Digital Learning India 2009, the 5th annual conference and exhibition, provided an opportunity to the participants to take a look at the current situation and outline desirable future developments in the field of ICT enabled education. Convened alongside the eINDIA2009 Conference, from 25th to 27th August, the Digital Learning Conference track marked a shift from just an eLearning programme to a more integrated approach of ICT supported education conference. The track was demarcated between school and higher education with the view of addressing the persisting challenges of both these areas with due importance and urgency.
The School Education Forum brought together the perspective and visionary leadership in school education, with the purpose of responding to the challenges of new age teaching and learning.Representatives of various school education boards and government departments facilitated the conclave, in which around fifty school principals participated in the dialogue process. The education industry, which has a major stakeholder role, also took active part in the conclave discussions.
ducation for All, Opportunity with ICTs: Policy vs Practice
Objective of the session was to highlight avenues and ways in which ICTs could play a crucial role in bringing education closer and making it more valuable for the masses.
Chair: Ashish Garg, Regional Coordinator-Asia, Global eSchools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI)
Panelists: Anwar Sadat, IT@School, Government of Kerala; Saptarishi Basu, SMART Technologies; Amit Gupta, CEO, HMSC; Rajeev Katyal, Director- Education, Microsoft; Rajat Verma, Head-Business Development, Top Chalks; Muralidhar K S, CEO, LearnSmart; L Balasubramaniam, President, NIIT.
Discussions AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- The panel reinstated that finding ways to overcome the digital divide can be possible by providing low cost ICT teaching-learning aids. The Draft ICT Policy in School Education has aimed at preparing the youth to participate creatively in the establishment, and in contributing to the sustenance and growth of a knowledge society leading to all round socio economic development of the nation and global competitiveness.
- Anwar Sadat, Executive Director, IT@School Project, Kerala, emphasised that the focus in Kerala has gradually shifted from IT education to ICT enabled education and on indigenous content development. The IT@School project has been concentrating on upgrading infrastructure in schools, capacity building of teachers and students, providing Broadband to all schools, e-governance and EDUSAT initiatives.
- Key issues in implementation of the ICT Policy included: Provision of infrastructure and affordable technologies, provision of technologies in rural areas where connectivity is a problem; and problems related to narrow thinking which hampers global competitiveness of students. The policy agenda must take into consideration the diverse needs of various sections of the student community including those relating to special needs in education.
- According to Muralidhar K S, the economic growth of a country is directly related to the standards of education of that country. The economy grows when the youth becomes competitive enough to become a successful entrepreneur and when enough confidence is built among them through the dissemination of multi-dimensional knowledge. The government, therefore, needs to usher in policies which push for greater integration of technology in education, thereby promoting globally competitive youth.
- Education technology service providers have to play a facilitating role in promoting ICTs in education by analysing the needs and requirements of the student-teacher community and focusing on technologies suited towards promoting an effective learning and teaching environment. The implementation of ICT enabled learning have been fraught with challenges. These may include lack of training for teachers, aversion towards technology and change, uncertain power supply, etc. All these can be addressed through innovative teaching practices and integration of training needs of teachers.
- The government initiatives have been successful to a certain extent in promoting ICTs in education through various legislations, however though, greater efforts need to be made to promote the use of the same.The session proved to be a brainstorming exercise on important issues of contemporary relevance. The participants and the speakers elaborated on the policy needs and challenges and ways to address the same.
The issues highlighted were specific to the needs of classroom teaching and learning. It brought out the expectations of the teaching community from a National Policy on ICT in School Education. The role of policy makers, education technology solution providers and service providers in bringing innovation to technology was made prominent through the discussions and deliberations.
Conclave of School Leaders: Challenges & Opportunities of ICTs in Education
Objective of the session was to initiate a dialogue amongst the delegates on issues like; “The Principal’s role in shaping the ethos of a school”, “Attributes of an innovative school and a leader” and “The role of emergent technologies addressing the several pedagogical concerns that schools should address”, and the expectations from the technology service providers.
