Thursday, August 7, 2008


Technology trends are changing at a very rapid pace globally and E.T. is no exception. Recently, i had the opportunity to attend eIndia, an Indian ICT event held in New Delhi from 29th - 31st July 2008. The Event was big, rather magnanimous in the way that it had multiple tracks, pertaining to different aspects of 'e'. It had eHealth, eGov, eTelecentre, Digital Learning, etc. The participant turnover clearly highlighted the pervasiveness of 'e' in just about every area of human activity.
Throughout three days ( that i spent at the event), i was in the Digital Learning section, either attending some session or in the exhibitor's area, looking at the products on display. The trends are clearly not very encouraging as far as India is concerned. Whereas, the trend, globally is aligned to evolution that has occured in education because of Internet and Web 2.0, the trends in India are still far far behind the rest of the world. The three major trends that i saw during the event (in the exhibitor's area) are :
  1. Interactive Whiteboard : There were about 10-12, both local and global companies displaying their product, with very little variation or deviation from the other. The Interactive Boards on display ranged from the most basic type (with just a board and marker) to the most sophisticated one ( with tablets, et. al). The Interactive Board revolution is still to catch up in India, as far as effective use of it is concerned. It is more of a fad than a neccessity in majority of the cases.
  2. Ready-made Content : You can never have enough of it (in India at least). Just about every 2nd stall was by some content vendor. Everybody out there to prove that their content is better than the rest. Some have even gone to the extent of creating 'Spectroscopic' stuff and people thronged to these stalls. Globally, the trend, worldwide is changing from e-content (readymade) to e-lesson ( created by teacher itself) and here is the wide range of content to choose from and almost all catering to science. The teachers and schools in Indian scenario are yet to get rid of this complete dependency factor in teachers which is using the readymade stuff as this is what is hindering their evolution as a teacher. Just hoping that things change for the better very soon.
  3. Powerpoint addon : I don't know how to put it but it was an overhyped product which just added some gadget to control the powerpoint responses. There was this presentation and there was this hand-held gadget which could record the responses of the students as each student used it to give response to the query in the powerpoint presentation.God knows when this obsession with powerpoint will end. why can't vendors contribute to bring better products for teachers and help the education process.
The onle way out of all this is a teachers' uprising to say 'no' to all that doesn't do their teaching-learning process any good but just adds to their burden !

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Some more items that cropped in my mind :

  • Always Be a Learner : Any profile we work in is nothing but an opportunity to share with others our knowledge, expertise and to learn from what others know. Be it our fellow colleagues, our seniors or our students, we should be open to learning. This is the only way to survive in this information-laden world and society. There is no magic solution to keeping ourselves updated than just being open to learning. Today, one needs to be a 'master of all trades' and human limitations do not permit us to learn all by ourself. We have to derive learning from each of our experience / interaction, etc. Lets perceive others as sources of knowledge and learnings and only then we can be up to date and at par with the rest and the best.
  • Do it for the students : Any learning for a teacher is of use only when it is used to further the teaching-learning goals. The mere existence of teacher is because of students. The recognition, the accolades, the respect, the awards, etc. that a teacher gets is an outcome of the success that the teacher's students has achieved. A teacher owes a lot to the students. So, align all your actions and motives to how your students could benefit by it. A teacher cannot be expected to teach just for recognition, award or reward.There is a higher goal to be achieved and that is to facilitate learning among students and make them self-sufficient by making them self-learners and life-long learners. Let, each activity of ours be done with a single-minded focus on our students(s).
  • Apply Multiple Models : Don't stick to just one model of teaching-learning process. There cannot be a single cure for all ailments. The best approach is to adopt a blended model, where you mix the traditional methods with the latest one. As a teacher one never knows what might work with a student. Why, then restrict ourselves to the old way of doing things or to just a single way of doing things. The advancements in technologies definitely have advantages and lets accrue benefits from these advancement.
Well, would have loved to write more on this but would stop hers.
Hope you enjoy reading it !

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Teaching is not just a profession but a huge responsibility. The responsibility is huge considering that the future of the nation is dependent on the youth, who in turn, are shaped and moulded by teachers. Unless the end product is of good quality, nothing concrete would come out of it.

As teachers, we must stick to the mission and the most basic responsibility bestowed on us i.e., facilitate learning for the students and prepare them for the future. Changing some of our old habits could help us become more meaningful in our profession as teachers and justify the faith society puts in us. Some of those habits are :

  • Using the same old, mundane teaching-learning techniques and tools : Sticking to the basics of teaching-learning does not mean sticking to the old ways of delivering the teaching-learning process. The new tools and techniques are to ensure that we, teachers become more effective and efficient in our approach and work. It is very easy to keep living in our 'comfort zone' and keep doing the same things the same way. But there is no point in doing so as that will get us the same results and get the students nowhere in this fast changing world where the dynamics change every moment. Lets explore, experiment and innovate to make things better for our future generations because you never know, maybe our kiths and kins might also be the sufferers if things don't change for better.
  • Self-demeaning mindset and attitude : How many of us feel proud to be a teacher, maybe very few. It is so because we have made it appear so. Forget about the salary or the remuneration part, how many other professionals get this golden opportunity to build the nation through shaping and moulding the 'yet to be youth' population. Let us be proud to be a teacher and do away with this silly mindset where everything gets gauged in monetary terms. Of course, money is important but not a critical element in the life of a teacher. Lets change our outlook and perceive ourself as an important cog in the wheel of our nation's economy. We, teachers, are the shapers and moulders of all these champions that have done the nation and the world proud. Always remember, a student will always be a student to you. The respect a student gives to the teacher is unmatched and incomparable, not even money could match it. Lets deliver with self-pride.
  • Selecting Teaching as a Profession : This could be explained by the following phrase "Lets become teachers by choice and not by chance". Teaching is a passionate job and unless one has opted for it willingly, there's no point in being a teacher. Why to mess up the careers of so many young children wanting to excel and take the world by storm ? Without passion, things cannot flow from heart or head but just from mouth alone. Lets do justice to the society.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What works best with novice e-teachers ?

