Surprise Boxes And Un-building Walls - Ashish Rajpal


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Surprise Boxes And Un-building Walls - Ashish Rajpal

  1. 1. 2012 JUNE | MINDFIELDS 29WWW.MINDFIELDS.IN InnovatIon SCHOOL OF TOMORROW November 2011 2.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. The XSEED Conference on the Future of School Education Special Feature I am here to give you one more version of what we have learned. I am a student of this domain and a lot younger in this craft than most of you. The only advantage I may have is that,because our work is so widespread, I have the privilege of meeting thousands of teachers, school heads and children, which gives a certain perspective. I also have the honour of working with a team of people who are very committed to this domain, and so I get to learn every day. I have chosen to title this presentation or sharing as “No Walls.” The word ‘wall’ has many connotations, in education and in society. I don’t know how many of you have heard the classic Pink Floyd number,“Another brick in the wall”? Around the time that the song was made, a very famous Hindi film was released as well,called “Deewar.”So it’s ironic, that this play of deewar and wall has been in our society or in the larger domain of education for a long time. We are certainly overdue by a few decades now, when we say, “Let’s break down some of these walls and start looking at what is inside this.” I have come to you today with four boxes and one of them has a surprise. I’m going to argue that the super structure of schools – buildings, gates,boundary walls,swimming pools,plasma screens, lots of marble, and nice desks – while being important,are not nearly as important as something else. I am going to call that “something else”the elements of the school. SuRpRiSe BoxeS And un-Building WAllS The structures of schools - buildings, gates, swimming pools, plasma screens, flooring, nice desks – are not nearly as important as the 'four elements' of the school, argues Ashish Rajpal. Illustration by Amruta Patil MF16 Pg 29-35 Rajpal:Layout 2 11/07/12 8:33 AM Page 1
  2. 2. I suggest that like these four boxes, there are four elements that we should re-commit ourselves to.While there is nothing new and spectacular about these elements, these are the four things I would spend my time and energy on, if I were a principal, school owner, trustee, government official, or the decision maker of spending lakhs and crores of rupees. The four elements are: (1) Process, the process by which we teach and learn everyday in school; (2) Clarity on the skills we want children to learn when they come to our school (a process which is not informed by that clarity could actually be quite a wasteful process); (3) Data, or information about our learners; and (4) Resources, by which I do not mean infrastructural resources but those that you use in the classroom – pencils, erasers, chalk, dusters, manipulatives, maybe something using technology – the resources children use in the process of learning. The most classic process in schools around our country and around the world, is the lecture. This is where someone stands on a pedestal and talks, and everybody else listens. The lecture process has survived several hundred years of formal schooling, so one could say,“Why not more of that?” By adopting the lecture method, we expect almost all our students to have a certain skill, that in fact most don’t. They are then considered “stupid”! That particular skill is the skill of recall. Someone said, “Teachers may not understand the meaning of comprehension; they may confuse it for recall.” Recall has immense social sanction in our society. The Brahmins have been telling us for several thousand years that if you cannot recall scripture, you can’t pass the very first test. Actually understanding scripture is only a minor, secondary detail; the ability to recall it is given primary importance.Further,what happens after exams? Children are crowding to see what they scored on the marksheets.Marks are the ultimate data code in our society.Even an uneducated mother in a village can say ‘Yeah, how many marks did you get?’,irrespective of what interpretation she may make of it. Finally,we do have resources.Even the poorest schools in our country have resources. Of these, traditional textbooks and paper form the largest percentage. It’s a big business, both for the government as well as private institutions. Even at this very moment, hours and hours and hours of lectures are being disseminated, children are busy recalling,recalling,and recalling,marks are being given distributed and handed out, and billions of reams of paper are being printed. Now, if this is the whole idea you had of how these four elements were to manifest in your school, then it’s happening anyway. However, let me add a slight spin to this whole thing. Suppose I wasn’t talking about this manifestation of the four elements? For example, when we say that we want a process in our school, we are not talking about just any process. School