seeks to strengthen ICT education through the provision of training to all teachers in schools where the Ministry of Education has established labs in potential schools and a teacher PC programme form the key parts of the PiL programme in Sri Lanka. Thailand – Microsoft Thailand, in partnership with the Ministry of Education has developed localised curriculum that will train teachers in basic ICT skills and the use of Microsoft technologies in teaching and learning. This programmatic approach will provide for support to more than 17,000 teachers trained. At the same time, eight School Leadership programme have also been rolled implemented across different geographies in Thailand. This article was jointly written by Vincent Quah, with contributions from Felicia Brown, K.M. Imran, Jerry Zuo, Cathy Liu, Jingguo Li, Mei Mei Ng, Amit Nevatia, Ismail Syah, Bum Joo Park, Tih-Tih Chin, Farad Alhusaini, Nils Beehre, Sam Jacoba, Chandra Mohan, Jinashri Samarakoon, Carrie Chen, Supoet Srinutapong and Pham Huong.

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Hole-in-the-Wall Education

Bridging the education divide Achieving universal primary education is a Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that all 191 United Nations Member States have pledged to meet by 2015. At the current rate, the global education target will not be reached until the year 2030. Hundreds of millions of children in

India are denied access to quality education, surprisingly not because of non-availability of funds, but because of the shortage of teachers, teacher training, and teaching and learning material. The need of the hours is to focus on bridging the ‘education divide’ by leveraging all possible resources – financial, human, or ‘digital’.

Hole-in-the-Wall Education Ltd. (HiWEL) does just that by leveraging technology to deliver elementary education to children in urban slums and rural hinterland. Over the past six years HiWEL has conducted research and implemented ‘Playground computers’ across the country. These Playground Computers provide underprivileged children with unconditional and unsupervised access to special purpose personal computers equipped with a range of learning software. The Playground Computers are designed to encourage the children’s innate sense of curiosity, experimentation and play; it is a place where children can make mistakes and learn from them. Through their interaction with the Playground Computer and their peers, and in their attempt to understand and use this system, children develop certain abilities that go far beyond ‘computer literacy’: z They self-organize into fluid groups of collaborative learners z Children develop their problem solving abilities z They create strategies for learning


z

z

They go beyond the rigid gradeachievement system imposed by formal schooling They assume responsibility for their own learning and get on to the path of being self-learners.

Technology-enabled education: HiWEL’s approach to technologyenabled educational intervention builds upon the well established constructivist approach to education and is characterized by the following principles: z Understanding is created in our interactions with the environment z Cognitive conflict or puzzlement is the stimulus for learning z Knowledge evolves through social negotiation Peer-reviewed as well as third-party research done over the last six years has shown that HiWEL’s Playground Computers make a significant contribution towards: z Improvement in academic performance z Increase in collaborative behavior z Reduce school dropout z Increase attention span and concentration z Improve ability to comprehend and follow instructions z Achievement of computer literacy Research conducted across 28 locations across India has shown that the academic performance of Playground Computer users improved by at least 15 percentage points across different subjects. Public Private Partnership: Encouraged by the results from across the country, governments of three states – Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, and Andhra Pradesh — have commissioned HiWEL projects. Many others are in discussions… Will this be the beginning of the bridging of the education divide? Only time will tell...

“I like these Learning Stations as I have learnt so many new things from it. I have benefited tremendously which has helped me in my studies. I never realized that I could ever work with computers. I feel that all the children of my locality should learn computers only then can they learn about the new scientific developments.” (Rukhsar/F/12/class V) “Science is my favourite subject because we get so much information” (Rijwana/F/11/class VI) “I learnt most of it from Rubina. Yes, I have learnt a lot abut Dinosaurs, how to join bones, worked on the virtual lab and many other interesting things.” (Feroz/M/12/class VI) “I like English the most because I am comfortable with it. I have learnt a lot about English spellings from the computers. I have learnt everything on my own.” (Amit/M/13/classVI) “Hindi and Maths are my favourites. I like Maths because I enjoy solving the puzzles” (Dheeraj/M/10/class V) “I come here twice a day before going to school and also spend some time after school till the Learning Station remains open.” (Amit/M/11/class V) “I like science and computers the most…I like to learn about technological developments and also learn about different kinds of plants and energy, about where we get the oxygen from and how we breathe out carbondioxide.” (Vatan Kumar/M/9/class IV) “There are new games, which also teach us a lot of things. I have also seen Lal Quila. We also get to see other cities… I have seen many cities on the computer.” (Dheeraj/ M/ 10/class V)


News ASIA PocketLearn introduces products that transform mobile phones into learning tools Technology startup PocketLearn Inc (www.pocketlearn.com) has introduced a suite of software products that enable many cellular telephones and personal digital assistants or “PDA’s” to become mobile tools for learning.

Among the products are special “Viewers” that are installed on the devices, as well as Windows based content creation tools. PocketLearn has sought to establish a standard for educational software on these smart devices by building products on top of industry-standard technologies such as HTML and XML, and by making most of their software available for free. Their strategy is to standardize the format of the content and provide viewer software for a variety of devices. Content creators can really focus on content, with the assurance that their creations will be viewable on a very wide range of devices. PocketLearn content can include not only HTML-formatted text, but also images and audio. Their online content repository, which

serves as a searchable and categorized collection of content can be downloaded, rated and reviewed by the user community.

PC market grows 19 pc in Pakistan IDC’s quarterly PC tracker on emerging Asian markets shows that

Mobile Education by Boat - Dhaka, Bangladesh Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha (SSS), a Bangladesh-based non-governmental voluntary organisation, has developed mobile educational units to reach out to different communities in rural Bangladesh. The aim of this work is to educate riverside farmers on environmentally sound agricultural practices, as well as to improve the quality and relevance of education for underprivileged girls and women in remote areas. Main Communication Strategies This awareness and education initiative has two components, both of which use boats to bring technology and information to girls, women, and farmers in hard-to-reach areas of Bangladesh. First, the Mobile Internet-Educational Unit on Boats (MIEUB) initiative uses boats that are equipped with computer equipment (powered by solar energy and fuel-efficient generators) such as computers and projectors to reach out to landless and marginalised farmers via water-ways. Anchoring at riverside courtyards and public places, MIEUB arranges evening educational programmes on large screens, designed to enable people of different age groups to watch the programmes from their own courtyards. (The 8-month programme is arranged according to age groups and attracts 250-300 people for each educational show. There are also classes in human rights education.) Second, SSS is using technology-equipped boats to provide mobile education for underprivileged girls and women. The mobile boat schools and libraries are designed to reach children and youth of the riverside’s most remote areas. Locally developed educational materials are used as part of this effort to encourage girls to pursue higher education by creating an information base for women’s groups. The goal is to use education as an empowerment strategy to help lower the rate of domestic abuse and early marriage, and to make society more accountable to girls.

