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The Pioneer Date: 27 December 2011 Edition: National
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Times of India Date: 19 December 2011 Edition: Bangalore

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•• LEARNINGCURVE

InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

Binaryguru
Rupesh Shah, fOWlder and CEO, Computer Masti, talks to Keerthi Mohan about the emerging culture ofe-learning among Indian students
catching up in India? E-Iearning is fundamentally learning through technology. It can be through television, internet, computer, mobiles and so forth and so on. E-Learning has become an important means of education. In today's scenario since the regular courses in India are getting very expensive and highly competitive, distance and online education is emerging as a remarkable option for the students. E-Iearning has surpassed challenges of reaching out to a varied audience, overcome the non-availability of qualified teachers in rural India and making available rich content to an audience that was unreachable earlier. In India e-Iearning market is very huge. Here e-Iearning is interpreted in many ways namely leT education, ICT enabled education and more. A developing country where there is a shortage of trainers, eLearning can. playa key role in bringing education to masses. This also ensures that quality of instruction is maintained. However, a facilitator is required that IS where the need of training the instructor exists. Again, e-Iearning or any technological advancement is just an extension to the content. It's not the other way round. Good letter leads to writing good emails, similarly it's the content which matters the most. Then, if you want the content to be presented as Apps (across mobile as App stores) or as Web based learning it does not really matter.
1. Why is t.be concept of e-leaming

cause of the many elements that are combined in e-learning to reinforce the message, such as video, audio, quizzes, interaction, etc. There is also the ability to revisit or replay sections of the training that might not have been clear the first time around.
4. Is e-leaming more cost effective than tradi-

do not give their best to the profession. They also are not accountable. E-Iearning is not being adopted just because it's fashionable but it actually meets educational needs. The IT@Schoolsproject of the Kerala Govermnent is a live example of how widely e-Iearning can be adopted in school education to teach the masses. 3..What are some benefits e-leaming oHers over conventional modes,?

tionalleaming? Since e-Iearning can be done in any geographic location and there are no travel expenses, this type of learning is much less costly than doing learning at a traditional institute. There is a problem of retaining teachers in remote locations and finding qualified teachers comes at a premium. This problem can be overcome by setting up a small interactive classroom where sessions are conducted through lectures from a centralized location. 6_Does e-learning accommodate different types of learning styles? Can it be customized to meet the in.dividualneeds of the learners? Learning styles are various approaches or ways of learning. A well-designed e-learning course can meet each of the different learning needs while stili completing learner's requirements. A single

comes to accepting and integJ'ating elearning in mainstream education? The e-Iearning scenario in India is growing at a tremendous rate. Moreover in a country like India, e-learning can address the issues of scaling up. Now, the education sector in.India has imbibed e-Iearning in their teaching practices rather intelligently. With rapid globalization, cost-efficient learning & quick technological developments - e-learning is surely a boon to many to enjoy a richer learning experience. This is also because trained staff is a big challenge these days. Our teacher community still does not attract the best talent, and for those inside the system, teaching is a secondary task and teachers

2. Where does India stand when it.

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learninq is surely a boon to many to enjoy a richer learning experience

With rapid globalization, cost-efficient learning & quick technological developments - e-

E-learning is an excellent option in education, particularly when there are hindrances to traditional learning situations. It gives a great opportunity to the students who find it difficult to learn well in a traditional learning environment, but thrive in a more flexible setting. The most obvious benefits are the flexibility and the cost savings from not having to travel or spend excess time away from work. Convenience is also one of the major advantages of e-Iearning. It allows students to work and learn at their own pace without the unyielding time restrictions ottraditionallearning. It provides accessibility as well. Students can learn from anywhere in the world. It can lead to increased retention and a stronger grasp on the subject - This is be-

course can include graphs and videos for visual learners, narration for the aural learner, thorough notes for the readiwrite learner and games or product demonstrations for kinesthetic learners to interact with. E-Learning is more focused on the learner and it is more interesting for the learner because it is information that they want to learn.
7. With computer educati.on becoming an integral and importa_nt part of student.s' lives,

wlJat can schools do to make computer edueation interesting? A content based on the general exposure of students - what kind of books they generally read, what programmes they watch on television, how do they spend free time, etc should be served to them. Innovative teaching practices should be followed by the teachers. Independent thinking skills are to be developed in children. Keeping in line with this view, topics such as stepwise thinking, logical reasoning, and gathering information systematically are to be taught to explicitly teach thinking process skills. A connection of these thinking skills with computer skills is to be established.

The Tribune Date: 07 December 2011 Edition: National

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.AC[LlTATING .e<1u.cation is not a business but it is a very rewarding career", Thisis the nuance which served as the guiding light for 25-year-old computer science engineer and an alumnus or 11M, Calcutta Rupesh Shah who ventured on "the road Jess taken" by starting his own venture rather than getting into a 15hourgrindat some MNC after completing his graduation. His passion lies in leveraging Open Source based content and technology for education, His keen interest and deep knowledge of Open Source and the desire to contribute to the education domain led to germination of [nOpen Technologies P\lt Ltd in 2009. The company has ~ successfully created afun and game based. computer learning experience through inter' active learning programmes like Computer Masti. Shah is involved deeply into designing and developing educational content that has reached almost 2 lakh students spread across government and private institutions allover the country. 'We have trained more than 2000 teachers So far Computer Masti is also now available in eight Indian and two foreign languages", says this entrepreneur who is a role model for youngsters with a passion for being their own boss. Excerpts from an interview: What made you decide to Ilart your own enterprise rather than go for a highpaying regular job? I felt that going for a high-pay job (which I didn't like or had less knowledge about) that I was offered was like giving stuffs a momentary solution. I had-immense pressure from my famUy to take up the job, but then I realised that twothree years of instability in such a long life will hardly make a difference. I was working on affordable technologies and solutions with liT Bombay. Since I couldn't see anyone doing a relevant job, I thought its better to start on my own. When I started, r didn't Know that a word called 'start-up' existed. Till date I get the spelling of'entrepreneurship' wrong. I felt that if I am able to build a support and sal es service, around my research, it would bf. nice. Nice, primarilv because it would help ~an; students and help build synergies like jobs, censortiurns and so forth and soon.

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IComputer Masti'

oration company. We felt that.lot of educational companies were trying to sell hardware to schools (Interactive White Boards .. jaz2)' tabs and soon), and there Was very little development on the content side. Technology isjust an extension to the content and not the other way round, We soon realised that it was a hot market and we have been right in our judgement. Today we are venturing into other subjects, What are your futureplans for your venture? Launch CM 2.0(A.compr.' hensive web-based learning experience which will use the power of CM tutorial logic, software's and assessment under one single platform.) Bring the same learning experience on web by combining learning, practice and assessment on the same pag e. We wish to open company operated centers for teacher and student learning activities. Generate e-content for new generation smartphones and tablets. To establish bench marks for school teachers which should empower them with a holistic training thereby creating an impact on the entire teacher intake process by schools. - As lold to GeefuVaid

Rupesh 5"~h, co-founder, InOpen Technologies Pvt Ltd

preferring to go on their own is Incr eas ing steadily? Well. the current social and professional environment is definitely more conducive for starting ventures. You can easily get advice on Business Modeling, you know the VCs and you can also create uproar on the social media if you are doing an awesome job. Every day someone from university or through my network is tak'tng a plunge. I get lots of email seeking advice. However, I reel that's a problematic area too. People just want to start a 'company' without feeling very strongly about its need. Lots of people don't even have an idea if you question them deeply related to their' Idea.' Most of them are working professionals or university fellows. Most of them these days are fascinat. ed by the 'valuations' offered. People ask me how excellent is their idea and. I. tell them idea isjust 5 per cent and they should not go ahead unless 00 you find the current they believe in. .It completely, social as we'll as professionI tell them thai relationship a1 environment more conwith a start-up is like marducive for entrepreneurship riage and not a college fling. - as the number 01 people

What were the challenges than 21akh students (schools In the Initial day.? and government). We have In the initial days it was like offices now in Murnbai and me going to schools and tryHyderabad, New Offices in ing to get the. feedback as well Chennai. and Cochin and as pitch the Jaipur are ONMV same to coming up. them. I have personally With mcs] interacted with over 500 of the .tartuDB bein!! either' ing services, whl' did you students (across eight like schools} in our first year of get into something taking computer education operations. We try (and still to children, which seems dol to solve every query more like a government which our client has and .cheme? make sure it gets solved in When we started the venture fastest time possible. we truly didn't think about The initial challenges were how unique our ide", was. mostly office space and low The whole- idea to use comcash flow lor salaries. and pulers to develop logical operations. I cramped 25 peothinking in a child. is what ple in 300 sqft area. of office excited us. Computers have space. Today we have more

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become quintessential objects in everybody's home and for the remaining g,wernrnentts) are working towards it. We were neither a revolutionary idea nor Were we creating a market. We wanted to be perceived as One of the best content gen-

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Indian Express Date: 21 November 2011 Edition: Mumbai

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Special classes for Dhari.vi kids at IIT·8
I Professionals teach basidunctians of computers to 30 children usinq slideshows, games and drawings
:EJI'RESSNEWS SERVICE
NOVEMBE'R20

