October 2010

Interaction and Collaboration: Advantage E-Learning

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Technology is regarded as an all-encompassing phenomenon that has a tremendous impact on our working, cultural and private lives. E-Literacy has become very important for success in academic and professional milieu. Sensing this need, a lot of educational institutes across the globe have started offering online-courses followed by instant online assessment. E-Literacy is slowly making its presence felt in education, various government offices and business agencies and we see a continual change around us. However, this change needs to be extended to the educational fields. As Lankshear et al. observe, it is vital that technology for pedagogical purposes should also fall within the change agenda (Lankshear, Snyder, and Green 2000; Luke 2000; Millard 2003; Ramsey 2000). It is therefore imperative that educational institutes provide easily accessible e-learning experiences to learners that suit their needs and learning styles.

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Exploring Alternative Modes of Teaching-Learning: A Case for E-learning

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The vast strides made in technology; the globalization of world economies and the acceptance of English as a world lingua franca necessitated the training of diverse and large populations in various countries of the world. In India, such heterogeneous populations, requiring different skills could not evidently ‘fit’ into the traditional classrooms. There was a dire need for alternative paradigms for delivering education. Open and distance education (albeit with some resistance in the beginning) methodologies are now an acceptable alternative for delivery of education at all levels.

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Locating M-Learning in India

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“The portability of the device [Mobile Phone] makes it the most revolutionary of the latest technologies to have changed our lives”

-Milrad, 2003

It is true that the escalating use of mobile phones has even over-taken the growth rate of internet access among the people of India. According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, India had 635.51 million mobile phone users at the end of June 2010, projecting a phenomenal growth in tele-density. Today, India is the second-largest wireless market in the world after China.  Kurup and Tripathy (2010) predict that India’s mobile subscriber base will grow to 993 million by 2014. Many feel that the mobile is a potent enabler for those who do not have access to any form of education particularly in the rural areas of the country. It can be used for supplementing and complementing learning. Learning at one’s convenience and pace is made possible through devices like cellular phones enabling learners to collaborate, create, and evaluate their own learning processes.

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Virtual Learning Environment: Issues and Challenges in Higher Education Domain

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In the last decade, Information and Communication Technologies’ (ICT) approach for teaching and learning has gathered increasing interests, both in formal and non-formal higher education system. Some of ICT solutions in different application domains have achieved huge success in their respective area of concern. Academic interests in this collaborative, community driven development has also grown considerably, arising from various backgrounds. New developments in higher education – from virtual universities and e-learning to open education initiatives – speak of the importance of providing open, accessible and superior higher education content for a global community of teachers, scholars and lifelong learners. The power of education should be realized without the constraints of time or geography, to combat economic, social and cultural obstacles. The expectations from ICT to contribute significantly to academic community in terms of growth, employment, competitiveness and quality of education are high. As expectations, grow, so do some risks, such as increasing disparities between regions within and across national boundaries. The term “digital divide” captures this concern. Discourse on digital divide often centers on a restrictive techno-centric agenda of equitable access to ICT infrastructure, leaving out important issue beyond this unexplored. This paper is the outcome of real time implementation of technology led teaching and learning in blended mode.

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E-Learning: From the Computer to the Classroom

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“I never teach my pupils;
I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn”.

Albert Einstein’s words quoted above posit a message for all educators. Many of us have grown up with the chalk and blackboard form of pedagogy and are most comfortable teaching, in the same way.  But is this the best way to engage students or provide a learning environment most suited to learners? There is no substitute, while teaching a subject like mathematics, to the old-fashioned chalk and board technique, but are there ways and means by which we can blend this with methods that use newer technologies in a meaningful way?

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