Chair: Ashish Garg, Regional Coordinator-Asia, GeSCI
Speakers: V Nageswara Rao, Deputy Commissioner, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti; Simmi Kher, Director, The Indian Heights; Rittika Chanda Parruck, British Council; Sricharan, Director, Chaitanya Group of Schools, Hyderabad; P Mohna Kumar, Nazmul Hasan Munshi- NIIT; interacting with more than 80 school principals.
Discussions AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- The panel discussion brought to the fore issues such as the need to train teachers for technology integrated classrooms and providing more discussion forums for bringing out the requirements of the teaching community.
- V Nageswara Rao, in his address, highlighted the vision of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas in breaking the digital divide between the rural and urban India. He underscored the role of these residential schools in providing modern quality education to rural students in the country. A number of intensive training programmes have been devised to address the needs of the teachers in using ICTs. Procurement of VSAT connectivity and connecting all the JNVs through Broadband has been the major initiatives. All JNVs have been provided with laptops and projectors and are equipped with Smart Class technologies. Some of the challenges of teacher training have been successfully addressed through systematic training plans. Problem of non availability of software components have been addressed through collaborations with major corporate players.
- It was highlighted during the discussion that the present day teachers are not necessarily antithetical to learning in a technology enabled environment. Rather, they have to be given the opportunity to train and be trained so that newer and better technologies can be integrated into the classroom curriculum. School leaders and functionaries have a key role in promoting the use of new technologies by highlighting the need and practicality of the same.
- The school leaders emphasised that the new age technology should not be viewed as a hindrance in teaching. Rather, it has to be seen as playing a supplementary and a complementary role to teaching learning methods. Added visual effects through the use of IT has helped enhance students’ retention of the theme while practical demonstration, which cannot be done through rote learning, has helped enhance student understanding of the subject.
The session saw some important facts being revealed with regard to the use of technology in teaching. Teachers and principals who participated in the conclave vociferously stated that they were not averse to technology being introduced in the school curriculum. Rather, their open readiness to assimilate change became even more pronounced through the discussions. The only worrying factor, which has been duly addressed through relevant training, was the lack of comprehensive IT skills. However, supplementary training has now made them master trainers and they are now in a position to even train other novice teachers.
The high point of the session was when all teachers unequivocally stated that technology definitely has a place in the education system and that technology enabled learning is the way ahead. Schools such as Gitanjali Group of Schools and Hyderabad Public School have put forth their agenda of upgrading and improvising on the existing school technologies in order to keep pace with times.
Objective of the session was to devise methods of skilling and re-skilling educators, so that they can adapt to changing faces of technology.
Chair: Prof A K Bakshi, Director, Institute of Life Long Learning, University of Delhi.
Speakers: Dr Sharad Sinha, RIE, NCERT, Ajmer; Prof Sandeep Kayastha, Dean-Content, Everonn Systems; Krishan Khanna, Chairman, i2K Solutions; Ajay Kapoor, Director, Oracle Education Initiatives, India.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- The presentations made at the session underscored the fact that educators can be trained towards the productive use of technologies. However, there is a need to demystify educational technology solutions, so that it becomes simpler for educators to understand and grasp.
- Several education solution providers have come up with high end technologies that can play a revolutionary role in teaching practices. Awareness for the same can be generated through greater interaction between teachers and technology providers.
- Several technologies have taken into account the teacher requirements in classrooms and training in these would prove to be useful for the educators in the long term.
The participation at the session saw a mix of technology solution providers along with school leaders and academicians. The blend made the discussion interactive and fruitful. The role of technology in education was underscored and majority of the audience members agreed to the fact that teaching practices has to gradually evolve with the help of technology.
Network and Collaboration On and Beyond Campuses
Objective of the session was to deliberate on a unique structure that connects secondary or high schools in India, Asia, and beyond to bring forth some cases, insights and opportunities for collaborative learning and inter cultural exchanges by the schools and within classrooms.
