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Now, free software to set school textbooks in Kerala

ICT

15-Nov-2013

The Times of India

In a major boost to the free software movement in the state, the school curriculum steering committee has decided to set school textbooks in universally-accessible Unicode format. The committee on Wednesday also took a bold step to make all the educational material copyright-free. The Unicode format will give greater benefits to students, especially for the differently abled. As a first step Malayalam textbooks of standard V, VII and XI will be set in Unicode. For several years the state has been using proprietary software Pagemaker for setting textbooks. The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) fonts used in Pagemaker are not universally accessible. Some of the other disadvantages of proprietary software were the long delay in making corrections, difficulty in converting to braille format, etc. However, in Unicode, characters are accessible online and support softwares that could help differently abled students and facilitate easy HTML conversion. Director of public instruction (DPI) Biju Prabhakar said only select books will be set in Unicode in the coming academic year. “There will be confusion among students for using different fonts. So this year only some select books will be made in Unicode. This is a progressive step. Eventually all books will be set in Unicode format,” he said. “It took a lot of time to bring out braille books for visually challenged students. With the introduction of Unicode, braille conversion has become easy. Also softwares such as E speak that facilitates hearing impaired students can be used,” said P K Thilak, research officer, State Council Educational Research and Training (SCERT). In addition to the printed text, PDF and EPUB (for e-book reader) books could be easily made available using this format. “In 2007 a government order was issued directing that all government documents must be set in Unicode format. The IT policies of 2007 and 2011 also gave thrust to Unicode and free software initiatives. So it was necessary to change textbooks to Unicode format,” Thilak said. In line with the NCERT declaring all its educational materials as copyright-free, the SCERT has also decided to give Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence (CC BY-SA) to education material. The publication or distribution of contents of textbook will not amount to copyright violation anymore. After seeing the response for the Unicode textbooks for class V, VII and XI, the SCERT plans to rectify hitches and bring out all textbooks in Unicode format from next year onwards. Open software organisation such as Swatantra Malayalam Computing has provided technical guidance to SCERT for the initiative. “This is a great move that will make all free software and Malayalam Wiki volunteers happy. We are glad that we got the support of SCERT director and DPI for this initiative,” said Anivar Aravind, secretary, Swathanthra Malayalam Computing.

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Schools to record attendance via SMS

ICT

1-Nov-2013

The Times of India

After a failed effort to register attendance of school students online, the state education department will now attempt to conduct it via SMS. Only 10% of the one lakh schools in the state responded to the online attendance system which prompted the education department to initiate the attendance through cell phones used widely by school officials and teachers. The department conducted a survey to find out how many schools used the online attendance system introduced by the government this academic year. Of the 1.3 lakh primary schools in the state, only 10,000 had adopted the system since June. Primary schools were asked to register daily attendance of students and teachers online through a special software. State education director Mahavir Mane, said, “Many schools in the interiors said they faced problems with internet connectivity as well as power cuts that created barriers in updating the attendance online, eventually leading them to stop using the software. Some schools were negligent despite being able to use it efficiently. Hence, we decided to use cell phones now available with almost every individual.” The online attendance system was aimed at monitoring attendance of students and teachers in all the primary schools. The authorities can take immediate action against schools with poor attendance. According to the rule, all students, teachers and principals must have at least 80% attendance. The education department would prepare an application for cell phones for the attendance system which could be freely downloaded by teachers on their phone and send daily attendance to the education department. Mane said the current online system will also be used once the cell phone-based application is introduced. “The online system will not be scrapped. We have installed a software where each primary school has been given a login identity to register their attendance details. A report was prepared to review the system. Only 10,000 primary schools were found to have registered attendance, so far. The schools that fell short of the mandatory attendance have been warned. However, more awareness would be conducted about the system.

Comment

HRD Ministry to open 50 educational DTH channels

ICT, MHRD

India Education review

09-10-2013

The Union Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) has planned to launch 50 DTH educational channels.

Ashok Thakur, Secretary Higher Education said these channels will be different from the existing programmes on air including Gyan Darshan as new one will be more interactive.

He said these channels will air programmes which will be live and not pre recorded. Saying that the new initiatives will be one of the largest anywhere in the world of its kind, Thakur said later on the number of the channels will be increased to one thousand.

He said that the Ministry has spent more than one billion dollars for ICT. Over 400 universities and twenty thousand colleges have been linked with bandwidth. He said there is a great potential to increase its usage.

Highlighting the potential of the National Programme on National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), the Secretary said that the entire country can be made into a big classroom which will help improve quality of instructions in engineering colleges particularly belonging to the remote areas.

He said that the Ministry may approach AICTE to make on-line education mandatory and integral part of education system. Thakur said it should be possible to share classes from IITs to other engineering colleges by making the system more user friendly.

Dr S S Mantha, Chairman, AICTE focused on promoting quality initiatives in the country. He said that rapid expansion in institutions has led to the decline in quality. The need of the hour therefore is to nurture quality in the institutions.

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China Online Education Industry Report, 2013-2016

ICT, Online Education

The Herald Online

September 19,2013

New York

Online education, also known as e-learning, has been growing fast in recent years due to the advances in the Internet, multimedia information processing, cloud computing and other information technologies.

In 2011-2013, online education companies have mushroomed such as Chuanke.com launched in November 2011, Fenbi.com put on line in August 2012 and 91waijiao.com established in December 2012. At the same time, traditional education & training institutions have stepped into the field of online education successively. For example, Beijing Juren Education Group launched Juren.cn in July 2013, and Longwen Education plans to invest RMB 50 million in online business. Traditional Internet giants like Baidu, Google, Netease, Youku, Tencent, Kingsoft PowerWord, and Taobao also have set foot in the field of online education.

In 2012, there were only six cases of investment in online education in China. In the first seven months of 2013, 22 online education institutions including Hujiang.com and 91waijiao.com obtained investments, among which, the USD 20 million of Round B investment obtained by Hujiang.com in June was the most eye-catching.

Online education is becoming a trend in teaching and learning, and will become more and more mature in technology, product, service and business model with the entry of capital. Meanwhile, as the advantages of online education become increasing prominent, the public acceptance and market demand for online education will continue to increase.

