Saturday, October 8, 2011

35$ Tablet Device by India

"Aakash" - touted as the world's cheapest Tablet Device was launched by the Minister on 5 October 2011. The big question is whether it will survive the litmus test. (Earlier, an experiment to create the cheapest computin device had backfired as during the launch, the computing device turned out to be a storage device.)

This tablet device has been created by Datawind, a UK company and the tablets are likely to be provided to students in various Universities soon. The tablet sets to achieve the task of bridging the digital divide between thos who can afford computer and those who can't. The tablet promises a lot and therefore needs to deliver as there is much at stake this time. 

Though the tablet claims to be the world's cheapest but there surely are many similar ranged devices available (mentioned in the link below). The tablet is aimed at the student segment, both higher education and school education. Whether the tablet aims to achieve digital literacy or educational support is still a question.

Few useful links for the device

The performance and functioning of the device would determine how successful it is in achieving its objective(s)...keeping my fingers crossed till then !!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

World Teachers' Day - 5 Oct

World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994 - when it was created by UNESCO - celebrates teachers worldwide. Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.

The theme for this year is "Teachers for gender equality"

Wish all a very Happy Teachers' Day !!!

More info on the same is available on the following links
In India the Teachers' Day is celebrated on  5 Sept in memory of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. It is all about celebrating "being a teacher".

Monday, October 3, 2011

TECHNOLOGY - How much is too much ?

Technology has by far been the most critical leveraging agent in education - be it access, equity, quality or anything else mentioned. But as they say, "too much of anything is bad" and that is exactly what is happening with technology in our schools, colleges and other educational institutions. We are piling on technology like anything without bothering as to whether we are optimally utilising it. Technology pressence in schools has become a "fad" and is gradually losing the "sheen". Hardly any thought is put to "Technology Adoption" or "Technology Integration" and the entire effort and resource in put into buying/ procuring technology. This is leading to a situation of "Technology Over-deployment but Under-Utilisation".

The best way to use technology to the right extent and in an appropriate way is to map its use to learning objectives. Being aware of the available technology tools and then mapping them to our learning objectives go a long way in determining the proper technology usage.

Do remember "Every technology may not serve every subject, topic, teacher or learning objective" . The user's discretion in being selective definitely helps

Mutliple Roles of a Teacher

A teacher plays mutliple roles and is much more than a "sage on the stage". This multi-role is necessitated by the need to create impactfule learning by connecting with the learners and engaging them in the tasks of learning. Its no longer the "monologue" that does the trick. Everything now has underwent a change, be it the the educational objectives, curriculum, leaner's requirements and so on. These roles are guided by the learner's requirements and needs. Some of the major roles a teacher could assume could be
  • Counsellor - to help children recognise and deal with their issues so as to focus on the learning task
  • Presenter - to cater to the large mass in the class and deliver the information/ knowledge in the most impactful way
  • Communicator - to reach out to the audience and engage them in the task of learning
  • Facilitator - to help learners guide their own learning.
  • Trainer - to deliver the desired learning using various techniques, games, tools, etc.
Of course, the above list is incomplete and as teachers assume the above roles, they would feel the need to explore many more roles.

21st Century Education - Changing Paradigms

The 21st Century is witnessing a paradigm shift in Education, not only in terms of what gets delivered but also how it gets delivered. All aspects of Education are seeing a change aimed towards more effective and impactful learning. The "Teacher" is more of a "Learning Facilitator" now and the "Learners" are more of "Digital Citizens" now. This paradigm shift has necessitated the need for a change in our approach and delivery of education. I have listed few aspects that are/ have seen a paradigm shift.