Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Swine Flu puts spotlight on E-Learning

Recent Swine Flu outbreak in Mauritius left teachers unprepared/unplanned when the decision to close down schools was announced. For the E-learning geek that I am, I immediately saw the potential of my forever endeavor to deliver instruction online. I therefore congratulate the teachers who at that time made use of the web to assist their students! I personally know one ex-secondary school teacher who made use of the web to teach his students. For than just putting up learning materials online, he engaged his students into online activities (often real-time) and encouraged interaction. Unlike most of our teachers, Avinash Oojorah delivered instruction successfully while engaging the learner to interact and participate. Interaction, Participation and Collaboration are the key words really for successful online learning, and this is exactly what most teachers are not aware of unfortunately.
I strongly believe that its high time for authorities, teachers, school directors to invest in technologies that would extend learning after school hours. Stakeholders in the educational sector should be trained accordingly on the powerful instructional tool that is the Web.

There are many free online applications out there which can be used immediately to start teaching online.
Google Docs is an online office suite which enables document sharing and collaboration. Skype can be used for those looking to communicate with Video-conferencing and audio features for free. Teachers can use an inexpensive microphone with Skype to animate an online class session and interact with students like they would in a classroom. Blogging is great way to dispense learning materials and gather related links. Interaction with students is also enabled through comments. For those who want to setup a website can do so on Google Sites. Setting up a website has never been so easy. Google Sites is also packed with a few interesting features. Screencasting is a indispensable technique today in Multimedia Learning Environments. Tools like Screenr enable you to record screen manipulations and broadcast to learners.
Powerpoint presentations and can stored and accessed from Slideshare to enhance learning materials. They can even be embedded in other sites or blogs.

I will later on extensively discuss about those tools (and others) with real examples on how they can be used to effectively deliver instruction. Am signing off for today..

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pledge to Free Internet and End Digital Divide

Today I signed the following online pledge:

I pledge to work to extend access to the Internet -- the open, free Internet -- to all, across boundaries of place, culture and class.

 As a member of the community, it is my duty to support this action and it totally aligns with one of my convictions which is to eliminate Digital Divide.

And my reply to the participation question:

Around 2 years ago following the National ICT strategic plan for Mauritius committee ( in which I was present), free internet access was granted to elderly and children in all Post offices and village community centres. Computers were deployed in most of these places around the island with an ongoing growth of the number of the internet kiosks. This has been a very successful measure to bridge the gap between the rich and the needy. Today there is no limitations to who can use those stations to have access to the web. What is needed now is adequate training and guidance empower these 'new' internet users with ICT skills. My participation at this stage is to gather a crowd of volunteers to provide training services from village to village. This will be done during weekends only due to my job commitments and also to reach a maximum population. I am currently working collaboratively with a colleague to build the course on pedagogical grounds.

And I welcome those who wanna join me in this quest:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Twitter Story


I just reached my 110th tweet..


Its been 3 weeks since I started tweeting seriously and I am now totally wacko about that!

Last month it was during the G-Mauritius conference that I realised the full potential of twitter. On the first day I decided to cover the event through twitter and to my astonishment I wasn’t the only one with the great idea I thought it was.

It ended however to be one of the twitter experience I had till now. Twitters all round the conference room joined together in the same channel and shared views and experiences about what was being taught by the Googlers.


But what the hell is Twitter?

Twitter is the SMS of the web. It is a social network that that allows a user to send 140 characters on the web. To who? To his followers or to anyone reading his tweets ( if made public).

Generally you answer the question: What are you doing? – First question you would ask someone you know when you call him. This form of micro-blogging helps you keep in touch with people who matters to you and in return let your followers know that you are up to. It’s a great way to keep in touch.

Twitter has taken another dimension nowadays and is not just about reading lines on people on their personal lives – although its fun to read what famous artists say daily to their followers. Companies today use twitter as a marketing tool. They regular send updates about their current and future products. And some use the service to broadcast the company’s latest news.


Personally I follow a couple of known stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Sharma and my favourite music group –Lifehouse. But the rest of my friends consist of like-minded people who share the same interests and passion. More than just exchanging messages, it is for me a knowledge-sharing community where it feeds me with food to calm my thirst for knowledge down.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The first Mauritian Wiki

One year ago Avinash Oojorah and myself worked collaboratively on our Masters thesis. The main aim was to study the behavior of Mauritians on a Wiki platform. We concluded that it was very successful when it came to digital natives compared to the adult crowd. in itself was a neatly-designed website where MediaWiki was embedded. In the presentation below you will find an overview of the project together with a few screen dumps of the site and a small wiki tutorial.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A for Analysis

A quick glimpse on my audience and their characteristics-
My audience will consist of around 50 persons aged between 20 and 55 with various educational background from A-level to Post Graduate. Most of them have many years of working experience in their respective field. Upon enrollment everyone now follows a one week induction course which consists of a Customer Care module. Apart from that various training programmes on the subject are often dispensed. Being all from service provider departments, they surely are applying related techniques in their everyday work.

My humble conclusion: I will be teaching Customer Service to a bunch of 'old' professionals who probably know much more than me in the field. Great!

I however came up with a couple of attainable objectives:
  1. Increase consciousness on Customer Service.
  2. Make them realise its importance to the company and themselves
  3. Incite them to think about new ways on how they can improve their service.
Tough job ahead huh..