The report mainly includes the followings:   Overview of online education industry (including the definition and classification, industry chain, teaching platform, business model and profit model);  Market overview of education industry (including the education funding, education spending, employment and wages, schools and students, and market size);  Online education market (including the market situation, investment and financing in China and worldwide, size of overall market and market segments, and development trends);  Market situation, business model, corporate financing, market size and development prospects of market segments such as online higher education, K-12 online education, online career training, and corporate e-learning;  Profile, revenue, business structure, online education business, business model and profit model, business strategy of 15 enterprises involved in online education, including China Distance Education Holdings, New Oriental, Tomorrow Advancing Life, Super Class, Hujiang, and Times Bright China.  1. Overview of Online Education Industry  1.1 Definition and Classification 1.1.1 Definition 1.1.2 Classification 1.2 Industry Chain 1.3 Teaching Platform 1.4 Business Model 1.4.1 Overview 1.4.2 B2C Model 1.4.3 C2C Model 1.5 Profit Model

2. Market Overview of Education Industry 2.1 Education Funding 2.2 Education Spending 2.3 Employment and Wages in Education Industry  2.4 Development of Schools 2.5 Private Education 2.6 Market Size of Education Industry   3. Online Education Market 3.1 Market Situation 3.2 Online Education Investment 3.2.1 Global Online Education Investment  3.2.2 Chinese Online Education Investment 3.3 Market Size 3.3.1 Internet Population 3.3.2 Market Size of Online Education 3.3.3 Market Size of Market Segments  3.4 Development Trends

4. Online Higher Education  4.1 Advanced Networking Academy 4.2 Public Service System of Distance Education 4.2.1 Overview 4.2.2 Main Task 4.2.3 Major Enterprises 4.3 Market Size 4.4 Development Prospects

5. K-12 Online Education 5.1 Online Children Education 5.1.1 Overview 5.1.2 Parenting Websites 5.1.3 Online Children English Training  5.1.4 Corporate Financing 5.2 Online Primary and Secondary Education  5.2.1 Market Situation 5.2.2 Business Model 5.2.3 Corporate Financing 5.3 Market Size 5.4 Development Prospects

6. Online Career Training 6.1 Market Situation 6.1.1 Overview 6.1.2 Online Language Training 6.2 Corporate Financing 6.3 Market Size 6.4 Development Prospects

7. Enterprise E-Learning 7.1 Market Situation 7.1.1 Overview 7.1.2 Competitive Landscape 7.2 Corporate E-Learning Model 7.2.1 Corporate E-Learning Advantages 7.2.2 Service Model 7.2.3 Suppliers and Expenses 7.3 Market Size 7.4 Development Prospects

8. Major Companies in Online Education Industry  8.1 China Distance Education Holdings  8.1.1 Profile 8.1.2 Operation  8.1.3 Revenue Structure 8.1.4 Students  8.1.5 Business Structure 8.1.6 Business Model 8.1.7 Business Strategy  8.2 ChinaEdu Corporation  8.2.1 Profile 8.2.2 Operation  8.2.3 Revenue Structure 8.2.4 Outlets and Students  8.2.5 Business Structure  8.2.6 Business Model and Strategy  8.2.7 Recent Developments  8.3 New Oriental Education & Technology Group 8.3.1 Profile 8.3.2 Operation  8.3.3 Number of Students  8.3.4 Koolearn 8.4 Tomorrow Advancing Life  8.4.1 Profile 8.4.2 Operation  8.4.3 Number of Students 8.4.4 Xueersi.com 8.4.5 Renamed “Tomorrow Advancing Life” to Promote Online Education Business  8.5 ATA  8.5.1 Profile

8.5.2 Operation  8.5.3 Revenue Structure 8.5.4 Business Model and Strategy  8.5.5 Recent Developments 8.6 China Education Alliance 8.6.1 Profile 8.6.2 Operation  8.6.3 Revenue Structure 8.7 China E-learning Group  8.7.1 Profile 8.7.2 Operation  8.7.3 Revenue Structure 8.7.4 Business Outlook 8.8 Shenzhen Kingsun Science & Technology  8.8.1 Profile 8.8.2 Operation  8.8.3 Revenue Structure 8.8.4 Gross Margin  8.8.5 Top Five Clients  8.8.6 Core Competitiveness 8.9 YY Inc. 8.9.1 Profile 8.9.2 Operation  8.9.3 Revenue Structure 8.9.4 Number of Users 8.9.5 YY Education 8.9.6 YY7621 8.10 Open Edutainment  8.10.1 Profile 8.10.2 College Cooperation Model  8.10.3 Student Service Model  8.10.4 Cooperative Colleges  8.11 Hiknow English 8.11.1 Profile

8.11.2 Teaching Model 8.11.3 Curriculum  8.11.4 Price  8.12 Chuanke  8.12.1 Profile  8.12.2 Main Products and Services  8.12.3 Business Model 8.13 Super Class 8.13.1 Profile 8.13.2 Teaching Model 8.13.3 Business Model 8.14 Hujiang 8.14.1 Profile 8.14.2 Financing and Performance Growth  8.14.3 Business Model 8.14.4 Profit Model 8.14.5 Mobile Products  8.15 Times Bright China 8.15.1 Profile 8.15.2 Business Structure 8.15.3 Corporate E-learning Business  8.15.4 Products and Expenses 8.15.5 Major E-learning Clients

Selected Charts   Online Education Market Segments Online Education Industry Chain Online Education Business Model Online education Profit Model and Typical Enterprises China’s Education Funding and YoY Growth, 2002-2011 China’s Urban Fixed Investment in Education Industry and YoY Growth, 2005-2013 Per Capita Education Spending of Urban Residents, 2005-2012 Employment and Average Wages in China’s Education Industry, 2005-2012 Number of Schools in China by Type, 2008-2012 Enrollment of Schools in China by Type, 2008-2012 Number of Private Schools and Training Institutions in China, 2008-2011 Enrollment of Private Schools in China, 2008-2012 Market Size of China’s Education Industry, 2008-2016E Online Education Products of Internet and Other Companies Involved in Online Education  Global Online Education Investment Cases, 2012 Global Online Education Investment Cases, 2012 (continued) Global Online Education Investment Cases, Jan.-Jul. 2013 Chinese Online Education Investment Cases, 2012-Jul. 2013 China’s Internet Population and YoY Growth, 2005-2012 China’s Internet Penetration, 2005-2012 China’s Online Education Market Size and YoY Growth, 2005-2012 China’s Online Education Market Size, 2013-2016E China’s Online Education Market Size by Market Segment, 2005-2012 Online Education Colleges Approved by the Ministry of Education  Comparison among Major Companies in China’s Distance Education Public Service System China’s Online Higher Education Market Size and YoY Growth, 2005-2012 China’s Online Higher Education Market Size, 2013-2016E China’s Major Parenting Websites  China’s Major Online Children English Training Institutions  Financing of Online Children Education Enterprises  Online Primary and Secondary Education Business Model and Typical Websites

