Exploring Digitised Content
June 2010

Exploring Digitised Content

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In today’s world when most of us our running after the most recent information in any subject matter, what is required by any one of us is content. In education sector, content is not only the most sought but also required to fulfill conditions of access, equity and quality. This is where digitsation of content becomes the saviour. eContent, be it in school education or higher education, if appropriate, can lead to great achievements. Quality of the e-content provides with correct information access and supports use of search engines in most effective way. Content whether digitised or otherwise, needless to say has to suit the target audience. It should, however, be remembered that mere digitising of the print content doesn’t mean it is more useful. In fact the purpose of using econtent arises when something different from print medium is to be implemented, that guarantees better comprehension and application by the receivers, which in most cases are the students.

Open Sources

In addition to the e-content service providers’ services, the educational institutions at times also refer to open source e-content for deployment amongst students. But open source e-content risks lacking quality; although it offers flexibility, can be accessed quickly and is cost effective.

Current Scenario

eContent in education in India, is usually associated with the information that is available in digitised form on websites, internet, e-version of print content, TV, Radio, CD/DVD, memory sticks, films and mobile phones. Private sector and the companies that invest in education sector as education service providers are sought for most of the relevant e-content that they prepare with years of expertise, research and knowledge of the given sector They cater not only to the education system but also to the society by providing education solutions in the era where India is facing shortage of cost effective infrastructure, trained and qualifi ed teachers, low Gross Enrollment Ratio, high drop-out rates and lack of dissemination of education to large
population of children in the country. eContent supports not only education but also ‘edutainment’ that includes both education and entertainment. eContent encourages reduction of gap between poorly informed and digitally advanced groups of students, when
disseminated properly. India as a nation is not only supportive of formulation of e-content abroad but is also receptive of the successful implementation of the same in developed or other developing countries. This is building a momentum in the country to gain expertise in developing, disseminating and maintaining quality e-content for educational institutions.
Government is no less in providing its support to gaining understanding and use of e-content. For instance, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and
Information Technology, Government of India; and Minstry of Human Resource Development, Government of India have been active in providing to e-content at large to the educational institutions. eContent is the future! It is hard to stop it from gaining its well deserved space in Indian schools and higher education institutions. Therefore, the focus is rightly set on providing it within the frameworks of quality, access and equity.

migrating to the electronic domain. Publishers and authors are also producing their material for direct digital consumption.”–Anand Kannan, Managing Director GRE EDGE
“We lack suffi cient infrastructure. So if infrastructure for e-content is provided and if facility to maintain thegiven infrastructure or facility of e-content then it can be successful.”
–Usha Saini, Principal, Government Girls Sr. Sec.
“School, Tagore Garden, New Delhi Does e-content serve teaching-learning process in more fruitful way? “e-content, if pedagogically correct and instructionally designed, can support learning objectives and outcomes in a more scientifi c manner than the traditional teaching.
What is essential and important to understand that econtent is complimentary and not stand alone solution. The e-content addresses different learning styles and provides an opportunity for immediate assessment. The e-content has fl exibility, choice and helps in analysis and  evaluation which are key factors of teaching and learning process. The e-content can bring high levels of interactivity and engaged children in an active learning process suited to their needs and abilities, hence, giving them an immersive learning. econtent if properly used in teaching learning process, would enable the child to develop high order thinking skills and make them lifelong learning.”
–Amit Gupta CEO, S.Chand & Company Ltd.
“More than the content, the processes and pedagogy is very important. personalization of learning experience is the key driver and e-content delivery must subscribe to that. When that happens it is fruitful for the student.” –Anand Kannan, Managing Director GRE EDGE
“No doubt it is a marvelous system!” –Usha Saini, Principal, Government Girls Sr. Sec. School, Tagore Garden, New Delhi
How do you compare the e-content utilisation, across India and rest of the world? “The e-content utilization in India presently is at an early stage. In the developed world use of e-content has become a routine. The reason for same is not only infrastructure, hardware and networks but the way these economies are structured now. Since, services, e-commerce and  most of the day-to-day life has digital infl uence, the schools could also not do away without e-content being a major part of schools routine. It is also important to note that the teacher training and availability of resources to a teacher are integrated with e-content. In such a scenario, the use of e-content in other developed countries is much more than India. India faces a major challenge at three levels: Policy makers, decision makers and administrators
Teachers Parents Considering the size of our country, there is little or limited awareness of using e-content in schools. This puts forward the major challenge in allocation of budgets,  training, commitment and awareness among all the three levels. In India, it is more important as this would provide economies of scale for also reaching the margin wise and bridging not only the digital divide but also meeting the challenges of urban and rural divide.”
–Amit Gupta CEO, S.Chand & Company Ltd.
“From our GREedge experience, I feel the adoption of elearning is the same in India and the US. At that segment. Most students use online learning experiences at some stage or the other. We expect that a signifi cant amount of test preparation, especially at graduate and post-graduate level will shift online. There has been a rapid shift in student patterns and institutional attitudes over the last fi ve years, especially in India.”
–Anand Kannan, Managing Director GRE EDGE
“Uncomparable” –Usha Saini, Principal, Government Girls Sr. Sec. School, Tagore Garden, New Delhi
How do you rate the monitoring of e-content in the educational Institutions?
“The e-content comes in various forms and shapes. Most important is that e-content is going to impact the basic education and lifelong learning of an individual. It is important that not only it is culturally and factually correct but should also have the sensitivity required for every  age group and levels of learning. The pedagogy, the instructional design and the learning outcomes of e-content are most critical than having some expensive animations or bytes which do not support the main objective of e-learning. The development of quality e-content is an expensive and time consuming proposition and these resources should be fully utilized to bring full advantage to users. The clear benchmarks of quality and delivery need to be established. The government of India is presently making huge budget allocations but unfortunately there is no clear cut distinction between computer literacy and computer aided learning.” –Amit Gupta CEO, S.Chand & Company Ltd.
“The market is the monitoring mechanism. The market will reject lower quality solutions and content and endorse higher quality solutions. Transparent marketing and consumer and teacher forums for rating products will be the best mechansim for regulation. e-content and educational technology is an area which needs to rapidly innovate and create new solutions and superior, scalable personalized economics. A government body or bureaucratic monitoring mechanism will prevent and kill such innovation. So I would not recommend it. However, the industry (the emerging educational technology industry) can come together and adopt voluntary standards for both content production and transparent and ethical marketing of products.”
–Anand Kannan, Managing Director GRE EDGE
“Defi nitely, to monitor the system decentralisation would be objective and convenient. Monitoring should not be left under control of one person. It should be given independence and
should be given to the grass-root level workers, it shouldn’t be under one thumb.” –Usha Saini, Principal, Government Girls Sr. Sec. School, Tagore Garden, New Delhi

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