Every society is thriving to become knowledge society, which is aspiring for the creation of knowledge. The schooling today is no more with rude discipline. And the entire society is in a process of creating knowledge. No more class rooms are within four walls, it would be a virtual window to see the whole world, even galaxy, planetscapes, etc. No more schools are just learning centres. It should be an essential part of community by helping the society in updating knowledge, says Johnson Andrews Fernandez (Johnson.firstname.lastname@example.org), of Corporate Management of Schools Alappuzha, Kearala. Multimedia Interactive Classrooms, Virtual Class Rooms, Publishing and Maintenance of Digital Library, Intelligent Network of Teachers, Internet Applications and Communication, Archives of Local Knowledge, Village Knowledge Centres, Helpline for students and parents and Ham Radio are some of the features with the schools and the Digital Learning programme, that brought the recognition of a Power School for the Diocese of Alleppey. It was one of the finalists in the Digital Learning Power School Award process that culminated in August along the forum of Digital Learning India 2007 conference. Johnson Andrews Fernandez shares the power of the Corporate Management of Schools.
The Corporate Management of Schools is a charitable and educational society, now incorporates 25 schools lining the coastal belt of Alappuzha district in Kerala and caters to the educational needs of 17313 students, mostly hailing from socially, economically and educationally backward families. The schools have the facilities to bring out the best in these students with a workforce of 615 teachers.
What is Digital Learning programme?
DLP is a network of corporate management schools by Optical Fibre Cable. We call this network as information super highway with 1 G.B. Bandwidth, that makes any multimedia file transfer possible within seconds. The entire school activities are monitored by the management. And a live class can be given by a teacher with multimedia presentation from the office of the management of schools while interacting with the students.
Digital Learning programme enables teachers to:
- create new learning environments based on a blended learning approach, which allows students to explore and experiment, think critically and work creatively, reflect and plan, use feedback and self-assessment, and create new knowledge;
- make teaching and learning more effective and efficient by using customised tools that aid preparation, programming, assessment, and reporting;
- customise learning experiences to recognise individual, cultural, and developmental differences;
- enhance communication and collaboration to build partnerships beyond the classroom, expanding the community of learners and enhancing the quality of learning;
- create new education communities by increasing the modes of teaching and learning and the range of people who can be involved.
How helpful for students?
For the effective implementation of this project on D L P we have classified the 24 schools into three clusters on the basis of their geographic location. The office of the Corporate Management will be the centre for monitoring and scaffolding these clusters.
The service of the expert teachers has already been ensured for the success of the project. Educationalists and other experts who can make constructive contribution will also be brought in. There will be team of experts who will analyse and suggest progressive measures for updating the activities. Utmost care will be taken in networking the schools especially with the technical support of well established firms in the field. Some such firms have already been contacted and they have responded positively. A technical cell will be formed in this connection.
Since each school included in this project is a replica of the local community and will act as a knowledge centre, it will be easy to get the public support. This can be made more fruitful by the active involvement of the Parent Teacher Associations in almost all the activities of the school. The local and other administrative establishments are also accessible for our schools.
DLP for knowledge economy
Kochi is emerging as the third hub of software industry in India. and more than that, within 5 yrs it would be an international trade zone. Our area where this project is supposed to be implemented is just a few kilometers away from Kochi. With the help of private and other public sector ventures, we are able to train students from a younger age through this network, who ultimately would cater to the demand for skilled labours with minimum cost. Thus the project can act as a supplementary education centre for the industry around Kochi.
Digital Learning helps to personalise the syllabus, which is helpful in transforming education for a knowledge society. There are 17,395 students studying in all the above said schools. The entire student community of these schools are from the coastal area and majority of them are from fishermen community. The major group of beneficiaries will be the backward and minority communities, including the families of the students. An estimated five Lakhs people irrespective of their caste and creed will ultimately be benefited.
The ultimate goal is the qualitative and quantitative improvement in the life of the local community that will result in bringing them to the mainstream.