is not a furniture factory or a sausage line. We are talking about children and learning, which is a really complex area and subject. Any process that we put in place must be able to demonstrate that all those little human beings are going through a learning process. Or consider the second element, skills. We can glorify almost any skill but sometimes for the wrong reason. For instance, till 25 or so years ago, neat handwriting was a very highly valued skill. In fact, as recent as 40 years ago, some people were scribes – their job was to note down things neatly so that others could read it. One can only imagine what the value of a scribe must have been before the printing press was invented! However, in the modern age, even though that skill is useful, many others are considered more valuable. ‘Destinic’is the destiny of a skill in the lifespan of the child.It is to answer the question,“Will this skill ever have any use?”So,if a 15-year-old were to spend time learning how to use a 1980 typewriter, would that skill really have any use in the modern world? 30 MINDFIELDS | JUNE 2012 WWW.MINDFIELDS.IN InnovatIon SCHOOL OF TOMORROW November 2011 2.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. The XSEED Conference on the Future of School Education Special Feature By adopting the lecture method, we expect almost all our students to have a certain skill, that in fact most don’t. They are then considered “stupid”! That particular skill is the skill of recall. Someone said,“Teachers may not understand the meaning of comprehension; they may confuse it for recall.” 1. Basic Skills 2. profession Specific Skills 3. “Higher order” Meta- Competencies 4. Character! destinic Skills inspiring Resources learnful process destinic Skills i-Action data Subjective Objective CustomUniversal MF16 Pg 29-35 Rajpal:Layout 2 11/07/12 8:33 AM Page 2
  3. 3. 2012 JUNE | MINDFIELDS 31WWW.MINDFIELDS.IN InnovatIon SCHOOL OF TOMORROW November 2011 2.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. The XSEED Conference on the Future of School Education Special Feature So, once we know that the process is Learnful and the skills are Destinic, then we can be pretty sure we are doing something right. But how will we know for sure? It is not enough for experts or school heads to say that the process and resources are useful. Data has to confirm it so. Further, the data has to be actionable by the user, which is the child. This is what I call I-Action. For example, if you give me (as a student) the information that I have scored 83 on 100, I now know that are about 80 people above me.However,what is one to do with this information? Whereas, if you gave me the corrections to some of the howlers I may have made, I can correct myself and I would have learned something in doing so. So if I’m mispronouncing a word and you correct me, that is data I can do something with. If you tell me that my basic number concepts are okay but that I am weak in algebra, then I get a sense of what I need to work on. A teacher is like a coach guiding a cricket team. If I am constantly getting beaten and then the coach tells me, “Oh there’s a big gap between your bat and pad. Hold the bat closer,”then I can do something to better my play. Just being told one is batting badly is not very useful. Being told where the problem is and how to strengthen one’s weakness, is. Therefore, from an assessment standpoint, a massive shift in perspective is necessary. We need to start asking whether the data being generated can be more useful to the learner. Then we consider this big battle around Resources. Can the resources not be about the core of what the work is? After all, that is not a resource; that is the work. Instead, can the function of a resource be to inspire one to take the work to the next level? Only the resources that can do so, are worth it. Now, let me elaborate some of these abstract ideas and make them more tangible. Let’s start with the first box, the Learning Process. There is overwhelming evidence that there is nothing like a good process running in a school. Unless you are lucky enough to have a school which looks like a Bollywood movie, where everybody is a movie star, looks twenty one years old, is beautiful, is an inspiring teacher, and works 18 hours a day. In that world maybe the word,process, is a corrupt word. In reality, we have 300 million school going children in our country, and 6-7 million teachers. Over the last decade, our own work in education has almost exclusively focused on demystifying the process of what a teacher should be doing.One can never demystify all the spiritual powers of a great teacher, but perhaps we can demystify some of it. Those of you who are familiar with this or those who came last year heard this and the XSEED schools, know this inside out. We’re just asking for five things to happen over and over again, formally or informally. Can there be clarity to the child on why one is learning,what one is learning and what is it that the teacher wants one to learn? Can the teacher let the