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 →

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 →

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 →

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 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 →

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 →

#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 →

New Wave Teaching and Learning Structures

The existing large and pervasive structure for teaching and learning in our schools and colleges is well-known and documented. By structure I mean things like learning progression through defined years of schooling, periodic assessments, organization of a large population of students into more "manage-able" units called the classroom, fixed physical spaces for learning, assignment of... Continue Reading →

What openness means for Indian education

I believe we have to seriously think about what open-ness means for Indian education. There are many dimensions to being open that extend beyond merely making data available for public accountability and transparency. For example, if we do not provide appropriate redressal of grievances that emerge from an analysis of the data, we are not... Continue Reading →

Libraries in the age of MOOCs

I recently made a presentation to a group of Library Information professionals at a conference organized by the National Law University, Dwarka. My short research on the topic led to uncovering many of the challenges these professionals face when it comes to MOOCs and Open Access. I am convinced that there is a significant role... Continue Reading →

Faculty shortage or learner shortage?

People keep on going on about there being so much shortage of good quality faculty. That, they bemoan, is the most important factor behind the problems that we face in K12 or Higher Ed today. It is definitely true to an extent.I believe the bigger challenge is to find learners. Not students. But learners. Or... Continue Reading →

xMOOCs and cMOOCs – do we even care?

First published by EDU Tech on 24th July, 2014 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are an exciting new development in online education. In this article, Viplav Baxi explores the origins of MOOCs, their two main (‘c’ and ‘x’) variants and why it is critical to appreciate the distinction. October 2008. Three Canadians, George Siemens, Stephen... Continue Reading →

India MOOCs and eLibrary

Massive Open Online Courses  (MOOCs) and OERs have captured the imagination of our polity. The new Government's election manifesto clearly specifies MOOCs, although not under school or higher education, but under Vocational Training as a means for "working class people and housewives to further their knowledge and qualifications". Further, there is a firm push, although... Continue Reading →

The Learning Revolution is Here

I didn't know it at that time, having been born just a few months later, that the revolutionary Open University, UK was born in January, 1971 with 25000 students. Of course, my parents didn't know that either when they named me Viplav (my Sanskrit origin name literally means "revolution"). It's just one of those weird... Continue Reading →

The hard problems in eLearning

There are some key challenges that we are facing in eLearning today. And I am beginning to think that these are pretty much invariant to scale. I am beginning to think that perhaps many of them happen at smaller scale in traditional face-to-face education. Here is an indicative list. High dropout or low completion rates... Continue Reading →

Design of Complex Learning Environments

This year I will focus my efforts on the design of learning environments that are complex - adaptive, emergent, self-organizing, chaotic and personal. As a project description at TU Delft states: In these situations system content, system structure and system boundaries shift and evolve without any global or central coordinator. Instead, order and regularity emerge... Continue Reading →

Udacity throws out the MOOC?

As Thrun was being praised by Friedman, and pretty much everyone else, for having attracted a stunning number of students--1.6 million to date--he was obsessing over a data point that was rarely mentioned in the breathless accounts about the power of new forms of free online education: the shockingly low number of students who actually... Continue Reading →

MOOCs are ecologies not episodes

There are two ways one could think of the life-cycle of a MOOC. MOOCs could be thought of as one-time and episodic. They could also be thought of as ecologies, sites or environments for continual learning (for example, a series of MOOCs on the same topics, such as CCK), not use-once-and-throw episodes of learning. I... Continue Reading →

The Outcomes of our Educational Systems

Does a particular type of education system tend to produce the same outcome irrespective of the underlying environment? Or is it that the underlying social, economic and political environment will cause pretty much any educational system to tend to produce the same outcomes? Or is it that the outcomes emerge as a result of the... Continue Reading →

xMOOCs: Inside the box thinking

I had an occassion to present a session on MOOCs to some really bright people a few days ago. My thesis was that MOOCs (cMOOCs) represent an invention (they add vocabulary), while other models (xMOOCs, Flipped Classroom etc.) represent innovation that is more inside the box than outside it.