Financing of Online Primary and Secondary Education Enterprises  China’s K-12 Online Education Market Size and YoY Growth, 2005-2012 China’s K-12 Online Education Market Size, 2013-2016E Financing of China’s Online Career Training Enterprises China’s Online Career Training Market Size and YoY Growth, 2005-2012 China’s Online Career Training Market Size, 2013-2016E Comparison between Traditional Training and E-learning Service Model of Corporate E-learning Major Corporate E-learning Management System Suppliers in China and Worldwide  Corporate E-learning Platform and Courseware Costs China’s Corporate E-learning Market Size and YoY Growth, 2005-2012 China’s Corporate E-learning Market Size, 2012-2020E China’s Corporate E-learning Market Size, 2013-2016E Revenue and YoY Growth of China Distance Education Holdings, FY2008-FY2013 Revenue of China Distance Education Holdings, FY2013-FY2016E Net Income and YoY Growth of China Distance Education Holdings, FY2008-FY2013 Gross Margin of China Distance Education Holdings by Financial Quarter, FY2008-FY2013  Net Revenue of China Distance Education Holdings by Financial Quarter, FY2008-FY2013 Net Revenue Structure of China Distance Education Holdings by Financial Quarter, FY2008-FY2013 Total Course Admissions of China Distance Education Holdings by Quarter, FY2008-FY2012 Revenue and YoY Growth of ChinaEdu Corporation, 2008-2012 Revenue of ChinaEdu Corporation, 2013-2016E Net Income and YoY Growth of ChinaEdu Corporation, 2008-2012 Gross Margin of ChinaEdu Corporation by Quarter, 2008-2012 Net Revenue of ChinaEdu Corporation by Quarter, 2008-2012 Net Revenue Structure of ChinaEdu Corporation by Quarter, 2008-2012 Number of Learning Centers of ChinaEdu Corporation, 2007-2012 Enrollment of Online Diploma Programs of ChinaEdu Corporation by Quarter, 2008-2012 Revenue and YoY Growth of New Oriental, FY2008-FY2013 Revenue of New Oriental, FY2014-FY2017E  Net Income and YoY Growth of New Oriental, FY2008-FY2013

Net Profit Margin of New Oriental, FY2008-FY2013  Enrollment of Language Training and Examination Tutoring Courses of New Oriental by Financial Quarter, FY2008-FY2013 Revenue and YoY Growth of Koolearn, FY2011-FY2016E  Revenue and YoY Growth of Tomorrow Advancing Life, FY2009-FY2013  Revenue of Tomorrow Advancing Life, FY2014-FY2017E  Net Income and YoY Growth of Tomorrow Advancing Life, FY2009-FY2013 Gross Margin of Tomorrow Advancing Life, FY2009-FY2013 Enrollment of Tomorrow Advancing Life and YoY Growth, FY2008-FY2013 Revenue and YoY Growth of Xueersi.com, FY2011-FY2016E Revenue and YoY Growth of ATA, FY2009-FY2013  Revenue of ATA, FY2014-FY2017E Net Income and YoY Growth of ATA, FY2009-FY2013  Gross Margin of ATA by Financial Quarter, FY2009-FY2013 Net Revenue of ATA by Financial Quarter, FY2009-FY2013 Net Revenue Structure of ATA by Financial Quarter, FY2009-FY2013  Examination Sessions of ATA by Financial Quarter, FY2009-FY2013 Revenue and YoY Growth of China Education Alliance, 2008-2012 Net Income and YoY Growth of China Education Alliance, 2008-2012 Gross Margin of China Education Alliance, 2008-2012 Revenue Structure of China Education Alliance, 2008-2012 Turnover and YoY Growth of China E-learning Group, 2008-2013 Turnover of China E-learning Group, 2013-2016E Gross Profit and YoY Growth of China E-learning Group, 2008-2012  Gross Margin of China E-learning Group, 2008-2012 Turnover Structure of China E-learning Group, 2009-2012 Revenue and YoY Growth of Shenzhen Kingsun Science & Technology, 2008-2013 Revenue of Shenzhen Kingsun Science & Technology, 2013-2016E Net Income and YoY Growth of Shenzhen Kingsun Science & Technology, 2008-2013 Revenue Breakdown of Shenzhen Kingsun Science & Technology by Product, 2008-2013  Revenue Breakdown of Shenzhen Kingsun Science & Technology by Region, 2008-2013  Gross Margin of Shenzhen Kingsun Science & Technology by Product/Region, 2008-2013  Revenue of Shenzhen Kingsun Science & Technology from Top 5 Clients and % of Total Revenue, 2012-2013 Revenue and YoY Growth of YY, 2009-2013 Revenue of YY, 2013-2016E

Net Income and YoY Growth of YY, 2009-2013 Revenue Structure of YY by Product, 2011-2013 Number of Paid Users of YY by Product, 2011-2012  Revenue and YoY Growth of YY7621, 2010-2016E Cooperative Colleges and Fees of Open Edutainment Course Levels and Objectives of Hiknow English Course Fees of Hiknow English Teaching Model and Process of Super Class  Business Structure of Times Bright China Costs of Times Bright China E-learning Platform Prices of Times Bright China’s Business School Open Class Learning Cards Major Clients of Times Bright China

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/09/18/5219936/china-online-education-industry.html#storylink=cpy
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New ICT curriculum to make students, teachers tech savvy

Curriculum Development, ICT

22-Aug-2013

Hindustan Times

In line with the national policy to create tech savvy students and teachers, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed a curriculum framework for a course in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that will be adopted by all Indian secondary education boards.

The curriculum has been drafted for two special courses on ICT education, one for students and the other for teachers.

The NCERT has also proposed teaching students ICT from a younger age, therefore, the curriculum has been prepared for three year courses spread across Classes 6 to 12.

Currently, the state board’s new syllabus had made ICT mandatory for students of Classes 9 to 12.

The bases of the ICT curricula are the goals set in the National Curriculum Framework (2005) and the National Policy.

“Recent research has shown that Indians are better-equipped in ICT than other countries in ICT. But such a curriculum aims at gearing students and teachers for global competitiveness,” said NK Jarag, director of MSCERT.

Secondary education boards across the country can offer the course spread over three years, with three sessions held per week.

The curriculum also plans to assess students through a continuous comprehensive assessment throughout the course, while summative evaluations will be conducted at the end of every year.

Students will be evaluated based on an exhibition and a peer review of the work done through the year.

The curriculum also requires students to create an e-portfolio of their work.

NCERT has proposed that until the infrastructure for course is ready at all schools, the state boards should hold separate examinations for the course and award certificates after exams.

“Once all schools are equipped, this could become a part of the school leaving certificate,” the framework states.

A similar programme has been introduced for teachers, to use ICT in classrooms, designed through a two year diploma.

The course is divided into two ? refresher courses and induction courses.