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the client PC market in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka grew 16 per cent in 2005. The total shipments in 2005 stood at 0.851 million units. Among them, Pakistan recorded the highest growth at 19 per cent, followed by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at 13 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. The total market size of Pakistan, researchers say, could exceed the much more developed Singapore PC market in absolute terms by early 2007. Multinational brand such as HP has also made inroads.

EC calls for proposals on nonformal primary education in Bangladesh The European Commission (EC) launched a call for proposals entailing grants totaling 29 million euros on May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


non-formal primary education in Bangladesh. The deadline for submission of proposal is June 25, 2006. The call is open to non-profit making NGOs registered at the NGO Affairs Bureau and for international organisations. They should have documented experience in the provision of non-formal education services to out-of-school children in Bangladesh, covering geographical clusters of at least three districts. The duration of each project will be between 36 and 48 months. The overall objective of this project is to support the achievement of the millennium development goal (MDG) of universal primary education in Bangladesh. Detailed information on the call is available at the website of the European Commission’s Delegation to Bangladesh at: www.eudelbangladesh.org.

Three new Open Source centres of excellence in Asia and the pacific region

In order to address the growing information and technological needs of the Asia and Pacific region, the International Open Source Network (IOSN) has established three new Centres of Excellence – IOSN Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

Even Vietnam is decentralising higher education A story published in Vietnam News reports that the government-controlled system of higher education in Vietnam will soon be reformed. Individual institutions will be given greater autonomy, and decision-making will be pushed downward within each unit. Minister of Education and Training, Nguyen Minh Hien has proposed that the Government gradually withdraw ministerial governance over the nation’s universities, a move that has received widespread acceptance from local media as well as educators and state officials. Currently, tertiary educational institutions depend on the state for funds and do not have the right to make decisions on teaching staff, enrolment or salaries.

ASEAN+3, IOSN PIC (Pacific Island Countries), and IOSN South Asia. Together, these Centres will continue the research and development, networking, institutional strengthening, and training undertaken by IOSN over the last three years to advance the adoption of free/open source software, open standards, and open content across the region.

Joseph Mehawej, Middle East Marketing Manager at Nortel

The International Open Source Network is an initiative of the Asia-Pacific Development Programme (APDIP), a regional programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); it is supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.

and the government of Bangladesh. The project aims to help alleviate micro-nutrient deficiencies in pre-school children and improve their attendance and enrollment in schools.

UNICEF-WFP launch Food for Education project in Bangladesh

Nortel has contributed a multimedia communication server to the Egypt Education Initiative (EEI), aiming to help improve communications services and capabilities in the country’s fast-transforming educational sector as it moves to eLearning models, methodologies and curricula.

The World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF have launched a collaborative project in three districts of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh. Under the pilot initiative entitled ‘Food for Education Project’ snacks will be provided daily to some 18,000 children in 933 ‘para’ or ‘community’ centres, in Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban districts. This project for the first time takes WFP’s fortified biscuits to the CHT pre-primary school children attending para-centres supported by UNICEF

Egypt Education Initiative extends e-Learning with Nortel

The EEI is an initiative of the public and private sectors, backed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that combines the strengths of government, the private sector and society stakeholders to advance education using the models recommended by the WEF’s Global Education Initiative (GEI). 29


Learning ICT in schools

Digital Equaliser integrating technology in hard-up schools J. Sundarakrishnan [SUNDAR.KRISHNAN@AIFOUNDATION.ORG], American Indian Foundation Srimathi Prasad [SRIMATHI.PRASAD@AIFOUNDATION.ORG] American Indian Foundation American India Foundation, through its flagship “Digital Equaliser (DE)” programme has been working in underprivileged schools to integrate technology as a pedagogical tool into the classrooms.The philosophy of the DE programme is that teachers are the pivots to the school system and by creating an enabling environment the teachers would be empowered to make a choice on the use of technology as an additional tool in the teaching-learning process

C

hanging the traditional teaching-learning process is easier said than done, as school systems which have been using the chalk-talk method find it very difficult to adopt newer systems. E-mail facilities are beginning to be used more in many schools as a management and administrative resource and also in limited cases as a teaching and learning resource. Internet access is becoming more common, but the use of the Internet for teaching and learning purposes is very limited, due to high connectivity and telecommunication costs, lack of local content and examples, and inadequate technical and pedagogical support at local levels. Hence introducing an ICT program in a school means a lot more than just providing relevant content or technology training. Given the magnitude of the task, public-private-partnership is called for to ensure that children receive highquality learning and teaching. American India Foundation Digital

30

Eqaliser (AIF-DE) programme leverages on these partnerships so that the program is implemented in a holistic and meaningful way and help the schools to build capacity within the school system to handle teaching learning through ICT.

Digital Equaliser programme Digital Equalizer (DE) programme is a Computer Aided Learning initiative, which has been designed to bridge the digital divide with a vision- “An India where ALL children have access to resources and information that prepares them for participation in the digital age.” At the macro-level the DE programme has two elements with different phases. One is a pilot initiative where innovations on technology leading to reduced cost and improved quality in terms of programme design will be experimented on a continuous basis. The second is large-scale programme implementation through partnerships with governments where learning from

the pilots would be adopted, adapted and appropriated for replication and scale.

