Browsing 06. Pan-Commonwealth Forum 6 (PCF6), 2010 by Title
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- ItemOpen AccessThe 6th Pan Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning Access: Access & Success in Learning: Global Development Perspectives(2010) Tharoor, Shashi; Seelig, Caroline; Maharey, Steve; Sinha, Chetna; Kanwar, Asha; Pillai, Rajasekharan; Daniel, John; Ali, AnuwarIncludes: 1. Asa Briggs lecture (Duration: 53:13. Speaker: Dr. Shashi Tharoor) 2.Inaugural Session - The Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (Duration:1:08:38) 3. Dr. Caroline Seelig on Skill Development - The Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (Duration: 40.00) 4. Hon. Steve Maharey on Formal Education - The Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (Duration: 31.40) 5. Ms. Chetna Sinha on Social Justice - Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Leaning (Duration: 24:15) 6. Anuwar Ali - Community Development - Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Leaning (Duration: 39:26 - Keynote Speaker - Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Anuwar Ali) 7. Valedictory Session - PCF 6 (Duration: 31:47. Concluding Remarks by: Sir John Daniel (President & CEO, Commonwealth of Learning), Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai(V.C., IGNOU), Prof. Asha Kanwar (Vice-President, Commonwealth of Learning)) 8. Valedictory Session - The Sixth Pan - Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning ( Duration: 56:31) 9.Cultural Program - The Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (Duration: 50:03) 10. Dr. Shashi Tharoor MP - The Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (Duration: 37:18)
- ItemOpen AccessAccess and Quality in Self Organized Learning Environments(2010-11) Kulkarni, Suneeta; Mitra, SugataLearning Environments in remote areas: // Almost no one in the world will deny that children need to have access to meaningful learning experiences if they are to truly gain from these experiences and go beyond rote memorization for the sake of passing an examination without understanding the concepts involved. This concern becomes even more critical in disadvantaged and remote settings, where it is even harder to find ‘good’ teachers and schools. // Typically, remoteness is understood in geographical terms. The focus is often on distances from city and urban centres with the corollary assumption that these settings are far from the resources, services, facilities that one has come to associate with urban life. However, in the context of the current effort of Self Organized Learning Environments [SOLEs] and its basis, the Hole in the Wall [HiW] the concept of remoteness and thence access, goes way beyond simple geographical distance from an urban setting. Remoteness is understood to exist in resource poor, underprivileged, economically and socially deprived sections of society. Many of these exist within the heart of the city, in slums, or other areas where freedom of movement, of interaction, of choice, of thought, and therefore access, is often dictated by stringent social norms. All these aspects have implications for the quality of educational facilities available to children as well as the manner of participation in learning that is possible on part of the children. Even in these locations in the midst of the city, ‘good’, trained teachers are hard to come by, since neither the salary that can be given to them, nor the setting in which they would have to work, make this an appealing proposition. The quality of education naturally suffers. [Mitra, Dangwal, Thadani 2008] // Yet the need to provide children with quality education remains a prime concern.
- ItemOpen AccessAccess and Success in Learning: Technologies for Scaling up Open and Distance Learning Programme in the Institute of Distance Learning, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana(2010-11) Essel, Rebecca; Owusu-Boateng, WilliamIn recent years, in the field of education and training, there is an increasing world-wide interest in students opting to read open and distance learning programmes and also stakeholders expanding their infrastructure and distance learning programmes. The terms open and distance learning (ODL) represent approaches that focus on opening access to education and freeing learners from the constraints of time and place and offering flexible learning opportunities to individuals/groups of learners (UNESCO, 1997). The distant learner sees ODL as a way of increasing access, flexibility and combination to work and education or a more learner-centered approach, with new ways of interaction. According to (UNESCO 2002) report on trends, policy and strategy considerations, the term ‘distance learning is used as a synonym for the more comprehensive and precise term distance education’. The main aim of distance education is to create wide opportunities for learners to study regardless of their geographic, socioeconomic conditions or other constraints. Distance learning would usually have the learners become responsible for what and how they learn, and who to ask for help.