AVEyou seen clothes being washed by bands? Iss it difficult?" young professional Rupesh KumarShah ask.s. a bupch of school.kids who, judging from the- excitement on tbeir faces, look like they are ona picnic. '!'bey all answer in the af~ firmative. Then be asks them what happens when a machine is used for the same task. The resounding chorus of half-bebbllng voices comes again _ it is much easier" Ihey say. And then suddenly, the conveysatioe s.hifts to more unfamiliar territory for most. of these children - computers. The 30-odd children in this unique classroom on Saturday are from tbe Dhar3Yi ~~UIllS, many parts ofwbich do not have a [eliable.c~et1ricity supply, Thevenue was an audttcriam of the Indian Institute of'Thchnology in PDWai. At the event. the children were taught the basics of COIDputers ton an innovative and i.nter·· actlve manner by professionals ham ctry.based technological oompany, InOpen'Thchnologics. At the session, the childrenwho are frOID city NGO 'Thach for India -were tanglrtthe basic functions of computers-with the. help . .of sllde.shows, games .and drawings. For a cl;l.$5. students of mostly between the age of eight iLI\dl0.theyweres'LIrpruinglyat~ rentive and responsive. While some of the children hesitated 3J)d stumbled in their responses, there were also those. whoconfidentlyaMouncedtha"l computers cas be used for send-

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:oi:PgingHindi songs when no one waslookl:ng. Earlier, an interactive session wa-s. organised by Dr Farida Kha.n, a research scientist at lIT, which featured quiz shows and. I! tour of the campus, The kids were taken to the computer science block and the mechanical department aft-er being gfven a computer kit. Speaking to 'New&iirle, Shah, the founder and CEO of the compacy.said; "There is a diff.ereace when it comes fa teaching kids frena sIU(Jl$. he)' naturally T do not have thekindofexposure that kids from wore affluent backgrounds do. Bitt they are ~."'.-='1IJ.J~_~II"'1f.."e(l~ ..~~t and willing.to ~1~!"PUTlI ·.moqU(JOUO!le~m nging them to ]JT, ~._QJUI 10 mo ifm~I~11 ~'"" <,':."lnO!l:1 them some-

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RITWIK MUKHERJ.EE

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Based on technologYl Rupesh Kumar Shah set up his business facilitated by liT Bombay. His business is a'llabout learning computers being fun, educative and successful. He shares with Aspirations Unlimited how he charted his success. ,
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·emember the days when learning computersseemed .•... . like rocket science and all you wanted to do as 11 kid was to playgames on them? Though this mindset has seen a tremendous change, learning about computers still seems like rocket science , 1.0 many. However. there has always been a need to make computer 'education more accessible to schools and students, which would not only be easy to understand (for students) but also, enable them to practice it with ease. "That's how the rdeaof'Computer Mastl was developed. Our mentor, Prof. Sridhar Iyer, afacOne of the challenges Rupash Kumar Shah (above) faced was to uttymember of lIT-Bomb ay studcOnvinoe hls buyers that hls product would work. ied and surveyed Computer Educa tion in detail at Seha ollevel and something that hoth teachers and. students would along with a team comprising child psychologists, understand easily, "That's why we came up with pedagogy experts, system experts, we designed the idea of'usmg animated characters as a tool to 'Computer Masti' ," says Rupesh Kumar Shah. who make the concepts easy," he explains. iisthe Founder and CEO ofinOpen, Technologies. With absolutely no experience in the corpoComputer Masri is a collaborative product from rate world, one of the major challenges that this son IlT Bombay and InOpen Technologies. which is of a timber merchant faced was !osell the product based im the campus of III Bombay. to schools and also convince !.hem that it would III Bombay has a cell that facilitates entreprework. "Though we had 30 Iakh (rupees) as, our neuriaL ventures. GeneraUy, It does not provide initial investment, we did not have a continuous monetary support. But it gives the all-trnportaat flow of finance and :no process was set," he says. support by way of knowledge and creation, to a Shah said that be raised the money all his OWI1 and • budding entre pren eur and thus, incubating him for did not borrow from hls father. , progress. Computer Mastl raked in close to 100 crore I Shah is one such entrepreneur to have found , the support of this world class institute, in the within the flrst year of business. And Shah says tl~at they want to make this module online so that it initial stages .. Speaking about Ills business he further says that while there are many books on combe eas~ly accessible t? more demo~~~phics. We work wIth 35 people 10 OUT team. We have puter operating systems, the idea (of his business) already zeroed in on the technology, and the ground was bastcally to provide computer education that work too bas started for this expanslon. are would put focus Oft concepts and not just skills, also in the process of raisIng V C fundiingand devel"We also had an aim of provtdtng affordable comoplng seftware for translating OUf books Intovanputing using open standards and nctusing propriety technologies." ous language," he concludes. Thol.lglllhe model seemed likean unexplored Simd your feedback 10 editllfiai@aulld.in one, Shah and ills team. realised ilia! they needed

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AUDIENCE MATTERS
21 November 2011

lIT Bombay takes an initiative with a startup promoting Equalizing Access to Technology by kids
By Apurva Pawar
InOpen Technologies, a leading technological company in education segment conducted an event for the underprivileged children of 'Teach for India', an NGO promoting teaching vocation to youngsters.

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The objective of the event is to cater the underprivileged children from Dharavi & to get them a chance to explore computer science in an innovative and fun way . t""-' through the Computer Masti program. With this initiative InOpen technologies is making a difference while demonstrating the concept of equalizing access to technology as well as learning by all kids in country. The event was held at IIT Bombay on 19 November. The event started with an exclusive play organized as "Computers & Me" for all this kids in order to make them engaged and make the session more interactive to give them opportunity of equal learning. The play made them understand about the parts of computers, places where computers can be used. This was followed by a presentation by Rupesh Shah, Co-Founder & CEO, Computer Masti. On the occasion, Mr.Rupesh said, "More than Computers, it's the big college dream which we want to imbibe in children. We want to show them that ifthey work hard and show dedication to their studies, then they can come to big college. Even if we are able to inspire five kids, it will give me a high" A playful interactive session was also conducted by Dr. Farida Khan who is a Research Scientist at IIT Bombay. The assembly included a quiz session for the kids followed by some winning activities for them. Aasma, who is one ofthe students expressed her keen interest, "I would love to have more sessions as they are informative and provide us a chance to learn more about computers" .

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VARINDIA Date: November 2011

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The New Indian Express
8 November 2011

InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

Fun way to learn Computer Science
CHENNAI: Prof Sridhar and his team~ from IIT Bombay have developed a computer learning initiative called Computer Masti, which is an extensive research-based product for effectively teaching computers in schools. A collaborative product from InOPEN Technologies and IIT Bombay, it has been designed as a series oftext books accompanied by a DVD. InOPEN, an educational start-up incubated at the Society of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT Bombay, conducted a hands-on training for teaching "innovative methods of teaching Computer Science in schools" at IIT-Madras on Saturday. Representatives of 75 schools from Chennai and Puducherry attended the workshop. Rupesh Shah, Founder Director and CEO of InOPEN Technologies, said that the advantage of Computer Masti is that it provides schools with a lot of innovative methods ofteaching. He said, "In this curriculum, the focus is entirely on delivering the concepts rather than traditional skill oriented computer teaching." S Murlaleedhar, from The Hindu Senior Secondary School International, said, "Computer Masti teaches the subject in a very interesting way. The e-books have been downloaded in more than 76 countries and have been translated in eight Indian languages including Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Bengali and two foreign languages - Arabic and French - as well. The system has already been implemented in more than 25 schools.

www.inopen.in

I www.computermasti.com

The Wall Street Journal Date: 25 Octo bar 2011 Edition: World

InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

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www.inopen.in

I www.computermasti.com

The Time Of India Date: 25 Octo bar 2011 Edition: India

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InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

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JUSTMEANS

1 MONTH

AGO

Technology: Computer Masti
This is a story where we in the west can look to the developing world, to a country like Indiawho is using technology innovatively. I am talking about Computer Masti, which is a great and fun way of introducing technology and computers to children where FULLAATICLE AT JUSTMEANS Ii?

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Cast of Characters

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It has given me a lot of insight as a parent. Prior to this I had no idea how to figure out my daughter's

knowledge on computers .. .it has enabled me to carry out a conversation with her. I personally found it very useful and helpful.
SOURCE: JUSTMEANS 1 MONTH AGO

Indian lnstitute ot Technology

The curriculum

makes me feels good as I able to relate to the need which I see in my schools. The
SOURCE: JUSTMEANS 1 MONTH AGO

students are bored of dry and mechanical Curriculum.

The course is outstanding. Amazing! I mean we played with it like a child. Tools availability is beyond imagination.