child try first, and just in case she cocks it up,can the child try once more? After the child has tried and re-tried it, can the teacher and the child get together and have a conversation around what happened? A conversation in which the child speaks first. A conversation where we can all share in a civilised fashion,even a group conversation of a very high order. That’s the heart and soul of teaching in this view – the ability to conduct this conversation. There seems to be a slight rift on going hard versus going soft. We are unequivocally of the view that anyone who needs to go get a living has to be on the hard side. You need to be competitive and to do well. You don’t need to be uncivilised or uncaring or unkind or ungrateful, but you need to be a performing horse. When we started, I think we were a little apologetic for holding this view,but no more. We are talking about hard-core winners,and for that we require rigour and practice. In addition, there needs to be a clear way of measuring the process. Marks are fine, as well as unit tests and on- going assessments. However, there needs to be a clear standard. At the cost of repeating myself,much of what we have discovered has existed in the last 200 years of education and in our own country. It all moves in this direction. And now the second box. A great process is geared to preparing one for life. Which implies that one needs to know what it is that one will be doing. I’ve been giving this area a fair amount of thought in the last year and I’d like to focus on one particular area. Before that however, let us look at the so-called skills that are now gaining currency. The basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic haven’t gone out of fashion. Whether you are good at English or not, or good at Math or not, there is a fair amount of agreement that you need to pick these up. The next set of skills are profession specific, especially as you go into the higher classes. For example, if you choose accounts as your area, you need 1. “What am i trying to learn and why?” 2. “let me try... re-try” 3. “What happenned? ...let's think, let's share” 4. “let's get better and better” 5. “let's measure... how did i do” learning process MF16 Pg 29-35 Rajpal:Layout 2 11/07/12 8:33 AM Page 3
  4. 4. to have the ability to balance books, which you can either do or you can’t. There is no soft middle path about this; it’s fairly binary. As the number of professions open up and as this comes more and more into schooling, I think schools are going to become more and more open to this. ‘Profession’ is accepted in our society. The moment you say the word ‘vocation’, people say “Oh, oh! That’s a little bit lower class.” However, in the vocabulary I am using,actually they are synonymous. Then there is HEARTS – Higher Order Thinking Skills – which CBSE has popularised. I am grateful for this new vocabulary because it at least draws attention to aspects otherwise neglected. I choose to call them merely Higher Order,because they are not necessarily only about thinking but may involve other skills as well – social skills, emotional skills, etc. I also call them meta-competencies. The word ‘meta’ means ‘your awareness about your awareness’. So for instance, meta-skills is the ability to formulate an argument, or the ability to question or inquire, competencies that are highly valued in the workplace. Children are not explicitly trained in this area in schools necessarily, though you may have an occasional group work or do a project. However, there is a huge movement around the world towards this.There is a huge opportunity to build these skills in the areas of teacher development as well. Then there is a fourth area that iDiscoveri is beginning to take more and more interest in. This is what is traditionally called ‘character’. Character in education is coming back with a big bang. For the last 20-30 years, it had gone out of fashion. However, in western literature and thought, the question now emerging amongst practitioners is, “Are marks necessarily the best predictor of success in life?” Then the question is, “If not this,then what? What are we missing?” And a phenomenal amount of work is happenning on this. A couple of months ago, there was an article in The New York Times about research happening in schools around character. Several famous names were mentioned,including the University of Pennsylvania and a person called Martin Seligman. At iDiscoveri, we respect Martin Seligman’s work and we’ve been following it for several years. A very fancy new York School called Riverdale and a very low end school chain called KIP. All these are are American institutions have a lot to to teach us. I went and visited all three institutions some months ago. I met the people working in this area,and I'd like to share some of my learnings with you. There is a growing consensus that test scores are not predicting the success of students. Success includes jobs they get, how long they stay in a job, their personal relationships, so on and so forth. There is