Chair: Ashish Garg, Regional Coordinator-Asia, Global eSchools and Communities Initiative.
Speakers: Vikram Desai, Group Head, DECU, ISRO; Rittika Chanda Parruck, Project Manager, UKIERI, British Council-India; Will Glennon, President, Global Classroom Connections, US; Simmi Kher, Director, The Indian Heights, India; Dr John Collick, Senior International Education Manager, Promethean.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- The session deliberated on classrooms shared by students and teachers to build stronger bi and multi-regional networks and partnerships in the course of implementing common online projects and participating in face-to-face exchanges.
- Vikram Desai, Group Head, DECU at ISRO elaborated on the Education Satellite System which is aimed at providing effective teacher training and supplementing curriculum based teaching. It has sought to provide access to quality resource persons at higher and professional education level; strengthen the distance education efforts initiated by various agencies; take education to every nook and corner of the country; and provide access to new technologies. The system has enabled networking of educational resource providers and the student community.
- Simmi Kher, Director, The India Heights, while sharing her experiences with Tony Blair Faith Foundation of UK, reiterated the need to support a new generation of global citizens through cross-cultural encounter, exploration and exchange of new ideas and creation of a global community of young people committed to increasing the understanding and respect among different faiths and cultures.
- Dr John Collick was of the opinion that education networking is the way ahead for the future. Increasing use of Internet and broadband technologies has brought the world closer together and that student networks will promote knowledge exchange and technology transfers.
- Will Glennon, while discussing about the revolutionary GCC programmes, mentioned that he is in the process of establishing partnership with the government and teachers, there by establishing a network of classrooms around the world where students are in regular, robust, direct and interactive communication with their peers in other countries.
ICT Best Practices to Next Practices
Objective of the session was to highlight case studies and best practices of ICT integration in schools and to deliberate on the ICT-based collaborations and ways to strengthen relationships between schools, development partners, and industry leaders.
Chair: Stephen Jury, Vice Chairman, Education Strategy, Promethean.
Speakers: Sricharan, Director, Chaitanya School, Hyderabad; Suresh Jha, Vice President, OLPC-India; Manish Sharma, Vice President, APAC, NComputing; Gautham More, Technology Head, NIIT.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Numerous contemporary endeavours in ICTs for education were highlighted during the course of the session. The innovative use of technology has helped equip rural schools with computers powered through shared computing.
- Manish Sharma, Vice President, APAC, NComputing, in his presentation detailed on how low cost equipments can help provide affordable technology. “The requirement of bringing low cost, low energy computing to schools in remote areas could be brought about through shared computing, which has enabled 1.8 million students in rural Andhra Pradesh to have computer access for the first time.”
- Experience sharing with teachers and educators have helped several solution providers to come up with education solutions that are practical and relevant to the daily classroom requirements.
- Suresh Jha emphasised that the vision of bringing technology to the grassroots has fueled the idea of furnishing all schools in India with laptops and possibly, one laptop for every child through cost effective methods. Curriculum formation and methods have been standardised to a great extent and the content generated have greatly added value to the school syllabi.
The industry leaders put forth their vision of an ideal school and how technology can be better used so that it can easily be absorbed by the existing teacher community.
Smart Classrooms: Technology Challenges & Insights
Objective of the session was to identify several areas, where ICT technology can be used in classroom teaching methods. Some of the pressing problems that the session sought to address included: ways and means to convert a classroom to a Smart Classroom, with ICTs as the facilitating element; creation of a knowledge-based development approach and formulation of an ICT vision of a school; and dealing with technological challenges in the infrastructure, capacity building, software and hardware fields.
Chair: Dr Madhav Pulipati, CEO, e-GIGA, Institute for eGovernance, IT &C Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Speakers: Terry Wason, Country Manager, SMART Technologies India; Srikanth B Iyer, COO, Edurite Technologies; Paramjeet Kaur, Director, Desingmate; Abraham Tharakan, General Manager, Design and Development, School Learning Solution, NIIT; Chris Stevens, Director-Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Terry Wason emphasised on the need for a shift towards latest educational technologies. “We need new models of teaching for new kinds of learners which would involve all parties interested in education including students and teachers, the government, the education system, parents and the business community. Smart Technologies accommodate the needs of diverse learning environments including those of small groups, distance learning and individual learning needs.”