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I www.computermasti.com

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AUDIENCE MATTERS
Rupesh Kumar Shah CEO and Co-Founder InOpen Technologies

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InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

As an alumnus of 11MCalcutta, Mr. Rupesh Shah, is a very creative and assiduous individual. His passion lies in leveraging Open Source based content and technology for Education. Rupesh always wanted to impart knowledge and share his experience with others and this is what motivated him to create educational solutions that focus on creating content that is innovative and one of its kind in its approach. He is very fervent about his new venture (InOpen Technologies) and intends to revolutionize the way computer training is imparted to students at schools. His keen interest and deep knowledge of Open Source and the desire to contribute to the education domain led to germination of InOpen Technologies Pvt Ltd that has successfully created a fun and game based computer learning experience through Computer Masti. Rupesh carries with him analytical, statistical skills and expertise in project management. He is level-headed and focused to convert ideas-to-reality. Prior to InOpen Rupesh was actively involved in imparting Open Source knowledge to over 6000 college students and various organisations. He has also trained the likes of Indian Air Force staff. Rupesh is a Computer Science Engineer and obtained the degree from Rajasthan he along with his team developed a Linux based Operating System called 'Intux.' In conversation with Pranjal Vassist of AudienceMatters.com, source content and a lot more. Here are the excerpts ... Q. Howdid the idea of open source content started Rupesh University. Rupesh did his research work at liT Bombay where

Kumar Shah CEO, InOpen Technologies,

talks about his venture,

open

and how did it develop

into InOpen

technologies?

liT Bombay has always been supporting use of FOSS in education. So, when Prof. Sridhar Iyer began working on computer education for schools, FOSS was the natural choice. Having written the books, the CM author team felt the need for a company to take the content to wider audience. Hence InOpen came into being. The InOpen team brings on board it expertise in FOSS as well as marketing and sales skills to expand the user base of Computer Masti. Q. Computer Masti program have revolutionized the way of imparting computer education to students. Howdo you see it?

Thanks for the compliments. CM has the vision of nurturing independent thinking skills in children. Keeping in line with this view, we have topics such as stepwise thinking, logical reasoning, and gathering information systematically to explicitly teach thinking process skills. We also establish connection of these thinking skills with computer skills. In addition, we chose a graphical user interface based programming Language, Scratch for first time into to program. This was because we found it more intuitive and allows room for creative expression. We give a lot of imp to research, so the user study is done on continuous basis and their feedback is incorporated in future revisions.

Q. What are the special • Small Science • Govt Projects -IT

campaigns

you are involved

so far?

Nipun, Computer

Maitri

Q. The computer based content of Computer Masti Programme is comprehensive behind the development of such exhaustive quality computer content?

to the needs of school

students.

So, what really goes

A highly iterative collaborative writing process that involves brain storming for idea generation, research on existing national/international standards, what is taught in other subjects and general exposure of students - what kind of books they generally read, what programs they watch on television, how do they spend free time, etc. Each author writes different portions of the lessons and each author review the others sections. Illustrations are discussed with the illustrator and jointly options are decided. Each portion of the lesson undergoes several rounds of review before it is finally signed off. Having done this, feedback is sought from teachers and students before finally including it in the book.

Q. Which is the target it on Iy the schools?

group

that you cater to, through

your Educational

content

and solutions

developed

by InOpen

Technologies?

Is

On the School side we target k-12. Various government different requirements for IT Literacy.

projects

are also undertaken

which target people of different

ages and who have

We have: • IT Nipun which is an eLearning content for teaching basic computer skills. • Advanced technical content on topics such as hardware and networking for BPL youth, dropouts.

www.inopen.in

I www.computermasti.com

InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

AUDIENCE MATTERS
We lay a lot of emphasis on understanding the education needs of audience and contextualize the content according to their background. • Tell us your proj ection with regard to the growth of e learning in India. A developing country where there is a shortage of trainers, eLearning can playa key role in bringing education to masses. This also ensures that quality of instruction is maintained. However, a facilitator is required that is where the need of training the instructor exists and our company is taking up this seriously.

Q. You have worked on various projects in collaboration with the State governments like Bihar, Maharashtra. How has the experience been? The experience has been positive. However, we noted that the government agencies lack clarity in the initial stages ofthe project. One needs to have a lot of patience to work with government agencies. One thing that needs to be done is to understand user requests since typically a top down approach is adopted where person on top decided what is to be taught rather than asking the user what they want.

Q. Tell us about your other interests. Computer education, eLearning and Teacher Training.

Q. What are your future plans ofInOpen Technologies? ??We intend to supply the highest quality of content and Training in all major subjects for schools. We will use our customer experience to reach our vision. ?? Launch CM 2.0(A Comprehensive Web based learning experience which will use the power ofCM tutorial logic, software's and assessment under one single platform.) Bring the same learning experience on web by combining learning, practice and assessment on the same page. ??? CM in all Major Indian and foreign Languages. ? InOpen's CM Everywhere Initiative - Utilize Open Source Potential to gain online Community Support for making CM available in I pad, Kindle,Android Devices, etc. ?We wish to open company operated centers for Teacher and student learning activities. Generate EContent for New Generation smart-phones and Tablets.

www.inopen.in

I www.computermasti.com

Shilpa Vasudevan Express News Service

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InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

Cat and Mouse Game of a Different Kind
Rote learning is a terrifying old hag, a prolonged process that begins in kindergarten. Only in recent years have efforts been taken to infuse creativity into learning. One such commendable effort is Computer Masti (CM) from the stable of Mumbai-based InOpen Technologies, incubated at IIT-Bombay's Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Graphic teachers "CM delivers complete computer knowledge as a service ratherthan a product armed with quality instructional material. It includes activities and projects, which help the learner go beyond the book and gain wider skill sets," begins Rupesh Kumar Shah, cofounder. The content is presented in a story format, where two school children, Tejas and Jyoti, converse with Moz (a graphic mouse), who doles out gyaan on exploring the computer world through various fun activities, much to the relief of teachers and students. "When children, teachers and parents wait for interactive fodder - it's not about computers alone, could be related to any subject - it is like waging a long lost war, resulting only in endless unhappiness. With CM, your child's progress is both a leap and continuity," Shah's optimism is rather infectious. Homework: no longer a bore Shah began his fight for an academic revival four years ago under the guidance of his mentor, Prof Shridhar Iyer, department of computer science and engineering, IIT-B, who is also a dormant partner in this nonprofit. "The fact that a lot of students and teachers were willing to try our product proved that there were some vital signs of resurrection," laughs the 25-year-old, who graduated in computer science from Rajasthan University in 2007 and is currently pursuing an executive MBA from 11M-Calcutta specialising in business analytics. CM comes in textbook format comprising six levels, which don't indicate the grades they would have to be used for. Included are interactive exercises, activities and worksheets and there's a CD tucked in every level, comprising lab exercises. There are also pictorial representations of simple asanas the kids can practise at the end of every book. Prices start from '96 and goes on till' 190 forthe textbooks and can be used by schools to teach from class 1 to 8. For adult literacy too CM could also be used to promote adult literacy, claims Shah. He has been tutoring government employees, who have been forced to go tech- savvy, following the internet revolution. "Sometimes it's not the kids' faultforthe mundane curriculum prescribed to them. Keeping the essence intact, we are only trying to bring about changes in the way the curriculum is delivered," reasons Shah. Agreeing that training one teacher in place of 25 kids saves a lot of time and energy, Shah speaks of the 15-day annual residential programme for teachers, which has been conducted in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune so far. Says Bageshri K, a computer science teacher from Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir, Mumbai, "Prof Iyer was on the managing committee of our school and it's an honourto be the first school where CM has been implemented. I have observed a sea change in my students' attitude towards the subject. They no longer imprudently wait for the bell to ring with frantic impatience. On the contrary, there is more involvement and the children grow along with the central characters." Bageshri is also all praises for the guidelines prescribed for teachers that includes activities they should avoid - kids tend to become claustrophobic if they stay within the four walls of a classroom beyond a permissible time; outdoor games relaxes their minds, never begin a class without revising or revisiting the earlier day's lessons and so on. Comes in 10 languages Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, innovation was not new to Shah. His family runs a successful timber business in Siliguri, West Bengal. It was no surprise that SBI loaned him half-a-crore rupees, that too without demanding a single dime as collateral. Though there are others on the board, it is Shah who is the driving force behind the venture. The interactive textbooks come in 10 languages - English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Bengali, Arabic and French -and its patronage extends to 126 countries. So farCM has made the life of2.5lakh Indian students easy. And surprisingly for such staggering figures, their man strength is a mere 30+. "Well, what can I say! I am lucky to have such a hardworking team," grins Shah, who likes to experiment with different cuisines and play on his keyboard during leisure hours. Sometimes, InOpen takes the help of interns, who mostly come from liT-B.

www.inopen.in

I www.computermasti.com

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InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

