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IT - Reaching the UNreached
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IT - Reaching the UNreached

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At a meeting of school principals and educational-policy makers from in and around Chennai, I had the opportunity to talk about how I felt IT in the classroom could be used to reach the UNreached.

At a meeting of school principals and educational-policy makers from in and around Chennai, I had the opportunity to talk about how I felt IT in the classroom could be used to reach the UNreached.

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  • http://www.greenstar.org/butterflies/Hole-in-the-Wall.htm
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  • Thank you for this. It is really inspiring.
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  • I saw this poster too...and I had the same reaction like you! Wow...we do have the same wavelength. This artist had a good hand at drawing but had a bad idea from the start. I think schooling no longer has to be tied to a place that one has to go.
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  • This is an excellent thing by Kathy Sierra.
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  • Definition of Searchculture:

    An age in which Google and other search engines are leading us into a future rich with an abundance of correct answers along with an accompanying naive sense of certainty.



    In the future we will be able to answer the question, but will we be bright enough to ask it?
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  • I chose this approach of ‘quoting biggies’ instead of spouting my own, because, the audience was all headmasters and principals from around the city, and they were all elder and were all senior to me.. So, I said, I will be quoting from famous visionaries in the field, and signing off with a special surprise (Spectral Extremes)..
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    • 1. IT - Reaching the UNreached…
      • by
      • Bill Gates
      • Nicholas Negroponte
      • Seymour Papert
      • Marc Prensky
      • Sugata Mitra
      • Philip Pirsig
      • Howard Gardner
      • John Brockman
      • Kathy Sierra
      • Sridhar Vembu
      • And two Spectral Extremes
      } “ Moderated” by D Rajendran
    • 2. Who ARE the UNreached?
      • Not just the..
        • Financially underprivileged
        • Economically underprivileged
        • Culturally underprivileged
      • But also the..
        • Differently able
        • Curricular Misfits
        • Focus-challenged
        • Learners of a different kind
    • 3.
      • Bill Gates
      Entrepreneur, Visionary, Software Architect, Educationist, Philanthropist, …
    • 4. ‘ Business’ @ the Speed of Thought
      • Findings from a November 1997 Special Report by the Wall Street Journal
      • Computer labs are a lousy place for computers.
      • Struggling students often get more out of computers than higher-performers.
      • Computers are a tool, not a subject
      • Computers don’t diminish traditional skills
      • The Internet and Email excite kids by giving them an audience
      • Kids love computers
    • 5. Nicholas Negroponte Architect, Computer Scientist, Director at MIT, Visionary of the Hundred-Dollar Laptop
    • 6. One Laptop Per Child
    • 7. In an interview, he said…
      • Some critics of the project, including the _______ education secretary, believe that the money invested in the $100 pieces of hardware would be better spent on more traditional education materials.
      • It's an idea Negroponte rejects. "People ask if a child is malnourished--he doesn't have drinking water, he's sick--why do you want to give him a laptop? Substitute the word education for laptop , and you'll never ask that question again."
    • 8.
      • , One of the world's leading theorists on child learning and inventor of the educational Logo computer language, says
      • "The days when a future teacher could be trained to do everything that needs to be done in a career of teaching are over," he says. "The world changes too fast."
      Dr. Seymour Papert
    • 9. “ Educators with a vested interest in the status quo will hate this book. It is about their demise.” - School Library Journal
    • 10. Marc Prensky Visionary, Consultant, Author, Speaker, Inventor, Game Designer, Learning Designer, Futurist…
    • 11.
      • From the book:-
      • "Today’s students - kindergarten through college - are the first generation to grow up with... digital technologies. They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, DVD players, video cams, eBay, cell phones, iPods and all the tools of the digital age. Today’s average college grads have spent fewer than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but often more than 10,000 hours playing video games, another 10,000 on their cell phones, and more than 20,000 watching TV. They download 2 billion ring tones per year, 2 billion songs per month, and exchange 6 billion text messages every day."
