As covered by our previous postings of the Hole in Wall project which started of as a curious experiment and continued as a chain of experiments across rural india has finally crossed its boundaries and reached schools in UK and italy and is all poised to challenge all kinds of barriers like language, culture, age to education. Dr. Sugata Mitra Speaks at TED.
Tag Archive: E-learning
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré and Mr Paulo Campos, Vice-Minister for Public Works, Transport and Communications of Portugal, signed an agreement that Portugal, through its e-School International programme, will provide comprehensive technological solutions for schools in a number of interested countries as part of ITU’s Connect a School, Connect a Community initiative. This announcement follows through on a commitment made by Portugal during the ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF), in Lisbon in April 2009. Some twenty countries will benefit from this first phase, with the initiative supporting the launch of one connected school project per country.
Each project will test innovative approaches using ICT in the classroom, measure the impact, showcase the benefits and share lessons learned. The assistance to participating countries will include: 1) New laptops (up to a maximum of 50) for a group of students and teachers in one school per country, 2) Laptops equipped with software and educational content,3) A smart board in each classroom, connected to the laptops to facilitate interactive e-learning,4) Wireless modems along with a school server, 5) Broadband internet connectivity provided by the local partner.
A multi-partner, international group of experts will support project implementation, including the development of a national school connectivity plan.
The Primary Education Project (PEP) is a five-year initiative targeting all public primary schools in Macedonia. PEP seeks to improve the quality of instruction and increase employment skills in youth.
PEP’s ICT in Education Component is supporting the computerization of Macedonia’s primary schools by training teachers, developing maintenance solutions, providing digital content, and introducing innovative uses of ICT such as computer control, robotics, electronic music, video & audio recording.
The highlights of ICT component are that it supports the development of digital content for Macedonia’s schools and helps to adapt and localize existing applications in Macedonian and Albanian. The focus is on Math and Science, but content is created across the curriculum. This will enable students to benefit from modern technology in all subjects. PEP has also introduced innovative hardware and software solutions in selected primary schools in Macedonia. The range of hardware varies from low-cost lap-tops to electronic microscopes, music recording equipment, robots and control technology kits.
Macedonia, once the least developed of the Yugoslav republics,has been transformed into the world’s first “wireless country” of its size or larger. Through a grant from USAID, and support from Microsoft, Motorola and several other partners, AED project Macedonia Connects worked with a local internet service provider to connect every one of the country’s 430 primary and secondary schools to a wireless network. Now a vast majority—95%—of the country’s population has access to wireless, broadband internet service.
(Sources: PEP, USAID)
The JEI is one of Her Majesty’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah’s nonprofit organizations. The JEI works hand in hand with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Information Communication Technology (MoICT) to support Jordan’s efforts to improve the education system and its use of ICT to transform the learning environment in Jordanian schools and advance learning for all students.
Since its launch in 2003 by the World Economic Forum partners, the JEI has been involved in multimillion dollar initiatives that have had a strong impact on the modernization of education in Jordan. The JEI relies highly on partnerships and collaborations with local and global entities. The global partners include WEF, USAID, UNESCO, CISCO, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, HP, IBM, SMART etc. Direct contributions to the Initiative from global and local partners have reached over US$ 25 million.
The initiative has so far reached more than 80,000 students, up-skilled more than 3,000 teachers across 102 Jordanian Public Schools. Thousands of electronic lessons have been developed and many electronic teaching tools and equipments have been deployed in schools. The JEI has also employed SMART interactive whiteboards in its discovery schools. The JEI has also piloted installing 100 Intel Classmate PCs in discovery schools.
The JEI has not only received an award from Ministry of Education but has also received 2009 UNESCO award for use of ICT in education.
ICTs for education calls unfolds the dimensions of thinking hitherto unknown in pedagogical methods, be it distance learning, e-learning, open coursewares or the innovative use of ICTs to address challenges like literacy etc. Since there is no boundaries preventing the use of ICTs in education we find plenty of brilliant ideas coming up now and then. Creating new resources and starting new projects is resource intensive and time consuming, whereas building on the existing platforms is relatively easy! When it comes to social networking websites FACEBOOK is the name of the game. With over 350 million users worldwide, majority of them being in teens, Facebook, possesses an immense potential for becoming a platform for providing education and learning resource (though its not meant to be so yet facebook applications are free to fiddle with and can be hooked up to serve the purpose!).
The idea for use of Facebook as e-learning resource is not new. It has been discussed and considered at different platforms. A few examples are presented.
Jasna Matic, Serbian Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society, presented a project on the use of the online social network Facebook for educational purposes at a UNESCO conference in Paris on Monday. The complete article appears here. The example quoted is of facebook pages of National heroes providing details of their life histories and achievement for the school children, who find it fun to learn it ‘Facebook style’.
Facebook provides all the advantages of web 2.0 and combines it with the social aspects of technology to expedite the sharing of information. A few immediate advantages of using Facebook as learning tool are discussed here. Though the idea of using Facebook seems very lucrative yet there are many intricacies involved (a detailed account here) like privacy concerns and it ‘social media structure’ — which essentially puts checks on the information penetration. If these caveats are taken into account and applications are so designed to serve the purpose discretely, facebook is matchless! A case study about use of facebook groups as a teaching tool is discussed here. Another article presenting all facts and figures for the use of facebook as a learning tool is accessible here. The strongest case for using facebook, as suggested by the article, is certainly the usage of facebook: use the platform everyone is already using.
