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March 2006

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India to foray into China with languages software
Accounting software company Tally India, which has launched its  concurrent multi-lingual business accounting and inventory  management software, Tally 8.1 in ten Indian languages, is all set to take the  product to China where it will offer the same in some of the dialects.  The company is also working at launching it in other Indian languages, including Urdu, and will  launch the products in Arabic for  West Asia and other foreign languages, including for markets in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

President of India calls for joint design and development of  tablet PC
Citing the successful joint venture of India and Russia to harness the core  competencies of the two nations for  the benefit of the humanity, President of   ndia A P J Abdul Kalam called for a  joint design, development and manufacturing of handheld tablet PC  with multilingual capability. According to the President, missions  of world knowledge platform should include the convergeance of bio, nano and the Information and  Communication  echnology. Areas such as electronics, ICT and  Automobile sectors should be
focussed in the areas of design,  development leading to productionisation for meeting the market demands of the respective  countries and also for the world
market. Development and manufacturing of handheld tablet PC  should be done with a cost effective factor and open source operating  system and software configured for the school students and common  citizen who wanted to benefit from the e-Governance initiatives to  meet requirements of Asia Pacific and African countries. This PC would have wireless connectivity so  that it could take care of communication needs and possibly  even the telephone besides sufficient video capability to act as an  entertainment platform. For young
students it should serve as a boon in  ensuring substantial reduction of carrying heavy books and note books.

One Laptop per Child initiative finds Red Hat as India partner
While streams of IT vendors are  talking about low-cost PC solutions for the Indian market, the US$100 laptop being designed by  Massachusetts Institute of  Technology (MIT) for the world’s poorest children, is already getting express backup from India.  News

Illiterate parents in India can  go to school!
This is the mother of all programmeseducating  illiterate parents for free. The Mass Education department along with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan  (SSA) in India will conduct classes  for illiterate parents of out-of-school children during the Chinnara Angala programme.  Chinnara Angala, a two-month bridge course held twice a year, aims at bringing drop-outs back to the  mainstream. Since Chinnara Angala is mostly held in government  schools, a decision has been taken to educate parents along with their  children. While SSA teachers will
concentrate on students, mass education volunteers will cater to  adults. As the bridge course extends up to 100 days in areas where dropout  rate is high, accommodation will be provided to students and their  parents in government schools. There are two incentives: A common  venue for the entire family to get
educated and no fixed timing for classes. As per the March 2005  Child Census, there are 1.05 lakh  out-of-school children in the state. Every bridge course will have at least two volunteers —preraks and  upa preraks — to hold classes for adults. The department is also  conducting short 18-day literacy and livelihood camps in slums,  where semi employed parents can not only become literate but also enhance their skill    American software maker Red Hat Inc signed up as  ‘founding corporate member’’ of One Laptop per Child  (OLPC), the MIT initiative that is driving the US$100 laptop. As a result, Mumbai-based Red Hat India is now one of the global foundries where  software to run the most  ffordable laptop is being written. A sizeable  nugget of the software at the core of
the laptop, now named ‘‘Fedora  Core,’’ will be designed in India. With the world’s largest under-25 population, the government in India  may just have to give the MIT initiative a push. MIT will sell the  laptops only directly to developing country governments, which are then  meant to issue them to children in schools on a basis of ‘‘one laptop per  child.’’ 

University of  Toronto selectsBlackboard for e-Learning
Blackboard Inc., a leading provider of  technology to educational institutions and corporate and government  agencies, announces the University of Toronto, a leading teaching and research university in Canada, has licensed the  lackboard Academic Suite(TM), a suite of three  integrated software products which  support a Networked Learning  Environment(TM).  A Networked  earning Environment  enables students and teachers to learn, connect and share educational    aterials and resources from practically any location and at  any  time. The Blackboard Academic Suite fosters Web-based and Webenhanced
learning and is used by  hundreds of universities, colleges and K-12 schools in North America and  abroad. The university plans to utilize the system  immediately to enhance the student experience by providing  improved integration of digital  resources, better communication and collaboration utilities and a  consistent, web-based interface across courses. Instructors will
benefit from possibilities for new  methods of instruction and more effective and efficient class  administration.