- ItemOpen AccessAccess and success of distance learners through ICTs at School of Distance Learning and Continuing Education (SDLCE), Kakatiya University(2010-11) Rajalingam, P; Chandraiah, EsampallyOpen and Distance Learning (ODL) represents an approach that focuses opening access to education and training through ICTs. The benefits of ODL are freeing learners from the constraints of time and place and offering flexible learning opportunities to individuals and groups of learners with the support of ICTs. // The conventional system of education in Warangal District of Andhra Pradesh has become inadequate to meet the growing demand for higher education due to its inbuilt constraints in admissions to the full-time courses on campus. In view of this, the Kakatiya University has established the School of Distance Learning and Continuing Education (SDLCE) in 1988 to meet this demand and to reduce the pressure on conventional system. // The aim of the SDLCE is to offer higher education programs through distance education mode, for the benefit of all those who had been deprived of the opportunity, for one reason or the other to enter the main stream education. The SDLCE follows the multi-mode system and provides printed course materials; technology based lessons to the learners and arranges limited face-to-face sessions through contact-cum-counseling sessions. The term technology based education/learning refers to systems of teaching and learning in which a technology other than the print has a major role (COL, 2000). This study focuses on ICTs delivery instructional system other than self-instructional materials that SDLCE is using.
- ItemOpen AccessAccess to Equality in Education for Children with Disability through Inclusive Education(2010-11) Singh, VandanaThis paper will attempt to analyze the origin, concept and practices of inclusive education; also it focuses on a critical element of the inclusive education as a challenge towards achievement of equity for students with disabilities. It will also explain the nature of barriers will be confronted to inclusive education and suggest the approach for successful its implementation.
- ItemOpen AccessAccess to ODL programmes at NAMCOL through Recognition of Prior Learning(2010-11) Afunde, Ndeshimona LThe Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) aims to broaden access to education by providing alternatives to conventional means of education and training and facilitate life-long learning opportunities for Namibians. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the process of identifying, matching, assessing and crediting the knowledge, skills and experience that candidates have gained through formal, informal or non-formal learning. Comparing relevant prior learning and experience against the set learning outcomes. // Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is seen as having the capacity to widen access to education and training and to enhance the qualification status of historically disadvantaged adults and youth. By enabling people to apply what they already know and can do, RPL can reduce barriers and create opportunities that will lead to greater social and economic prosperity // As of 2008 NAMCOL committed itself to implement Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as a route to admit adult learners to its programmes. This paper is discussing the NAMCOL RPL case study, sharing the achievement, challenges and way forward in using the RPL for access to ODL programmes at NAMCOL.
- ItemOpen AccessThe accessibility of ODL to the disadvantaged-teenage employees(2010-11) Khanyane, Marethabile MMost importantly, distance learning provides opportunity to those teenage employees, who could not continue with their education for various reasons. These include loosing parents due to HIV/AIDS, and having no one to take care of; parents being too poor due to being unemployed and therefore not having money to pay for their children for higher education. Some children do not perform well at primary school and therefore do not meet the minimum entry requirements for post-primary education. // In most cases, teenagers who end up not going further with education, due to various reasons mentioned above, go on to find employment, either as domestic workers, gardeners, herd boys, shopkeepers or labourers.
- ItemOpen AccessAnalysing the development of institutional policies for sustainability and quality of OERs with a focus on the Australian context(2010-11) Bossu, CarinaStimulated by funding from benefactors such as the Hewlett Foundation and UNESCO, the OER movement has been growing rapidly since 2001, providing educational content freely to institutions and learners across the world through the Internet. Many organizations perceive benefits both for themselves and for learners elsewhere in distributing their learning resources in this way. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) OpenCourseWare initiative (OCW), set up in 2001, makes content available freely from most of MIT’s courses and has provided the inspiration for many similar institutional projects. When the MIT OCW site was officially launched the following year, over 500 courses were available. By 2004 there were 900, and the total reached 1250 in 2005. Even more impressive were visitor numbers. By 2005, MIT’s OCW site had received more than 8.5 million visits, and visitors were growing by 56% per annum (MIT 2006). Equally significant was the speed with which the MIT OCW site demonstrated its value to the institution. In 2006, it was reported that 35% of new MIT students had based their choice of institution, in whole or in part, on their exposure to the MIT OCW site. It was also reported that 71% of MIT students using the OCW site found its content helpful or extremely helpful in their studies (MIT 2006). As expected, the MIT OCW project provided a model for other universities worldwide and saw the establishment of the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC). Currently, the OCWC has over two hundred institutional members worldwide (OCW 2008). // By the end of 2006, there were signs that the OER movement had reached maturity. An important sign were