Any teacher who has completed three induction and 14 refresher courses is eligible to take an examination and will be given a diploma in ICT in education, by NCERT.

The curriculum has been uploaded on NCERT’s website.

Parents, students and academicians can submit their suggestions within 15 days.

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Thinking Deeper Research Paper No.1 – Part 3

ICT

Making it Happen: Formative Assessment and Educational Technologies

 

Author: Janet Looney

Sponsored by: Promethean Education Strategy Group

Promethean Thinking Deeper Research Papers provide sponsorship for global experts to conduct and report on cutting-edge thinking and state-of-the-art global academic/policy knowledge with respect to the role of new technologies (innovative tools and organization) in meeting the challenges of learning in the 21st Century.

Introduction

No one component in education is more important for bringing together all of the elements needed for a leap in educational productivity than assessment. Assessment is perhaps the most cross cutting enabler of transformations in learning processes and outcomes. It touches all aspects of the learning process. Rich, multi-dimensional and timely feedback as one learns provides a way to refine and direct both the tools and objectives of learning. This Promethean Thinking Deeper paper provides a general overview of the nature and uses of assessment to support learning in education today. The research reviewed below shows not only why and how assessment plays a pivotal role in improving the overall productivity of learning processes but also the growing role of new technologies and the new organisational approaches these tools enable.

The Wired Classroom: Supporting Formative Assessment Through Technology

In many ways, this is an exciting time in the field of education. We are learning more about learning. We know more, for instance, about how students progress from novice to more expert levels of performance in different subject domains, and about how they develop sophisticated skills for problem solving and collaboration. We also know more about the importance of assessment as an integral part of the learning process (Bransford et al., 1999; Pellegrino et al., 1999). This report focuses on the key role of formative assessment in supporting learning. Formative assessment refers to the frequent assessment of learner progress to identify learning needs and shape teaching. Innovations featuring formative assessment may lead to substantial learning gains – according to empirical evidence reported by Black and Wiliam (1998) “among the largest ever reported for educational interventions” (p. 140). Moreover, formative assessment methods are, in some cases, particularly effective for lower-achieving students, so it is possible to both reduce inequity of student outcomes and raise overall levels of achievement.

Yet a number of studies have found that effective classroom assessment is rare. Teachers are more likely

to emphasise rote learning and develop superficial questions (Black, 1993; Black and Wiliam, 1998; Stiggins et al., 1989). Teachers may have difficulty developing strategies to elicit information on student understanding of conceptual content, or to respond to identified needs. An OECD (2005) study on implementation of formative assessment in international classrooms found that while the concept of formative assessment may resonate with teachers, many protest that it is too difficult to put into regular practice. Teachers note the difficulty of tailoring learning for individual students in large classes, of working with students they consider as more challenging, and of meeting extensive curriculum requirements within limited time periods.

External assessments developed for purposes of school monitoring and accountability may also undermine innovative teaching and assessment. While high stakes associated with assessment results – such as the threat of school closure or financial sanctions for poorly performing schools – are intended to provide incentives for teacher to focus on meeting high standards, they may also discourage innovation and risk taking. Highly competitive university entrance examinations or certification programmes may also have a powerful impact on classroom-based assessment (See definition of terms in Annex 1.).

Several new educational technologies designed to support formative assessment may help to address these barriers. These new technologies enhance learning and assessment, for example, by enabling more frequent feedback, creating immersive learning environments that highlight problem-solving processes and make

student thinking visible, and by providing opportunities for independent and collaborative learning. Teachers, students and parents are able to track learning over time, to identify patterns in learning, and highlight progress. New ICT-based examinations, while still in the early stages of development, have the potential to improve the integration of summative and formative assessments.

As of yet, many teachers do not take advantage of the potential of new technologies to enhance classroom assessment. They may not be aware of how to integrate technologies into classroom assessment, or may not know how to respond to student needs identified in the assessment process (Becta, 2010). Or they may be using new technologies, but to reinforce more traditional approaches to assessment –

losing out on the potential to deepen classroom interactions and strengthen inquiry-based learning.

To read more, click here http://www.prometheanworld.com/rx_content/files/PDF/MakingitHappenFormativeAssessmentEducationalTechnologies-169721.pdf

 

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FACTORS OF CONSIDERATION WHEN IT COMES TO MOBILE LEARNING: A RESEARCH STUDY FOR ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS

ICT, Online Education

Abstract: This review study focuses on the investigation of add-on impact of mobile applications in learning strategies. I surveyed recent researches including context awareness, pedagogical strategy-enhanced learning scenarios, as well as collaborative and socially networked mobile learning. Through this review study, essential characteristics of mobile learning were identified and discussed along with the 4C model. With the essential characteristics, I emphasize on the add-on impact of mobile learning and elaborated mobile learning model in corporate learning strategies.

Introduction

The advance of mobile technologies have turned handheld devices a part of people’s daily life, such as in communication and entertainment. Meanwhile, educators also strive to facilitate learning in organizational settings by applying mobile technology and appropriate learning strategies.

In this review study, I take more practical points of view to describe how mobile technologies facilitate m-learning activity in corporate settings.

The advanced mobile technology provides workers with two important features in recent m-learning research, situated context and ubiquitous mobility. Situated context and ubiquitous mobility are important features when developing the educational mobile activities. The add-on impact of mobile application in learning strategies will also put emphasis on the two features.

This study is organized as follows. After providing a brief definition in literature review, I collect recent researches focusing on technology and pedagogy supported m-learning examples in facilitating m-learning process. In thefollowing part of the study, the essential attributes of m-learning will be summarized to emphasize the add-on impact of mobile technology based on its 4C’s (communication, content, capture and connection) in learning strategies. I conclude this study by reflecting impact and learning models associated with m-learning in organizational settings.

Definition
Mobile learning (m-learning) is a transformative opportunity both for learning, and the learning organization. M-learning means both augmenting formal learning, and moving to performance support, informal, and social learning as well.
Acording to “The eLearning Guild’s 2007 M-learning 360° Research Report”, mobile has been defined as:
“Any activity that allows individuals to be more productive when consuming, inter¬acting with, or creating information, mediated through a compact digital portable device that the individual carries on a regular basis, has reliable connectivity, and fits in a pocket or purse.”