For Paramjeet Kaur, “Smart Schools will help in preparing the student for the modern working environment of the future. It has increased the participation of teachers, parents and the private sector in the education process.”
- Chris Stevens, Director-Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, highlighted the outcomes of the 10 year study done by Apples Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT). It demonstrated that students who were provided with technology-rich learning environments “continued to perform well on standardised tests but were also developing a variety of competencies not usually measured. Students explored and represented information dynamically and in many forms, became socially aware and more confident; communicated effectively about complex processes; became independent learners and self-starters; and knew their areas of expertise and shared that expertise spontaneously.”
- Abraham Tharakan, summarised the efforts being made by technology solution providers in integrating the specific needs of teachers into smart classroom technologies in the words of Rubenstein, “Ignoring human response to change is often the single greatest pitfall to successful implementation of technological change.”
The session provided the participants with an insight into the modern world of technology in education. The educators and teachers showed their enthusiasm and keenness in knowing more about new technologies and how it can supplement their teaching-learning requirements.
The Industry Leaders’ Conclave
- Objectiveof the session was to create industry-wide discussion, identify core issues, set priorities and establish a series of leadership actions to help direct the future of the ICT and education industry.Chair: Dr C S R Prabhu, Deputy Director General, National Informatics Centre.
Panelists: Sanjiv Gupta, Co-Founder, LearnSmart; Paramjeet Johar, Director, Designmate; Jasvinder Singh, CEO, Wordsworth; Vivek Agarwal, CEO, Liqvid; Amit Gupta, CEO, HMSC; Sonjib Mukharjee, CEO, InVidya; Ranjit Singh, CEO, Genee Solutions; Devraj Shetty, Senior Vice President and Head-eLearning Business, Sify Technologies Ltd.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- The industry has been a major player in revolutionising the role of ICTs in educational settings. Modern technologies have not only helped the needs of high end schools, but also enabled government run and other aided schools to make use of the digital progress through educational technologies. Corporates have played their social roles responsibly and have pitched in to reduce the digital divide.
- Major collaborations with the government have helped provide computer technology to numerous government run educational institutions. Special needs of students and teachers have been duly considered and products so manufactured have only added value to the educational processes.
- Paramjeet Kaur, Director, Designmate, explained that the company has been taking steps towards integrating the disabled into the system by hiring persons with special needs, training them and providing them livelihood opportunities. The Corporate Social Responsibility wing of the company has been active in several fields.
The Industry Leaders’ Conclave provided an appropriate platform for the corporate representatives to put their best foot forward not just in terms of the benefits accrued to the education sector through ICTs, but also through highlighting their socially responsible endeavours in an attempt to reach out to the underprivileged masses. It brought out the often less highlighted accomplishments in promoting social justice in education and giving impetus to greater digital equality.
“The sessions at the School Education Forum generated a lot of discussion points. I received many queries and feedbacks from the participants. Sizable representation from the government sector added value to the conference.”
Rittika Chanda Parruck, Regional Manager, Connecting Classrooms, India and Sri Lanka, British Council
“The Conclave of School Leaders was the most satisfying for all participants since everyone had a chance to share their ideas and experiences. The school principals contributed immensely in making the sessions meaningful. The deliberations at the Keynote Session 1 was interactive and engaging, as the presentations were limited and discussions were encouraged. Overall the eINDIA2009 experience was great!”
Ashish Garg, Asia Regional Coordinator, Global e Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI)
“It has been my privilege to be associated with the eINDIA2009 and eAgriculture sessions for three years in a row. The discussions have brought together diverse perspectives which have been explored and ruminated on. One impressive observation was that this year, there were lesser number of power point presentations, with the focus more on speaker-audience engagement. The outcome of the sessions in this format proved to be much more valuable and interactive. Dr Ravi Gupta and his team have done a splendid job at the event.”
