Intel Study An archetype for learning and teaching
June 2006

Intel Study An archetype for learning and teaching

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In an attempt to bring in a fresh new perspective to class room learning, Intel research team in India carried out an exercise to capture what parents and teachers had to say about their lives in alignment with that of the children. The needs, dreams and aspirations of children were looked into, with an indepth exploration into their daily lives, surrounding home, school and spaces in between. Parents had a lot more to say in terms of dreams and aspirations and what they thought would be the ideal solution to the drawbacks in the present day education system. Teachers also contributed in coming out with the shortcomings, ailing classroom teaching, which helped ultimately the Intel team in finding out the present day paradigms and the trend settings for a technology-empowered generation for the future. The research provided with myriad insights can be the eye openers for developing a need-based solution for school education, particularly for an emerging market like India

 

Because of the deep-rooted inclination towards education, any attempt to bring about changes, however big or small, would necessarily have to be explicit in
terms of the benefits and value propositions. With this understanding, the research team at Intel in India has found it quite  challenging to develop a solution, for the teachers to teach well and the  students to learn better. The Intel  team study captures student insights through in-depth personal interviews,  expert observations and cultural probes. A number of artifacts used by them were also studied and  documented in order to bring out the subtleties of personalisation and  individual usage models. The study also unraveled the daily routine of a  typical student and observations were mapped out within the context and the  ecosystem captured as a whole. The research was not just limited to  the end users or “consumers” of technology in education, but also to
the important drivers, chief  stakeholders and also the players in the ecosystem. User research was  done to understand the needs and attitudes of primary users,
secondary users and drivers.  Secondary research was done to understand opportunities in  education for middle tier India.
Secondary research
Areas covered in the research are-
• Market segmentation
• The Ecosystem- Users and Drivers
• Government initiatives and vision for ICT in Education
• Current education system
• In depth need analysis

Market segmentation
The target Segment for this study is the middle tier India, and in the  education domain. The urban India segmentation is classified as the rich,  the consuming class, the  climbers, the aspirers, and the destitute. Indian middle tier comprises of the  consuming class, the  climbers and the aspirers. The rich class and the destitute are not included  for this study. The other segment is the education
domain or schools, which  was considered basing on  the statistics on ICT
penetration in Indian schools, which is again less than one educational PC  per 1000 students in schools.  The focus was on the urban schools, and certain government sponsored schools, which will help to provide  reach and network. Municipal and Government schools were not considered owing to low infrastructure.

Ecosystem – Users and Drivers
The user study was based on a classification of primary and secondary users. The primary users  of any solution in the target segment would be the students.
Teachers and parents are the  secondary users Schools and the Government (state  nd centre) who have extended policy level support and funds for deployment of ICT for education in the schools are considered as the  primary drivers. Parents and teachers  are the secondary drivers.

Government initiatives
There are several policies and  initiatives proposed by the government both at a central as well  as state level, to promote the use of ICT in India education. The current policies by the central government include part of the tenth five-year  plan, the CLASS project, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, among others. Among state  governments, Kerala, Delhi and Orissa  have introduced policies for ICT  implementation in education. Among visionaries, President Abdul  Kalam and the Minister for Communication and Information Technology  have proposed several initiatives regarding the use of technology in education. NCERT, a  government agency, has helped ICT penetration by introducing programmes  for the use of technology in education.

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

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

Insights from the students
The need to carry all textbooks and  notebooks everyday to the school irrespective of the timetable weighs down the child.  At school, the large size of the class  leads to lack of personal attention from the teachers and the unappealing  text books coupled with traditional methods of teaching de-motivates the child. An integral part of the Indian child’s  life is the tuitions, which along with the schools follow a complete exam  focused process. Peer pressure and  parental pressure drive the child towards result-oriented education

Insights from the parents
Even an illiterate parent realises the potential of computer education (though in many cases they cannot  make out a difference between computer education and knowledge)  and aspires to give his child computer education. Constant complaints about  inaccessible learning and inconsistent curriculum are common notes in the research. Lack of innovative teaching  and lackluster learning mechanism is what concerns the parents most.

Insights from the teachers
The education content contains novalue-based teaching and the  curriculum is unappealing. The rush to meet curriculum deadlines also  plays havoc in their approach to  teaching. Lack of parental involvement leaves the moral onus
entirely on the teachers to bring out better results.  The teachers seek technology as a  solution for most of their problems. To them technology has a major share in  markedly changing their lives for the better and opine that technology has  made it easier for all and sundry except the teaching sector hence it is  high time for technology to give them better honor.

Identified key challenges
• Traditional, non technology based teaching techniques
• Stressful life, over crowded classes, long study hours, need to carry heavy school bags, etc.
• Deficiencies in current education and examination system promoting scoring over learning, theoretical rather than practical, less attention to vocational or
technical education, etc. Towards a solution space Gathered from different perspectives, some solution points are
• Innovative content to make  learning an exciting experience • Complete the learning experience by bringing together students,  parents and teachers
• Role of technology enablers (like  service providers, content providers) are critical
• Need to focus on developing the ecosystem to make the solution fruitful and effective
• Initiatives from the government side and policy implementations which help the education

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

 

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