also a growing consensus that, as one of the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania says, character is almost as important as intellect. I don’t think anyone would have a philosophical problem with this. However, the question is: “What is character?” This is where they have done a lot of work for the last decade or more. Without going into the long history of what Martin Seligman did,suffice it to say that today, after an enormous amount of work, character is being tested along seven dimensions. Most of these are self-explanatory. They are (1) Optimism, which is how you tend to look at the future; (2) Zest, which is a more American word for enthusiasm – when something new starts, you tend to be positive, energetic, excited or you’re like “Oh no!”; (3) Grit,which means the ability to rebound from failure; (4) Curiosity, which is an interest in new and different things; (5) Social Intelligence, the ability to conduct healthy, interpersonal relationships; (6) Gratitude, being grateful for the good things you have in life; and (7) Self- Control, the control over impulse, and as some people would argue,one of the things that sets us apart from animals. Of the seven, I have a particular interest in two of them.From whatever initial research I have looked at, which is a fair amount, these two stand out. They are Grit and Self-Control. Can we start assessing the ability to control impulse and the ability to rebound from failure amongst our young? Can we systematically try and develop these abilities in them? This becomes a fairly controversial area because it could be that some children are genetically born in a certain way and are more predisposed to these abilities, whereas others may not be. 32 MINDFIELDS | JUNE 2012 WWW.MINDFIELDS.IN InnovatIon SCHOOL OF TOMORROW November 2011 2.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. The XSEED Conference on the Future of School Education Special Feature This Business of“Character” n Test score not an accurate predictor of human success n “Character is at least as important as intellect” n Super 7: Optimism, Zest, Grit, Curiosity, Social Intelligence, Gratitude, Self Control n Resilience = “overcoming failure”is a“function of social environments” There is a growing consensus that test scores are not predicting the success of students. Success includes jobs they get, how long they stay in a job, their personal relationships, so on and so forth. MF16 Pg 29-35 Rajpal:Layout 2 11/07/12 8:33 AM Page 4
  5. 5. 2012 JUNE | MINDFIELDS 33WWW.MINDFIELDS.IN InnovatIon SCHOOL OF TOMORROW November 2011 2.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. The XSEED Conference on the Future of School Education Special Feature However, if society and school leaders start recognising that these are essential constituents of a good education,then irrespective of whether you are good at math or whether you are particularly gentle,you will need to develop your grittiness.This is because, in real life, you will have to rebound. Over the coming months and years,we at iDiscoveri hope to invest a fair amount of time trying to understand where we want to go with this grit and self-control business. Now here’s where I differ with some of the work emerging from the University of Pennsylvania.They are now building a separate curriculum to teach these seven aspects. If the curriculum one has to already navigate is like a pizza, this separate curriculum overloads the pizza with more toppings than it can handle! I say that these qualities are to be built and highlighted within the already existing math, english, science, and social science instruction. I dare say, at the cost of being called an exhibitionist,that that is what XSEED is all about. Try–fail–recover–get up– rebound. In fact, many of these skills are already inbuilt into what we are doing. However, since we are not measuring these, we are neither able to give a good sense of it to the child or parent, nor have any predictive power of whether we are developing these or not. Our focus so far has been extremely scholastic, as it should have been, but the time has come to change the clocks. Let us move on to the third box, Data. A lot of this is common knowledge for many of us. The first ‘C’ is continuity, which refers to the everydayness of schooling. This is why in XSEED, the Worksheet-ness, everyday filling, and everyday feedback is extremely important. The second ‘C’ is Comprehensive. Are you only looking at scholastic or academic skills? Or are you looking at some of the higher order competencies? I am now referring to character. It is not just about mindlessly filling up assessment tools, but about having a very deep understanding of what it is and then very thoughtfully filling it out. It is a process that involves the teacher and the children, and the children’s ratings are matched with the teacher’s rating, so that there is a very precise sense of what is being learned. The thing I want to emphasise today is how usable the learn-o-meter is. Really fancy,sexy data that I can’t use