Dr Gopi Ghosh, Assistant FAO Representative, New Delhi
“Participating at the School Leaders’ Conclave and the School Education Forum was a pleasure. I have been a part of eINDIA since the last 4 years and the notable and positive difference this year was the wider representation of school teachers and principals. The presence of the practitioners at the conference has helped highlight the real problems and challenges encountered during teaching-learning process and ways and means of addressing the same.”
Simmi Kher, Director, The Indian Heights, India
“The display of various ICT infrastructure and content development solutions have been commendable. At the same time, the government needs to set up standards for the software and hardware products in education and other fields. There has to be a customised measure for the proper and effective utilisation of such solutions. The conference has highlighted the need for bringing together various stakeholders in ICTs and making efforts to bridge the digital divide across domain.”
Kiran Rao, eINDIA2009 Delegate
“The power point presentations made during the session have been hugely informative. Conferences such as these help in bringing together ideas from across domains. The discussions have proved to be useful and relevant in today’s context where ICTs have become a buzzword for future growth.”
K. Shashikant, eINDIA2009 Delegate
“The perspectives highlighted in the Higher Education Forum were very contemporary and relevant. The need for skills and vocational training are pressing issues which need to be addressed. The forum brought out several practical recommendations which will be of tremendous help.”
Reshmi Rawat, eINDIA2009 Delegate
digitalLEARNING HIGHER EDUCATION FORUM
The new economy is fueled by knowledge workers and hence it has serious implication on the present education system. Our traditional education system is undergoing a drastic transformation due to technological change where ICT acts as a catalyst. The higher education system aims at building an inclusive and effective information. By leveraging on ICT, it is possible to teach better to a wider audience breaking geographical barriers. The Higher Education Forum sought to discuss and bring out solutions to some very pressing challenges in ICT and Higher Education.
Changing Face of Higher Education: Technology Practices & Priorities
Objective of the session was to delineate the preparedness of universities and higher educational institutions towards ICT and Education.
Chair: Shakila Shamsu, Joint Advisor (Education), Planning Commission, Government of India.
Speakers: Dr. B K Murthy, Director, Department of Information Technology, Government of India; Dr. Duk-Hoon Kwak, President, Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS); Dr. Iyyanki V Murali Krishna, Adjunct Professor, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok; Adrian Hall, Consultant, Okapi Consultancy, UK; Dr. K P Hewagamage, Head, eLearning, UCSC, Colombo; Dr. Tapan Panda, President, Marketing and Corporate Afairs, Everonn.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Shakila Shamsu opened the session by discussing issues in Higher Education Highlighted in the XIth Plan – Expansion, Equity and Excellence. She shared government’s plan to increase access and reduce disparities in education by making Higher education inclusive.
- Dr. B K Murthy highlighted in his presentation the new technologies that are capable of reaching the masses by overcoming distance and accessibility; providing everybody with opportunity of Life Long learning. While speaking about the two major schemes of the Ministry of Human Resource Development – National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), National Mission on Education through ICT (NME- ICT), he elaborated on the National Knowledge Network.
- Dr. Duk-Hoon Kwak presented his paper on e-Learning in Korea, with special focus on Korea Education & Research Information Service (KERIS). Dr. Kwak emphasised that for successful e-Learning, issues like – accessibility, quality, etc. – need to be addressed at the policy level.
- Adrian Hall made his presentation on ‘New Technological Applications to Enhance Teaching & Learning’. In the context of England, he shared that Connectivity, Kit, and Content are the key pillars for effective use of ICT in Education.
- Dr. K P Hewagamage shared his Sri Lankan experience with his paper on ‘Breaking Barriers in Higher Education through e-Learning’. In his presentation, there was a mention about the various layers of understanding the Higher education and the significant role that it plays in building educated communities and in contributing to the national development.
- Dr. Tapan Panda represented the private sector which has been involved in technology for education. He was of the view that technology is not only a great enabler but breaks the barriers of addressing quantity and quality in the education.