Why AIF is involved in implementing the DE Program A. Bridging the Digital Divide AIF believes that there is a need to prioritise access to ICT resources to the more underserved population, which is being left behind on a digital divide. Through its DE Programme AIF is providing opportunities to underserved children to enhance their learning through the use of digital technology and thereby bridging the divide and creating a level playing field. B. Quality learning AIF sees a direct convergence of technology and education where the DE programme addresses the quality issue in the following ways. 1. Schools revising the present teaching practices and resources May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


Implementation challenges Component

Challenge description

Challenge addressed

Power Shortages & lack of backup power

Providing backup power is not a feasible solution as the duration of outages is high and cost of back up power would be unaffordable.

The DE program encourages the schools to adjust their timetables to accommodate scheduled power outages. Also, power-conditioning equipment like stabilisers and surge suppressors are are also installed.

Insufficient IT equipment

An effective ICT model needs to have a student computer ratio of at least 2:1.

The DE programme encourages a student computer ratio like 4:1.

Technical support

Poor quality of power, viruses, shared files cluttering the hard disks, dust, heat, usage by many people can degrade the computer.

Schools are given trouble shooting tips to fix their machines, manage files/ folders on these shared computers by performing regular house keeping chores and so on.

Lack of relevant ICT based educational software

In underserved schools, the medium of instruction is generally the regional language implying that the english language software would not be of much relevance to them. The second issue is regionalisation of such software which is expensive.

The DE programme uses a combination of ready-made content and teacher developed content which not only allows teachers to use technology effectively in their teaching but, empowers them in a manner where they feel in control of the process.

Insufficient training on teaching using ICT

Training on the use of ICT for teaching specific subjects is still in its infancy, especially in the government schooling system. Age, economic status, family circumstances and motivation by the management play a large role in influencing the teachers to adopt ICT in their teaching.

Technology training is augmented with necessary pedagogical skills thereby enabling the teacher to implement ICT successfully. Initially, to encourage more teachers to enrol in this process, providing incentives in the form of appreciation and visibility is provided.

Internet Connectivity

Providing access to active content is essential to any ICT program. Many a times this acts as the motivating factor to convert teachers into using technology. Access and cost is a challenge.

The DE programme circumvents this by showing the schools how to use a mix of off-line and on-line facilities. Use of encyclopaedia, cyber-cafes is encouraged. Innovative methods like using HTTrack software for downloading software are taught.

Sustainability

Lack of funds to meet operational expenses is one of the greatest challenges faced by schools, even if they are provided with a properly equipped lab. Running expenses of internet bills, backup power, computer maintenance, consumables, etc would easily cost a school INR 10000 per month.

For long-term sustainability, a small fee is levied by the school on students for meeting the recurrent expenses. Other means of sustenance would include finding partners who can use the computer centre after-school hours for some training courses or offer other services. Also finding local sponsors for supporting the costs of the school is charted as one of the responsibilities of DE co-ordinator.

Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

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2.

to create more effective learning environments and improving lifelong learning skills and habits in their students In the process the teacher’s own learning abilities getting improved

The DE methodology involves •

Enhancing basic literacy and critical thinking skills Enriching and improving the

Integrating technology into classrooms

quality of education by enabling teachers to use technology in the teaching-learning process Inspire curiosity, confidence, and teamwork by actively engaging children in interactive, collaborative learning using technology and the Internet

ICT skills for teachers include creating multimedia lessons, using project based learning methods, use of Internet and leading tele-collaborative projects. Regular meetings are organised by the co-ordinators so that the schools get together and evaluate projects on an ongoing basis using feedback into the system. • From year 2, each school is encouraged to develop a school technology plan, which will be tracked by the DE co-ordinator. • Commencing from the third year the schools are expected to implement the technology plan with minimal supervision from AIF to ensure sustainability beyond the DE Phase. By the end of 3 years the schools will be equipped to use ICT in their day-to-day teachinglearning process.

DE programme implementation

Lessons from the learning programmes implemented

1.

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School selection is done based on availability of basic infrastructure, target group (Classes 6 to 10), teacher motivation to adopt the new system and management consent to support this activity. A Teacher trainer titled as “DE Co-ordinator” who is an AIF resource handles professional development and training for all subject teachers on ICT skills. The trainer is allotted 5 to 10 schools in a cluster. If the teachers are not computer literate they are put through a computer literacy course before this phase. A Student Trainer titled as “DE Facilitator” placed in each school, handles student training on basic computer skills.

2.

3.

AIF started with only a few dozen schools in 2001 and grew to 178 in the following 4-5 years. A program of 100 schools will prove radically different from the one with 1,000 schools which is the stage in which the programme currently is in. Few schools tagged as test-beds where experiments on the technology– hardware, software and connectivity, cost effectiveness, user-friendliness, acceptability from the target audience, perceived value addition in terms of programme delivery are carried out. It is found that teacher motivation is a key factor in the programme implementation and there are 3 categories of teachers

4.

5.

to be handled: perfomers or innovators, semi-performers, nonperformers or resistant teachers. Monitoring and reporting on the progress of the programme implementation are critical for ensuring that program is on track. In our experience programmatic design improvement happens through qualitative discussions with schoolteachers and principals and not on the basis of the monitoring reports. While there is enough anecdotal evidence to indicate that the programme has largely been effective, and some empirical studies have also been done, a concrete model to assess the impact of the DE program is yet to emerge. The studies done could be classified as “satisfaction surveys” which provided the necessary comfort level for the management to continue with the programme approach.

DE growth path-the way forward The DE program is in a stage where the programme will be implemented in partnerships with state governments at a scale where the magnitude will be of the order of 500 to 1000 schools. This will be the first year of the programme where learnings from the pilots will be adopted, adapted and appropriated for up-scaling. The programme management team is gearing up with this arduous task of collaborating with other stakeholders, chalking out clear roles and responsibilities for each of the players. The DE programme will complement and supplement the existing state government’s ICT school initiatives through a collaborative effort rather than creating a parallel system, which would breed competition. We are in the process of conducting impact assessment for the existing DE centres and would come up with a model to assess large-scale programs as we recognise that this aspect needs to be prioritised. May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


News WORLD A digital inclusion program in Ghana to bridge the divide The Ministry of Communication of Ghana, in collaboration with Intel and Microsoft, has introduced a digital inclusion progamme to assist and advance in information society. In pursuit of this, Intel and Microsoft have jointly showcased their plans for personal computers (PCs) designed and built specifically for the local markets. The digital inclusion would boost the PC home ownership scheme and would introduce affordable, locally assembled PCs onto the market. It provides a great opportunity to bridge the divide. Digital inclusion would lead to a change in the quality of life for the people. This progamme would be a key to attain the targets that the world has set for itself in the millennium development goals.