developments in Europe, where alternatives to the MIT model emerged. One of these was OpenLearn, launched by the Open University (OU) in October 2006, which was intended to publish the widest possible selection of OU course materials. It was also intended to do much more: its explicit goal was to engage and support self-directed learners using the latest Web 2.0 technologies. The site would not only host user-generated content (material created by individuals and organisations outside the higher education sector), it would also provide social networking tools to empower users to build their own learning communities (Shuller 2006). By mid-2007, 560,000 individuals had visited the OpenLearn site. In a single week in June 2007, the site had 8,000 visitors from the UK, 6,000 visitors from the United States and another 4,500 from the rest of the world. More importantly, there were 19,000 registered users (Taylor 2007). By April 2008, over 4,400 OpenLearn users had become fully-fledged Open University students. This represented additional teaching income of ₤2.7 million for the institution (Gourley & Lane 2009). // These initiatives form what is now known as the open educational resource movement, which promotes “the open provision of educational resources, enabled by information and communication technologies, for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes” (UNESCO 2002, p. 24). While the term "open educational resources" was first adopted by UNESCO in 2002, it is in the OECD report, Giving Knowledge for Free (2007, p. 10), that the definition of OER currently most often used stands as “digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research”. This is the definition that will be adopted in this paper, although in the context of being aware of a wider interpretation. // Currently, many universities around the globe have launched OER projects (more than 300 universities). Millions of learners have benefited from learning through OER materials, and many educational institutions, mostly distance education providers, have obtained significant rewards in terms of enhancing their reputations, increasing student enrolment and developing innovative ways to produce distance learning materials (Wiley & Gurrell 2009). Also, OERs have contributed significantly to the proliferation of virtual communities of learning, where students, teachers and experts in their fields can discuss, make contributions and learn with each other through online collaboration (D'Antoni 2008). However, we still have much to learn about the OER movement. It is still grappling with issues such as resistance to giving away information and knowledge for “free”; at no cost and free to use and re-use. Licensing, intellectual propriety and copyright of OERs are also matters that remain ambiguous to educational institutions. In a similar fashion, many questions associated with policy development, sustainability and quality of OERs continue to be unanswered and under researched (D'Antoni 2008). In fact, according to UNESCO (D'Antoni 2008, p. 11), the above concerning matters are listed amongst the 14 priority issues that deserve attention for further development of OERs, with “awareness raising and promotion” being the first priority.
- ItemOpen AccessAssessing the need for a quality framework designed specifically for managing the provision of online distance education in developing countries(2010-11) Inglis, AlistairQuality assurance and quality improvement processes employ quality frameworks to ensure comprehensive coverage of the factors affecting students’ experiences of learning. The importance of quality frameworks has increased with the shift to online delivery of courses. // A number of quality frameworks for use in quality management in relation to delivery of courses online at a distance may be found in the educational literature. However, most of these frameworks have been designed for use in a developed country context. Such frameworks may not be suitable for use in a developing country context where factors such as the robustness of the communications infrastructure, capacity of teachers to use technology, students’ access to technology, the affordability of technology, and a range of other factors can have a much greater impact on students’ learning experiences. // Designing a new quality framework for use specifically in a developing country context is a substantial project. Before embarking on such an enterprise one needs to be satisfied that existing frameworks are unsuitable for the task and that adapting an existing framework would not offer a most cost-effective solution than moving on to the development of a new framework. // This paper draws on the research literature to identify the range of known challenges faced in delivering programs by online distance education in a developing country context. It then examines the extent to which a number of existing quality frameworks capture information on institutional performance in relation to these challenges. Finally, it considers whether a case can be made for development of a new quality framework specifically designed for use in a developing country context.
- ItemOpen AccessAssessing the Needs of Literacy personnel in Non Formal Basic Education(2010-11) Ghazi, Shakil A; Hafeez, Amtul; Safdar, Muhammad; Yaqoob, MuhammadDue to population explosion and swiftly increasing demand for education even developed countries are unable to overcome the prevailing challenges through formal system of education. Most of the developing countries are in miserable situation regarding level of education and literacy. Attacking poverty has become an international concern for placing in the paradigm of ‘education and learning for sustainable development’ in consideration of the reality that almost half of the world’s population live in poverty. Unfortunately, more than half of the population is living below the poverty line in Pakistan. (World Bank, 2000) Due to scarce resources and financial constraints developing countries are unable to cope with the drastic demand for education and consequently non formal education (NFE) seems blessing to meet this challenge of poverty alleviation.
