Showing posts with label education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label education. Show all posts

Monday, November 20, 2017

Opinion piece: A case for the ‘boring’ classroom

A case for the ‘boring’ classroom

There is a growing disdain for the traditional classroom, but for a teacher, the blank walls can be a canvas to play with, thinks Payal Arora.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Release: My UN Commissioned Report on Innovation in the ICT's in Education sector

In February of 2016, I was approached by UNESCO to come up with a report to advise the UN Education Commission on the role of prizes in shaping innovation in the education sector. After months of research, and evaluation, I was thrilled to learn that the report made its way into the policy pathway. This paper was prepared for the International Commission on Financing Global Education.

Basically, here is the executive summary for the report. If interested, click here to get access to the final report.

The use of prizes to stimulate innovation in education has dramatically increased in recent
years, but, to date, no organization has attempted to critically examine the impact these
prizes have had on education. This report attempts to fill this gap by conducting a landscape
review of education prizes with a focus on technology innovation in developing countries.
This report critically analyses the diversity of education prizes to gauge the extent to which
these new funding mechanisms lead to innovative solutions in this sector. This is
supplemented with interviews with sponsors and prize participants to gain the muchneeded
practitioner’s perspective. We address important questions that pervade as prizes
are being implemented in this sector: What seems to be working and why? How do prizes
compare to other funding mechanisms to stimulate technology innovations? How is
sustainability achieved? What can be learned that can inform the design of future prizes?

We structure our recommendations along the Doblin framework, which entails analyzing
the design of prizes along the criteria of Resources (sponsorships & partnerships), Structure (types of prizes, eligibility criteria, scope, types of ICT projects, phases, & intellectual property rights), Motivators (monetary & non-monetary Incentives, Communications (marketing), and, Evaluation (measuring impact and long-term sustainability). 

Through this process, a number of important assumptions are re-examined, namely, that technology innovation is central to educational reform, prizes stimulate innovation, scalability is a proxy for sustainability, and prizes are the most efficient funding mechanism to stimulate innovation. We re-calibrate expectations of technology innovation prizes in the educational field against empirical evidence. We reveal key trends through the deploying of prizes in this field and offer case studies as good practices for sponsors to consider when designing future prizes. The report makes recommendations along each of the given criteria to enhance the impact of prizes, drawing from interdisciplinary sources. The intent of this report is to enable sponsors to distinguish the hype surrounding these prizes and proceed to design prizes that can best serve the education sector.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Interview with Deutsche Welle's on mobile-technology and education in Africa

I was recently interviewed by Deutsche Welle on the hype around mobile-technology and education in Africa for the article below:

Why a mobile-technology revolution needs teachers
Mobile tech is revolutionizing banking and farming in Africa. But when it comes to education, it's increasing the gap between rural and urban communities. The solution to this dilemma may surprise you...[read the rest here ]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Paper out on 'YouTube as the art commons' in the Digital Culture & Education Journal


I am so proud of my recently graduated master students Jessica Verboom and Daria Gladysheva for successfully working together on this paper and getting it published in the Digital Culture and Education Journal. So far, in the last 5 years, I have co-published 4 articles with my students and I hope many more to come. Its good to see their work reaching the public as we are mainly targeting open access journals for wider readership.

So this paper is about the phenomenon of museum communication through online video hostings, either by using YouTube or a customized platform. The videos uploaded by museums present a combination of educational and entertaining content depending on their objectives, attracting users to watch art content online. While the literature on uses and gratification is highly represented in media studies, few studies exist about the specific user motivations and gratifications of new media platforms in a museum context. Three types of users were identified in this study. The first type – art-oriented users – display extrinsic motivation towards art exploration and seek for videos with educational content. The second type and the most widespread on these spaces – entertainment-oriented users – are intrinsically motivated and concentrate on the entertaining content of museum videos. Users of the last type are averse to exploring art content online, unless they are defined as non-art related. Overall, this paper argues that as art becomes a cultural product to be consumed online, popular video portals such as YouTube serve as an important platform to facilitate this democratizing effect, with varied implications for the art world.