Online Training Postgraduate Programme in a college of Ethiopia The College of Telecommunications and Information Technology is going to launch the first-ever online training programme at postgraduate diploma level in Ethiopia this year to meet the demands of Information Communications Technology professionals. The programme is going to be started form next July as the regular training. The programme in different areas of ICT and telecom would enable students to take the courses in their own time by accessing the training materials in textual and video content form. The regular training programmes are offered in the fields of telecom Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

engineering and information technology at MSc levels, and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in telecom in order to move the telecom industry of the country with the pace of the changing technology.

400 cities worldwide planning to deploy municipal broadband networks There are over 400 cities worldwide planning to deploy municipal broadband networks and the number will double in 2006, making community broadband initiatives a very real and significant trend. That is the finding of the latest report, Municipal Broadband Networks: Market impact and implications, 2006-2011, published by industry research firm Visiongain. As of first quarter 2006, there are over 100 city and regional wireless broadband networks operational worldwide, more than 40 of which are in the US. For a large number of reasons, municipalities are

considering the concept of a Municipal Broadband Network as the utility. These communities are choosing between deploying fibre and a wireless broadband network using Wi-Fi hotspots, mesh networks or pre-WiMAX technology.

Semapedia - the physical wikipedia introduced to Africa The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT introduced the Semacode technology and the Semapedia application to a segment of the Ghanaian public. Introduced for the first time in Africa, the Semapedia is an application of the vast information available on the Wikipedia and the simple yet practical URL barcode, called the Semacode. With the Semacode approach, all it now takes is for an ordinary camera phone, equipped with a Semacode reader software package (available free of charge by pointing your mobile phone web browser to the ‘over the air’ distribution. The idea was to bring

Ministry to reward teachers who develop computer software The Ministry of Education and Sports in Ghana has initiated a special best teachers award for teachers who will develop computer software for various subjects this year. The move was part of the government’s efforts to promote information and communication technology (ICT) in schools in the country; the prize for the award had already been donated by Microsoft Corporation. By the end of next month, the government and INTEL would launch the first phase online resource for the teaching of mathematics and science for junior secondary schools (JSS) in the country. 33


the amazing knowledge from the wikipedia to places in the real world where it matters. It is rare to find African created technology being used today in Western cyberspace so this event is indeed a laudable step forward for African technology as well as an indication of the benefits of collaborative development based on liberal software licensing such as open source software that can arise from further North/South private sector partnerships.

Intel lands in Lagos

that they provide access to and storage of multimedia and allow for cooperative input. The software has provision for multi-lingual interfaces and data entry. Hindi and Kannada databases have been created by some of the Indian users. The Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and the Archives of Indian Labour are among the institutions that have put the software to use. The Greenstone software is available at www.greenstone.org and the digital library of the University of Waikato at www.nzdl.org.

Sharing of Free intellectual Assets (SOFIA)

Components giant Intel has once again demonstrated its zeal for targeting new markets, opening an office in Nigeria to serve the West African market. Intel plans to increase its presence in West Africa and enhance support for resellers, integrators and channel members. Intel was also involved in a number of digital transformation initiatives including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education to further the cause of integrating modern IT into the country’s education strategies. Intel is also finalising details of its ‘Teach to the Future’ programme in Nigeria.

An open source, multi-platform software for digitising libraries The Greenstone Digital Library had introduced by John B. Rose of the University of Waikato at the British Council, which is produced in the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. The advantage of digital libraries is 34

Sofia Open Content Initiative: Content for eight courses is now available online for free through the Sofia open content initiative, thanks to the joint contributions of faculty, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, California and Foothill-De Anza Community College District, and can now be accessed at the Course Gallery (http://sofia.fhda.edu/ gallery). The Sofia finalists include the courses in Creative Typography, Elementary Statistics, Physical Geography (http:// sofia.fhda.edu/), Free High School Science Texts (http://www.nongnu. org/fhsst/index.html), California Open Source Textbook Project (http:// www.opensourcetext.org/).

news, features and school website directory. The aim is to work towards a position where teachers should be able to work from any Internet access point at any time, linked to the tools and learning services they need in order to plan, prepare, manage and follow up learning experiences for their students. The site provides online curriculum, which features multimedia resources to support teaching and learning.

e-Book offerings from Sony Electronics and Borders Inc Sony Electronics and Borders Inc have declared a joint venture of a reading device for e-Books and text documents, available through about 200 Borders stores in the United States. The Sony Reader will debut in Borders and more than 30 Sony Style stores around the country as well as online at www.sonystyle.com. The reader will allow active readers to carry as much as they want to read whether they are travelling on the road or just around the corner. The device can store hundreds of books and other documents using a combination of internal flash memory and optional Memory Stick or Secure Digital (SD) flash memory cards.

Becta school website to bring transformation in teaching The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) will reduce the number of online services and brands it provides for schools in response to the Department for Education and Skills five-year strategy and eStrategy, ‘Harnessing Technology’. Over the coming months some changes would be seen in Becta’s online presence. This includes the May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


Daily string of news updates Weekly ezines And a wealth of teaching and learning resources

www.digitalLEARNING.in Turning information into knowledge


Software Investment Promotion Agency in Thailand

Weaving technology into education fabric Software Investment Promotion Agency (SIPA) is the government agency in planning and policy making for the software industrial development of Thailand. Apart from main missions related to promotion of software industry, it promotes teachers and students to learn advanced skills in software development, helps speeding up Manoo Ordeedolchest has

the development of personnel with skills for making animation and

extensive experience in the Thai

multimedia applications, promotes software developers to take

IT Industry. He has undertaken

exams to earn professional certifications, and supports the firms to

many public service roles,

introduce their products in international markets, besides promoting

including: President, Advisor to

the use and development of Open Source applications. Manoo

the Minister of Information and

Ordeedolchest, the President of SIPA speaking more on SIPA’s

Communication Technology on e-

contribution to e-learning in an exclusive conversation with Rumi

Industry; Honorary President &

Mallick of Digital Learning.

