Mobiles in the classroom

An issue which sees heated arguments and intense polarization, is the issue of allowing mobile phones (and in general digital devices) to school. I explore some of the arguments for and against. Would love to hear your researched opinion!

edTech Policy

It has taken a Black Swan moment to push governments, institutions, teachers, parents and students to consider online teaching and learning as a serious tool for traditional education. In this moment, our approach to edTech from a policy perspective has been exposed.

To teach is to network

A fundamental principle of teaching online is to establish our own online learning networks - consisting not only of our peers and experts across the world, but also of our students.

What..no video?

Think about it. The only way you know how to teach is in person, broadcasting your thoughts and knowledge, engaging in full view so to speak. Let me take that away from you, for a moment.

EdTech in a post COVID world

The COVID outbreak has created a fundamental shift in the way the traditional education system regards edTech. Here are the major shifts: Traditional Educational Institutions and all brick and mortar training organizations have had to ensure business continuity.Teachers have had no option but to bite the bullet and upskill themselves to take their classrooms onlineParents... Continue Reading →

Is edTech important for India

I chanced across a recent critique of the Draft NEP 2019 titled "Observations on the DRAFT OF NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY - 2019". It has been authored by the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bengaluru and National Academy of Sciences, India, Allahabad. From the preamble: This comment on the DNEP has been prepared by the three... Continue Reading →

An Election Manifesto for Education

Its time for the next General Elections in India, and I think it is also about time that citizens put together an education manifesto for all parties, given that they have been notoriously lax in laying down a concerted vision for the education system in their manifestos! India is an amazingly diverse country and its... Continue Reading →

The WhatIfs explored in this book cut across various dimensions of the traditional system. How do we structure time better to allow reflection, personalize learning, and pay personal attention? How do we structure groups so that they are porous or permeable and open to ideas, and interactions, emergent and collaborative, reflective of the abilities and... Continue Reading →

Dr. Vasudha Kamat

Baxi has assembled a set of wonderful and seriously educative narratives through 12 reflective scenarios which are a response to simple looking but very difficult challenges to the education system itself. I am sure every concerned 'teacher' must be thinking of these questions. WhatIfEDU explores ideas, research, development, experiments and efforts to make the whole... Continue Reading →

Prof. M M Pant

WhatifEDU is a refreshing and timely work that stimulates the reader to rethink the present system of education. As we prepare for the 4th Industrial Age powered by computers that can learn, this is urgent. Many of the vestiges of a system designed for the previous Industrial Age have to be given up in our... Continue Reading →

Anuradha Rai

A brilliant and thought provoking book that manages to start a conversation about the Holy Grail - our education system. Baxi raises pertinent questions regarding the traditional approaches and makes a strong case for providing an ecosystem that is evolving and relevant and that embraces diversity and creativity and acknowledges individual strengths and perspectives. With... Continue Reading →

Manish Upadhyay

WhatIfEDU is an excellent compilation of all the discussions, dialogues and tweets initiated and moderated by Baxi over the last couple of years. The "what if" questions are very relevant and so is the commentary, analysis and insight! Hopefully this book series is just a beginning of a discussion about the core education issues and... Continue Reading →

Girish Gopalakrishnan

A superb compilation of simple, yet powerful thoughts and ideas to change the face of education. A must have tool kit for all Educators. Baxi’s powerful “out of the box” narrative provokes and provides educators with simple to implement strategies at their institutions. WhatIfEDU infuses a new lease of life into our rather stale state... Continue Reading →

Lokesh Mehra

Baxi has made an in-depth assessment of the global education landscape and effectively presented the diversity of innovation in this sector. WhatIfEDU makes us realize what has been missed and the opportunities that await us in the future. The lucid synthesis of the vast amount of data and best practices globally are eye opening and... Continue Reading →

The Weight or Wait of Education in India

In the past few months and years, there have been rising concerns on two seemingly disparate things - the weight of school bags and the realization that we don't have a quality curriculum, basically that our children are still waiting for a respite from the inefficiencies of the present curriculum. So the Delhi government also... Continue Reading →

A dollar for the teacher

Recently, the Delhi Government decided to penalize a secondary (government) school Mathematics teacher by announcing a pay cut for a year with 'non-cumulative' effect. The official position was that the teacher "exhibited lack of sincerity, integrity and devotion to her duty, which is unbecoming of a government servant and tantamount to gross misconduct as per... Continue Reading →