For mobile devices in general, there are not only documents (text and graph¬ics) but also audio, e-mail, the Web, and instant messaging. Video is almost ubiquitous now. Adding phone capabilities, we have voice and text messag¬ing (SMS), and, increasingly, multimedia messaging (MMS).In fact, the convergence of capability, regardless of form factor, is what is fueling the mobile revolution. This convergence also provides a rich source of channels for supporting learning. The following m-learning chan¬nels provide new opportunities to think about how they might support learning:

  • SMS/MMS

 

  • Voice

 

  • Document

 

  • Audio

 

  • Video

 

  • Interactivity

The latest new devices have rich capabilities: input via touch screens with built-in or onscreen keyboards and noise-cancelling microphones; output via vi¬brant screens and quality audio; sensors such as GPS, cameras, compasses, and ori¬entation sensors; and connectivity via multiple networking methods including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, data via phone service, and cables (Quinn, 2011). In addition to the expected “compact digital portable device,” the important bits to no¬tice are the fact that it is largely not about courses but instead about being more pro¬ductive, and it’s about something that’s always with you. It’s about performance, first and foremost. The result is a context-aware computational device that augments our capabilities, both for formal learning, and for informal and performance-support needs.
When hearing the term “mLearning,” most individuals converge on the idea of courses on a phone, whether reduced to the screen size or stripped down. As Quinn (2011) asserts, this can lead to dismissal of the potential, the underlying idea of m-learning in organizational settings is course augmentation. The essence of mobile is, augmenting our mental capabilities wherever and whenever we are. Our brains are very good at pattern-matching and pretty good at executive function, but very bad at rote memorization and complex computations. Computers, conversely, are the reverse, and from a problem-solving perspective we are far more capable when we combine the two. Mobile devices do that and more.

The more common use of m-learning is in performance support, in effect augment¬ing our brains. The goal is to take the digital support we can have at our desktops, and make a usable version available wherever and whenever we are. It’s about bringing the capabilities our minds don’t handle well to the problems we face: rote memory, com¬plex computation, exact context capture, and distant communication.

By abstracting across mobile capabilities, we achieve what is referred to as the four C’s of mobile (Quinn, 2011; see Figure 1):

  • Content – the delivery of media including documents, audio, and video

 

  • Compute – the ability to perform calculations and have programmatic responses

 

  • Capture – capturing data from the local environment such as photos, videos, audio, or information from sensors such as location or direction

 

  • Communicate – the ability to reach others with text, voice, or even video

These three factors – content, compute, and communicate – are not unique to mobile but now aug¬ment our performance wherever we are, while capture, particularly combined with the other three, can do unique things. One can capture and communicate to others, or cap¬ture the location and use that to customize the content one receives to be context-spe¬cific. The point is to break out of our traditional design mentality and find a way to think more comprehensively about the opportunities that mobile provides.

Literature Review
Much of this is not unique to mobile: computers have been developed as the perfect comple¬ment to our brains, but the opportunity now is to untether that support from the desk¬top, and let it roam free. Mobile brings the power of digital augmentation, and more, to us wherever and whenever we are. However, there are ways in which mobile is unique.
In addition to the integration of suitable software and novel mobile technologies, how to combine appropriate pedagogical strategy for enhanced learning application was another critical important issue in m-learning environment. Some of the studies proposed the navigation mechanism and intelligent tutoring system supporting suitable tutorial strategies for learners increasing learning opportunities (Ghiani et al., 2009; O’Grady, O’Hare, & Sas, 2005; Pianesi et al., 2009; Virvou & Alepis, 2005).

Moreover, the high interaction strategy was proposed to use for promoting social interaction and enhancing user experience in several studies (Hourcade & Berkel, 2008; Paterno` & Santoro, 2003; Wessels et al., 2007). Collaborative and cooperative learning are generally the first method chosen in m-learning environment. Collaborative and cooperative learning is based on the constructivist theory which prompts learners to learn by doing and construct knowledge for themselves (Schunk, 1996), and that pedagogical strategies have been widely applied in m-learning activities (Dearman, Hawkey, & Inkpen, 2005; El-Bishouty, Ogata & Yano, 2007; Huang, Huang, & Hsieh, 2008; Huang, Jeng, & Huang, 2009; Lundin & Magnusson, 2003; Patten, Sa´nchez, & Tangney, 2006; Yang, 2006). Chen, Kao, & Sheu (2003) utilized the method of scaffolding which can enhance comprehension, improve independent learning and application, and promote knowledge transfer. The main research applications of situated learning and ubiquitous learning will be discussed in this section.

Generally, learning that happens on any pervasive computing devices can be referred to m-learning. The rapid development of wireless network technologies and various mobile products have enabled people to conveniently access the information resources anytime and anywhere without constraints of time or place. The advanced available technologies, such as high bandwidth wireless communication networking infrastructure, wireless technologies, and advanced handheld devices, have extended online learning modes from e-learning to m-learning, in which learning objects have started to extend traditional learning manner towards widely used in daily life for various purposes (Sharples, 2000). However, mobile devices for learning are limited by screen size, computational power, battery capacity, input interface and network bandwidth (Chen, Chang, & Wang, 2008). Thus, how to adapt information for delivery to mobile devices has become a critical issue in m-learning environment.

To address this concern, many researchers have investigated the issue in different ways and have proposed several solutions (Gaedke et al., 1998; Goh, Kinshuk, & Lin, 2003; Huang & Sundaresan, 2000; Lemlouma & Layaïda, 2003). Yang, Chen, & Shao (2004) developed a universal access mechanism which can provide a transparent and seamless browsing experience of adaptive content based on XML/RDF, CC/PP, and UAProf techniques. Besides, content server can create adaptive multimedia content used on Dublin core/MPEG-7 and SMIL for multimedia content description and composition. Lemlouma and Layaïda (2004) proposed the system using the XQuery language and delivering the SOAP services to achieve automatic adaptation of the content based on its semantic and the capabilities of the target device. Zhang (2007) proposed several perspectives to discuss the web content adaptation for mobile devices. Huang, et al. (2008) utilized Fuzzy Weighted Average (FWA) algorithm to design a context-awareness synchronous learning system. The proposed manner provides various content styles to make learning contents appropriate to be displayed on diverse learning devices.

Recently, the concept of context-aware ubiquitous learning has been further proposed to allow learners learning with variety of mobile devices and facilitate a seamless ubiquitous learning environment (Chang, Sheu, & Chan, 2003; Sakamura & Koshizuka, 2005; Rogers et al., 2005), which conducts real-world learning activities with adaptive supports from the learning system (Hwang, Tsai & Yang, 2008; Peng et al., 2009; Yang, 2006). In order to achieve context-aware and seamlessly learning environments, some ubiquitous computing technologies and devices were usually utilized to detect or sense users’ context information, such as RFID, GPS, specific sensors, contact-less smart cards, wearable computers, and wireless communications. (El-Bishouty, Ogata & Yano, 2007; Hwang, Tsai & Yang, 2008). The acquired context information was not merely used to identify learners’ situations but also utilized to support personalized learning guidance.