Various ramifications of higher education were discussed in the session. All the delegates unanimously agreed that ICT application in higher education has extended autonomy in students and teachers for creating their own learning materials.
Bridging the skill gap with technical vocational education
Objective of this session was to capture the major challenges in outlining the role and key areas of ICT in Human Resource Development in the education sector.
Chair: R K Chugh, Deputy Director General – Training, Directorate General Employment & Training (DGE&T), Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India.
Speakers: Manish Bharadwaj, Director, Technical Education, Government of Gujarat; S J Amlan, Regional Director, Applied Training, Ministry of Labour & Employment; Vikas Singh, CEO, Crux Management, Hyderabad; Vikas Garg, CEO & Director, Micronet; and Prof N B Sudarshan Acharya, Founder & National Coordinator, Lead India 2020 Foundation.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- R K Chugh’s presentation was focused on the role of Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGE&T), which includes policy formulation on vocational training, laying down standards, revising course curricula, granting affiliation, trade testing and certification. He shared on the Government of India’s effort to launch the National Skill Development Mission, while giving a detailed account of the constitution of the mission.
- Manish Bhardwaj shared a Case study of a successful experiment in Online Testing, which is Gujarat Common Entrance Test 2009. This experiment was a first time in India that any State Government level Entrance Exam was conducted online for granting admissions to affiliated institutions throughout Gujarat for courses on MBA and MCA.
- Amlan made his presentation on “Bridging the skill gap through skill training”. With an emphasis on social employment, he highlighted the need for each and every person to be employed.
- Vikas Singh presented his paper on creating ‘Business Ready’ professionals. He mentioned that skilled workers are available only at the grass root level, which is currently in the unorganised and un-benchmarked sectors like, construction, agriculture and related trades.
- Vikas Garg pointed out that there is a lack of adequate Government schemes linking education with real life requirements. He urged the Government to set up specific and contextual Technical and Vocational colleges and also knowledge/counselling centres, create linkages for promoting Public Private Partnerships (PPP), and to create certified courses, self paced assessments and opportunities within the state.
- Prof. Sudarshan Acharya highlighted that the youth of today should be seen as a force for village development leading to National Development. He shared the that his organisation launched a drive called Digital Empowerment for rural youth, by organising livelihood Training Camps in various districts of Andhra Pradesh with support from Government of Andhra Pradesh in partnership with Hyderabad Central University, and Centre for Educational Research on Human Values.
What came out as a conclusion of the session was that India has a global opportunity in skill development, as the world requires 470 million skilled personnel in the age group of 16 to 40 years in the next 25 years.
ICTs in Alternate Education: Exploring the other side of mainstream Learning
Objective of the session was to highlight the challenges, dynamics, opportunities and way ahead of Open & Distance Learning, how ICT can strengthen Inclusive Education in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system. IGNOU, one of the pioneer open universities of the country had taken the lead in organising this special session.
Chair: Prof K R Srivatsan, Pro Vice- Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Speakers: Sukant Kole, Consultant, ACIIL, IGNOU; Dr. Akshay Kumar, Reader, School of Computer and Information Sciences, IGNOU; Dr. V Balaji, Head, Knowledge Management and Sharing, ICRISAT; and Satish Kaushal, Country Manager, Government and Education, India /South Asia.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Prof. Srivatsan shared that IGNOU has the world’s largest enrolment of learners with 2.2 million students. The University has over 300 academic programmes and 2800 courses.
- Sukant Kole presented his paper on ‘Architecting ICT Infrastrcuture to Support Multimodal Delivery for Alternate Education’. The highlight of his presentation was that the National Education Grid and its Networks with Datacentres are linked over the National Knowledge Network with premier institutions to support an inclusive education system to meet the massive needs of India’s education needs.
- Dr. Akshay Kumar made a presentation on ‘The Development of Alternate Method of Education in Computer Science’. He focused on various pillars of teaching through ICT, which are motivation and guidance; right curriculum; conceptualisation, problem domain and solutions; and creation of research groups.