University research group in Thailand bring out utility-bill  payments system through CAT kiosk
Customers in the near future will be able to make their utility purchases and payments with CAT cards using a  one-stop service called a CAT Kiosk – doing away with their visits to  convenience stores – thanks to something the  corpion Research   Group of Kasetsart University in  Thailand has come up with. It is for consumers wishing to make their utility-bill payments through a  kiosk. It  upports both English and   Thai versions and the team plans Russian, Korean and Japanese  versions as well. It will also reduce imports of equipment, which is  costlier. The kiosks will be equipped with a high-end computer, printer,  barcode scanner and a wireless  modem sending information into a central system. Customers will be  asked by a 17-inch display monitor to  make their payments; they can also have the payment scanned.  After that, the computer will show the  amount to be paid and calculate the service charge. Customers will be able  to pay more than one bill at one go. Users will then pay through their  credit cards. The computer system will then verify the credit card at
headquarters. Once that is done, customers get their printed  receipts

Teen ICT trains younger people
To make the country a knowledgebased society where people have equal access to information and  communication technology (ICT), the Information and Communications  Technology Ministry in Bangkok has rolled out a project called “Teen ICT”,  encouraging young people to be trained in the use of technology.  The concept is to allow students from Teen ICT Project to study  game  development in depth as well as the  development of education media. The  target is for 40-50 students to join  Teen ICT Workshop in the first year.
Teen ICT Project ran from August to  December last year with around 700  students from over 100 schools in  more than 10 provinces nationwide being trained in the use of the  Internet and multimedia applications. In the project 50 leadership students  were created in Bangkok, selected from 150 students chosen by the  Basic Education Commission. Those 50 then trained the other students. 

Auditor to monitor ICT usagein Malaysian schools
The Education Ministry in Malaysia will soon appoint an independent auditor to monitor the effectiveness of the use of ICT in all schools.  This was necessary as almost 87% of schools in the country have either  desktop computers or  otebooks. It is  important to know whether teachers are using the facilities  effectively in the learning and teaching process and  whether there are enough computers. Also is important to know whether the  computers are lying idle or whether they have been supplied to schools,  which don’t have power supply. The ministry had initially short-listed five  companies for the auditor role,
however three companies pulled out after he laid down stringent  conditions

Cisco Networking Academy in
India
Networking major Cisco Systems and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) in India have  teamed up to provide the Cisco Networking
Academy Programme in about 250 non-profit educational institutions across the state Andhra Pradesh. The JNTU Colleges of Engineering in  Hyderabad, Anantapur and Kakinada will be accredited as Regional  Academies. These academies will identify and accredit 250 non-profit  educational institutions as local academies under them within a period  of two years. The academies will
impart networking education to around 25,000 students every year.

WORLD
Privacy fears hit Google search A leading US digital rights campaign
group has warned against using Google software which lets people organise and find information on their computers.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the latest version of Google Desktop posed a risk to privacy. This  is because a feature in the software lets Google keep personal data on its  servers for up to 30 days. Google says it plans to encrypt all data transferred  from users’ hard drives and restrict access. The new version of its  desktop search software comes as Google is battling efforts by the US  Department of Justice to force it to
hand over data about what people are looking for. Google Desktop 3 is  currently only available for Windows  P or Windows 2000. 

Reinventing High School education infused with  technologyHigh Tech High, in this innovative charter school, in a converted warehouse, students don’t take tests  or write  apers. Instead, they use the latest technology to produce  documentaries,  books and presentations.  The brainchild of lawyer-turnededucator  Larry Rosenstock, High Tech High is one of many attempts in  America to reinvent high schools. The movement is fueled by growing alarm  over dropout rates – especially among blacks and Hispanics – disengaged  students, and a decline in American competitiveness in science and math.  High Tech’s model is to locate small schools with no more than 450  students each on the same campus. It is “high tech” not because it trains students to fix computers and write  software, although some do, but because technology is infused   throughout the curriculum. Students work on networked laptops and  maintain digital portfolios. There are plans to open more school campuses  in California as well as Texas. 