is useless to me. In the same way, such data would be useless to even a 7-year- old child, a 9-year-old child, or a 11- year-old child. When I say “usable,”I think of at least three things. The first is, can we establish a clear standard whereby children would know exactly what is expected of them on a particular subject and would be able to evaluate how they are doing versus this standard? If one is not meeting the standard, meeting the minimum standard is fine and one can have more time. The important thing is that the child knows, and children are okay with this feedback. It is the absence of a standard which is confusing. Second,can the data be developmental in nature? Can it show the child where she was last quarter and where she is going to be in the next quarter? Where is she this quarter? That’s what XSEED's assessment tool, the LearnometerTM , is trying to do. It’s not perfect or completely there yet, but it is trying to move in the direction where it can produce the developmental aspect as well. This is important because, irrespective of whether the child is able to meet the standard or is perhaps beating the standard big time, what really matters is whether the child is beating herself. So if that developmental thrust is not there, the meaningfulness actually decreases. The third aspect is very wishful territory. Can this data help me identify my talent? Can it give me some clues as to what I need to focus on because my greatness will come out of that? It is unlikely that my greatness will come out of neutralising something I am bad at. I am yet to see really meaningful reports coming out of the assessment tools we use. I’m sure some of you are doing a spectacular job, but the intention of the assessment tools is not to just get it filled; perhaps there needs to be a little more on how it is followed through. That’s what I mean when I say “the data needs to be actionable by me.” Now the fourth box. Let us now ponder on inspiring resources. Can we reach a point where we say,“I will only spend on resources if they inspire my children.” The time for buying fat books so that children can identify the capitals of the states was over 20 years ago. However, the mind-set of evaluating a book by the cost of paper remains! If there is a book available for just Rs. 80 and it has a lot of pages, it i-Action data 1. Continuous 2. Comprehensive - Skills - HO Competencies - Character 1. usable - vs Standard - Progress - Identify Talent inspiring Resources 1. “implements”(not the Substance) 2. That's Help go "Beyond” 1. “Real”(real world, real places, real people) 2. “Fits”the learning process MF16 Pg 29-35 Rajpal:Layout 2 11/07/12 8:33 AM Page 5
  6. 6. 34 MINDFIELDS | JUNE 2012 WWW.MINDFIELDS.IN InnovatIon SCHOOL OF TOMORROW November 2011 2.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. The XSEED Conference on the Future of School Education Special Feature is considered a steal! However, today, you can access 3 million recipes of Rasam under 10 seconds. If you had spoken to me 10 years ago, I would have said that there should be no books. However, with experience, I have realised that a more moderate path is helpful. We realised over time that there are a lot of first generation learners, whose parents want books in the house because there are no books to refer to. So that has some value. Taking extreme positions is sometimes not really useful. Going forward and for a lot of the schools, I think the resource question needs deep examination and I have some suggestions. Can textbooks be looked upon as implements, like a fork and knife, and not as being the food itself? The biggest argument I have with the textbook culture is that the book becomes the food.That’s not the food! Just because they have some pictures of tombs and Mughal history, doesn’t make it knowledge.Knowledge is what you create by your interaction with matter, by your experiences linking with what’s happening.The resource is an implement. So the de-Bibilisation, the de-Koranisation, the de- Gitaiaisation, of these documents needs to happen. A good resource is something that goes beyond, something that is not in the classroom and can take you elsewhere.Sometimes there are a lot of resources in the community. They could be teachers’ husbands or wives, who are in interesting professions. They are also a resource that can be brought into a classroom. Or there could be monuments around. Then when there is scale and so on, technology should be used,though not just for the sake of technology. One of the biggest issues with this whole history of textbooks is that children grow up thinking that what happens in the classroom is one world, and then there is the real world. Very often, we see this duality in parental behaviour as well; they preach something, but they practise something else. For example, the parents say the lying and fighting are unacceptable, but go ahead and do it themselves. This division between what-is-being-told-to-me and what- actually-exists can be broken if the learning resources become more and more