Ubiquitous mobility has been considered and implemented in several researches in recent years (Sharples Beale, 2003; Joiner et al., 2006; Fallahkhair, 2007). With ubiquitous mobility, learners can facilitate learning activity in the outside world and connect to other peers by connecting to network. Mobile technologies offer rich content of m-learning and deliver information effectively for learners during their learning activities. The feature of mobility also makes m-learning become more and more distributed (Chang et al., 2003; Corlett, et al., 2005; Clough, 2008).

Situated learning is one of m-learning applications (Hall & Bannon, 2006; Morken, et al., 2007; Lai, et al., 2007); it is the learning that takes place in the context corresponding to the learning materials. Situated learning provides learners with authentic learning examples which suit the learner’s learning context. With mobile situated learning system, learner can acquire the context-aware learning materials to enhance their learning experience.

Handheld devices have been deployed as learning tools in both formal and informal learning contexts. Clough et al. (2008) investigate how experienced users of mobile devices use their mobile devices to support intentional informal learning. The results show that mobile devices are used extensively in an informal learning context by mobile learners. Also, they use mobile devices in ways that correspond to the collaborative, contextual and constructivist m-learning activities.

Collaborative and cooperative m-learning activities facilitate mobile technique as the learning tools (Lundin & Magnusson, 2003; Ng, et al., 2005; Järvelä, et al., 2007; Huang, et al., 2008 & 2009). Yang (2006) constructed three systems in the context aware ubiquitous learning environment, which include peer-to-peer content access and adaptation system, personalized annotation management system, and multimedia real-time group discussion system. In that environment, researcher utilized the effective and efficient advantage of ubiquitous learning to design the strategy of peer-to-peer collaborative learning to the learners. The author addresses the newly concept of collaborative activity can fully support the needs of peer-to-peer collaborative learning.

Essential Attributes of M-learning

This section will discuss the essential attributes of m-learning then conclude the research review.

Learning through mobile devices is the trend of digital learning field.The add-on impact of m-learning are based on four dimensions as shown in Figure 2. The four dimensions are situated learning environment, virtual group awareness/strategies, enhanced pedagogical learning process and mobile learner/coacher.

Regardless of the medium used, the elements that lead to effective learning are: introducing the learning, presenting ap-propriate concepts, demonstrating the ap¬plication of those concepts within contexts, allowing the learner to practice that applica¬tion in other contexts, and finally closing off the learning experience (Quinn, 2011).
Too often all of the elements – in¬tro, concept, example, etc. – are combined into a single learning “event,” yet research tells that this approach isn’t effective. For instance, Quinn (20122) asserts that massed practice isn’t as effective as spaced practice. The forgetting curve on the event model is pretty severe. Our cognitive architecture becomes satu¬rated with a short amount of activation of any particular concept at one time, and fur¬ther activation is not effective until there’s been a break, typically sleep. Therefore, activating the knowledge a little bit over time is more effective than a large amount of activation at one time, owing to our cognitive architecture. However, mobile devices give us another channel to augment formal learning with more examples and practice, and we can extend the learning experience over time more conveniently.

Mobile learner and coacher

The advance of pervasive technologies brings opportunities for educators to design interactive learning activities. Such environment encourages learners to utilize the learning tools and explore the knowledge (Price, & Rogers, 2004; Monahan, et al., 2008). Learners can learn the knowledge and access the information anytime and anywhere without too much additional efforts. In m-learning process, learners’ learning portfolio will be recorded and the relevant information around learners will be tracked in mobile applications. Accordingly, the authentic learning materials or the appropriate contextual learning content will be provided according to the learner’s learning context. The mobile application needs feedback from learner to provide personalized learning suggestions. The m-learning system is adaptive to the mobile learners, which can offer right learning content in right places to rightlearners. The m-learning scenario to mobile learners should be natural without carrying additional devices

The mobile coacher could be a mobile application agent or a real lecturer who guide learners to problem solving in m-learning activities. M-learning applications are expected to offer learners the sharing of their learning portfolio, learning context, and learning feedback to their mobile coacher. After receiving the relevant learning information of learners, mobile coacher can provide adaptable personalized learning contents and suggestions.

The mobile coacher is expected to monitor learners’ needs and provide them with appropriate aid in the learning activity

Enhanced pedagogical learning process

The enhanced pedagogical learning process is utilized to facilitate the learning in m-learning activities. For example, blog articles were applied to construct a learning map called blog-based dynamic learning map (Wang et al., 2008). It is designed to provide informative and structured blog articles to assist learners’ learning. Therefore, a collaborative learning process can be facilitated by utilizing a mobile blogging system (Huang et al., 2009). In this mobile collaborative learning process, the bloggingsystem is employed as a data collector and an information sharing platform for mobile learners. A revised pedagogical learning process associated with mobile technology has formed the pedagogical foundations of m-learning. Chen, et al. (2003; 2008) have designed mobile application system for modeling, coaching and scaffolding the authentic activities and faded the support during the m-learning process. They facilitate collaboration and support some of the social practices associated with learning. Therefore, the traditional pedagogical theory can take advantage of mobile technology and bring more efficient learning process to mobile learners. The combination of
collaborative, contextual, constructionist and constructivist principles should be derived from augmented pedagogical learning process.

Situated learning environment

Mobile technologies gradually facilitate and enhance learners’ interaction by means of accessing, discussing and sharing associated information through social networks. A situated learning environment aims to contextualize learning activities by enabling the learners to interact appropriately with their environment (Patten, et al., 2006). The advanced function of mobile devices make it possible for detecting learner’s learning environment by embedded mobile sensors. Yang, (2006) proposed a context aware ubiquitous learning environment to provide contextual information and support peer-to-peer collaborative learning. The mobility, communication features and computational capacity of handhelds provide learners with authentic learning activities by simulating a situated learning environment. In cognitive apprenticeship, knowledge is situated within authentic activities and taught through interaction with instructors (Brown et al., 1989). Therefore, a vivid learning interaction with the environment makes the add-on impact of m-learning in situated learning environment.

Virtual group awareness/strategies

Various studies (Danesh, et al., 2001; Inkpen, 1991; Mandryk, et al., 2001) describe the benefit for bringing mobility, and portability to face-to-face CSCL environments when learners are wirelessly interconnected by handheld devices. Zurita, Nussbaum, & Salinas, (2005) proposed dynamic grouping methodology which is like recomposition group members during the collaborative activity. The results let future research understand which group composition should be favored in a given set of circumstances. Therefore, the member of virtual group should be deployed in particular given learning context to facilitate learners engaging in the learning topics.

With the development of mobile applications, virtual group awareness can be emphasized and augmented. This improvement in m-learning draws more opportunities inutilizing pedagogical learning strategies.