Extensive research Treading with care at almost every step, Shah and team, researched over 300 publications, some of them sourced from abroad, resulting in comparison oftopics taught at various schools and levels. "As far as the curriculum of computer science delivered in our schools is concerned, there is a lot of ambiguity. There is no prescribed syllabus and as a result there is no uniformity across schools," observes Iyer, adding that topics are open to interpretation and there is wide variation in the treatment across books. Psychological edge Prof Iyer and Co, devised a handbook in 2007 on basics of computers, which was circulated forteaching in some Mumbai schools. "The valuable inputs from students, teachers and parents helped us in evolving the content," shares Shah. The following year, it was upgraded to the textbook format. CM's pedagogy experts include Prof Sahana Murthy (faculty at Centre for Distance Engineering Education Programme at liT-B), Prof Padma Sarangapani and Farida Khan (research scientist at department of computer science and engineering of liT-B). Khan holds a PhD in psychology from IIT-B and lends the psychological advantage in CM's content creation. "You might question the need for the role of a psychologist here. We don't wish to leave anything to chance and a psychologist can gauge to some extentthe probable response of a child to our curriculum," reasons Shah. "CM emphasises on learning concepts related to various tools like Open Office, publishing tools, image editing tools, etc ratherthan just usage functions of a specific tool. The exercises at the end of each chapter prompt stepwise thinking and logical reasoning to facilitate and improve interpretation skills," Shah says of his baby's USP. CM's design methodology For every level, the syllabus is defined by stating the reasons for teaching the topics and a schedule is also constructed. Each topic is accompanied by a sub-topic. CM is also designed to teach the teachers as well and effective teaching strategies are outlined. Teacher's corner explains how they need to cover a particular topic. InOpen shall also aid the schools to set up a 'decently equipped' laboratory, courtesy tie-ups with software giants like Dell, Lenovo, etc. "Care has been taken to ensure that the hardware resources required are commonly available. Our syllabus is agnostic of software platforms and vendor-neutral. Our textbook content require Ubuntu platform to take shape, which is a distribution of Linux preloaded with free edu software and games like Tuxmath and Gcompre. After all, computers are much more than mere logical programming," says Shah, who believes FOSS (free and open source software) ensures maximum reach and also bridges the gap between technology and man. Learning strategy CM strives for computer learning through storytelling, games, exploratory learning, colourful illustrations - in a nut shell, scenariobased learning that focuses on problem solving. "We believe that the three central characters can be used extensively for role plays in the classroom - this ensures maximum interaction and participation from children," says Shah, adding technology is to be welcomed with open arms as long as it's affordable only. "Role playing improves peer learning," chips in Prof Iyer, in support of his student. CM comes with a spiral curriculum, where there is continuous revisiting oftopics and themes recurthroughout. Arousing welcome InOpen claims that rightfrom day one, the response to CM has been mind blowing and found an initial acceptance of2,000 students from the 12 schools they made a visit to. So far approximately 600 schools have been covered in Mumbai, Pune, Latur, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Indore, Aurangabad, Chennai, Bhopal, Siliguri, Guwahati, Mandi, Bhiwani, Bangalore, Jaipur, Raipur, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, etc. CM's clientele includes Kendra Vidyalaya-Mumbai, Orchid International-Nasik, Shri Krisha Somani VidhyalayaLatur, Hansel School-Hyderabad, Indian School of Excellence-Hyderabad, Vikhe Patil School-Pune, etc. Says Krishiv Vora, a class 5 student of Jamnabai Narsee School, Mumbai, "I have always looked forward to computer science classes and after CM was introduced in our school, my teacher has been involving us in various fun and group-based activities. My friends and I have such a blast during our lab exercises and no longerdo I look atassignments with scorn." In 2009, InOpen generated a turnover of '9 lakh, an impressive figure for a nonprofit. InOpen also conducts one-day camps for teachers and students. By way of CSR, recently underprivileged kids from Dharavi slum were introduced to computers during a one-day workshop, which the team promises will be a regular feature and will extend to other cities as well. On the wish list of InOpen are supplying the highest quality content and training in all major subjects for schools, launch CM 2.0, a comprehensive web-based learning experience that will use CM's tutorial logic, software and assessment under one single platform, CM to be made available in more regional and foreign languages and generate more company operated centres for teacher and student learning activities. Fordetails, visitwww.computermasti.com.

www.inopen.in

I www.computermasti.com

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techcircle.in

InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

lIT-Bombay Education Start-up InOpen Raises $O.5M
InOpen Technologies, an lIT Bombay-based start-up which develops educational content and teacher training solutions, has raised $500,000 in seed funding from Ventureast Tenet Fund II, an early-stage investor. The funds will be used for research, hiring and growing its network of camps and centres for training students and teachers. Ventureast Tenet Fund II executes early or seed-stage investments and is a part of Ventureast, a venture capital and private equity firm with over $300 million under management and offices in Chennai and Hyderabad. Ventureast has invested in 50 businesses in India and abroad, primarily in technology, healthcare and life sciences, cleantech and other emerging sectors. It has now acquired a minority stake in In Open. InOpen designs and develops educational content and solutions for academic institutions. A total of 52 schools, such as SSRV and Indus World group of schools, have tied up with the company. It currently serves a total of 40,000 students and expects to reach the target of one million students in the next two years. InOpen's flagship product is Computer Masti - an e-book and a bundle of software games. It is the result of a collaboration with lIT Bombay and has witnessed over 75,000 downloads in the past two years, from 120 countries. An average of200-300 downloads per day have been recorded by the company. Rupesh Kumar Shah, co-founder and CEO of InOpen Technologies, said, "The investment from Ventureast will be instrumental to scale the operation pan-India. We work as a content provider, offering customised content across different schools. We also plan to offer alternative methods of teaching computer science in camps and centres." InOpen was founded in October, 2009, by Dr Sridhar Iyer, a professor at lIT Bombay, and Rupesh Shah, who was previously involved with training college individuals in open source and adult literacy. After investing an initial start-up capital ofRs 15 lakh, the promoters raised Rs 50 lakh via loans. Incubated at lIT Bombay as a content generation and resource training firm, InOpen tied up with 20 schools in the first year of operations to teach students how to leverage computer science effectively. It has now diversified into developing content for ICT implementation for government projects and setting up of camps and centres in Maharashtra where students and teachers are given training. The start-up claims that it had grown lOx to reach Rs 1 crore in revenue in 2010l l and is on its way to the target ofRs 5.5 crore in the next fiscal. "In Open addresses fundamental issues in the delivery of education; its business model involves multiple layers, which differentiates it from other businesses in the education space. Their research acumen in creating content and high quality benchmarks in training makes the firm very confident about its future," said Anuradha Ramachandran, Principal at Ventureast.

www.inopen.in

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InOpen Technologies Media Coverage
The TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONAL'S CHOICS

InOpen to provide training software to train Mantralaya Employees
InOpen Technologies Pvt. Ltd., a lIT Bombay based Educational startup which _----..-=!I!i''n initiated the Tech Saturday, 2011. The Tech-Saturday campaign aims at cultivating an interest among Mantralaya employees in using IT in their day-today work and acquaints them with the latest technology gadgets and software's, the notification reads. This event is scheduled for first Saturday of every month. The special campaign is expected to cover government employees from various departments in the State, as some of them will be selected for training and guidance from IT experts. InOpen Technologies role in the exhibition was to emphasize open source Computer Masti content and its unique style to provide IT learning for Government employees.InOpen Technologies showcased the content of Computer Masti, Computer Maitri, ITNipun. The staff members also had a chance to understand the working of peripherals such as scanner, printer, pen drive, and internet safety rules. InOpen Technologies also conducted quiz on computer knowledge and gave away prizes to the winners. Prizes included gift vouchers ofCroma electronics store, Ipod and Blackberry phone. Dr. Farida Khan, academic head of Open Technologies gave a brief presentation on Computer Masti, its differentiators, to key visitors. She shared her experience of interacting with novice adult learners including senior citizens and how Computer Masti can meet their needs. She discussed the need for being aware about rules oflnternet safety (SMART) and responsible use oflnternet resources (AWARE). For example some applications included in Computer Masti not only reinforce computer skills, but can also serve as brain teasers and give learners an opportunity to exercise mental skills. The employees of Mantralaya consisted of varied requirements. There were a few people who were comfortable with word processor, but knew little about spreadsheet whereas a few who have been using Intranet seamlessly, but had no exposure to Internet searching and browsing. InOpen Technologies also noticed that the visitors were interested to learn how Computer Masti could be relevant to their families. The major advantage InOpen Technology faced was that they have Computer Masti contents in Marathi too. Rupesh Kumar Shah, CEO and founder of InOpen Technologies said, "The programme, based on a thorough research done at lIT Bombay under the guidance of a professor, gives a strong quality assurance. It is an up-to-date national curriculum for computer science which is revised from time to time. The structure ofthe programme is such that it adds the "fun" while learning element. The content is in a story format Around 200 - 250 people attended the event, which included the employees from various departments of Mantralaya and a few were accompanied by their families.Some of the other companies present for the exhibition were Microsoft, HP and Ibibo. Further to the event, InOpen Technologies are looking forward to conduct short workshops on selected topics as well as computer training as weekend classes for the Mantrlaya employees. Rajesh Agarwal, IT secretary showed his keen interest in having four centres all over Maharashtra, and wants to make available space for such training.
www.inopen.in

I www.computerrnastl.corn

Magazines Articles

EFYTimes, Bangalore

InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

"FOSS Has Become More User-Friendly"
Our tryst with open source began when we started using FOSS tools to provide computer education in schools in 2007. We have had different areas of learning: a) curriculum and instruction material, b) training of teachers, and c) institutional support.
VP--Iearning and research, InOpen Technologies