MOOCology

The discussion on what is a MOOC or how do we classify MOOCs is gaining momentum. First we had George explaining the difference by saying that there are xMOOCs and cMOOCs. Now Lisa Lane has come with a different taxonomy (network/task/content based) with some interesting distinctions. Dominic came up his own understanding of the "features" of a MOOC.... Continue Reading →

A billion dollars for teacher education

The Indian government has allocated USD 1.15 bn or INR 6,308 crores for teacher education in the 12th Five Year Plan under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganisation of Teacher Education. Approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in March, 2012, the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) formally approved it this... Continue Reading →

MOOConomics

Carlos Salerno over at Inside HigherEd wrote a piece on the Bitter Reality of MOOConomics. The major point he makes is that because students need to acquire credentials from top universities/colleges for better employment prospects whereas colleges are loath to provide these credentials through MOOCs because they have no barriers to entry (in terms of... Continue Reading →

MOOC Dropouts

Audrey is grumpy and unhappy about the massive dropout rate vs. the hype of the open courses. She writes: I’m starting to get more than a little grumpy about MOOCs, what with all the hype about the revolutionary disruptions and game-changing tsunamis. I’m tired of the mainstream media punditry and their predictions that Stanford University’s experiments... Continue Reading →

Unflipping the flip

I have been really curious and a little wary of the "flip" (flipped classroom, flipping the classroom) kind of frenzy recently. Basically, it seems to mean that we flip: Students into teachers Homework into Classwork Classwork into learning by self or network, guided or unguided Hallways and Social spaces into Classrooms Closed curriculum to open... Continue Reading →

Distributed Educational Systems

(Following is a paper I wrote a few months ago. The conference where I submitted it perhaps did not think much of it, but I hope you will!) Introduction Worldwide, there is immense concern on how we will meet the educational needs of a rapidly growing young population. The challenge is compounded by many other... Continue Reading →

Small Scale Education

Education has always been considered by planners as being for the people. Consequently, a lot of effort by private and public entities have placed great effort and emphasis on just one aspect - how do we educate people? This is not entirely democratic. A democratic view of education also considers education to be by and... Continue Reading →

MOOCs and Content Stores

Every instant someone is learning, or trying to learn the same thing as you are. Every moment, someone apart from you is solving the same problem. Every moment, someone is searching for the same thing that you are. There is an immediacy in learning, in the learning at that instant, that has awesome proportions and purports... Continue Reading →

Scaling the MOOC

I read with interest Audrey Watters' commentary on Scaling College Composition. Some of the work I did in this area (I call it Connectivist Metrics) and the recent discussions I had with Stephen Downes in New Delhi during the EDGEX conference around intelligent environments for assessment, as well as all the great work that is happening... Continue Reading →

The tensions at EDGEX2012

Speakers at the EDGEX Conference debated many tensions and challenges apparent in education today. George Siemens evocatively questioned the use of the word “disruptive” and asserted that we should call for transformation instead. Given the broad societal transitions to a networked and complex ecology, he talked about how initiatives like Coursera, Udacity and the Khan Academy provided... Continue Reading →

My life is a MOOC

I have been meaning to catch up with the interesting discussion happening around MOOCs. I believe that there will be and should be plurality of approaches and intentions - they are the inevitable accompaniment to change itself. The top tensions in the conversation are: How do MOOCs compare with other initiatives like the Stanford AI? Should... Continue Reading →

The EDGEX2012 Primer

Over the next few weeks, as the countdown to the EDGEX Disruptive Educational Research conference to be held in New Delhi from March 12-14 begins, I hope to bring to you all news and updates about the conference and its themes. The EDGEX 2012 Conference has been carefully and collaboratively constructed to bring cutting edge educational research... Continue Reading →

Assocham Conference, New Delhi

The Associated Chambers of Commerce held a one day conference called the Assocham National Conference on E-Education & Distance Education - Innovative & Creative models in Higher Education on Dec 8, 2011. This conference was a small gathering of people from different parts of the education sector. I tweeted some of the proceedings with the hashtag... Continue Reading →

EDGEX 2012 Conference New Delhi

It gives me great pleasure to announce a unique conference on educational research and innovation called EDGEX, to be held at the Habitat Centre, New Delhi from March 12-14, 2012. The two main themes of the conference are: Learning X.O - marking the significant and ongoing developments in learning and teaching, particularly in informal learning, connectivism... Continue Reading →

The Education World is changing

Over the past few months, I have seen the signs of what could be the next generation of teaching - learning experiences, the signs that show how traditionally accepted models and conceptions of tools are being superseded and are gaining focus and importance from education companies, vendors and users, not just innovator-entrepreneurs who have a good... Continue Reading →