With the integration of the four attributes, a m-learning activity would be sturdy in perspective of learning model. A m-learning environment should have learner and coacher combined with enhanced pedagogical learning strategies. To address the mobility in m-learning, the technologic advantages should be valued. The situated learning environment utilizes the strength of mobility and brings context awareness learning materials for mobile learner and coacher. In this environment, mobile learner can have the awareness of group membership which could increase the learning motive or improve the learning efficiency.
It is important to place mobile in the larger organizational context. Initially, mobile is a delivery channel for enterprise capability. As identified in the beginning of this paper, mobile is becoming the first focus for enterprise development. Particularly for perfor¬mance, the boundaries between work and performance are blurring, and the roles of portals and social media cover far more than formal learning.
Increasingly, there is a shift in perspective from looking only at formal m-learning to include performance support, informal, and social learning as a necessary step in the evolution of organizational learning. The learning function in the organization needs to start tak¬ing responsibility for performance in the broader sense, or what I term big “L” learning (to distinguish from just formal learning), including problem-solving, creativity, innova¬tion, collaboration, design, research, and more. The role of the learning function in an organization moves from content creation to learning and performance facilitation. The overall space of learning responsibility is a continuum from formal learning through performance support to informal learning, creating an overall performance ecosystem, and mobile is a channel on this. Thus, as Quinn (2009; see Figure 3) asserts, mobile is a component of Broader Distribution.

The following considerations should be made when it comes to integrating m-learning in organizational settings:
Development Considerations: Devices do not exist in a vacuum, but instead, some necessary standards must be taken into account when using them.The easy solutions are in content delivery: most smart devices can play video and audio in certain standard formats, and read HTML and PDFs. Moving beyond, document formats that more elegantly separate out formatting from delivery, such as XML, provide even more flexibility. Similarly, any device that has sensors like cameras and microphones typically can share that data. The standards for communication are ubiquitous: voice, text messages, and e-mail all have standards. Similarly, most of the social media networks have clear winners in each category, so Facebook, Skype, and Twitter are fairly standardized. Proprietary versions of those typically have mobile interfaces developed as well. So content, capture, and communication are easy. The differences between these operating systems make it difficult to develop and deliver a common solution. While platforms for content can be, and are being, built on top of these systems, distributing interactivity across platforms is harder.

Tool Considerations: The standards mentioned above make it easy to take existing content and make it available for mobile delivery at little or no cost. There are free conversion tools available if the media-development tools in use don’t already have output options for media delivery.
On the other hand, while content delivery is pretty much a solved problem, the development of interactive capabilities, regardless of channel, is not so simple. This doesn’t mean one can’t do a good design and implement with lower levels of interaction, but it does mean one needs to be more thoughtful about what one wants to accomplish before considering delivery options. Soon, mobile delivery will be an automatic outcome of the enterprise and learning tool sets. However, that does not mean one should just continue to develop e-learning in the same old way. First, one should not continue to focus only on formal learning, as argued above. One should also be striving for minimalism on principle, but more so for the sake of mobile delivery. Minimalism has turned out to be valuable for Web design and in learning experience design as well (Carroll, 1990). Consequently, the best advice as of now is to focus on analysis and design, and then choose the tool that will let accomplish what needs to be done, and not to worry about tools until one is ready to move. When deciding about the execution of a mobile initiative one should evaluate both those mobile toolsets already available and those that are likely to continue to be available.
Implementation Considerations: Other areas for consideration are the implementation issues such as security, support, and provision. One possibility is loss of the device. Solutions to this include only getting data on demand, such as through mobile Web or text messages, so there’s no persistent information on the device. Alternatively, most smartphone platforms now have mechanisms for passwords, location-discovery, and remote wiping of the stored information. A second possibility is for interception of incoming data. Mechanisms exist for secure transmission as well, though only for smartphones. In addition to policies about devices, it might seem that there is a need for policies about how one can use the devices, and what you can access or communicate with them. Whatever policies, however, that already exist for desktop access of data and public communications apply to these devices. The one area that might make sense to create new policies for is providing location information if such information could be detrimental to corporate success. However, increasingly, the view is that empowering individuals with the important goals and resources to succeed is more powerful than attempts to control behavior.
Organizational Change Considerations: A mobile initiative should be considered as an organizational change, and what will be measured to determine the long-term impact of the intervention, and the short-term evaluation should also be taken into account. The choice of metrics used to determine the value received also is important. After launch, there is a decision to make with three possible results: 1) Is it good so we can let it continue as is; 2) does the approach need tweaking; 3) or is this not working sufficiently well to continue with it? (See Figure 20.) The measurements to use are, ideally, business impact: is the mobile initiative reducing costs or errors, increasing sales rates, or increasing customer loyalty? Less direct results may also be appropriate, such as employee demand (are they downloading Podcasts) or satisfaction (subjective evaluation of their assessment of the initiative). With ubiquitous access, we no longer need the “event” model of learning. We have the potential to step away from punctuated learning, and move to continuous learning. Indeed, we are likely to see more individual learning occur, and the question is what to do about it. If we couple some “learning to learn” with a longer-term perspective of our relationship with our learners, we may want and need to shift to a “slow learning” perspective.

Conclusions and Discussions

This review study focused on pedagogical learning strategies applied in m-learning environments for organizational settings. Through the survey of recent researches on m-learning, I investigated the add-on impact of mobile applications in learning strategies and concluded the following observations.

The m-learning model for organizational settings emphasizes mobile users, learning strategies, situated environments, and virtual group awareness. The advance of mobile technology assists the development of “situated classroom” which is an augmented knowledge context environment pertaining to learners’ daily life. The situated classroom is able to convey information between learners and coachers while the learning strategies are deployed. With the enhanced pedagogical learning strategies, learners obtain skill and knowledge in situated classroom. Many currently available m-learning applications highlight the mobility, ubiquitous computing, and portability features to facilitate learning process by utilizing those features. Nevertheless, a more important issue is to rationalize the customized m-learning applications in the proposed pedagogical learning strategies. Mobile technology does not aim to complicate learning process but facilitate mobile learners’ learning process. To create new innovative learning opportunities, one needs to take into account the usability and the rationality. I believe that the appropriate application of mobile devices is to be developed in the combination of appropriate use of mobile technology and enhanced educational underpinning.

Future studies with the support of mobile technology could be directed towards the integration of learning strategies and emerging mobile sensor technology. More and more mobile devices in the future will be equipped with sensors and accelerometers which mean the track of mobile learners will be more precise.

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E-education sector to cross $45 bn mark by 2015

ICT

Mumbai: At USD 600 billion, the education spending in India has surpassed that of the US and is growing by leaps and bounds, a research report said.