The challenges in FOSS adoption

In 2007, when we used Ubuntu OS for computer classes, the teacher (being a novice FOSS user herself) struggled to get the applications and external devices, such as Web-cams, installed. Since then, FOSS has itself become more user-friendly, and we've learnt our lessons as well. We observed that the schools were concerned about stability while moving from proprietary software to FOSS. More than students, it was the technophobia of the teachers that hindered the adoption and use of FOSS. While everyone--the school management, principal, teachers and parents--appreciated the value of FOSS, they struggled when it came to using it themselves. We remember when a teacher observed: "Probably, it makes sense to use FOSS in schools, but...I am not a technical person and will not be able to use FOSS." The key highlights of our talk The central focus of the talk will be to understand the role of FOSS in extending the reach of education, and its requirements for Indian students. We will present several case studies of computer learning programmes (CLPS), FOSS application in higher education, such as FOSSEE, and computer-enabled learning programmes adopted in various states of India. A review of these case studies will be aimed at emphasising the importance of curriculum design as a critical factor. In the second part of the talk, we will discuss how teacher training equips the facilitators to deliver this course content. Thus, we recommend a three-pronged approach addressing the following fields--curriculum, instruction material and teacher training--so that a dent is made, and FOSS makes inroads into the school ecosystem. Sessions we are looking forward to attending We are eager to attend talks on the following topics: 'Content Delivery Networks--Cheap, free, and open'; and 'The power of programmable infrastructure'.
www.inopen.in

I www.computermasti.com

digital LEARNING
Learning Through ICTs

in Gujarat"

-icr Enabled

December 2011

InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

Education-Makes Education Valuable
InOpen Technologies offers products and services to private schools, municipal schools and the state board and government schools. Rupesh Kumar Shah, CEO and Co-Founder, InOpen Technologies, SINE, liT Bombay sheds light on the Gujarat experience ...

Astute governmental policies and the efficient mapping of resources have helped in bringing out phenomenal transformations. The policies support the endeavour for rapid expansion and growth of knowledge based economy. Gujarat has successfully I attracted investors due to its uninterrupted power supply, low cost of real estate and investorfriendly policies, which has also created a plethora of direct and indirect jobs. With GIL and GESIA backing the IT infrastructure, the goal of effective delivery of ICTs comes into play. Some of the enabling policies are Promoting KPO based industries, enhancing supply of skilled workforce, simplification of labour Laws and investor facilitation. This is so unlike the complex procedures that one faces in other states to set up a company. The digital content for education, ICT literacy and competency enhancement, and the ICT based teaching methods that are running across the state are enhancing the scope of education. Gujarat is the emerging educational destination. Gujarat to Leapfrog The focus of the government of Gujarat has now turned towards investing in quality education. The state can do the following to leapfrog and lead adoption of ICT in education: Optimise the investment by using the same infrastructure for multiple purposes. For example, the computer lab of school can be used as training centre for parents so that education continues beyond school. Use FOSS applications. Even if it may be a bigger challenge to alter the operating system, we can focus on using free applications. This includes educational games such as GComrpis, Tux Maths, productivity tools such as office tools, and programming language like Scratch. Provide content for school and higher education in local language. Reaching the Last Mile To reach out to all students and minimise dropouts three factors have to be taken into account: Keep the cost of sustained access low - Software licenses have to be renewed and there has to be adequate hardware support. By using free and open source applications actively the total cost of implementation can be lowered. Do not reinvent the wheel-We need to focus on sustaining the initiatives already in place. Understand the user needs- Educational needs of society have to be studied so that the technology useful for everyone can be developed. Value added services provided along with regular education will ensure sustained interest. Make positive use of the social pressure- It is important to create a positive social awareness to maximise the reach of such initiatives. Local role models can be roped in. They can be used to take care of the kiosks/mobile labs as well. On eiNDIA2011 An event like eiNDIA2011 will showcase the cutting-edge developments in ICT, and emphasise upon the benefits of such technologies for school and higher education. This event will help researchers, educators, policy makers and teachers across India by providing them with an update on the latest initiatives from the leading ICT infrastructure providers. eiNDIA2011 will be a golden opportunity for witnessing latest innovative solutions from within the Indian ICT industry and beyond.
www.inopen.in

I www.computermasti.com

Telecom Live
December 2011

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InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

-lear ing
fundamental right, and several steps have been taken for the universalization of education, India continues to face stern challenges. Despite growing investment in education, 25 pc of our population is still illiterate; only 15 pc of Indian students reach high school, and just 7 pc graduate. About 25 pc of the teaching positions nationwide are vacant and 57 pc of college professors lack either a master's or PhD degree. This is all the more reason for that e-education should be undertaken aggressively. Leading industry players write about the products available, government policy and the opportunities. Only 8-9 pc of e-education explored market has been

T

·

HOUGH THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION HAS BECOME A

Ru:peshNu ar Shah,.lnO/Jen Technologies

E-Iearning is fundamentally learning through technology. It can be through television, internet, computer, mobiles and so forth and so on. In India e-learning market is very huge because it can address the issues of scaling up. Only 8-9 pc of the market is explored ..The current revenue size is $1 billion. The CAGR is 64 pc. Again, e-learning or any technological advancement is just an extension to the content. It's not the other way around. Good letter leads to writing good emails. Similarly it's the content which matters the most. Then, if you want the content to be presented as apps (across mobile OS App stores) or asweb based learning it doesn't really matter. From Indian point of view, an effective regulatory frame work is essential to ensure quality of digital content for school and higher education. The necessity of an effective regulatory framework is also supported by the various government policies framed in the Indian context. Policies such as National Policy on ICT in school and higher education, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for schools, FOSS for higher education, National Curriculum Framework (2005) are evidence ofthe reassurance that the government ofIndia has provided. An effective regulatory framework plays an important role in ensuring a digitally literate 21" century generation. India already has an effective regulatory framework to ensure quality of digital content for school and higher education in the form of National Policy on lCT for school education (2009). This policy discusses that digital content and resources for school education should endeavour to provide universal, equitable, open and free access to lCT and ICT enabled tools and resources to all students and teachers. And given the diversity of the country's educational, Linguistic and social situation. there exists a need for a wide variety of digital content and resources for different
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subjects, curriculum, ages, grade levels and languages. Taking into account various prerequisites and requirements for digital content and resources for schools Computer Masti was developed. Computer Masti is a collaborative product from IIT Bombay and InOpen Technologies, IIT Mumbai. Computer Masti provides instructional material both in the form of text books as well as digital content. These are based on a detailed computer science syllabus following the National Curriculum Framework Computer Masti is based upon Open Source philosophy as well as adapt itself to the needs of proprietary software. Applications included in Comjaiter Masti can be downloaded from internet and used without any costs. The students can learn the software for various applications as recommended by the National Curriculum TelecomLIVE December 201

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Framework. Computer Masti focuses on concepts rather than skills associated with specific applications. At InOpen, we lay emphasis on content development. We churn out some of the World's best content. Content is our strength. The implementation can be in the form of Text Books, as CBTcurriculum or aiPAD app. One of our products Computer Masti is considered to be the World's best Computer Science Curriculum. There is an independent research study in MIT USA which proves that the curriculum is one of the best available globally. Product line Currently we have business: (1) Computer (ii) IT-Nip un (Different government projects modules). l E-leaming two product lines in our Masti - For Schools; and for different modules) for (mostly CBT e-learning

Computer Education for Schools in India mostly happen through: Book Publishers (Navneet, Oxford, and other publishers); Hardware Vendors (who supply hardware for schools and also counsel them for books and curriculum to be followed); Small vendors to whom schools outsource their Computer education; and Large players in lCT who also teacher computers (Educornp, NUT, etc) Computer Masti is strong research based curriculum in comparison to the regular book publishers. We are more credible than small and local vendors. Product coming directly from IlT Bombay is also perceived strongly . We are definitely not competing with large vendors but trying to be a strategic partner with them. The differentiating factors are primarily our content. We have powerful content. The whole content is written in child friendly manner. The content is woven in story format where we have developed 3 characters. The 3 characters converse with each other to learn computers. We again have used context used in other subjects to teach comput-

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ers. It is technically called Reverse thematic integration. The other strong point is affordabi1ity. The whole curriculum uses FOSS as underlying architecture. Schools get the advantage of low cost. Our biggest advantage is our ability to customize the curriculum for each and every school which signs up with us. We strongly believe that no two schools are same and one size does not fit all in education sector. Affordability Our model to ensure reach and minimize dropouts includes four factors:
(i) Keep the cost of sustained access low: Most of the present efforts (government policies, PPP) are directed to provide initial access to the technology. However, the real challenge that is seldom attended to is to maintain the infrastructure sustained access to technology. One of the major challenges is renewing licenses of the software and providing hardware support. In this regard, iffree and open source applications are actively used, this would help keep