Former President, the Association

? What is the vision of SIPA in terms

? For the new start up companies,

of driving the IT industry?

how do you facilitate young entrepreneurs to want to set up their company?

of Thai Computer Industry (ATCI); Chairman, ICT Commission International Chamber of Commerce; he served on the Committee for the National Information Technology Committee (NITC); and was Committee & Secretary for the Computer & Communication Education Foundation. His long association with the education sector is clear from the fact that he is a Former Dean, the School of Technology, Shinawatra University and a Lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), as well as other universities. 36

Our mission is to develop the software industry of Thailand. By doing so we have been doing development, which has two dimensions- one is, increasing competitiveness against our neighbours, and for that we are continuously upgrading our skills in the sub-arena. Second is, to expand the software domain so that we can have a bigger market. By software domain we mean adding new categories to software domain like embedded software. Thailand has been concentrating only on the enterprise software. We have noticed that the mobile phone industry in Thailand is increased dramatically. So we have learnt that there will be the need for a lot of software to run on mobile devices. Actually we add on to accessing enterprise software. So our mission is strategised for a software market up to a point we feel that we are comfortably recognised in the world arena.

We have been doing two things. One is to encourage the entrepreneur in the area of animation and the enterprise software. For past three years, we conduct training programmes in animation multimedia and also help them in setting up their companies. Secondly, we at present are working with Board of Investments (BOI), the government progarmme for investment promotion. No matter whether you are a foreign company or a Thai one; if you set up a company, you are entitled to eight years tax holiday, and this is for all companies, not the start up companies.

? What are the biggest infrastructure challenges in integrating ICT in education? First of all, the degree of comprehension is how to change the May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


?All government regions! Yes, many government regions.

? Is it mandatory for the teachers to attend? No, we work with ministry of education that selects which school has to get the exercise. Those are the schools government has planned to install computers.

? You train 1000 teachers every year! We have done the first batch of 1000 teachers last year. Now this is the second batch of 1000 teachers.

? Is there any feedback of the system? One has to understand the learning curve from traditional learning to e-learning. People should not be enforced with somebody else’s best practices. Set the guidelin, give te latform, allow the teacher to comprehend and let them take up their own style way people teach the youngster when they apply e-learning. We have also been teaching people outside Bangkok, in rural area. These people are quite not nourishable. The rural area is a big issue. You cannot just give them a computer. And we expect that the process or the quality of teaching would improve with the ability to comprehend ICT in order for teachers to adopt themselves to the new way of teaching. For the remote area the infrastructure is not that good. In these areas the broadband Internet is not available. This is one problem to think, how to solve it. Then we have experience of supporting some schools in providing some computer. But again the teacher who has ICT knowledge do not stay in one place, he keeps on moving. So after few time, after getting the operational knowledge he might move making the teaching process coming to halt. Infrastructure of telecommunication, to use Internet Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

properly, are the infrastructure problem. Content is another big issue. The teachers have no reasonable comprehension of how to use the electronic content in teaching.

? How are you engaged in education? We work together with Ministry of Education (MOE) to come up with a certain kind of curriculum specifically on computer graphic. This year we do for 1000 schools teachers. And we offer them one or two courses in computer graphic; we provide them ebook, a simple tool, so that when they go back to school they can apply the exercises of e-book on computer graphic.

? Is it conducted in Bangkok only or

Yes, we have done some follow up. The teachers when will go back they have to have some students with whom they can continue. Because, the school they select must have some computer system. What we cannot get confirmation is the percentage; we randomly check whether they actively continue. In fact, last year we have proposed to have a central server, but we have not get necessary budget to support the programme. With that, each teacher when develop content, we will put them into central server. So if I do some work, you can download my work, you can enhance it and you can share your e-learning content with your peer. The content will improve by this. So that’s the second approach.

? The service you talk about - is that primarily being developed by SIPA? Yes, if we get the budget. Most of the projects we initiate, we don’t own it. We first initiate and then try to find some owner. We build the concept and make it happen.

in other region?

? So when MOE and SIPA are

We conduct this in four regions- in east, in north, in south and the central point.

working together, does it mean MOE initiates the project and then SIPA comes into the picture? 37


At the end of the day, we have to learn that e-learning has to be loclised. We cannot just go to buy e-learning content from one country and use in another country without localising that because the teaching system is different everywhere

MOE has its own project. And if a particular project we initiate and if we see that it is useful for them, we invite them to join us.

? Are you guiding MOE in technology matters? Although the government departments have a lot of technology integrated, they don’t have the expertise. This is one thing we have to be careful. When you are working with a ministry, say if they don’t come and say SIPA, please help, then normally we call it in the other way. Because we don’t know whether they like or accept our proposal. The project I have been talking to you earlier, that has a different approach. There we said, this is our idea, this is the way we should do and you see our budget. MOE please come and help, its good for you too.

? Who else is partnering you in elearning?

companies who are producing elearning content are not themselves qualified. Most of them have come from computer software background, they are not educators. So there is no guarantee that whether the content is correct. So that might have a negative impact on school children reading that. We are trying to do that with university graduates, scholars who can help developing correct content. We spent some money on supporting these academic people, we evaluate also. We are doing this with Chulalongkorn university and with Rangsit university in Thailand.

? Is there any quality assurance? No, we don’t go into assurance, we want to do e-learning properly. But we don’t put a mandate that you use it.

? But there are a lot of linkages missing between MOE and people like you who actually are involved in e-learning activities.

Industry, private companies and some overseas agency like Korea. Often we work with some government agencies having similar vision. Normally they help us in certain subject matter and at the same time we try to understand some programme. We get ideas from them.

Yes, but again the MOE is a big ministry, they have so many resources. But even then they don’t know many who’s who. They have many good people, experts in ICT. But sometimes they put them in wrong job.

? Is there any other programme you

? How do you see the industry of e-

are engaged in except the teacher training?

learning in Asia?