      • These 'digital natives' see technologies not as new tools but as an integral part of their lives, as 'just there.'
    • 12. Sugata Mitra Ph.D in Physics, Head of Research at NIIT, Delhi, India
    • 13.
      • An Indian physicist, head of Research at NIIT, put a PC with a high speed internet connection in a wall in the slums and watched what happened.
      A journalist came up to one of these kids and asked him, "How do you know so much about computers?" The answer seemed very strange to her because the kid said, "What's a computer?" The terminology is not as important as the metaphor. If they've got the idea of how a mouse works and that the Internet is like a wall they can paint on, who cares if they know that a computer is called a computer and a mouse is called a mouse?
    • 14. Robert Pirsig Philosopher, Author, famous for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
    • 15.
      • Excerpt from the book: (he has returned to the university he dropped out of, and has become a professor there, who has decided against the concept of grades!)
      • “ This experiment also revealed a sinister aspect of grading that the withholding of grades exposed.
      • Grades really cover up failure to teach. A bad instructor can go through an entire quarter leaving absolutely nothing memorable in the minds of his class, curve out their scores on an irrelevant test, and leave the impression that some have learned and some have not.
      • But if the grades are removed the class is forced to wonder each day what it's really learning. The questions, What's being taught? What's the goal? How do the lectures and assignments accomplish the goal? become ominous. The removal of grades exposes a huge and frightening vacuum.”
    • 16. Howard Gardner Psychologist, best known for his Theory of Multiple Intelligences
    • 17.  
    • 18.
      • To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves…
    • 19. An age in which Google and other search engines are leading us into a future rich with an abundance of correct answers along with an accompanying naive sense of certainty. In the future, we will be able to answer the question, but will we be bright enough to ask it? We are in the age of searchculture.
    • 20. Kathy Sierra Programming Instructor Game Developer Trainer Celebrity Blogger
    • 21.  
    • 22. Sridhar Vembu
    • 23.
      • OK, answer this without consulting Google: Explain the principle of operation of the galvanometer.
      • That is part of the standard syllabus for our public exams in Physics for 12th standard students. I saw that question in a newspaper supplement, which provides sample question papers to prepare students for the all-important public exams.
      • I definitely should have studied this. In fact, I did well in the exam too. Except that I remember absolutely nothing. I could almost swear I had never heard of galvanometer, whatever it is, until I came across it in the sample question paper today. I am supposed to have an Electrical Engineering degree too, which makes it, well, more interesting.
    • 24.
      • Let's agree that the purpose of education is teaching students how to learn, rather than fill their heads with facts and figures. Especially in the post-Google era, filling the head with such facts and figures does one absolutely no good.
      • A colleague had commented:-
      • Whole education system needs an overhaul .. A former President commented that there is more politics in education and less education in politics!
      • Education is business to-day .. instead of addressing the real issue there seems to be a short term initiative from the industry .. finishing schools to improve soft skills, primarily communication!
    • 25. Getting down to Earth, Touching base with Reality!
      • Students from IIT – Madras, pursuing Electronics and Computer Science…
      • Students from AdventNet University, pursuing a sandwich course that EMPLOYS them while they get practical education on what will help them in their career.
      Interviews with…..
    • 26.  
    • 27. The questions I asked them…1
      • Do you think your schooling system has prepared you well for your future career?
      • No (focus was on marks alone)
      • No
      • Yes
      • Yes (CBSE, at my school, was good)
    • 28. The questions I asked them…2
      • What did you like best about your years at school?
      • Extra-curricular Competitions
      • Practicals in Physics
      • Quarrelling with Girls
      • Great Friends
    • 29. The questions I asked them…3
      • What did you dislike most about your years at school?
      • Timelimits for Exams
      • Training and Learning only with an exam focus
      • Nothing!
      • Strict adherence to some age-old practices (sorry, can’t name them!)