- Dr Balaji’s highlighted the need for digital information in agriculture. He emphasised on the need of new service oriented architectures for rapid content aggregation.
- Satish Kaushal specified the four technology mega-trends that will create significant disruptions across the higher education landscape- a) Learning anywhere, anytime; b) Social communities; c) Real time collaboration; and d) Cloud computing. It is an emerging approach to shared infrastructure in which large pools of systems are linked together to provide IT services.
The special session by Indira Gandhi National Open University was very well received by the audience. It was felt that a great deal of authorship in content generation is required.
Indian community colleges at a turning point: technology leading the path ways
Objective of the workshop session was to bring out the challenges and opportunities of Community Colleges and the role of ICT in strengthening the concept.
Moderators: Prof. Latha Pllai, Pro Vice- Chancellor, IGNOU; and Vikas Singh, CEO, Crux Management.
Participants: Representatives of 16 Community colleges across India
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Prof. Latha Pillai introduced the session to the Community College representatives stating that the Indian Community Colleges are standing at a turning point with technology leading the pathways. The group had a brain storming session and deliberated on various aspects of communication and shared that communication is important in every aspect of ICT and education framework – administration, registration, contacting office, course content, teaching, evaluation, certification, placement, etc.
- The tools that can be used are mobiles, videoconferencing, e-mail, IPTV, TV Sets, community radio, loudspeakers, and other traditional media. However, collaborative mechanisms between these tools are needed.
- During the discussion on the importance of collaboration, the group came up with eight crucial components: a) Finance b) Media c) Educational institutions d) Matching the syllabi of other institutions e) Transfer out for other institutions for a degree – remedial courses are important especially to bring people at par with the standards, f) Community, g) Employers h) Commonality of standards/courses.
Prof Latha Pillai summarised the session by sharing with the participants that there are 62 Community College which are functional. Their profiles are already on the Wiki. She urged all of them begin using the Wiki and share their course material in time to come.
Conclave of University Leaders on ‘Best Practices to Next Practices’
Objective of the session was to provide an opportunity for putting across the challenges that the present day higher education system is undergoing and discuss effective strategies to deal with the same.
Moderator: Shakila Shamsu, Joint Advisor (Education), Planning Commission, Government of India
Speakers: Prof. K Kannan, Vice Chancellor, University of Nagaland; Prof. V Kannan, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad; Prof. A K Bakshi, Director, Institute of Life Long Learning; Dr. Vijaylakshmi Pandit, Director, G Ram Reddy Research Academy of Distance Education, Dr. B R Ambedkar Open University; Prof. Bala Veeramachenani, CEO, ConnedTec; Dr. Kamal Bijlani, Director, eLearning Initiatives, Amrita University; V. Seshal Sai, Solutions Specialist, Microsoft Corporations (India) Pvt. Ltd.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Prof. K Kannan initiated his discussion by signifying the need of good quality teacher. He insisted that only a good quality teacher can extend and contribute to quality education. He highlighted and elaborated on the initiatives of the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India on technology aided learning, Consortium for Educational Communication, Digital Library project of India, Indira Gandhi Memorial Library, University of Hyderabad, and EDUSAT.
- Dr. Vijay Lakshmi Pandit began by informing that Prof. B R Ambedkar Open University is the State Open University, which was set up in 1982 in Andhra Pradesh. She explained that the University provides learning material through ICT tools like video, radio and television, etc.
- Prof. A K Bakshi highlighted that ICT has definitely helped enhance the quality of higher education. It has also helped improve the research and development avenues in higher education.
- Prof Kamal Bijlani gave an overview of the Amrita University and highlighted the ICT integrated learning and applications that are being incorporated in the campus.
- Prof. Bala Veeramachenani reiterated that for a student to compete in the 21st century, technology literacy is as important as general literacy. He stressed that the most effective uses of technology in the higher education must centre on the engagement or collaboration across distance and continuous (life-time) learning.