One thing we have noticed is, the 38

That’s interesting. In Asia Pacific, there are so many forums to

collaborate and I think right now some advanced countries are guiding less advanced countries into the elearning domain. This kind of an idea is a platform for people to exchange ideas, gather information on domain. At the end of the day, we have to learn that e-learning has to be localised. We cannot just go to buy elearning content from one country and use in another country without localising that. Because the teaching system is different everywhere. Again you have to have B2B for teachers, to influence the way they teach. They have to be able to localise the material. Instead of buying a finished product for teachers, the e-learning product should be designed in such a way that some kind of component is missing. What is your agenda or the policy in e-learning? We start with the teacher. We teach them with basic electronic literacy, to appreciate how the electronic content can help them to improve the quality, to have people reasonable basic infrastructure. Have to make sure, you have a continuous education system, a process to upgrade, you have to understand the learning curve from the traditional learning to e-learning, have to be realistic while making anything for the traditional people. Don’t enforce people with somebody else’s best practice. Set the guideline, give the platform, let the teacher to have a comprehension and let them taking up their own style. May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


Augmenting distance learning on the broadcast networks Rama Vennelakanti [RAMA.VENNELAKANTI@HP.COM], Hewlett-Packard Labs India, Bangalore Hansa P Joshi [HPJOSHI_DECU@SAC.ISRO.ORG], 2DECU - ISRO, Ahmedabad Audio Visual + Print: a new medium for broadcast Television is often attributed with the facility to grab attention, while print is often associated with being more persistent. This ability to synchronously deliver audio visual and print will not only impact the effectiveness and the reach of these distance education programmes, but will also impact how content is created and developed for this new medium.

The PrinTV field trials - the experimental setup In order to understand the user experience and the impact of this new method of delivering content to the viewers the PrinTV System was integrated into an ongoing training programme. PrinTV was integrated into the SatCom based Gram Panchayat Member training programme conducted by the, State Institute of Rural Development. Abdul Nazir Sab-State Institute of Rural Development (ANSSIRD), Mysore, Karnataka, India has been the SatCom centre and nodal agency for Karnataka TDCC (Training and

HP Labs India has developved PrinTV that will augment the TV viewing experience with a print artifact that can be printed, stored, retrieved and referred to when required. PrinTV uses the existing broadband network and delevers documents in sync with the audio visual content. PrinTV will enhance the instructional/informational value of using TV viewing for distance education Development Communication Channel) network for over five years. The TDCC network is set up by the Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU), ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) to promote the use of space technology for developmental purposes. The Primary objective of this institute is to organise training programs for elected members of Panchayat Raj Institutions, officers of various development departments, representatives of voluntary organisations and Bank officials. One of the major training programmes conducted by ANSSIRD is for the elected representatives of the Panchayat Raj Institution (PR) of Karnataka. Karnataka has approximately 90,000 elected Gram

Panchayat members. One of the major responsibilities of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department is in the realm of implementing the provisions of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993 to achieve democratic decentralisation in the governance of the State’s rural areas. The 3-tier structure of Panchayat Raj Institutions of Karnataka consists of • 27 Zilla Panchayats • 175 Taluk Panchayats • 5659 Gram Panchayats The Satellite based Interactive Communication System is an integral system of providing training and communication support for the developmental activities. The trials were aimed at testing the effectiveness of the PrinTV through

PrinTV Audio Visual + Print: a new medium for broadcast This ability to synchronously deliver audio visual and print will not only impact the effectiveness and the reach of these distance education programmes, but will also impact how content is created and developed for this new medium 40

May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


The Satellite based Interactive Communication System is an integral system of providing training and communication support for the developmental activities. Interactive Training Programmes (ITPs) are conducted by user departments to train their rural extnesion workers. Presently, the Training and Development Communication Channel (TDCC), provides one-way video andtwo-way audio conferencing systems The dynamics between the user groups

Training and Development and Communication Channel (TDCC) network of ANSSIRD, Karnataka. The trial also attempts to validate the end user experience, and to understand how the presence of a new medium impacts the teaching and information and dissemination through the TV medium. We also attempted to understand the impact of this mediums ability to deliver Audio, Video and Print in sync on the effectiveness of the training programme.

Trial location A comparative study between experimental locations (with PrinTV) and control locations (without PrinTV) was carried out to measure the extent of utilisation and effectiveness of PrinTV. The experimental locations for field trial of PrinTV technology are located in the taluks of Tumkur district. The control sites are in Mandya district. Tumkur district comprises 10 taluks and 321 Gram Panchayats. PrinTV was installed at seven of the 10 taluks. Mandya district comprised 7 taluks and 232 Gram Panchayats. Four of these taluks were designated control sites for the study.

End users groups as identified The main end user groups identified are as follows: • Faculty: The role of the faculty is to impart training on the Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

Panchayat Raj System to the elected representatives of the Panchayat Raj Institution and decide the content of the program. Facilitators / Resource persons: They stand in for the faculty, and help the faculty communicate with the recipients of information and help the recipients understand, absorb and retain the information given to them. Recipients: The recipients in this case are the elected representatives of Panchayat Raj Institution. The training program aims at educating and informing the PR representatives at knowing their rights, responsibilities and duties as an elected representative.

Program content This specific module of the training program aimed at educating and enabling the Gram Panchayat Members to carry out a detailed planning process towards generating a five year plan for their gram panchayats, resource mobilisation to meet the plan expenditure and also to tackle issues like the pending electricity bills issue. The PrinTV system was used to send documents relevant to the specific AV being transmit. Most print documents send through the PrinTV system pertained to government orders, gazette notifications and circulars pertaining to the course content.

Trial objectives and trial duration One of the major aims of the study is to understand the impact of this new media, AV+P on the training programme. • Does the PrinTV experience generate excitement? • Do they perceive the learning experience as complete? • Does learning become more interactive –hence enjoyable? • Does sharing information become easier and more informative? • Do they perceive that they are able to retain more of the information they have received? The trials were conducted for a period of 3 months during which over 2000 Gram Panchayat member trainees experienced the benefits of PrinTV. The trials were conducted during January to March 2006.

Indicative observations Since the study has just concluded and data analysis is in process, it is possible to only share indicative qualitative trends based on extensive observations conducting using a variety of ethnographic methodology including participant and nonparticipant methods.