real – real people and real experiences. When a resource is being used, can it fit the basic process? Can it not be some lipstick you put on top? Any process you are following is like a prayer ceremony. If you are at a religious ceremony, you are not going to take just any object and stick it into the ceremony randomly.The ceremony has to follow the rules of that prayer. So, whether it is digital or manipulatives or anything else that you are using, you should know that you are the master of where it will sit in the process. Otherwise, it becomes a decoration, and we know the shelf life of decorations after the festival or ceremony is over. None of this – the best process in the world, the maximum clarity on skills, the most actionable data and the most inspiring resources – is going to work unless the cross running in between the four boxes (see fig) is operating. The cross is you; that’s us. Learnful process, destinic skills, useful data and inspiring resources need to be brought together by really solid leadership. Once these blocks are in place, then you can focus on your real work, which is to bring leadership to this job. Leadership is the act of doing things which are difficult for the first time and marshalling people to do so. If we get caught up in the micro of these other things, then there is loss unless of course you are a Bollywood movie where everything's perfect! However, what is this leadership on its own? I have a suggestion. Just like we sharpen the other four boxes, let us sharpen the cross too.When we talk of leadership in XSEED, we talk of instructional leadership,not the empty I-am-the-boss kind of leadership. We are in the business of learning and teaching,and I bring something to the party on learning and teaching. That’s why I am your leader. It is not only because I may have taught for a long time, and not only because I am older than you or more senior than you. It is because I also go the classroom occasionally, and struggle with the same things you do, and I value doing new and difficult things in the process of instruction. Doing new and difficult things with other people is called leadership. Hence, the use of the phrase, instructional leadership. However, even the best general in the world cannot fight the army without tools. The four elements are the tools with which you fight the battle, but your role is leadership, which includes professional development, teacher training, leader training and principal training. How to push the envelope in all these areas? That is the role, that is the destiny. So when I say no walls, that’s what I mean. No walls, just elements. When the elements come together, you are in the middle as that inspirational leader who’s constantly evolving it, making it happen every day. n Adapted from a talk by Ashish Rajpal at the XSEED School of Tomorrow Conference 2011 Resources process Skills data leadership MF16 Pg 29-35 Rajpal:Layout 2 11/07/12 8:33 AM Page 6
  7. 7. 2012 JUNE | MINDFIELDS 35WWW.MINDFIELDS.IN InnovatIon SCHOOL OF TOMORROW November 2011 2.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. The XSEED Conference on the Future of School Education Special Feature A t XSEED, we have been wondering how to make these four elements available to everyone everywhere,as far as possible,and keep the integrity of it as much as possible, so that it becomes an inspiration for anyone, anywhere,even under a tree,or inside a 100 acre campus. For a long time, we had been resisting doing anything in technology, because we did not want to do technology for the sake of technology. We wanted to come up with something which would genuinely push the envelope and be actually useful. In doing so, we wanted to be very conscious of the user interface because our ultimate user is the teacher. Teachers are the midwives through whom the knowledge of children is born.If they are not able to use what we create or they don’t believe in it, the utility will be quite limited.So the whole vision of XSEED Digital is to bring the four elements to you at your fingertips, in your school. Let me explain what I mean by that a little more specifically.What we are talking about is a screen with four windows.This could be any screen that you can access – the internet, your school computer, or your laptop. XSEED schools will recognise three of the four windows on the screen. The top right window will have the lesson plan. The teacher can access not just one plan but each and every lesson plan that she is to teach during the course of the year. When she opens that lesson plan, the worksheet for that particular lesson plan will open in the bottom left corner automatically. Simultaneously, the assessment for that unit will open up on the bottom right corner.The big draw however is the visual aid. The visual aid is not natural geographic clips of volcanoes or anything pertaining to the content of the lesson plan. Instead, the visual aid is live classrooms of lessons being taught, shot and edited into 12- minute modules. This is so that any teacher, anywhere