- ItemOpen AccessAssessment in Open and Distance Learning Institutions: Issues and Challenges(2010-11) Makamane, BonangThis paper investigates why the ODL institutions for teacher training are still using the traditional pencil and paper testing instead of employing alternative methods of assessment where students are involved in the their own assessment. The next section discusses assessment in teacher training and the importance of integrating performance based assessment order to improve teaching and learning.
- ItemOpen AccessAssisting Severely Disadvantaged Agricultural Areas in Pakistan: The Potential for Improving the Interaction and Effectiveness of Development Partners Research, Extension and Village Religious Leaders(2010-11) Khan, NowshadAt present, in the NWFP of Pakistan, village religious leaders play no formal role in agricultural development. Yet, historically they have had functional involvement in other development sectors such as education through the mosque schools programme (Government of Pakistan, 1985). Hidayat Ullah (1986) recommended that programmes need to be developed for the possible involvement of religious leaders in agricultural development. Yet since then, little direct action to bring this about has been forthcoming which is particularly unfortunate given the continuing difficulties with information transmission of complex agricultural issues being experienced by disadvantaged farming communities in the NWFP highlighted by Nowshad Khan, 1999. // Moreover, available literature on research in Pakistan into the potential involvement of religious leaders in agricultural development is largely lacking. Yet, this kind of study has been occasionally conducted in other Islamic countries. Fernandez (1989) reported that the mosque, as a local and indigenous institution in the Malay community (Malaysia), can be utilized as an effective channel to reach the majority of village farmers. He noted that the content of the Friday address at the mosque was not necessarily on religious matters per se but could also relate to community, national and developmental issues like agriculture, health, nutrition and the need to participate in development projects. As religious leaders have been used as a successful motivational force for change in other Islamic and non-Islamic countries, the hypothesis, that they could contribute a role in an improved model of agricultural information transfer in disadvantaged agricultural communities in the NWFP, is not unreasonable (Alebikiya et al. 1993; Morner and Hansen, 1991; Webb, 1990).
- ItemOpen AccessBarriers to Learning: The Difference Distance Learning can make in Namibia(2010-11) Hummel, Ulrich IThis paper will address the barriers to learning, including innovative structures and strategies put in place to overcome such barriers, with specific reference to rural distance education students in the Namibian context. Access to quality learning has been compromised for many years prior to the country’s independence in 1990. Distance education, having been around for a long time, has seen changes, innovations and vast improvements that contribute to enhancing quality learning. If we are to find means to improve the situation, it will be vital that everyone understand the importance of education- that it is not merely a means to obtain status in society, but rather, that it is the responsibility that society owes to itself. // The Polytechnic of Namibia, through its Centre for Open and Lifelong Learning (COLL), has recently fulfilled this responsibility to the rural society of Namibia when it established a network of Regional Centres across Namibia that has the function of coordinating and facilitating all the necessary instructional and support services to address the needs of distance education students throughout their learning process and to give them the academic tools they need to overcome unnecessary barriers in order to succeed. There are various drawbacks on the part of those who would like to pursue their studies through distance learning. Despite the fact that decentralisation of the support services has taken place through the establishment of the Regional Centres, all areas in Namibia are not covered and students face limitations due to factors like distance from the Centres, and affordability. // Making studying through distance education possible for more Namibians will require funding to students who are economically disadvantaged. eLearning is one way to bridge the gap and ensure easier access to education. Students become more pro-active in their pursuit of studying towards their desired qualification once the facilities that support their learning are brought closer to them. // The support services on offer through COLL, and in particular through the Regional Centres, ensure that barriers such as distance and affordability are overcome. Students, prospective students and the public should be educated about the facilities on offer, and how these can support their learning. They can then be encouraged to pursue studying on distance, knowing they have a good chance to succeed. In this case study, the strategies implemented to establish a well-functioning Regional Centre with good logistics and reliable infrastructure as an integral part of the delivery of Open and Distance Learning (ODL), including the support provided to rural distance education students are put forward.