Future initiatives 1. Launch CM 2.0, a comprehensive web based learning experience which will use the power of CM tutorial logic, software's and assessment under one single platform. Bring the same learning experience on web by combining learning, practice and assessment on the same page. 2. eM in all Major Indian and foreign Languages. 3. InOpen's CM Everywhere Initiative. Utilize open source potential to gain online Community Support for making CM available in lpad, Kindle, Android Devices, etc. 4. We wish to open company operated centers for teacher and student learning activities. Generate E-Content for New Generation smart-phones and Tablets. 5. To establish bench marks for School Teachers which should empower them with a holistic training thereby creating an impact on the entire teacher intake process by schools.
Govt's ICT@schools scheme has created basic connectivity Anshul Sonak, Core Education & Technologies Ltd

E-learning can cater to and be helpful for individual as well as group learning. Online learning, virtual learning, web based training (WET), computer based training (CBT) are terms used synonymously with e-learning. Internet penetration and technology infrastructure is improving day by day in India. With the enhancements in the pipeline on the infrastructure and bandwidth front, the e-learning market is touching Rs 105 crore. Projected growth according to the CLSA report shows Rs 1,092 crore by2012. CLSA reports show that the global market for self-paced e-learning products and services had the total cost of implementation low and make good use of reached $27.1 billion in 2009. the old systems. In comparison to the world, India is catching (ii) Do not reinvent the wheel: Every new initiative needs to up with the basics of putting in the right technobuild on previous learning and this can happen only if there logical infrastructure. The ICT@schools scheme is experience sharing. We need to stop reinventing the of the government is ensuring schools have the wheel, and focus on sustaining the initiatives already in basics and are connected to the world. This is going to bring about a huge change in the current place. (iii) Understand the user needs: Typically these initiatives educational scenario. Currently, India has 800 are implemented with a top down approach, where people million mobile users. Thus technology acceptance sitting in corporate offices decide what the underprivileged is not at all an issue in India. Using technology for education, for teachingare given. It is important to study the education needs of these so that they are addressed adequately. Tangible gains learning has to gain acceptance and momentum. are relevant for people who struggle to feed a mouth each With this would come in aspects of quality of the day. Hence, if value added services are provided along with learning design and a related innovative delivery regular education, it will ensure sustained interest and use. mechanism which is meaningful and relevant to (iv) Make positive use of the social pressure: Given the the target audience. Indian collectivist culture, it is important to create a positive social pressure and local role models that ensure Major leT contracts from state govts Core Education has e-learning solutions which maximum reach of such initiatives. They can be used for are blended as well as self-paced. These solutions care of the kiosks/mobile labs as well.

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Rupesh Kumar Shah
Founder & CEO In Open Technologies

President Core Education & Technologies Ltd

AnshulSonak

Devr:aj Shetty
Head el.earning S~fy Software Limited

CEO Classteacher Learning Systems

Hohit Pande

cater largely to skill development and teacher professional development needs. In the Indian context the canvas is so large for competition that even a hundred painters could paint and yet there would be enough space to make a difference. However, with quality and relevant solutions only a few players would rule this space and Core Education would definitely be one of them. Teaching- Learning-Assessment and Governance solutions from Core Education have impacted and continue to make a difference in the government and the private space - rCT and Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) for schools, self-paced and blended technology enabled learning solutions with innovative delivery mechanisms for skill development, and teacher professional development and governance solutions for MIS and child tracking. Core Education recently bagged projects from the Gujarat government to implement Computer Aided Learning (CAL) and ICT in 3,121 Primary Schools. The company has also bagged similar CAL& lCT contracts for 2,622 schools in Haryana, 1,250 in Punjab, 947 in Maharashtra, 267 in Meghalaya, and 73 schools in Nagaland. Challenges The acceptance and impact all depend on the approach to the design of the solution, analysis and study of the target audience profile, understanding of the usage scenario and an innovative approach to the delivery as well as how we get participation from all the stakeholders. Meaningful and relevant solutions coupled with the right kind and amount of training for all stakeholders will go a long way in effective implementation of technology solutions in the teaching-learning processes. Affordability The creation or development of the e-Iearning solutions requires significant investments. [ Evlearning

However, e-learning solutions provide for standardisation and scalability in delivery of content. Large volumes can be trained with the same content. Thus, as the usage increases the affordability becomes a non-issue. Another point to consider is that the hardware and infrastructure for access costs much higher than the development of the e-learning content. Thus, innovative usage of this infrastructure across target audiences and needs along with relevant e-learning solutions would make the desired impact for affordability. Primary education E-learning solutions can be used in primary education and they could be really innovative ~ using game based learning for mathematics, integrating technology based learning solutions seamlessly in the classroom to enhance participation, training of teachers in use of the generalized pedagogical principles to enhance their classroom teaching, using audio, video, and interactive content for discussions and group learning, accessing relevant material from the internet for analysis and study in project work for grades III-V, and enhancing language skills at primary level are some examples. What is important is the understanding and will to walk the extra mile for design and delivery of these solutions and a focus at policy level for implementation strategies of these solutions for primary education. It is important to train the primary teachers on this new e-pedagogy ofIearning. It is important to create awareness among parents on the use of e-Iearning for conceptual understanding and deep practice. Roleofgovt Government must undertake awareness campaigns on the use of technology in education which would help to address scepticism on the pedagogic value, provide for the infrastructure and funds for design of the e-Iearning and delivery mechanisms. Teacher and staff development programs designed especially for use of technology not just in the teachinglearning processes but also to ease administrative pressure through automation of processes must be undertaken. Quality and relevance in the design of e-Iearning TelecomLIVE December 2011

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solutions must be given prime importance. Today digital textbooks or just a page turner approach to technology based learning solutions is also considered for implementation. There is a need to educate at all levels on what comprises quality e-learning materials. Building a community of e-learning adopters would develop torch bearers to bridge the gap across and within institutions. Scaling up experiments and sharing best practices should be focussed upon. And finally meaningful partnerships - with both public and private organisations would help academic institutions to share knowledge, design better solutions, and provide for the necessary research in new technology for education. Conclusion Technological developments in the near future would be with reference to portable and affordable access devices like tablets, enhanced bandwidth, cloud services, 3D learning & content, mobile technology, collaborative contributions using technology, technology for enhanced service, and the experience design. These developments

intranet/extra net, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM. It can be self-paced or instructor-led and includes media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio. The overall education market in India is expected to grow rapidly, driven by an increase in income levels, importance of education as a top 5 spend category in households and private participation in the sector. Digital interactive education has seen tremendous growth in the last 2 years in the market across both large and small towns. Now digital learning has crept into the classrooms and has become the mainstream in all small and big towns. Apart from the market for interactive classroom teaching, we see greater than 100 pc growth in market for assessments as well as web based learning. We see the industry getting bullish on next generation of personalized learning systems. e-learning is growing both as a support tool for existing educational institutions as well as for delivery of high quality solutions for the end user. It helps in engaging students as students see and interact with the subject they are studying. Worldwide, the market is pretty much matured when it comes to eLearning. In India, many educational institutions are gradually adopting it but they need hand-holding as the method is new to them and any innovation has its own gestation period. Product line Classteacher offers integrated solutions to assist teaching in classrooms using software, hardware and school support services. This is an ideal platform that makes learning an enjoyable, enriching and interactive experience, while simultaneously promoting critical thinking. Classteacher has gone beyond the walls of urban schools and has touched rural and small town regions also. Seeing is believing, helps the child to relate better. Audio visual animation and interactive technology based systems of imparting education not only helps studen ts grasp and retain better but also makes learning an enjoyable experience as compared to traditional teaching modnles. Achi1d needs to inculcate creativity, have the dexterity of problem solving and analytical thinking to compete in the increasingly digital global marketplace. Teachers also get the competitive edge and on-ground support in terms of specially designed digital content and technology expertise provided by the Classteacher team. Classteacher has developed its content with a focus on increasing interaction level in classrooms and keeping in mind the requirements of schools, teachers and students in India. The company's product offering has 85,000 modules thasis one of the largest repositories of contents in
TelecomLTVE

would lead to personalized learning experiences for students; teacher generated content, access to learning solutions - anytime and anywhere, formative assessments which would require real time data analysis and delivery models which will challenge the fundamentals of formal education as it is practised today. Core education will address all these developments and their impact in a way that compliments its growth strategy. The biggest challenge is infrastructure o it Pa de, Classteacher Learning Systems E-Iearning in simple terms means technology enabled digital interactive learning, most commonly internet based. Education is no longer about the imparting of knowledge but simultaneously, it focuses on the quality of education received by the students and further on, using it for overall growth and development. E-Iearning applications and processes include web-based learning, computerbased learning, virtual education opportunities and digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the Internet,