Other useful resources and study groups:
In an effort to “connect” more students and youths to the information superhighway and boosting their capabilities the field of ICTs, DST Group and Ericsson signed an MOU in July 2009 to provide internet connections for some 4,000 students from four different schools in Brunei Darussalam. Tanjong Kindana Primary School, Berakas Secondary School, Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar Secondary School and Sayyidina Othman Secondary School were selected by the Ministry of Education to be part of this pioneer programme.
The four selected schools will be provided with fixed wireless terminals, high-speed data SIM cards and laptops. DST Group Go! Broadband service supports Internet Access of up to 7.2 Mbps. Schools will be able to enjoy seamless and fast Internet connection effortlessly, through top-notch infrastructure and high-speed wireless networks at any one place without cables or landlines. At the same time, educators will also be able to take e-learning out of the classrooms and enjoy instant speed and flexible deployment anywhere around within the schools premises. This mega project is in line with the Ministry of Education’s system that aims to equip students with the necessary skills to compete in the new economy namely the “Internet economy”.
The e-learning initiative by Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) aims to modernize Vietnam’s education system by 2011 and to provide opportunities for the country’s teachers and students – especially those in remote and rural areas.The Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam and Viettel are collaborating on a project ‘education network’, which will allow 39,000 kindergartens, secondary and high schools to have free access to the Internet. These schools will also be exempted from installation fees. Notably, they will enjoy this free service forever. For provincial and municipal Departments of Education and Training, universities, colleges and vocational training schools (around 600 units), Viettel will collect a portion of monthly Internet charges.
The MOET is also in partnership with Intel Semiconductor Ltd. Vietnam to accelerate the MOET’s e-learning initiative. Under “Computer for Schools” project, Intel and local technology companies will make available 1 million affordable PCs during the next 2 years. The program’s objective is to provide all Vietnamese teachers with a PC with educational software and broadband Internet connectivity. The MOET and Intel also announced a contest to encourage 1 million teachers nationwide to create e-learning content. In Vietnam, Intel has cooperated with the MOET in the past too, to increase Internet-connected PCs and development of rich, localized content and software applications among local schools, teachers and students. These efforts include the donation of more than 1,900 PCs; training 43,000 teachers to date under the Intel® Teach program; and an intention to train an additional 15,000 teachers in the year 2009-2010.
Elead, ViOlympic and Bkis would bring the ‘Computer-for-schools’ program another breakthrough product ViOlympic. ViOlympic is the especially significant computer, meaningful for those who wish to compete in the ViOlympic contest by the Ministry of Education and Training. This is the unique series to have onboard ViOlympic software for practice mathematical problem solving. The computer is also installed Myeqtext- mathematics software to meet the requirements of pupils in general and ViOlympic contest in particular. ViOlympic computer ensures the safety and protection for pupils from negative impacts when accessing the Internet as it is pre-installed with copyright BkavPro 2009 Internet Security antivirus software, which is able to control and prevent access to websites of bad contents.
Innovative use of ICTs in education
ICTs are bringing revolutions in every aspect of our lives making us use technology more and more to get the best out of it. Use of ICTs in education is also creating a paradigm shift in our pedagogical methods by incorporating technology: exploiting its immense potential to invigorate the cognitive process of students; capitalizing on its ability to bridge distances and divides of time and resources, by providing equal opportunity for access; relying on its inherent capability for quick replication, in other regions – predicting that the future of education is highly coupled to technology incorporation.
Hundreds of projects are being carried out in the asia pacific region for innovative us of ICTs in education, only a few selected ones from south asia are being covered here. Dharkan 107.8 is an example of the use of radio for imparting education, general awareness and supporting health education in rural areas of Madhya Pardesh (India). Nokia’s LifeTools is an example of the ‘mobile application’ providing rural areas with services related to agriculture, education and entertainment. Digital StudyHall is a initiative combining traditional pedagogical methods with the digital recorded lectures disseminated through DVDs and small TV sets in rural areas (battery powered). UNESCO Jakarta’s (Indonesia) project to use open source software converting text to voice for visually impaired individuals is another outstanding example of how ICTs are facilitating special education. A similar project is being implemented in Pakistan for assisting the deaf through ICTs.
Google’s internet bus project is educating people about benefits of internet (education in particular) through a customized ‘internet enabled bus’ travelling from city to city. Egyankosh – a national repository, is preserving and sharing digital learning resources developed by institutions all over India and also collaborating with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and several other countries. “E-learning for Kids is a global, non-profit foundation dedicated to fun and free learning on the Internet for children ages five-to-12” providing short courses (in 5 different languages) on basic subjects e.g.Science, Mathematics, Language arts, etc and has outreached over million children in 80 countries. Solar powered ePods is an example of incorporating energy efficient solutions in education.
Video (Internet Bus Project): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRp42vuCSy8