We should not be too quick to celebrate democratization though as quality comes to question and the age old issue of pandering to the popular taste lingers through this conversation. That said, this has most promise to engage the youth and folks in emerging economies who perceive museums as a predominantly white and elite institution that excludes rather than democratizes culture. For more details on this, click on the link here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Romance with "self-directed" and "autonomous" learning as a design gaming solution for universal education

Educational gaming is becoming big business and definitely seen as a solution to the chronic issues of poor/ absentee teachers in schools in poor and disadvantaged contexts, particularly in the developing world. Sugata Mitra and his Hole-in-the-Wall project inspired the director of SlumDog Millionaire and resulted in him winning the TED prize for innovation


The Global XPrize for Education also holds a similar perspective of emphasizing how the youth need to be empowered by gaming with the assumption that they will teach themselves and don’t need to rely on others, especially bad teachers. But is there such a thing as 'self-directed' learning? Does this imply no intervention at all and that these gaming platforms fill the human gap? Do children make the best decisions for their own personal growth? When we talk about autonomous learning, are we talking about being independent of schooling as we know it? Are we saying its an institution that has failed our children and thereby, we require novel interventions in this digital age- and what better platform than games that is most loved by children?

Sounds appealing for sure. But would anyone in the West seriously propose the poor kids in say, the Bronx to play learning games as a potential solution, given the school system has failed them? Hardly. We instead fight the system, protest, partner with teachers, and bring in new inspiration through mentors, activists, and success stories from within. While schools are limited as an institution no doubt, nobody would seriously propose to rid them from society as we have not found an alternative ideal for socializing our children. Learning games are important to diversify our means of engagements but to seek in them a schooling substitute, is to give up on these children altogether.

A recent NPR article by Anya Kamenetz 'With the Right Technology, Can Children Teach Themselves? explores this further especially in light of the new announcement by Global XPrize.
Check it out. ..

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Arm Chair Activism: Serious Games usage by INGOs for Educational Change

A new paper (PDF) that I co-authored with Sorina Itu on the analysis of serious games usage by INGOs as a means to foster virtual activism has just been published in the International Journal of Game-Based Learning. Sorina Itu deserves significant credit for this as she embarked on gathering data on which this paper is based on.

Basically, this is about the battle between educators and entertainers specifically when it comes to gaming. This paper argues that the edutainment battleground has expanded to include actors outside formal schooling agencies, namely International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs). These actors employ digital games with the aim to educate and activate towards specific social causes. These serious games are viewed to have tremendous potential for behavioral change through their interactive and persuasive aspects. This paper examines serious games deployed by certain prominent INGOs and analyzes the educative aspects of such new media platforms. What is revealed at the design, audience, and content level compel us to examine what constitutes as education through serious games. Here, education is seen as social marketing employing sensationalism, morality, and emotional capital to stimulate activism. Such games sustain the converted rather than create new understandings of complex social issues.

Hope you get a chance to check our paper out...should be an interesting read for educators, designers and activists who would like to capitalize on gaming platforms to instigate social change. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

IDEAPLAY: New Media, Society & Change

Recently I was invited by the Department of Education at Michigan State University to give a public lecture and some interviews on how people learn to leisure and labor with new technologies in rural India. They did a wonderful job in capturing the interview through their multimedia portal IDEAPLAY, an excellent way to disseminate and share conversations that take place at this department. Below are the links for the interview:

IDEAPLAY: Payal Arora on New Media, Society and Change 

Learning to leisure and labor with new technologies in rural India

There is an intricate relationship between leisure, labor and learning. Much is revealed from eight-months of ethnographic fieldwork on computer-mediated social learning in rural India.  The role of educational institutions against informal learning spaces such as cybercafés in fostering digital engagements is explored. Issues of global knowledge constructions, plagiarism, and collaborative/peer based learning with computers is analyzed in this unique emerging market context.  The researcher gained employment at popular cybercafés to capture the spectrum of youth learning with new media spaces. It is found that leisure occupies a central position in the embracing of new media technologies and much labor goes into such playful and creative processes. Through Orkut, music downloads, instant messaging and dating, these cybercafés transform into recreational hubs while incidental learning occurs. New media spaces it is seen allow for new exposures and opportunities for learning; yet, what constitutes as ‘good’ learning is subjective to the nature of mediations, both social and technical. Collaborative and informal learning are liberated from formal curriculum and yet, such freedoms bring with it deep and persistent (mis)education. New kinds of expertise are created online that compels us to re-examine the role of the teacher as authority in knowledge construction. World knowledge is locally designed and is often not shared, creating cosmopolitanisms in global education. In essence, it is found that learning through digital spheres is indeed creative but not necessarily ‘correct’ by formal education standards nor compatible with global understandings.  Thereby, through a series of specific digital explorations and encounters by the youth, we learn that interaction does not necessarily equate to understanding, learning with new technologies can be peripheral and fleeting and that which gets learnt can diverge far from what is expected to be learnt.