A Board for Every Child

Well, not exactly. But there is an interesting thread on structural transformation of the education system in India that I am exploring. In India today, we have nearly 50 educational boards. These boards are national, state or other very specific kinds (such as based on religious affiliations). Most of our schools are attached to these... Continue Reading →

Rough Book and 3 Idiots

Here is a story you shouldn't miss. Rough Book is a movie built somewhat parallel to the theme of the movie 3 Idiots and has some common reflections on commercialization with the Nana Patekar movie, Paathshaala. Rough Book is a muted drama focused on the teacher and her friends in a K12 setting - preparation... Continue Reading →

A Chief Learning Officer for India

I think it is about time we instituted the position of a national CLO. Typically a CLO handles the strategic vision for education and training, implements initiatives for training and development, and is accountable for research. For a typical organization, the CLO is tasked with an internal driven focus. This means a national CLO would... Continue Reading →

Connectivist Enterprises

I wrote this in 2011 but it seems almost current in terms of relevance. Some links may not work. Introduction Education has morphed across centuries of foundational thought and practice on what is learning, teaching and knowledge. Whether they are ancient practices and beliefs like in the Vedas or are contemporary like Connectivism, the landscape... Continue Reading →

Crying Woolf

A group of academics hailing from top universities have decided to create the world's first ever blockchain university called the Woolf University. They have released a rather illuminating whitepaper on the concept. Essentially, the University will disintermediate the traditional university structure and leverage 'trust' through an alternate federated structure powered by a non-profit trust and... Continue Reading →

India’s syllabus haircut

The HRD Minister is advocating a syllabus haircut for India. Following on the heels of the initiative by the Delhi AAP government in 2015 ("Delhi's Syllabus Haircut"), which apparently went nowhere, the BJP government has tried to give it a populist national character by inciting NCERT to trim the syllabus by 50%. Subsequently NCERT, the... Continue Reading →

WhatIf.Edu

The brief hiatus (not so brief as I look back) has been because, well, I have been writing a book. It is called WhatIf.Edu and it sprung out of a series of posts on rethinking the education system that I started over at LinkedIn and the blog I set up for it. The book asks... Continue Reading →

34. What if students could give badges to teachers?

The whole education system revolves around a hierarchical system of recognition - from teachers to students and certifying bodies to teachers and education boards to schools. What if we instead gave students the choice to certify teachers, for teachers to certify the certifiers, and for schools to certify the education boards, and perhaps the boards to certify government policies?

28. What if teachers played online games with students?

What if teachers were to actively participate in the world of games? Perhaps they would be able to profile their students better, assess their learning needs from their actions and performance on these games, engage with them better in the language they understand and weave instruction around the game contexts?

Nationalizing Indian EdTech

Indian edTech has always been a tough battleground. It is getting tougher and more inexplicable by the day, and unless we, in edTech, take a stand, it will get far worse. Here are some of the major forces shaping the industry. The government has always had the lion's share. They maintain the right of exclusion... Continue Reading →

National Education & Destiny

What is National Education? Following a session of the Indian National Congress, H V Dugvekar, in 1917, came out with a compilation of essays by prominent freedom movement leaders including Bipin Chandra Pal, Gopal Krishan Gokhale, Annie Besant and Lala Lajpat Rai. A speech from Bipin Chandra Pal, founder of the Brahmo Samaj and part... Continue Reading →

Totalitarian Educracies

In education systems that have an oligarchic organization, with a small number of large private and/or public players, educracies acquire a kind of totalitarian rather than an egalitarian expression. From a current example in India, the government is flexing educratic muscles on a set of private affiliated (to a national education board) schools that comprise... Continue Reading →

Educracy

Recently at a conference, someone asked me about the future of publishing. Remarking that it was a interesting question the answer to which I really did not know, which evoked much mirth, I ventured further to assert that the publishing and edTech are both a product and a function of the underlying system of education... Continue Reading →

Education Systems: Flawed Design?

