From Digital Divide to Digital Dividend: Making it happen!

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Introduction of digital technologies in the formal school system with ICT  interventions, and those that focus on learning improvements means that the  school children will have an early on exposure to the information society. Such
interventions can prove to be social dividend, if the networking in schools  motivates teachers and students to improved learning. This has happened in European Schoolnet programme reaching nearly thirty countries, and focusing on community workspaces in the online realms combined with improved teaching and learning techniques. Across Europe and beyond, there is a growing faith in the power of education to change peoples’ lives. The school networking initiatives of European Schoolnet discussed in this issue of Digital Learning reflects how countries learn from each other. The development of ICT-based schools that create networks linking schools within and between countries has great potential value to enhance teaching and learning and as a powerful force to promote development. The linkages between schools can facilitate the sharing of common values, knowledge as well as the preservation, practice and promotion of local cultures. Installation of computers and modems in schools and their connection to the Internet should be encouraged and, where appropriate, assisted. For developing countries, the assistance necessary may include support for the acquisition of hardware, software and telecommunications connectivity, as well as training in network operation and maintenance through capacity building. A network of support agencies needs to work in this direction now, wherever possible, in existing relationships, to keep these projects in working condition. The Navodaya Vidyalaya Samitis and  endriya Vidyalayas (Central Schools) also play very important role in networking of schools in India. As part of ICT @ school scheme of Government of India, Navodaya Vidyalayas have taken up providing computer literacy to the students of local schools, neighbouring Navodaya Vidyalayas, apart from the fact that around 500 Navodaya Vidyalayas have been provided with computers and accessories and a computer teacher toensure computer education programme goes on successfully. Digital Learning wishes to play a role in acting as an advocate on behalf of countries needing assistance to participate in such networks and linkages  in facilitating the sharing of  nformation, resources and good practices; in actively promoting high  standards of quality; and in addressing sustainability.  ‘Digital Learning India 2006’has created a new progressive agenda for the  upcoming conference to be held in New Delhi from August 23-25, 2006. This conference brings in multiple  stakeholders, practitioners and programme implementers in one platform. Several exciting workshops are planned, as is a showcasing of products and services. We are pleased to invite you at Digital Learning India 2006.

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