ICONECS session on
‘E-Content for Learning & Education’

October 16, 2008

By Mehdi Imam S Zaidi

“Reaching the Unreached”
This session was dedicated to addressing a major challenge before the nation which concerned its growth, ie, the processes of e Learning and e-education. The session was chaired by Mr Tom Burns from Intel and Prof. MC Pant. Ms Ashish Garg from GeSCI moderated the sessions.

Mr Burns rightly explained the meaning of e-learning, “as a type of education where the medium of instruction is computer technology. In some instances, no in-person interaction takes place. e learning is the unifying term to describe the fields of online learning, web-based training, and technology-delivered instruction, the convergence of the Internet and learning, or Internet-enabled learning, the use of network technologies to create, foster, deliver, and facilitate learning, anytime and anywhere. It is about delivery of individualized, comprehensive, dynamic learning content in real time, aiding the development of communities of knowledge, linking learners and practitioners with experts. It is become phenomena delivering accountability, accessibility, and opportunity to allow people and organizations to keep up with the rapid changes that define the Internet world.

Further explaining the need and importance of this process of technological development he said, “e-learning is used to define a specific mode to attend a course or programmes of study where the students rarely, if ever, attend face-to-face on-campus access to educational facilities, because they study online.”

To discuss and tackle the problems involved in e learning and quality education, the session had before it 20 esteemed delegates of various institutions, NGOs, education private parties and self help groups working in this behalf. Presentations were made by these delegates focusing on how ICT and its various tools and platform can facilitate awareness, quality learning and bridge the gaps in quality and quantity of learning.

Professor Uma Kanjilal from the School of Social Sciences, IGNOU, New Delhi, Sumana K. Sumuk from Centre for Child Development & Disabilities, Bengaluru, Dr Ajay Chauhan from Core Projects, Kamal Abdul Nasir of Tech-Ed for Drop Out youth, 21st Century Media, Victor Paul from Education Development Centre, Bengaluru, Somesh Kumar from the Department of Technical Education, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Capt. K.J. Kang, Designmate, Ahmedabad, Dr Neeraj Raj, MEdRC, Hydrabad were some of the main presentors.

The main focus of all the presenters was spreading awareness, increasing interaction with the rural strata of society, and making technology more accessible. The presenters explained how their method of e learning was good for the urban and rural populations and how it affected the people where it was already being implemented.

Prof. Uma Kanjilal described how various social learning programmes like Gyankosh, Sakshat, etc were functioning and how the programmes of Gyanvani and Gyandarshan I & II had been webcasted. Mr Neeraj Raj explained how e learning in the field of medicine and healthcare is an efficient programme undertaken by them. They explained how they have digitized the entire MBBS curriculum and made it available on their websites and CD’s as well. They emphasised on the method of teaching through videos and live demonstrations through the use of net. Mr Ashish Mann of LA Vision Animation Pvt Ltd demonstrated how their EComics were an effective way of learning for children, as they can easily relate to those cartoon characters. His cartoon creation ‘buzzyboy’ was a next door boy, who was neither a super hero, nor did he possess any super powers, but had immense intelligence and performed meditation for the purpose.

At the end of the session, it was unanimously accepted that there is need for new and effective ways of teaching for quality education, especially in the rural areas of the country. Another issue, which those present at the session felt needed attention, was how to channelise the vast untamed talent of the educated youth in our country, which was going waste. It was concluded at the session that there was need for technology to tackle these issues.

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