Does the PrinTV experience generate excitement? The simulcast print documents increased the involvement of the 41


participants, as they are keen to receive the print documents. Most participants encouraged their neighbours to attend the training programme to get documents that were otherwise inaccessible. These documents created a lot of discussion.

Do they perceive the learning experience as richer and more complete? The faculty was of the opinion that they were able to not only appraise the trainees on the various topics but was also able to send them relevant documents that substantiated the information. The ability to send these documents along with the broadcast AV content enabled them to concretize the information shared. The resource persons perceived that their role and efforts were further authenticated due the delivery of relevant documents along with the AV that they used as a background to initiate learning and discussion. For the trainees the ability to receive printed documents along with the AV content was a major incentive. These documents became tools and weapons of information that strengthened their efforts at grappling with the systems of governance.

Does learning become more interactive–hence more enjoyable? The delivery of printable documents in sync with the audio video perceivably brought about a lot more active interaction within the group. The printed document that arrived with the AV was a point for discussion that gave them more insight into the information provided on TV. The level of interactivity within the group was also observed to increase.

Does sharing information become easier and more informative? The participants said that they would 42

make a file of the prints and share it with their colleagues. They would carry these prints during the gram Panchayat meetings. It is also interesting to note that while the system is installed at only 7 of Karnataka’s 175 taluks, the documents delivered through PrinTV have traveled across the state. Gram Panchayat members and Resource persons from across the state have called their counterparts in Tumkur to request copies of documents.

Do they perceive that they are able to retain more of the information? Most of the trainees opined that these documents sent via the new medium PrinTV would act as trigger to the information provided to them during the training programme. Those with no or little literacy looked to this method of synchronous delivery as a means by which they could take these documents away to be read to them by a literate family member to understand what was required of them.

Other application spaces for PrinTV Some of the applications envisage in the developmental space are: • Education • TV based Educational programs Augmenting lecturer’s broadcast with printable lecture notes, reference materials & tests • Public Information Dissemination • Epidemic prevention – Printable practical guidelines on preventing AIDS etc • Benefit schemes - Forms/ procedure for applying for them • Community information • Edutainment • Agriculture - Information about farming techniques, how to and how much to use pesticides, technology support. • Epidemics – Information on symptoms, measures and precautions on avian flue • Travel – Tourist information, travel tips, history of places.

• •

Health programs - Advisories Spiritual programs – Sermons

The following issues need to be addressed in future as they will impact the way the new medium of simulcasting data along with audio – visual communication will impact choice of media, content creation and affordance of the media over time.

Content for mixed media Simulcast with PrinTV opens up the arena for messaging that is complementary and completed by each other and can be delivered synchronously.

Impact of mixed media The impact of this form of mixed complementary media needs to be studied to understand the full significance of having the message being added to and supported through different media that complement each other and deliver synchronously, some thing not possible till now.

Affordance of mixed media: The affordance of such mixed media needs to be further explored. How do audio-visual and print media when delivered synchronously change the affordance of the various media? Do the affordances of these media get extended and flow into one another.

Impact of behavior change communication augmented by PrinTV: Also of interest is the long-term impact of the PrinTV experience on the community served by these representatives. It is essential to understand how the community benefits from the PrinTV medium. We acknowledge the co-opration and help we received from the management, faculty and staff of ANSSIRD, the Tumkur District and Taluk officials and resource persons for all their help, inputs and cooperation. Our special thanks to the GP members for their enthusiastic response.

May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


A Changed world with unchanged classrooms

I

n today’s information and knowledge-driven world no other form of training than e-learning promises to provide a single experience that accommodates the three distinct learning styles of auditory learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners. Other unique opportunities created by the advent and development of e-learning are more efficient training of a globally dispersed audience; and reduced publishing and distribution costs as web-based training becomes a standard. e-learning also offers individualized instruction, which print media cannot provide, and instructor-led courses allow clumsily and at great cost.

Online learning - the Power to Transform A few visionary companies, with TOTAL LEARNING SOURCES LTD (TLS) having taken the lead, spotted the potential of online education and training many years ago and have made significant inroads into this exciting new field. Initially, TLS was involved in the development and installation of the

platform, and more recently, in the development and dissemination of content as well. TLS have evolved into a large, yet cohesive organization that provides online education and training solutions to anybody who needs it, anywhere in the world, anytime of day or night. It is the vision of TLS is to create a learning society, that is proficient in facing the challenges of the knowledge age. TLS is a name that has become synonymous with global learning. A company that has created opportunities for millions to gain access to world-class education. Across latitudes and longitudes, no matter where you are,TLS connects you to your institution, creating opportunities that are beyond the realm of traditional education programs. It is the mission of TLS to revitalize the education system (in order to lead change), to create new forms of collaborative learning, by deploying technology to improve research, Advertorial


learning & teaching performance. TLS is well on its way to meet the needs of today’s learners, and help in creating tomorrow’s leaders. TLS is thus bringing about a new way of thinking about education, and spearheading a revolutionary initiative, and not merely tuning or tweaking the existing system. TLS’ high impact areas: Education, Corporate Training, Self-improvement. Online education systems for schools, colleges, universities, business schools. Online tutors for students. Corporate training: HR, soft skills, leadership, motivation and more. Self-improvement : Learning new skills, professional and vocational training in specialised sectors like BPOs, IT, manufacturing, banking, insurance, mutual funds and more Schools that never sleep. All educational institutions (primary school to the higher secondary), can benefit from our programs.These come bundled with Extensive curriculum related content, Training, Technical support, and Technical infrastructure. TLS creates customized programs for each institution / university, depending on their needs. •

Departments, faculty, administrators, counselors, students can all be linked, on the intranet or the internet or both.

We digitize, manage and maintain the content. Teaching, submission of assignments, grading can be done online.

Entire libraries can be available through each student’s PC Target 90+ A maths tutor even at three in the morning We have the finest teachers on call, 24x7x365.

A student can log in or telephone our panel at 3 in the morning - and her problem is solved right away.

This facility is available for all our subjects - English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies, Rich, interactive content.