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the industry. This vast content base allows teachers to teach the same concept in 2-3 different ways depending on individual preferences and skill levels. Our survey with schools highlight that teachers value this flexibility. Classteacher's clients include some of the best ranked schools in the country. Classteacher's product portfolio is comprehensive, scalable and modular; the solution is closely mapped to the curriculum and covers various central and state education boards. It also provides hands-on training in nurturing student engagement using following smart technologies: Digital Interactive Classrooms; Assessment Solutions; Math Lab; Language Lab; Science Lab; and IPerform (web based learning for home). We have 10 pc market-share and are looking to expand the same. Classteacher clients includes DAV, KR Mangalam World School, GD Goenka, Bombay Scottish School, Rustamjee Cambridge International School, Father Agnel Schools, Lady Anda! School, Heritage School, Gill Adarsh School and Children's Academy to name a few. Challenges Challenges are manifold in terms of quality of teachers and their training, infrastructure, vision of school owners and managements to meet up with the aspirations of society. It is imperative that children adopt digital and online methods from a young age as it is important to strike a balance. The biggest challenge in India undoubtedly is that of infrastructure. Setting up a school is a cumbersome process necessitating very high costs in terms of building materials, municipality permits, electricity, remuneration for teachers, and maintenance. Classteacher Learning Systems is eager to play an active role in developing and cultivating schools of the future by providing innovative, scalable and affordable solutions to the education community at large. Schools today are investing in technology but a lot more needs to be done on conventional mindsets, teacher training and school end leadership. The solutions provided by Classteacher are meant to support and build on traditional education methods. We offer an integrated solution to support teachers in Classrooms. This has three components - hardware, content and services. The hardware includes interactive whiteboards, a computer, a projector and speakers that the company sources from international and local vendors. The content is developed internally and the services include teacher training and an onsite facilitator to help the school to use digital solutions in Classrooms. One unique aspect is that teachers can update the digital educational content from time to time, thus contributing to its relevance. There is no scope for redundancy in E-Iearning

study material. Our solutions are not a substitute for good teachers. The solutions provided by Classteacher are meant to support and build on traditional education methods. The teachers are empowered through the solutions to teach more effectively and efficiently. Students get tools and resources to understand concepts better and improve performance.

Affordability
Against the common myth, eLearning is not cost heavy. The overall education market in India is expected to grow rapidly, driven by an increase in income levels, importance of education as a top 5 spend category in households and private participation in the sector. Digital interactive education has seen tremendous growth in the last 2 years in the market across both large and small towns. Govt initiatives Favourable policy structures and government impetus to the lCT segment will definitely make technology avail-

able to the masses and guarantee social inclusivity. Access to information will add a boost to the education segment. Keeping in perspective the fact that today, out of 200 million children in the age group of 6-14 years only 120 million ever going to school, such initiatives will pave a long way in fostering an inclusive atmosphere for socio economic growth. As part of its Vision 2020 plan, the government is looking to increase the number of school going children to 30 per cent bY202o.

Future plans
We are investing heavily into the next generation of personalized learning systems. We are also investing in rapid geographical expansion as there is tremendous opportunity across the country. We are developing a network of sales consultants across the country and

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Classroom Online

500 crore but it is growing. A lot of shift is happening in this space. The market size that you can address is very small and very fragmented so you did not have any large player focussing aggressively on India market but there are certain shifts that are happening. We also work with educational institutions but in India our primary engagement in the education We have robust testing platform and network of space is primarily through assessment services. test centres We have a very robust testing platform as well as Devraj Shetty, Sijy Software tid we have network of test centres. Also we enable Any usage of technology to create and deliver learning is creation of question banks etc. This we do with the defined as eLearning. There can be two streams in that, fair number of institutions in education space as synchronous learning and asynchronous learning. Asyn- well as these chartered mandated bodies who run chronous is self-pace learning which is completely driven examination like in banking sector, recruitment between the learning program and learner .. There is no sector, etc. intervention of an external facilitator or trainer into the learning interaction. This basically enables the learner to Product Line We have very comprehensive portfolio in terms take the learning at anytime and anywhere. The second thing we can also categorise as eLearning, of delivery platforms. We have our own learning many times we also call it as virtual learning. It is also management system and mobile delivery frametechnology driven but it is synchronous in the sense you use works. We have platforms to deliver on virtual technology to deliver the learning whereby the physical world environments. We have a product line for constraints are sort of removed. So the instructor or augmented reality based solutions. Second comes facilitator is still there in the learning process but he could is the content part, we are not in the pre-packaged be in one location and use technology to have a distributed titled market. Here our larger focus has been on class of learners whom he can reach out in a synchronous creating customised content and that is built specific to the customers' needs which could be manner. When it comes to the market there are two aspects of it. corporations, institutions or an educational body. One is custom eLearning which is predominately where Sify is involved. There is also what we called catalogue of Successful in China We are doing great in the China schools market the shelf learning market. If you take the custom learning where programs are built based on organisation specific using on the horizon technology specially augneeds, it estimates between $1-2.5 billion. The figure is of mented reality based technologies. We have built outside of India predominantly US which is roughly about lot of school curriculum modules. Now we are 70 per cent, 20 per cent would be Europe and remaining 10 actively examining how we can bring that into the per cent would be scattered across the other geographies. India market while keeping in mind the technology In India, our estimate for custom learning is below Rs chal~nges that may exist for a large deployment.

investing in products that bring cutting edge pedagogies to schools in India. We are also investing to reduce the total cost of ownership of such solutions for schools and help them get better returns from their investments. The company has recently received an investment of $ 15 million from Fidelity Growth partners India.

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www.afaqs.com
18 November 2011

lIT Bombay startup bridging the Digital break
InOpen Technologies, a leading technological company in education segment conducted an event for the underprivileged children of Teach for India an NGO promoting teaching vocation to youngsters. The objective of the event is to cater the underprivileged children from Dharavi and to get them a chance to explore and learn Computers Science in an innovative and fun way through the Computer Masti program. The event was held at lIT Bombay on November 19th. With this initiative InOpen technologies is making a difference while demonstrating the idea of Equalizing access to technology and learning by all kids in the country. Kids were welcomed and greeted with chocolates and then taken to the seminar hall where an ice breaker introduction session was conducted. An exclusive play had been organized by the name of "Computer and Me" for these kids in order to get them engaged and make the session more interactive, in order to get them an opportunity of equal learning. The play would make them learn about the parts of computers, places where computers are used, Do's and Dont's, also to make them learn about the correct posture as in healthy practices while working on computers and so on. Then a brain storming session was conducted related to what have they learnt from the play and what they have understood. This was followed by a presentation by Mr Rupesh Shah, Co-Founder & CEO, Computer Masti. Mr. Rupesh said "More than Computers, it's the big college dream which we want to imbibe in Children. We want to show them that if they work hard and show consistent deication to their studies, then they can also come to a big college. Even if we are able to inspire 5 kids, it will give me a high" A playful and interactive session was conducted by Dr. Farida Khan, a Research Scientist at lIT Bombay. The assembly included a quiz session for the kids followed by some winning activities for them and in order to encourage their participation the top 12 kids will be conferred with Certificates, Prizes and Goodies. This was followed with lunch and then the kids were taken to lake side and some academic areas of lIT like Computer Science Block and Mechanical department. At last the kids were given a To-Do yourself Computer Kit followed by a group photograph. This is what some ofthe kids had to say about the event:"The play was very good and we were given a chance to play with the computer which was fun too" "I would love to have more of these sessions as they are informative and provide us a chance to learn more about computers" "I was excited about the event because I have never played on the computer before. I enjoyed every bit of it and would spend more time learning about Computer Masti" • Date - 19th November, 2011 • Time - 10:00 am onwards • Venue - Sine Building, lIT Bombay.
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Learning Through lC'Is
7 July 2008
InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

Computer education provides a unique opportunity for boosting natural ways of learning. Integration of ICT into the school curriculum is instrumental in developing a culture of thinking, lifelong learning and social responsibility

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FARIDA UKRANI [FARlDA@IT.lITUC.IN]. SRIDHAR IYER [SRI@IT.IITB.AtIN]. & MALAYI BARU [KAlATI@IT.IITB.AtIN]. ENGINEERING, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGYBOMBAY DEPARTJoIENYF CaKPlJTER SCIENCE AND O ith e-Learning and digital adaptive learning becoming buzzwords in the recent years, the age of integration of lCT in school education seems to have truly arrived. But the moment one looks beyond the urban centers, the rural areas throw up hundreds of thousands of schools just beginning to wake up to the idea. In the absence of a clearly defined computer science curriculum, computers could just get relegated to entertainment devices. A systematic curriculum can be instrumental in developing algorithmic thinking and organisation skills. This will not onl y lay a foundation for future programming skills, but develop important life skills. In this article we share the learni.ngs of a pilot project on implementation of computer sciences curriculum carried out for 10 months from class I to 5 at a private school in Mumbai, Maharashtra Computer education provides a unique opportunity for boosting natural ways of learning. Integration of ICT into the school curriculum is instrumental in developing a culture of thinking, lifelong learning and social responsibility. For developing countries, investing in computer education can be instrumental in building indigenous technological capability and autonomy.