In the traditional system of education, there are many fundamental incongruities. For example, let us take certification of progress or advancement. The output of an academic level (degree, year) is a certification of progression. This certification, awarded by the institution, indicates the achieved levels of learning and performance. The value perception of that certification is... Continue Reading →

Shaken, not stirred

The events of the past few years following the National Curriculum Framework (2005) creation have culminated. In my reading, the constructivist efforts to systemically shake up the system in its aftermath, through the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme, the Open Text based Assessments (OTBA) and the Problem Solving Assessment (that was scrapped earlier), have... Continue Reading →

Anarchist Curricula

What if teachers treated teaching as an extension to research? What if teaching was really enculturation of students into a field of inquiry? What if teachers were to engage in discovering new insights with the help of their students, activity by activity, day by day? What if this co-research also included the additional studies of... Continue Reading →

The Demonetization of Indian Education

Very recently, the Indian government announced a demonetization measure by removing 500 and 1000 rupee notes as legal tender, ostensibly to combat cash hoarding (black money) and counterfeiting (which was helping fund terror). Of course, we have seen the impact of fiscal demonetization on the economy in the short term, though the long term prognosis... Continue Reading →

Lessons that Lessen

This jewel from Alice in Wonderland: And how many hours a day did you do lessons?' said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject. 'Ten hours the first day,' said the Mock Turtle: 'nine the next, and so on.' 'What a curious plan!' exclaimed Alice. 'That's the reason they're called lessons,' the Gryphon remarked:... Continue Reading →

An open letter to CABE

The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meets on October 25, 2016 to discuss many important issues. The apex education advisory organization features education ministers, HRD officials, key institutional heads and key influencers from outside government. The CABE takes the important decisions about education in our country. This time around, on the tentative agenda are... Continue Reading →

Courage, Craft and Character

There are three things I believe are necessary for success in product development, and perhaps in other endeavors in Life as well. Courage. You need the courage to dream on a very wide canvas, the courage to fail and make mistakes, the courage to acknowledge what can defeat you and persist in your efforts to... Continue Reading →

The Digital Isolation of Classrooms

Our classrooms are digitally isolated by their very design. It is a distortion of our bureaucratic education systems wherein, on the one hand, grade levels are broken down into separate groups/classrooms, insulated from each other, while each group is encouraged (or mostly not) to independently interact with the outside world. As a result, students learning... Continue Reading →

edTech vs. ICT – New Education Policy

The New Education Policy, 2016, has to give mission level status and significance to education technology by: Systematically building up our intellectual and institutional capabilities in edTech Planning and implementing strategic edTech initiatives Actively promoting edTech entrepreneurship and R&D Mission Level Focus on edTech The NEP draft places no mission level emphasis on education technologies... Continue Reading →

Reclaiming SWAYAM

Today’s news article on the SWAYAM MOOCs and open-ness by Anil Sasi of the Indian Express raises some very important questions about the future of MOOCs in this country. The facts of the matter are as follows. A proprietary rather than open source approach has been adopted because open source seems not be open after... Continue Reading →

The corruption of the SWAYAM RFP

It seems the SWAYAM RFP dated 21st November, 2015 is actually inspired from previous RFPs made for other contexts. You have to only compare the SWAYAM RFP with two earlier RFPs: National Career Services Portal RFP dated  13th August 2014 A JNU RFP on eLearning Development dated 5th February 2015   To give a sense... Continue Reading →

Draft New Education Policy – India 2016

The recommendations to the NEP 2016 had come out earlier. Now a draft of the NEP 2016 has been made available - Draft NEP-2016. There is a crowdsourcing Wiki that has been set up as well. Here are a few comments. Vision The National Education Policy (NEP), 2016 envisions a credible and high-performing education system... Continue Reading →

The Anatomy of Change

An interesting post by George Siemens on how he is negotiating change in the education system. This lead to reflection about how change happens and why many of the best ideas don’t gain traction and don’t make a systemic level impact. We know the names: Vygostky, Freire, Illich, Papert, and so on. We know the... Continue Reading →

The Indi(an)gnity of Education

Of late, I have been increasingly dismayed by the growing indignity in Indian Education. Somehow the very character of the system seems to be under great stress. Take for example, the Manoj Mishra-ization of Indian education. This gentleman, lauded by the Times of India as one who is Leading a fight to get India's truant... Continue Reading →

