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Third ‘ICT in Basic Education Congress’ concludes in Philippines

More than thousand educators, education policy makers and represen-tatives from government and non-government institutions convened in Cebu City, Philippines, for the 3rd National ICT in Basic EducationCongress to discuss issues on the use of ICT in primary and secondary education.

This year’s theme for the two-day biennial event was ‘Teaching the Net Generation: Curriculum, Pedagogy, and the Challenge of 21st Century Learning’ was aimed to help prepare students and teachers in public schools all over the country for the challenges of technology-based learning. The event was expected to fuse priorities across the education sector, with particular focus on how to most effectively utilise ICTs to benefit the students and teachers.

Sri Lanka launches m-Learning in higher education

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The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) of the University of Colombo, SLT Mobitel and Microsoft -Sri Lanka have launched m-Learning to make university courses available to students via mobile.

University courses will be made available through devices such as mobile phones, laptop computers and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA). The students will be able to participate in live lectures and interact with lecturers without having to be physically present at the university’s lecture halls. SLT Mobitel has provided broadband connectivity while Microsoft has developed the delivery system for m-Learning. The FGS will currently offer a one year Executive Diploma in Marketing at the initial stage.

Florida state law for each district to have virtual schools

A new state law in Florida, USA requires districts to create their own full-time virtual schools, collaborate with other districts or contract with providers approved by the state. Next school year, the first generation of Florida students can begin to earn a diploma from local public schools entirely online.

The law is believed to be the most wide-ranging virtual mandate in the nation. The state already funds two online schools catering to students in kindergarten through eighth grade as well as the Florida Virtual School, which offers middle and high school courses. The new law is expected to bring web-based education to many more students and increase the number taking classes in a virtual world.

Malaysia to have five-star schools by 2010

In order to make Smart Schools in Malaysia a benchmark for other schools, the Malaysian government has said that all 88 smart schools should have a five-star rating under the Smart School Qualification Standards (SSQS) by 2009 or 2010.

As many as 65.9% of schools have already achieved five stars and 29 had four stars while one was ranked three stars. The ministry has developed SSQS standards for assessment in terms of resource usage, human capital, applications and technology infra-structure. The ranking ranges from one star (basic) to five stars (advanced plus).

New Zealand launches ICT-Connect in schools

New Zealand Computer Society has launched ICT-Connect, a programme to bring awareness and promote ICT as an exciting and well-paid career option amongst school students.

ICT-Connect will operate in up to three regional centres, alongside other related regional initiatives. It will involve local ICT professionals ‘adopting a school’ and helping the schools by providing interactive activities with experts, teachers and students. The working group that will set up ICT-Connect will comprise leading figures from the ICT industry, government and education sector.

Open source firms accredited for UK schools

In a move to introduce the usage of open source software in UK schools, an open source company has made it to the list of accredited suppliers of Becta, the agency responsible for administering IT functions in schools, for the first time.

The accreditation of Sirius, a leading open source player, to the Becta framework is expected to throw open the doors for schools to access its varied services like infrastructure consulting, technical support etc. The decision also comes as a victory for the open source community which has long championed the cause of open source software in schools citing substantial cost benefits as a major advantage.

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