- ItemOpen AccessBeliefs Regarding Approaches to Study and Learning Styles: The Primacy of Gender as the Mediating Variable(2010-11) Sen, Rekha SThe present study is an outcome of the findings of an exploratory qualitative study which revealed that about half the male learners in the sample, but none in the women’s sample, pursuing various Masters’ Programmes at IGNOU, felt that there are distinct gender differences in abilities as well as differences in the way in which men and women approach and transact learning tasks (Sharma Sen & Samdup, 2008). The present quantitative study is an attempt to explore these findings further using a wider base. Thus the objective of the study is to uncover beliefs held by people, if any, about gender differences in cognitive abilities and gender differences in approaches to study/ learning characteristics/ learning styles as a function of • residence in a particular state • residence in a particular location (rural/urban), • enrolment in a particular programme of study and • gender
- ItemOpen AccessBlended Learning Approach to Training School Counselors: A Case Study of COL-NCERT Collaborative Programme(2010-11) Phalachandra, BhandigadiThere has been a great demand for Guidance and Counselling services in schools to facilitate better academic performance, adjustment and career development among students so as to provide quality education to students. In this direction the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), an autonomous body under Govt.of India among other programmes/activities offered a nine months Post Graduate Diploma Course in Guidance through face-to-face mode for almost five decades for teachers and teacher educators drawn from different States of India. Later on this programme was extended by offering it through its four constituent units located at Mysore, Ajmer, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar to cater to the needs of the whole country. // In 2003, Teacher- Counsellor Model was designed and offered as a six month (face to face) International Diploma to teachers/teacher educators/administrators of India, and other South Asian and African countries. Participants from Maldives, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Kuwait, Bhutan and Fiji were the beneficiaries of this programme. Even this expansion was not enough to meet the growing demand for the trained guidance personnel in the region. In order to meet the training needs of the developing countries, NCERT in collaboration with COL, Vancouver, Canada designed and developed a one-year Distance Education Programme called International Diploma Course in Guidance and Counselling (IDGC) with special features like focus on needs of developing countries, opportunity for multicultural interactions and exposure to alternative strategies for assessment and counseling. The course inputs of earlier programmes were redesigned to be offered in a mixed mode with components of distance, online and face-to-face modes. This Blended learning approach adopted in IDGC to enable the in-service personnel avail of the opportunity without leaving their places of work and families for a long period of time. The main objective of the course is to train teachers, teacher-educators and untrained guidance personnel as counselors, teacher-counselors to guide and counsel students from schools and related settings. This paper studies the different aspects of the course and the extent to which the objectives of the course are met. A case study approach has been adopted for this purpose.
- ItemOpen AccessThe Botswana Experience in Developing the OERs(2010-11) Amey, F L O; Bagopi, MBotswana together with six other countries are taking part in the development of OERs for secondary level education through the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation /COL Partnership Project. A total of twelve officers are involved in the project (6 BOCODOL Staff members, 3 Curriculum Development Officers and 3 Secondary school teachers). // Botswana wants to share her experiences and in so doing, highlight what worked and what did not. Using non BOCODOL staff most of whom were being exposed to writing for distance learning for the first time, impacted on the project. Timely and regular access to computers as well as the workload also had an effect. That notwithstanding, the assumption is that the participants have gained valuable skills and knowledge. And if so, the major concern would be at the end of the Project, then what? // As a developing institution and country, we are happy with the opportunities that OERs presents to us. The OERs are making knowledge available to us as educators at a faster and more accessible manner than before. We are also aware of some of the concerns that affect this relatively new way of sharing. Some of the major concerns have to do with sustainability as opposed to the seemingly ongoing consumption. // The questions that this paper seeks to explore therefore are: • what skills and knowledge those that were involved have gained • how these skills and knowledge can be developed further in order to sustain growth in this new area. • What other uses can these be put to? • What are the quality imperatives associated with the development of OERs • to identify pre-requisites of a thriving OERs environment in terms of resources • what is the extent to which BOCODOL is amenable to thrive in this environment // The paper concludes by making a recommendation to the College to integrate technology to scale up its school equivalency programmes through the development of OERs.
