Tuesday, November 27, 2007

India Video Portal

Another source for excellent videos that can be used in the classroom - this one specifically on videos of India.

indiavideo.org is a 'Video Encyclopedia' on India created by Invis Multimedia in association with United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), New Delhi Office. "The site is an online culture atlas with professionally made high quality video clips and movies of the life, culture, heritage, festivals and traditional art forms of India. Well researched texts and useful India information and content are the unique features of this leading India website. The site has got tourism, travel and tour related films."

The videos I saw were rather short, although well-shot. There are ratings, tagging and comments features although I saw no videos that have been rated or been commented on, and the tag cloud is pretty sparse - maybe it's early days yet. Videos have been classified into various categories like Architecture, Art, Festivals, Heritage, flora and fauna, land and people. Each video has a paragraph of text describing the video - a very useful feature.

Currently the only states that seem to have been covered are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Hopefully the project will continue long enough to cover the rest of the country as well :)

Perhaps the videos could have used some high-quality voice-overs instead of the soothing Indian elevator music that became quite tedious to listen to after a few videos!

Here's a link to one on the Southern Hill Myna. Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Seminar on Raising 'Teaching-Learning Standards to Global Norms'

I had the pleasure of being a part of this seminar held yesterday in Bangalore - I was invited to speak on issues of introducing and integrating technology in teaching & learning. The event, which was organized by Education World magazine as part of the Chinnara Habba children's festival, had a panel of 6 speakers -

* Shukla Bose, Founder of Parikrma Humanity Foundation, spoke on "Quality Education for All"
* Dr. Augustine F. Pinto, Founder Chairman of Ryan International Schools, Mumbai, spoke on "Scaling Up Education Enterprises"
* Prof. V.S. Prasad, Director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore, spoke on "Institutional Self Assessment and Measurement of Outcomes"
* Shuchi Grover, Educational Technologist, spoke on "First Steps in Technology Integration"
* Dr. S.N. Uma, Sr. Vice President, NIIT, Chennai, spoke on "Integrating Technology in School Education"
* Dr. Shekhar Seshadri, Pro. of Child Psychiatry at NIMHANS, Bangalore, spoke on "Creating Stimulating Learning Environments"

The speakers spoke on varied topics, in fact other than some fundamental commonalities in Dr. Uma's and my talks on technology issues - we complemented each other fairly well on how technology should be leveraged for meaningful teaching and learning.

All in all, I think the participants got some great ideas and inputs; their questions at the end of the session were thoughtful and related to practical realities of implementing these ideas in the classroom. If only there was more time. Thanks to Education World for organizing an event to bring together educators to network and exchange ideas on improving school education in India.

[Here's another perspective from an attendee of the Seminar.]