The education spend in India is at USD 600 billion and the private education segment alone is expected to cross USD 45 billion mark by 2015 from the present USD 35 billion, according to a research report prepared by Investor Relation Society, affiliated to US based Global Investor Relations Network.

The report said that skill and vocational training are fast throwing good amount of opportunities.

With an education network of more than one million schools and 20,000 higher-education institutes, the market size of the Indian education system is estimated at USD 45 billion, Investor Relation Society president M S Anand said.

A little over two lakh Indian students migrate overseas every year for higher studies. These students alone contribute to foreign universities as much as USD 5 bn every year.

Based on this observation, several foreign institutions are foraying into India. This is expected to boost the quality of education in the country, the report said.

The higher education in India shall soon witness a sea change, leading to a surge in the growth of education sector. The sector may not only witness emergence of growth of small companies into gigantic organisations, but also lead to entry of new players.

These new players could be either technocrats as in the case of First Object Technologies Ltd or companies promoted by conglomerates like Zee.

In India, there are too many regulations, as unfortunately, education is in “concurrent list”, hence governed by both central and state governments. It’s the Government which decides what can be taught, what should be the fee and what’s the eligibility criterion, said M S Anand.

The education segment in India can be broadly divided into formal and informal. While formal education constitutes schools, higher education, and professional programs, the informal education includes pre-schools, multimedia, vocational training and virtual classroom training. Informal education is completely free from regulation at present.

Naturally, the requirement of funds has also gone up and both PE as well as IPO played a key role. The listed companies are going to be major player in future, Anand said.

Though there are several Companies in “me-too” kind-of-race, First Object Technology and Educomp have created their own USPs in the industry that has names like: Career Point; Core Education; Tree House Education & Accessories to reckon with.

Educomp (EDSL) is the only player in India offering end-to-end services in the education sector. The rising share of its subsidiaries in revenue, chiefly due to the strong growth in K-12, is likely to reduce dependence on the smart-class segment of School Learning Solutions.

Zee News, 13 May 2012

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Smart idea: Govt school to give e-lessons in Hindi from today

ICT, Technology

Chandigarh Relocating all the students from Government High School, Kajheri, and a few students from other government schools in its neighbourhood to its wi-fi-enabled premises, the Government Smart School, Sector 53, is all set to teach students with e-content in Hindi medium from Monday.
The new date — April 23 — for the inauguration of the school has been fixed after four postponements.

The curriculum has been prepared by various government school teachers in collaboration with the State Institute of Education (SIE). All the lesson plans have been designed from lifting content from NCERT books.

Despite the school building being ready since July last year, it took the department nearly a year to complete the technical arrangements and plan the curriculum.

The entire campus of the high school is wi-fi-enabled, and classroom teaching will be taken up by referring to e-content (e-lessons) on projector screens in all classrooms.

The UT Administration had tied up with a city-based computer networking company for developing the digital podiums which have been placed inside each classroom.

The podium has an in-built laptop screen, microphone and a connection with the projector. It will be used by the teacher who will display the audio-visual content on the projector screen for the students through the podium laptop.

Officials indicate that relocating the students from neighbouring areas to the smart school will help in balancing out the high pupil-teacher ratio in the other schools, including Government High School at Badheri and Government Model School, Sector 41.

No new admissions will be made in the school for the current academic session. “Here, we primarily wish to fulfil the purpose of RTE’s concept of neighbourhood schools. The students whose parents would opt for changing the school would be placed here,” said DPI (schools) Sandeep Hans.

The inauguration of the school was first scheduled for November last year. It was then postponed to December due to imposition of the model code of conduct for the Municipal Corporation polls. Later, it was rescheduled for January 14 and then for April 4.

The Education Department aims at setting up 18 more smart schools in the city in the current Five-year Plan.

Indian Express 23 April 2012

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Post Aakash, tablet makers eye lucrative education sector

ICT

Once viewed as a corporate tool for busy executives, tablet PCs are fast metamorphosing itself into an essential tool for students. Buoyed by increasing demand in the education sector, scores of vendors have launched tablets targeting students over the last one year. The latest entrants: Micromax and HCL Infosystem.

Earlier this week, Micromax unveiled its tablet PC called Funbook, it is priced at Rs 6,499. The launch comes just a day after HCL Infosytem introduced its MyEdu Tab (priced at Rs 9,999).

According to CyberMedia Research, the country saw sales of about 475,000 units of media tablets in the last calendar year. Report from research firm Frost & Sullivan says the tablet PC user base in India has increased from 60,000 units in 2010 to 300,000 in 2011. It added that the overall tablet PC user base is likely to grow at a CAGR of 107 per cent to reach 23.38 million by 2017.
The Indian market has become very competitive in the five quarters since 4Q of 2010, when Samsung introduced the first tablet model in the country. Then, the launch of Aakash tablets and the initial response its commercial launch last year received has encouraged other vendors to tap the market.

Aakash, termed as the world’s cheapest tablet PC, was launched in October 2011 by Union minister Kapil Sibal. Coming with a price tag of Rs 2,276, it is being supplied to students at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,500. Sibal’s Human Resources Development Ministry is also planning to come out with an upgraded version of Aakash (Aakash II) in May this year.

“The competition is expected to intensify further, with new vendors launching their products during 2012,” according to Naveen Mishra, lead telecom analyst, CyberMedia Research. “For now, education seems to be the vertical, with highest priority of adoption and a large number of models are positioned at this segment.”

The vendors are not only launching the hardware, but also bundling their product with education content providers for making it a full package for the student community.

For example, Micromax has partnered with Pearson and Everonn to make educational contents available to the students. It has also partnered with BigFlix, Zenga and Indiagames to provide entertainment and gaming contents.

HCL’s MyEdu tab K12 version will have NCERT K12 Mapped Content, which will have animations and text in 2D and 3D other than solved examples, chapter quizzes, key revision points and free NCERT text books. The MyEduTab will have a version which will provide Hindi and English content for standard I to V students, and general knowledge content for junior classes.

WishTel’s IRA tablets (priced between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,500) comes with eBook reader app, course content for ICSE, CBSE and state boards apart from engineering, medical, and other higher education offerings.

The Manufacturer’s Association for IT Industry (MAIT) says there is heightened interest among vendors following a drastic fall in the prices of tablets. “Besides, there is increased focus on use of computing devices to impart education,” notes MAIT president Alok Bharadwaj. “The state governments are also looking at providing laptops and computers to the students. Instead, now if they offer tablets to the students, their cost would come down.”

However, analysts caution that the success in adoption of media tablets will largely depend on product performance, availability of relevant content and applications apart from affordable and widespread 3G services.

Business Standard, 08 April 2012

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