- ItemOpen AccessBuilding a community for developing OERs(2010-11) Botes, Corne; Ferreira, FrancesThe transition to lower secondary education is now at the centre of the Education for All agenda in many countries. As more children are progressing through primary school the demand for secondary school places is growing. However, the demand for places in the school is not the only challenge governments are facing for sustained improvement in quality education. One of the most important requirements is an improved learning environment, which includes the provision of learning materials (UNESCO, 2010). While access to learning materials is a significant barrier in many countries, tremendous progress has been made with the development of OERs (stimulated by benefactors such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and UNESCO) and educational content has been provided freely to institutions and learners across the world (Sclater, 2010). The Commonwealth of Learning, in collaboration with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation initiated the Open Educational Resources for Open Schools to address the challenge of access to quality educational resources while at the same time enhancing the capacity of teachers in writing distance education materials using new technologies. When embarking on a large scale project, such as developing open educational resources, it is important to involve the right people to commence and complete the project successfully. It is essential to choose educators with ample experience in their field of teaching in order to ensure that the end product will be of a high standard and, of course, on an appropriate level for the target users. This paper will explore the challenges experienced by the teachers involved in this project. This includes the relationships between the different partners, technological, cultural as well as work related challenges. It will also explore the different support mechanisms which allowed the teachers to deal with the challenges in building a supportive community which lead to the success of the project. Developing open educational resources is not an easy task. It demands high level of motivation and courage of those involved to overcome the challenges they face to make the changes to succeed. // Related presentation: http://hdl.handle.net/11599/1122
- ItemOpen AccessBuilding Chinese Language Skills for Sino-African Cooperation through Open and Distance Learning(2010-11) Ambe-Uva, Terhemba NChina’s influence and deep relationships in Africa are the result of many years of investment in building relations through aid, trade, and cultural and technical exchange. In international politics, this is regarded as “soft power”. Yet, an important area that has for a long time not being given the penetrating attention it deserves, relates to the fundamental need to bridge the language barrier between Chinese and Africans, so as to ensure meaningful cooperation and engagement between China, the country, and Africa, the continent. In order to address this problem, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in collaboration with Huaren Chinese Services is currently promoting the use of open and distance learning (ODL) for the provision of Chinese language education and training at the Proficient, Certificate and Executive levels. The new programme has the central objective of breaking the communication barrier between Nigerian and Chinese business partners through a Chinese language training programme that would empower learners to speak Chinese language within the shortest possible time. The University uses a variety of delivery methods and tools including face to face (f2f), text-based resources, CD ROMs and Web-based resources, and has managed to build capacity in the field of ICT, by empowering staff with functional skills. Within this context, the relationship between the major theme and cross cutting aspects of the Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF6) are discussed under “Skills Development for National Development” with particular reference to language as a necessary tool for international cooperation. This study concludes with the relevance of the application of ODL methodologies in educational delivery and as a means of enhancing international cooperation.
- ItemOpen AccessCan Mobile Phones Be Used To Improve The Quality Of Learning In Open Schooling?(2010-11) Mitra, SushmitaMobile phones have become ubiquitous. Almost anyone who can have a mobile phone has one. The amount of information and access to it has grown exponentially, thereby the potential for using varied resources for instruction and learning have increased. In this context, can mobile phones be used as an engaging tool for learning? If educational technology theory, research, and pedagogy are re-conceptualized to include the tools and knowledge that students already possess, then will students using mobile phones have better opportunities to connect learning inside and outside the school? These questions prompted in an exploratory study which was made with learners of Open Schooling in India to find out their access to mobile phones, the pattern of their current mobile phone usage and their perception on use of mobile phones for educational purpose. This paper presents the results of this study and provides a snapshot of the current status which can serve as a foundation to further planning for the implementation of ICT-related activities in Open schooling.
- ItemOpen AccessCan Open and Distance Education bring Social Justice to the Weaker Sections of the Society: A Case Study on Directorate of Distance Education, University of North Bengal, West Bengal, India(2010-11) YasminEducation, among all the forces and factors that influence in provisioning social justice, emerges strong as it creates social awareness that further leads to the realization by the individual for greater opportunities in social life. Open and Distance Learning (ODL), which is a non contiguous form of study, affords a learner the flexibility of study, independent of time and space (Jegede, Barry & Fisher 1995). By virtue of this intrinsic characteristics, ODL has immense potential that can be harnessed to promote higher education by first lowering social, cultural, perceptual and economic barriers and then leveraging the incremental quantum of educated individuals to foster socio-economic growth. Having ensured easy access to higher education and creating equitable opportunities for provision and recognition of lifelong learning, ODL can further contribute significantly to social justice through capacity building that would add considerably towards poverty alleviation and sustainable development. As participants of ODL programs are usually individuals who are motivated to enrich themselves, their knowledge and skills can be further harnessed for sustainable development of the societies, which otherwise would not have been possible in a formal, regular learning framework. The National Policy on Education (GOI 1986) places a special thrust on Distance Education by prioritizing life-long education as a cherished goal of the educational process.