    • 30. The questions I asked them…4
      • What do you understand by the phrase, 'technology in the classroom'?
      Got a broadly ‘similar’ answer from each of them… (Using props, projectors, video, computers, Internet, etc in a classroom environment)..
    • 31. The questions I asked them…5
      • How was technology used in your classroom, during your school days?
      • In labs, not classrooms…
      • Weekly once, practicals… Not in classroom..
      • Blackboard was the only technology!
      • Computers for secret gaming, TVs for cricket scores..
    • 32. The questions I asked them…6
      • Have you used a computer at school? for what?
      • Weekly programming class
      • Microsoft Paintbrush
      • For programming
      • For programming and gaming
    • 33. The questions I asked them…7
      • Have you used the internet at school? for what?
      • No
      • No
      • No
      • No
    • 34. The questions I asked them…8
      • What is one thing you wished you had known, back when you were in school?
      • Web Design
      • C Programming
      • English Fluency
      • Relevant skills that could help me at college
    • 35. The questions I asked them…9a
      • If you were made in charge of reformatting the educational system at school, what would you do?
      I will remove learning for the sake of good exam marks. and every student should do a project in a field he likes, before coming out of school.
    • 36. The questions I asked them…9b
      • If you were made in charge of reformatting the educational system at school, what would you do?
      For example, why are we learning "Differential Calculus", how it will be useful for real-time, who all use this, in what situations, and why.
    • 37. The questions I asked them…9c
      • If you were made in charge of reformatting the educational system at school, what would you do?
      Nowadays there is so much craze towards engineering (IIT's????) and medicine. Both the parents and students are not able to look beyond them towards other areas such as arts and commerce. Students should take to engineering only if they have a feel for it not because their parents wish so. In schools the extracurriculars should be given more preference.
    • 38. The questions I asked them…9d
      • If you were made in charge of reformatting the educational system at school, what would you do?
      Try changing the examination pattern, which would require the students know the concepts, and not just recollection of facts. Unfortunately, most examinations are this way, but I am quite happy about the changes that have been brought about recently, and that we are heading in the right direction. It shouldn't be "I came, I mugged, I got 100%".
    • 39. The questions I asked them…10a
      • If you have a twoline message to a collection of respected principals from schools in and around chennai, what would it be?
      No one can do everything, But everybody can do something. So the teachers and principles should believe in every child's hidden potential, and they should help them to improve it.
    • 40. The questions I asked them…10b
      • If you have a twoline message to a collection of respected principals from schools in and around chennai, what would it be?
      Be like Jambavan (in Ramayan), who helped Hanuman, to know his strength and potential (who was in the stage of “Does not Know that he Knows!”), help the students to bring out their hidden potential and make them to understand their capabilities.
    • 41. The questions I asked them…10c
      • If you have a twoline message to a collection of respected principals from schools in and around chennai, what would it be?
      Stress more on communication skills."all the students" should be encouraged in participating in events like elocution, debate, quizzes.  Because that is hitting us very hard at this time.
    • 42. The questions I asked them…10d
      • If you have a twoline message to a collection of respected principals from schools in and around chennai, what would it be?
      The aim must be to make learning more enjoyable, than more dreadful. And, hence, students' feedback is the most important, which I find lacking. Good Luck :)
    • 43.  
    • 44.  
    • 45. “ Take Home” Points…
      • "Technology IS NOT JUST for the Techies".
      • "Computers are not just for Computer Science Students".
      • "The Computer belongs in the classroom, not in a lab in one corner".
      • “ No one can be as smart as EVERYONE".
      • "It is no longer about getting the right answer, it is about asking the right question".
      • "It is not about remembering something, it is about knowing where to retrieve it from".
      • "It is not about knowing how to compete, it is about learning how to collaborate".
    • 46. Thank You!
      • (Any questions, please write to them directly! I didn’t say all this, after all!)

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