Besides, there is a team of dedicated teachers numbering 850, most of whom are graduates and post graduates. Some even have M. Phil and Ph D degrees. These teachers are trained well in ICT, so that they can become the backbone of the Digital Learning Programme. Besides these teachers and dedicated management, there are educationists, social scientists, psychologists, doctors and medical practitioners, scientists, NGOs, local colleges, government officials, and PTAs supporting DLP.
The school was registered for the first time in cyber space in January 2006. In 2007, as a first step towards Digital Learning Programme, it got another website as a modified version. We can call this as our web server to interact each school with rest of the world. Each school can publish their activities and create knowledge and inferences about the society. Students can view their marks and comments made by the teacher on each subject.
Each teacher is being provided with a user name and password to 'sign in' the site and edit student's works from any where. As a part of collaborative content development, teachers in our schools are able to upload article, presentations, audios, etc. to this site.
A knowledge base for the development of the community living along the coastal areas of Alleppey, with special emphasis on curbing the educational and social backwardness of the students, the Corporate Management of Schools, Diocese of Alleppey in collaboration with Government and other non governmental agency has taken the leadership by a planned activity like the Digital Learning programme.
Springdales School, Pusa Road wins Digital Learning Power School Award 2007
Springdales School, Pusa Road, New Delhi was declared the Power School of this year, for demonstrating a strong commitment to innovative teaching and learning practices. The Digital Learning Power School Award, organised by Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies, went through a six month process to acknowledge and support excellence in technology enabled learning and teaching, to recognise and reward dedicated and progressive schools. The Award process received an overwhelming response from the schools, from different parts of the country, and the entries were evaluated by an eminent jury panel to zero in on Springdales School, Pusa Road, as the winner.
Apart from the ICT projects for the 'adjacent to school' community like Swashakti, Mobile Computer Education, Twinning programme, Student Exchange programme, etc., the school has been reflecting the power of innovation, technology, and brilliance in other areas of teacher training, and curriculum integration, that take the teachers, students, parents, administrators and others in the community to the level of excellence.
The award function was organised in conjunction with the eINDIA2007 conference and exhibition. The school was honoured by Subhash C Khuntia, the Joint Secretary, Ministry of HRD, Government of India.
There are also four other finalists in the process who were invited to participate in the conference, who have developed measurable best practices and innovative educational programs with technology that resulted in competitive advantage, and built educational responsibility to a win-win situation. They are Corporate Management of Schools Alappuzha – Kearala, Appeejey School – Noida, Rukmini Devi Public School – Delhi and DAV Public School – Shreshtha Vihar.
NCERT asks state boards to reform examination process
The National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) in consultation with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and several other state boards, has suggested
some key reformations in the examination patterns and evaluation process at school level.
The council conducted a region-wise consultation on examination reforms in July and August to draw consensus on the reforms. There were 11 state boards which participated in the workshops conducted by the NCERT and three of them agreed to implement the reforms. These three states are Haryana, Kerala and Goa who will implement it from the forthcoming academic year.
As per the NCERT suggestions, the question papers require short
answers and well-designed multiple choice questions. The NCERT has asked the boards to adopt a grading system instead of marks in class XII board examinations. The Council also suggested that other examinations conducted by certain boards for classes V, VIII and XI should be eliminated. The NCERT has further asked the state boards to reform the evaluation process.
Delhi Education Dept. introduces 'CALtoonZ' in schools
In a bid to make learning stress-free and joyful, the Education Department of Delhi Government has introduced CALtoonZ, a specialised Computer Aided Learning programme, in all the schools run by it. The 'CALtoonZ' is part of the YUVA programme launched by the Department of Education to bring about a radical change in the system of education in government-run schools.
The programme, first of its kind in the country was introduced in 200 schools of the Capital last year for an experiment basis. The success was overwhelming with huge response from the students. Now all government run schools in Delhi will implement this programme to increase enrolments and performance levels. After the introduction of the program, the drop rate in Delhi schools fell from 19.7 per cent in 2004 to a mere 5.9 per cent this year. The enrollment in these schools has also shown an increase of 12.62 per cent.