Epistemic Games

Clark Quinn pointed me to the work of David Williamson Shaffer and the work around Epistemic Games, the site provocatively taglined Building the Future of Education. Defined: Epistemic games are computer games that can help players learn to think like engineers, urban planners, journalists, lawyers, and other innovative professionals, giving them the tools they need... Continue Reading →

MOOC, DIY-U and Edupunk

I was reading with interest Stephen Downes' critique of Anya Kamenetz's approach in her book DIY-U. I am reading Anya's book, but could not help writing this post, even though that exercise is incomplete, so I beg your indulgence. The point Stephen is making is definitely not just academic. The term DIY (do-it-yourself) affords primacy... Continue Reading →

Holographic eLearning

This has got to be more than awesome. I found this article on Samsung's use of holography to position a new product and then went on to look at Dimension Studio's Holographic Projection System. Further investigation got me to the first holographic training session from OnTrack, a paper presented at the InSITE 2010 conference on... Continue Reading →

Learning Styles and Learning

When I was building up the story for LearnOS, in my mind I had a mathematical model for how a complex of factors, assessed through various instruments (psychometric, inventories, observable analytics), could result in heuristics not only for content presentation, but also for collaboration, tools usage and learning process design. A Learning Weights Matrix mapped... Continue Reading →

BIG Data and Journalism

An interesting post, over at GigaOm, on When big data meets journalism, talks about how companies are using the power of tools that allow journalists to analyze information. At the least, through simply analyzing content for times, dates, places, phone numbers, data (structured and unstructured) and people references, a lot of connections to a resource can... Continue Reading →

tLearning: The next frontier

Tablet Education or tLearning has really advanced over the last couple of years accompanying the hardware advances that have been made. On the face of it, portable hand-held devices that can augment learning are a natural ask from the consumer today in many markets. In my opinion, tLearning will succeed where mLearning (m=mobile) failed, primarily because of the increased screen... Continue Reading →

Skillshare: Democratizing Education

The concept of Skillshare is to connect teachers and learners within a local community context. It is Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Skillshare CEO/Co-Founder, who makes a clarion call for democratizing education. Read more at FutureLearn!

CBSE schools to go vocational

When I wrote We don't need no education in mid-2010, I urged: cut down school content, start school later, end it earlier, focus on growing the mind, building teamwork and other “21st century” skills, enabling our children to become responsible and knowledgeable citizens with a global perspective, reshape the assessment tools and frameworks that we... Continue Reading →

LAK11: Semantic Web and Learning Analytics

Traditional BI has permeated the education function, at least in terms of the available platforms. Nearly every LMS platform provides some kind of reporting, but some systems are really advanced. For example, SABA’s BI (I think they use Business Objects) & SABA Social or Mzinga Omnisocial Platform analytics or Valdis Krebs’ work at orgnet or the work being done at Radian6, don’t... Continue Reading →

LAK11: The Connective Semantic Web?

In the whole discussion about semantic modeling, linked data is supposed to be a type of Graph data as opposed to object, hierarchical or relational data. Two sets of data can be related if they share intersecting vocabularies and ontologies. Ontologies can be expressed using OWL. OWL extends RDF relationship vocabulary and allows you to... Continue Reading →

LAK11: Big Data Small Data

Going through week 2 of LAK11, I could not help think which data is more appropriate - BIG or small.  In a discussion forum exchange, George Siemens volunteered his view on the definition of BIG Data. most discussion about big data centres on quantity. Chris Anderson considers the implication of big data (new methods of science). Marissa... Continue Reading →

Learning to Dandi

Right off the bat, if you have not seen it yet, check out Building a New Culture of Teaching and Learning by Dr. Tae. The movement started with the Dandi March in March 1930. The British had a monopoly or complete control over the manufacture of salt. Indians were not allowed to collect salt from the sea.... Continue Reading →

The Kahani of Learning

For those who are not aware, Kahani is the Hindi word for Story. And this gentleman tells a story like no one else I know. His use of metaphors is wondrous. The Torrent of Words, by the way, thunders down from the Sea of Stories into the Lake of Wisdom, who waters are illuminated by... Continue Reading →

India: CLO Summit

I attended the CLO Summit (#CLOSummit) in Mumbai last week. It was an interesting conference bringing together the CLO and HR community - companies like Infosys, Wipro, Deloitte and GE, Government sector representation with DPE, NSDC, NABARD & others and vendors such as HBP, 24X7, LearningMate and many others. I went to the summit trying to get a sense... Continue Reading →

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