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developed countries and even developing countries like China, the figures of computers in schools are quite low. In India, less than 10% of all schools have computers, and even this is also heavily in favour of urban areas (26.41 %) while the rural areas (6.66%) are marginalised. Amongst the urban areas, six Indian states of Chandigarh (73.65%), Sikkim (55.56%), Delhi (55.40%), Kerala (48.19%), Andhra Pradesh (43.48%), Nagaland (39.41 %) have more than 35% penetration of computers in schools. On the other hand for the rural areas, only three states Delhi (51.18%), Chandigarh (40%) and Kerala (36.87%), have more than 35% penetration of computers in schools [2]. Except for Delhi, there is a wide gap in computer penetration in schools in rural and urban areas of each state indicating the rural-urban digital divide. Even when computers are available in schools, the emphasis is largely on acquiring the skills for its usage. There is little deliberation on the course content and the methodology best suited t.O teach it. Private international schools have been the major frontrunners in computer assisted learning and other private and government schools are slowly catching up.

different vocations - to the curriculum. Private companies that market educational software to the schools consider the pedagogical approach and focus on computer assisted learning for different subjects. However, in all the approaches to the curriculum -societal, vocational and pedagogic - only the behavioral aspect is considered and students are groomed to become 'expert users'. On the other hand, the catalytic approach focuses on teaching information handling and problem solving skills. Curriculum based on this approach aims to develop computer fluency amongst the students and mentor them to participate actively in constructing the technology. To address this issue, a team at Department of Camp mer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Teclmology Bombay, adopted an eclectic (combination) approach to the computer science curriculum with the goal of developing computer fluency at the end of school education. The computer curriculum for each standard is broadly divided into three groups: 1. Concepts: Learning computer science concepts that are generally useful in many areas as well as some concepts that are specific to computer usage/functioning, 2. Usage Skills: Developing hands-on skill in the use of various hardware/ software and programming packages/languages. 3. Social Aspects: Understanding ethical and security related issues of computer and Internet usage. The emphasis is on understanding the concepts behind various computer-based

Defining a curriculum
Computer science curriculum of the national and few state boards take the societal approach - computers being pervasive in present times, focus on acquiring basic technical skills - and vocational approach - prepare for a career ill computer science, or application of technical skills in

Addressing digital divide
Given the support for ICT in schools under government schemes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), computer education has got a thrust in the past five years [1]. However, compared to
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Learning Through lC'Is
7 July 2008
plan, worksheet and website references for further reading. The course was implemented in a pilot school located in Mumbai. In light of the field experience, tile curriculum was modified and tile teacher's handbook was upgraded to a textbook. Each lesson in the textbook includes aim, lesson outcome and the content tied by a loose story with three characters, a mouse (Moz), a boy (Tejas) and a girl (Jyoti), This is supplemented by worksheets, computer based activities (using open SOUTceapplications), points to explore by the students. a lesson plan for the teacher and suggested web resources for further reading. At present, teaching material for four levels are available. Levels 1 and II focus on skill acquisition (e.g. keyboard/ mouse skills) while Levels III and IV concentrate 011 building algorithmic thinking, reasoning and organizational skills using real-life experiences, computer applications and multimedia programming language (Scratch) [5]. Practice of specific skills is through open source educational games such as Educational suite Gcompris [6], ChildspJay [7J. These activities not only provide opportunities fOTbuilding the computer skills, but also sharpen the cognitive skills such as classification, similarities, differences, spe.ech/audio/ colour/pattern recognition, etc, The book is available freely for educational use, under tile creative commons license, at hupZ/www.cse.iab. ac.in/r-sri/ssrvm/

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Delivering the curriculum
The teaching methodology adopted in the project followed a four stage model that is outlined as follows: a) Exploration: At the initial stage there is no direct teaching, bur students are asked to explore a particular application by themselves. The teacher's role is to provide positive reinforcement - appreciation, stars, etc for every right move by the student. It is essential that the students are motivated to learn and they are able to focus attention on the task at: hand. In some cases, students are asked to observe the teacher doing a particular task and then explore the application ontheir own. Dividing the class into groups of four/ five students allows for collaborating and sharing resources amongst peers.

activities, rather than just the usage skills of specific tools. For each standard, the syllabus is defined by giving tile topics that should be taught, the reasons for doing so and a schedule. There is a spiral organisation of the curriculum so that students can continually build upon their existing knowledge. This curriculum was reviewed by experts and modified appropriately. The detailed syllabus is available at http://www.cse.iitb. ac.in/-sri/ssrvm/

Development of teaching material
At the outset it was decided that the curriculum will be OS independent and eventually provide an exposure to both the platforms - open source (edubuntu) [4] and proprietary (Windows). We begin by focusing on the behavioral aspect and later widen tile scope to cognitive aspects, refining mental capacities (through step-wise reasoning and logical thinking exercises) and teaching fundamental computer science concepts. A positive attitude towards computer technology is inculcated in the students through the various computer based activities and teaching methodology. Ergonomic aspects such as posture, exercises are covered at each level to emphasise health values. After deciding on the content to be taught, teachers' handbooks were written for the first four levels. Each chapter ill the handbook included a lesson

b) Motivation for self learning: At. this stage, the learner is actively involved in constructing new ideas/concepts based upon then: current/prior knowledge. Computer based activities such as multimedia programming (e.g, Scratch) provide students opportunities for experimental learning. These activities are intrinsically interesting to the students and they discuss alternative strategies with their peers. The teacher's role is to work as a mentor/facilitator and ask probing/open-ended questions instead of 'teaching' . For example, after demonstration of basic features, smdents wrote programmes in Scratch on then: OWD, They had healthy disagreements wherein different team members tried their way of writing the script.

Social

Computer skins are essential requirements in present information based society. hence school education should equip students with techni cal skills Prepare
fOT

Vocational Pedagogical

jobs that require computer skills

Use technology to enrich leaning course teaching

experience,

flexible and efficient

Catalytic

Computers as tools to change the education process through collaborative learning, relevant curricula and expand learning opportunities

8

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I www.computermasti.com

digital LEARNING
Learning Through lC'Is
7 July 2008

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InOpen Technologies Media Coverage

opportunity to use the technology. It is likely that when girls have to compete with boys for computer usage, differences might show up. Field observation indicates that while girls preferred paint application, boys were keen on playing strategy games. However, a more elaborate study is required in order to make a conclusive statement on gender difference in application preference. Confidence of teacher with the technology has a positive impact 011 confidence of students. This is in line with evidence from other studies that have highlighted the role of a teacher as a model that students emulate and transfer of positive computer attitude of the teacher onto her students. Hence, teacher training is an essential component of successful implementation of computer science currrculum .•

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c)Reflection: Students engage in social negotiation (debates/discussions) with peers and teachers to compare their understanding and create revisions to their CUITentstructures of knowledge. The teacher's role is to provide individualised support and motivate the students to become active learners. Thus, the emphasis is on inquiry learning wherein students actively make observations, collect, analyse, and synthesise informauon, and draw conclusions. For example, after students made a picture using paint application, they were asked to construct a story around it. The teacher encouraged students (0 narrate more than one story for the same picture.

computer based and paper pencil activities. For class 3 and 4, Scratch was taught through minimally invasive learning approach. It was found that the elementary school students are avid learners and explore the various computer applications with minimal assistance. Given the urban setting and familial background, it is likely that 74% students have had an exposure to computer technology. Computer-based activities interest the students and can be used for developing skills in other subjects. For example, students averse to solving mental math sums enjoyed Tuxlvlarh game requiring similar exercise. Thus, computer science can be instrumental in sharpening competencies in other academic areas. No gender differences are observed in computer proficiency and usage. This may be due to controlled exposure provided in the school setting where every student was provided an equal
Farida Umrani
Indian lnstftute education development

References
1. hllp:llssa.nic.in! 2.2. Mehta, A. (2005) Elemensary education in urban/ rural areas.- Analytic tables. Where do NIEPA 3~Hawkri<l8e,D., Jaworsk, J & McMahon, H (1990) Economics. education and computers in third 'wotld schools. Proceedings of the lnremasionol conference on technology and education. 247·249. e.www.edubnsuu.org/
5.SCn1lch.mir.ed,,,,
1.·''';

stand?

Field insights
The pilot project implemented the curriculum for class 1 - 5 at Sri Sri RaviShankar Vidya Mandir, Mulund, a private school in Mumbai, a private school in Mumbai, The field work was carried out for 10 months (July 07 - April 08) with each class having one computer lecture per week of 30 minutes duration. Maximum strength of a class was 34 students and four laptops were used to provide bands-on experience to the smdents, Each class was divided into mixed sex groups of five to eight students and the computer use was monitored. St.udents were taught basic computer skills, ergonomic/ safety values, applications such as paint, word processor, media player. Exercises in algorithmic thinking and logical reasoning were provided through 10

6. http://gcol1lp'';.s.net!

is a post-doc fellow at Deparcment of Computer
of'Technology Bombay. She is corrducnng software for elementary research Her doctoral source school

science and engineering,
and has participated adoption in by youth

an lrnpacc assess nent of computer was on technology

based on open

of the curriculum.

and its impact. Her research interests are e-learn~hg.empowerlllen[and,gender.

Sridhar
mulrlmedla

Iyer is an Associate Professor in the Department
interests include: eLeaming wireless tools for dlsrance education, verification. nerworklng

of Computer

Science & Engineering protocols and and some areas in

at liT Bomba_y. His research program/protocol

technologies.

networking

and applications.

Ma.athy Baru is a project manager at the.Developmental Lab. IIT-.Bombay. Her research interests-Include adaptation
technologies Un iversicy. for developing

lrformacks of information a.nd communication from Osrnania engineering

nations. She has a B.Tecn in electronics

Hyderabad.

July 2008 I www.digitaILEARNING.in

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I www.computermasti.com

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