After much deliberation, came out with this post where i want to share about what a novice/ upcoming e-teacher should know. While working on CII-Shiksha Project (, came out with this term e-teacher. A very basic explanation of the term is "any teacher with working knowledge about various useful and appropriate e-tools (electronic-tools) and capable of transacting teaching-learning in a more effective manner".

The effectiveness aspect is brought in by exposing the teachers to a plethora of e-tools. Under the CII-Shiksha E-teaching workshops, a variety of open source / free tools are delivered to teachers. Most of these teachers, being new to the actual concept of e-teaching/ e-learning find hard to cope with the quantity and variety of tools being delivered to them.

It was during one such e-teaching workshop that the idea cropped to make the things/ technology simpler for teachers. Why not deliver small utilities rather than a comprehensive software. Though a comprehensive software may be a good choice in the long run but the first stpes should always be made simpler. After all, teachers need self-confidence to tread further on this road to e-teaching. This idea prompted to replace big and comprehensive softwares like Irfan View with tools like pixresizer or shell extension.

In the first phase, the teachers would be better off being taught/ delivered the easy-to-use and accomplish tools/ utilities and once they get comfortable using it to their advantage, they can move on to playing around with detail/ comprehensive tools.

E-teaching is nothing but "teaching simplified through technology"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Knowledge Overload – Too Much To Handle for Teaches !

I had wanted to write about it for quite some time now. The post came through as a result of my recent interaction with a group. I feel there is too muck knowledge/ information being bombarded on the teachers these days and it is all happening in the name of their development. Be it technology, be is psychology, be it self-management, the teachers have to attend all. I have seen teacher being made to undergo such a rigorous training schedule that it could lead to burn-out in them. All the year through, teachers are busy with their numerous academic and non-academic stuff. The academics get over and the teachers get busy with student examination. The examination gets over and the teachers get busy with paper checking, result preparation, etc. Once this gets over the teachers are put through a series of workshops, trainings to prepare them for the academic session ahead.

Gone are the days when 'teaching' was considered as an art, to be performed with passion. Nowadays, 'teaching' has become 'clinical' in nature. The passion is gone because there is too much on a teachers' plate to handle. Teachers are Humans and not Robots, so why feed them with whatever, in the name of effective teaching/ learning. Like anybody else, a teacher also needs a drive and intrinsic motivation to perform but where do they derive it from, in the midst of all this chaos. Teachers do not get time to dwell and reflect on what they want to improve. The way every child is different, the same way every teacher is different too. Every teacher needs some time and space to do self introspection and identify his/ her areas of improvement. We need to put our faith in teachers because every teacher wants to be an effective one and provide the best learning to the child.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

E-Teacher = Learning Facilitator+Technologist

The last 7 years that i have spent in the domain of 'Technology Enabled Edfucation' had helped me know the things better and look at the technology integration process from various perspectives. Since i have always believed in the cause of teacher empowerment, I believe the need of the hour is to create more e-teachers. According to me, we in academia need to focus on smoothening the transition from a teacher to an e-teacher. My definition or philosophy of e-teacher is "a teacher who uses 'e(electronic)' components to good advantage in his/her teaching-learning process". I have always believed that for a teacher/ educator to become an e-teacher/e-educator, there is a need to understand about the process of learning to ensure children learn better and secondly, there is a definite need to know about technologies that could facilitate the learning process. So, to start with, an e-teacher should explore as many e-tools as possible and scrutinise/ analyse them from the perspective of a child/ student. After all, teachers/ educators exists to help children/ students reach their potential and that can happen only when proper learning has occured. In this post, I do not intend to delve too deep into strategies that could facilitate effective learning but would like to stress that let all our e's (used for e-teaching) be foucsed on ensuring an effective learning for children/ student.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Simplifying Technology for Better Technology Adoption and Integration

All thorough my 7 years in I.T. enabled education, i have observed that technologies are never delivered simplified to educatore (teachers, in particular). Even a tool/ technology expected to be used by a teacher is delivered in a 'hyped' way. Unless and Until technologies are explained in a simple manner to educatore, we cannot expect an adoption, leave aside easy adoption. A user ( teachers, in this case) should know how to get started with using the tool and that can only occur when users have understood it. So, simplification and not complication should be the key while introducing a new technology. I can relate an example - while conducting a training, i had to introduce 'Learning Objects' to a group of teachers. Rather than giving a technical definition for it, I explained it in a way that they could easily relate to. I told the group that any creation of theirs, be it a presentation, document, spreadsheet, animation, etc. is nothing but a learning object. We need to remember that the adopters need to feel comfortable with anything new being introduced to them. Lets simplify things for the teachers so they can harness the technology tools appropriately for their teaching-learning.