UK college to get its radio online
A WELSH further education college  in UK is to become the first to launch an  online radio station through an innovative website. Dozens of schools have set up their  own stations using award-winning website www.radiowaves.co.uk, but  Coleg Gwent will become the first further education college to join their  ranks. The college, the largest further  education provider in Wales, will launch its presence on Radio Waves under a name picked by a student.   Radio Waves allows schools and colleges to set up online radio  stations where they can upload clips of up to 30 minutes sharing their news and views with the nation. College staff hope students will begin adding clips to the website, and that working on the radio station will boost their IT and communications skills. Getting involved in the Radio Waves project should help students to improve their  self-confidence, build relationships and enhance their ICT skills.

SAC US’s largest online-degree provider
United States News and World Report ranked San Antonio College as the sixth largest online degree-granting  program in the United States, according to the magazine’s e-  Learning Guide. The University of Phoenix, which  maintains a campus in San Antonio, based in Arizona; Park University in Parkville; St. Leo University in Saint Leo; the University of Maryland,  University College in Adelphi; and  Central Texas College in Killeen, Texas, were listed as the top five schools. According to the publication,  students were enrolled in 19,000 online classes at San Antonio College  during the 2004-2005 academic year.  Classes include a combination of content on CD-ROM, video and some  on-campus meetings. San Antonio College offers 195 distance- ducation  courses toward the completion of an associate in arts and science degree, and an associate in applied science  degree. The school also offers online  associate’s degrees in mathematics and criminal justice. More bytes for girls in IT and  multimedia in Australia  Responding to the decreasing participation of girls in IT subjects,  Swinburne University in Australia is running a program to motivate girls  into using IT and multimedia in schools.

The programme More bytes:
Girls in IT is part of the Australian  School  nnovation in Science  Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM).  The unique program aims to engage a diverse group of girls from Year 8 to  10 in IT and multimedia by giving  them the chance to network and build  their story of girls’ culture using technology. The project brings   together a diverse mix of high school girls from different backgrounds, and  increases their opportunities to think  creatively, to share ideas and  resources, and inspires them to consider IT and multimedia as
possible careers.

Google unveils Web page creator
Google launched a service that lets people create their own Web pages hosted by the Internet giant. Google Page Creator, which is in beta, has  sample layouts and lets people type in content, upload images and publish  their pages, without knowing HTML. People can create multiple linked  pages and are allowed 100MB of storage on the service. The free  service requires a Gmail account and
supports either Internet Explorer 6.0 or Firefox 1.0, or higher. With Page  Creator, the company has drawn a  distinction between Web sites and  Web pages, saying that a page is a “single document with its own Web  address,” whereas a site is a “collection of pages with a common  subdomain,” or the “xxxxxxx.com” portion of the URL. “During this  initial testing period,” Google said, people can create only pages, not  sites.

ICT course aims to change lives in New Zealand
The Unlimited Potential course aims to give computer skills to people in New Zealand who may never have  ad the chance before. The course sponsors – the Government and Microsoft – hopes that local  communities will be revitalised as a result.  Minister for the Community, Winnie  Laban says new skills can lead to new jobs and creative alternatives to deadend  employment. Microsoft NZ Managing Director Ross Peat says   the examples of countries like Ireland and Singapore have already shown what happens when a population has  crossed the digital divide. Some of the pilot schemes have been very solidly  based in the local communities, with Microsoft providing network  equipment, PCs and software to enable the training to be carried out  actually in the community rather than  lsewhere. The technology and the software provide opportunities for people to realise their potential, and  can transform lives.

Open source software for educational ICT
Up-to-date advice for all colleges and universities in the UK about open source software is now available. The Joint Information Systems Committee realises that almost every further and higher education  institution in the UK is making
using of open source software. With the European Commission  and the UK Government giving its support to its development and  deployment, it has become a central issue for institutional  management of IT systems and services in education. ‘Open source’ refers to software  whose source code is openly available to be modified by end-users,  in contrast to proprietary software. While such software is already in use in colleges and universities, it is  rarely yet part of institutional policies and strategies and there are still a  great many misunderstandings concerning it.  In this latest publication, JISC – supported by its advisory service OSS Watch – advocates  the use of open source as the default for software development  as well as providing guidelines  on copyright, licensing, trademarks, patents and  development practice

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