Connected Learning at Scale: An International Symposium (08.08.18-09.08.18)

When the idea of an international symposium was first mooted, there was excitement and also niggling apprehension. Would we at CLIx be able to pull this off successfully?

While organising workshops and events with our partner states and at TISS was by now routine, an event of this magnitude had never been undertaken. The planning had to be perfect for the execution to succeed. The participants and invitees spanned countries. Workshops, interactive sessions, entertainment, venue, accommodation, travel, food, plan A, B, C — phew, the to-do list seemed to grow longer by the day.

In the last stretch of the run up to the symposium, with barely a week to go, days merged with nights, weekdays with weekends until D-Day arrived!

Everything had been planned to a T, and the teams worked with clockwork precision.

The Connected Learning at Scale: An International Symposium, was held at the TISS Mumbai campus on 8 and 9 August 2018.

The Symposium’s major themes were:

  • Designing learning experiences
  • Scaling with quality
  • Partnerships
  • Research directions

There were five plenary sessions, one roundtable discussion, eight parallel sessions, and a variety of poster presentations and live demos over the course of two days. The participants were educational planners, policymakers, practitioners, educational researchers, foundations and agencies involved in advancing quality education for all, STEM education, as well as representatives of Indian state and central governments.


                                        Session on Implementation Monitoring at Scale

On the evening of 8 August, a special reception was held to recognise the contribution of all who had been instrumental in making the CLIx project a resounding success. These included teachers, state partners, development partners and implementation partners, all of whom were felicitated by Prof Shalini Bharat, Acting Director, TISS, and Tara Sabavala, Director, Tata Trusts.

The symposium generated interesting perspectives on the current status of high school education in India, the why and how of effective teacher professional development, and technology-enabled teaching and learning. Best practices and new ways to address the roadblocks in the path of achieving the desired outreach formed the crux of the conversations.

Here are some observations by the CLIx leadership:

Prof. Padma Sarangapani, Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Education, Innovation and Action Research, TISS, and Project Director, CLIx, said, “Why CLIx? Because the voices from higher education missing in the space of school education and other development problems in the global south.”

Prof Vijay Kumar, Associate Dean and Senior Strategic Advisor for Digital Learning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said,”Scale is a vector. Scale is not taking one thing and doing it for all. We should be able to do many different things for different learners.”

Tara Sabavala, Director Tata Trusts, said, “What CLIx did for us is that, in a small way, we have shown we can use technology to deepen student learning and make it joyful for them”.

Amrita Patwardhan, Tata Trusts, said, “Top-down support is required for a bottom-up approach in education.”

The journey has just begun. Not content to rest on our accolades, we march forward with renewed enthusiasm.

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