- V. Seshal Sai spoke about an online service known as Microsoft Live@edu which provide a complete value for the education community.
The session was enriched by the presentations and deliberations of the esteemed speakers. Technology is a kind of amplifier that lets one learn the content faster and lets one master the skills more deeply.
Research & Innovations in ICT and Education
Objective of the session was to deliberate on the status and the actors of ICT supported R&D and knowledge building; new strategies; cooperation among researchers and ICT-related research programmes.
Speakers: Prof. Mircea – Florin Vaida, Head, Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunkicastions and IT, Technical University of Cluj – Napoca, Romania; Dr. Subashinin Suresh, University of Wolverhampton, UK; Dr. Joy Mukhopadhyay, Prof of Management, Institute of Business Management and Research, Bangalore; Dr. Nirmal Roy, Associate Dean, National Institute of technology, Durgapur; Shanthi S, Research Scholar, CEG, Anna University, Chennai; Ranjit Singh, CEO, Genee Solutions; Pankaj Rai, CEO- India, Cyber Learning.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Prof. Vaida presented his paper on Adaptable learning using eye tracking solutions under which a scene is represented on a computer display, capturing the eye movements of the subject and using evaluating parameters like eye fixations, re-fixations, the attention level, etc. Essential feedback is captured regarding subject’s interest and understanding of study materials.
- Dr. Subashini Suresh presented a case study in UK on Learning through Mobile Technology. She highlighted that mobile learning devices allow learners to learn wherever they are located and in their personal context so that the learning is meaningful.
- Dr. Joy Mukhopadhyay presented his paper on ICT Application in B-Schools in Bangalore, which was jointly authored by him and Ajit Kumar Dash. He empahsised that implementation of ICT in B – schools is of particular importance since it can connect the students to real life situation and the curriculum needs to be continuously updated in business studies.
- Shanthi S presented her paper on Knowledge Cafes: A Powerful Medium of Knowledge Sharing in Academia. The findings of a study suggested that Knowledge Café acts as an enabler for people to network, collaborate and share insights, experiences and knowledge resources through informal conversations.
- Dr. Nirmal Roy presented his paper on ICT enabled High Voltage Laboratory: e learning tool for Engineering Education. He felt that High Voltage Virtual and ICT enabled Laboratory are the effective tool for e learning and distance education in High Voltage Engineering course.
- Ranjit Singh presented his paper on Ambitions and Challenges of e-Learning Group. Representing Genee Solutions, an e-learning company, he said that the aim is to provide unique cutting edge ICT for education customers in the 21st Century.
- Pankaj Rai’s presentation focused on bridging the gap between industry and academia. Pankaj Rai shared that CyberLearning is the exclusive exam administrator for various certifications in Indian sub-continent.
The speakers of the session presented case studies of on various initiatives of research and innovation in ICT and education.
e-Learning models & Mechanisms
Objectives of the session were to create an enabling environment for the faculty to become engaged in course production and delivery of courseware and to apply instructional design, electronic publishing and delivery of courseware.
Chair: Dr. N Sarat Chandra Babu, Director, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad.
Speakers: Deepak Ramteke, Assist. Professor, Symbiosis Institute of Technology; and M R Ganesh Kumar, Vice President, Technology Solutions, LearningMate.
DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- Dr. Chandra Babu shared the perspective of C – DAC on e-Learning. With the e-Learning initiative, the centre has advanced from being instructor – centric to learners – centric.
- Deepak Ramteke made his presentation on automated submission system which is used for evaluations. He shared that an automated submission system will save a lot of time of the evaluators (faculty), with submission histories of each student being maintained and progress of the students which can be mapped.
- M R Ganesh Kumar presented his paper on ‘Classroom, Community, and Connect’. He said that the modern day education is witnessing a paradigm shift with the emergence of social media, Web 2.0 technology and new technologies.
The highlight of the session was the need to identify the relevant market place which covers content consumers, learners, authors & instructors, content providers, educational institutions, service providers working around design and development, etc.