The Government of New Zealand will look into possible mobile-learning initiatives to connect rural schools, following its announcement to subsidise the costs of ultra fast broadband.“The Ministry of Education is currently looking at how to harness the potential of digital devices that nearly all students have already – their mobile phones,” Colin McGregor, Ministry of Education, group manager of curriculum teaching and learning design, told FutureGov Asia Pacific.
“An ‘m-learning’ pilot has already been successfully implemented by Onehunga High School. The Ministry is currently supporting a second project at Howick College in partnership with Waikato University and Vodafone.”
The government has identified broadband as a significant driver for e-learning and equity in education and has committed to providing 97 per cent of schools with access to speeds of 100Mbps or more via the national fibre rollout. The remaining 3 per cent in areas too remote for optic fibre currently receives 10Mbps via satellite or wireless technologies.
The ministry has been using the Virtual Learning Network (VLN), which provides mainly rural students with access to online courses. In 2010, more than 2000 New Zealand students took part in these virtual classes over the VLN.
Other initiatives include the Ministry of Education’s Laptops for Teachers and Principals scheme, which subsidises the leases on laptops for permanent, full-time or part-time teachers at state and integrated schools. The Ministry has about two thirds of the lease cost of the teacher’s laptops and fully subsidises the base model for principals. More than 43,000 laptops are currently on lease, representing an 88 per cent uptake.
(Source: Aisa Pacific futuregov)
Adapted from: http://india.gov.in/spotlight/spotlight_archive.php?id=40
According to the spotlight review on the india.gov website the ‘India, a successful ICT powered nation, has always laid a lot of accent on the use of ICT, not only for good governance but also in diverse sectors of the economy such as health, agriculture and education etc.’
The use of ICTs in education has certainly been improved over the years with several initiatives worth mentioning. According to the review the ‘most vital contribution of ICTs in the field of education is easy access to learning resources’, enabling the students to have easy access to resources. The examination results (held by several Boards/ Institutions/ Commissions) are now available online and also through email, SMS and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System). Online admissions counseling is available for admissions to professional degree courses as well information regarding scholarship opportunities and educational loans are disseminated to the meritorious students across backgrounds and financial status. Information related to admissions to foreign universities is readily available to the students.
Several Distance Education programs are being run which make it easy for students in remote areas to continue their education. The textbooks of the national curriculum (NCERT), from grade 1 to 12, have been uploaded online for convenience of students and teachers. Sample papers for many entrance exams and other competitions are also available online. Such a facility is also being provided by Indira Gandhi National Open University.
One of the most vital ICT initiatives is the development of Brihaspati, a virtual classroom; an endeavor is by The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Brihaspati is a web-based e-learning program, which enables instructors to enhance on campus learning by sharing course materials, having class discussions, and making assessments on the web. It can also be used to deploy e-learning content for off campus self as well as mentored learning. This tool is open source software and can be used by any university.