in the world, can see that this is how one could teach this particular lesson and can actually share that with the children in the classroom. When this visual aid was shown to children, they said that when they saw those other children,they could relate to them.These four windows are no different from the four elements: the learning process is the lesson plan, the skills are the worksheet, the actionable data is the Learnometer, and the inspiring resource is the video. It is nothing less, it is nothing more, it is merely an inspiration. We see XSEED Digital as a complete tool and not a decoration.We see this embedded in a learning process which is rigorous,deeply thought through, and one that is being implemented by many, irrespective of whether they are XSEED schools or not. That embedding and completeness is very important. XDV stands for XSEED Digital Videos. They are built on a very powerful research insight. There is extensive research to demonstrate what happens to learners when they see other learners live or on video.If they see someone else they can relate to struggling and then overcoming, then research demonstrates that the learner believes he or she can do it too. So, suppose I start stammering while speaking to an audience,which would be embarrassing for a minute or two, but then I start speaking normally again. If there are one or two in the audience that have a stammering problem, the chances are that they will gain confidence regarding speaking in a public forum, having seen that I overcame the problem in a public forum. Our own pilot research is showing that when children see other children in a learning context, they start considering themselves worthy of a similar experience.So think of children in smaller towns watching children from bigger towns, and think of children from bigger towns watching children from smaller towns, overcoming stuff which they thought they could never do. Now ideally they should all be in the same classroom. However, that doesn’t seem feasible in this lifetime. The same modelling effect is evident on teachers. They think, “She can do it, I can do it, and I can secretly watch when no one is looking, again and again and again, till I can do it better than her. And I use it when I want to use it, not when someone else asks me to.” Finally, think of it as a teacher’s briefcase. The urban executive won respect 50 years ago when they started carrying briefcases.Today,if you carry a briefcase,you look a bit silly.However,teachers need respect in our society.So this is the box you go to and say, “This has everything. This has my lesson plan,my worksheets,the assessment,each of which is specially designed.”The assessment is run before the video show and after, so that the pre and post can be measured by the teacher herself. Each video has four parts to it. It has the demonstration of a teacher teaching, and others of children learning.The clip showing the teacher teaching is valuable to teachers and children, while the clip showing the children learning is very valuable to the children.It has an animation but only in 30 seconds to 1 minute clips. Embedded in that, at the right time, is a clip to clarify the concept. Finally, there is a clip that shows the connection between the content of the lesson plan and real life. So if the lesson is on shadows, the clip may show shadows of Jantar Mantar and other things. If the lesson is on floatation,there is a clip of a child floating on the river, wearing a jacket.As you see, XSEED Digital is a rich and inspiring resource tool.Of course,it will not be perfect, and will have its own shortcomings. There will be better versions that we will make in the future. However, for today, I introduce to you the thinking process that has begun this new phenomena. n XSEED Digital is Different n Complete Tool embedded in a learning process and not a ‘decoration’ n XDVs build on the powerful research insight on the power of ‘models’ n Anytime.Anywhere. Anyone Vision n ‘Teacher's Briefcase’ and professional development aid An oVeRVieW oF xSeed digiTAl ASHISH RAJPAL is the MD and founder of iDiscoveri Education. He quit a corporate career to pursue his passion in education. Apart from leading iDiscoveri, he’s also the head teacher and learner of the organisation. A former student of Howard Gardner,his areas of interests include “doing-classrooms”, self- esteem of children, and non-authoritarian leadership.He has personally led the creation of the XSEED iDiscoveri flagship program,the curriculum-cum-training and assessment program that has now reached over 700 schools across the country. Ashish has a Masters in Education from Harvard University and an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur. He also teaches Grade IV Science and English. In 2008, he was identified by Education World Magazine among the top 50 leaders changing education in India and was chosen, as part of a select group of global social entrepreneurs,to speak at the MIT Legatum Convergence. MF16 Pg 29-35 Rajpal:Layout 2 11/07/12 8:33 AM Page 7