We ensure that the content is enriched, user-friendly and interactive.

Authoring tools are provided for the faculty, who can enhance the content whenever they need to. Teachers can now design their lessons in exactly the way they want, using the powerful digital tools at their command.

The system is rugged, flexible, interactive and cost-effective.

Each teacher’s smartest partner. Each student’s coolest friend. •

Tuitions / classes can be held at any time of the day or night, depending on the convenience of the students and teachers.

There are scores of features, like a shared, interactive whiteboard, application sharing, web tours, schedule planning, curriculum timing and much more. •

Each student can customize the program to an amazing degree.

TLS provides the power of employability, giving direction and shape to individuals.

TLS builds communities with strong bonds.

Self-improvement for enriched careers An individual may want to learn a new set of skills to enhance his employability. Another may want to upgrade her knowledge in her own profession.Yet another may want to learn a new language. A call centre employee can learn to sell mutual funds in her free time. She can log on and start a lesson with her tutor or join a classroom or simply read the relevant text uploaded by the experts. For the manufacturing industry, potential shop floor employees and supervisory staff can log on to learn how the product is assembled, the inputs needed, the processes and technology employed. Source : TOTAL LEARNING SOURCES LTD (TLS) Anyone with the thirst to learn new skills or upgrade existing levels of knowledge can do it easily and conveniently. Just by logging on

www.totallearningsources.com Advertorial


Conference Report

Intel PC making rural community the end user 29 March, 2006, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

A

PC that can withstand dusty conditions, varying temperatures and high humidity like in India, can work in the harsh conditions of rural environments, can provide massive rural populations access to the Internet and thus opening up a world of business and personal communication opportunities and can make the rural community, not an individual the end user! Yes, Intel community PCs launched last month are suited to meet all these requirements.

Intel President launching the Community PC

The initiative of launching of the community PC, according to Frank Jones, President, Intel India, is an effort towards social inclusion, which will enable positive change in India in terms of increased technological penetration and access and thereby higher standards of living for the citizens. The low cost IT solutions on mass scale is big issue, which is worked upon through the community PC. The Community PC is part of an effort by Intel to apply its technology to emerging markets (India, China, Brazil, Russia, South America and African countries). Designed as a result of defining locally relevant computing solutions based on Intel technology, the PC platform is equipped to operate in a community setting while accommodating the varying environmental conditions prevalent in the country. With the objective to bridge the urban-rural divide, Intel also announced its ‘Jagruti’ initiative. By collaborating with leaders in business, government, education, online services and Internet service providers, Intel’s Jagruti programme will support the spread of rural Digital Learning | Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2006

The Intel Community PC

Internet kiosks based on the new Intel-Powered Community PCs. These PCs would be available through Intel partners, HCL and Wipro. The launch was done by Frank Jones driving a tractor into the main hall and bringing the “community PC” followed by a lecture-cumdemonstration by Intel Vice President Will Agatstein and the Product Manager Rakesh Godhwani; they showed a set of applications – adult literacy (from TCS), children education (from Azim Premji Foundation) and Entertainment (Hindi

movie) – convincing the audience that the hardware is “best” (no deficient functionality) and “cheap” (shared access will bring down the costs to Rs 10 per person per day for 3 persons over 3 years) too. This was followed by talks by Intel Corporate VP Bill Siu and Amar Babu, Intel South Asia MD. They informed that the PCs have already been tested in pilot projects at the following locations: Bedeti, Assam, Juna Chamu, Gujarat, Mandya, Karnataka, Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, Mallapuram, Kerala. 45


Mark your calendar april Digital Learning Asia 2006 26-28 April 2006 Bangkok Thailand www.dlasia.csdms.in

may IST-Africa 2006 3-5 May , 2006 Pretoria, South Africa http://www.ist-africa.org/Conference2006/

ASTD 2006 International Conference and Exposition 7-10 May , 2006 Dallas, Texas, USA http://astd2006.astd.org/

Interface 2006: Alberta’s Renaissance: Imagine the Possibilities 10-12 May, 2006 Lethbridge Alberta, Canada http://interface2006.uleth.ca/

Online Educa Madrid 17-19 May, 2006 Madrid, Spain http://www.online-educa-madrid.com/ english/index.php

International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems 26-30 June 2006 Jhongli, Taiwan http://its2006.org/

eLearn Expo Moscow 24 - 25 May, 2006 Moscow, Russian Federation

july

http://www.elearnexpo.ru

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

june Distance Learning Administration 2006 4-7 June, 2006 Jekyll Island GA, USA http://www.westga.edu/~distance dla2006.html

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

International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education 2006 6 July, 2006 Rhodes, Greenland http://www.icicte.com/isite/home/

Lifelong Learning for all: e-learning from concept to practice 5 June, 2006 London England http://web-dev-csc.gre.ac.uk/conference/ conf27/index.php

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

The 6th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies 5-7 July, 2006 Kerkrade, The Netherlands http://www.ask.iti.gr/icalt/2006/

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

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

Teaching Professor, 2006 19-21 May , 2006 Nashville Tennessee, USA http://www.teachingprofessor.com/

Innovation in Education (CADE and AMTEC Joint International Conference, 2006) 23-26 May, 2006 Montreal, Quebec, Canada http://www.acedamtec.uqam.ca/EN/president/

15th International World Wide Web Conference 23-26 May , 2006 Edinburgh, Scotland http://www2006.org/overview/

46

May 2006 | www.digitalLearning.in


I am a child Though, I look after two as My own. I have dreams Though, I never talk About them. I have needs Though, I have not The means. I have learnt To give, without Ever demanding. Is asking for An education, asking Too much. I am but a child!

Through its innovative learning methodology, Hole-in-the-Wall Education Limited (HiWEL) makes a significant contribution to improving elementary education and life skills of children across the world, especially those in disadvantaged communities in rural areas and urban slums. To find out more, visit: http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com

2nd Floor, Synergy Building, IIT Campus, Hauz Khas, New Delhi - 110016, INDIA Tel: +91-11-26581017 / 20 Fax: +91-11-26581022 ; email: hiwel@niit.com

Celebrating innovation and enterprise in Digital Learning Asia 2006 : May 2006 Issue  

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

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