2015-Slow year for edTech

This past year has been very eventful. Here are some of my impressions of 2015. xMOOCs have strengthened this year. The major players have received lots of new funding, added 1800 new courses, 100 new credentials, doubled enrollments to 35 mn students and co-opted many new partners from academia (over 550 universities in all) and... Continue Reading →

RIP Jay Cross

People ask how my new book is coming along. I tell them I’m not writing a book, I’m leading a crusade. Jay Cross, The Real Learning Project. The last interaction I had with Jay was in August this year. Jay shared a copy of his latest work "Aha! Get Smart - The missing manual for... Continue Reading →

Imagining another future: Teacher Cooperatives

Let us for a moment imagine a future where schools are run by teachers' cooperatives. That is, instead of an administrative and financial superstructure of wealthy philanthropists or businesspersons or trusts, political muscle, non-academic leadership and all the trappings of modern world schools, teachers would cooperate to teach, learn and administer the school. The Amul... Continue Reading →

Exploring a future without textbooks

Let us imagine a future. In this future, textbooks have been removed for students. The only people that have to use them are teachers. This has solved many problems. No longer do children have to carry heavy bags to school. It discourages rote learning from a single source. It forces certain habits of learning to... Continue Reading →

Delhi’s Syllabus Haircut

The most amazing thing has happened in Delhi. Something that I have been advocating for the past few years has actually seen the light of day. Delhi's AAP government has cut syllabus upto Class VIII by 25%, with the promise of doing that for Classes IX-XII by next year! Director, education, Padmini Singla explains that... Continue Reading →

The de-amplification of Amplify

Nearly five years ago, Newscorp's Rupert Murdoch bought over Wireless Generation (90% for USD 360 mn, such a hit) with the belief that “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach... Continue Reading →

East or West: Their rhetoric is the best

George Siemens vents in a post that describes his emotions upon coming out of a consultation on Innovation and Quality in Higher Education at the White House recently where he was invited. He sees many key things happening: 2. Higher education generally has no clue about what’s brewing in the marketplace as a whole 3.... Continue Reading →

Imagine a future is here

Let us for a moment imagine a specific future. Let us also imagine that future is upon us now. In this future, pedagogy and technology have advanced so much that students are being taught by intelligent virtual learning environments. Students learn is small cohorts entirely through these machine authored and directed experiences. This future has... Continue Reading →

Hacking the Indian MOOCs

The game is afoot. There seems to be some signs of a resurgence in xMOOCs in India. The government, it seems, is asking folks at CDAC to put together an indigenous platform within 3 months and asking both school and higher education institutions to contribute by January 2016. This is SWAYAM 2.0 it seems, an... Continue Reading →

Did someone just learn?

Most of our education system is geared towards a particular conception of a student and her specific way of learning. Let's face it. We give our children the same amount of time to learn every day. It is the same time in the day for learning. It is mostly the same cohort with which you... Continue Reading →

The Myth of Learning in India

Update (Aug 6): IIT Roorkee has decided to re-admit the expelled students, on certain conditions.They have taken a lenient view, considered the situation again and accounted for the impact of the expulsion on the students' future. #inanity-of-it-all IIT Roorkee, a premier engineering institute of India, recently expelled several first year students for not meeting the... Continue Reading →

#Rhizo15 Week 6 The Practical Guide to Rhizomatic Learning

A brief introduction Rhizomatic Learning is an important way to think about learning and teaching. It describes a learning experience where learning itself is organic and emergent, deeply driven by personal context, flexible boundaries and multiple pathways. It describes a teaching experience that sets the context, facilitates the inter-connections of ideas through conversations, and empowers... Continue Reading →

#rhizo15 Week 5 Communities are the same

Dave Cormier asks many interesting questions in his challenge for Week 5 of Rhizomatic Learning. He asks: This week take a critical look at the rhizomatic approach. Are we just replacing one authority structure with another? Trading tradition for community? What does this mean in our classroom? How can this get us into trouble? What... Continue Reading →

#rhizo15 Week Two – Counting networks

A rather belated post on #rhizo15 week 2! How do we count or measure learning in our networks or learning rhizomatically? How do we begin to "grade Dave"? "Counting" evolution of our learning networks is very important. How does a network or community form? When does it acquire critical "mass" of conversation? How does it... Continue Reading →

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