Description of Sessions

Plenary Sessions


Keynote Plenary: Practice based and scholarly perspectives on the future of technology-enabled education

Speakers: RCM Reddy, IL&FS Education; Victoria L. Tinio, Fit-Ed; Vijay Kumar, MIT

Chair: Padma M Sarangapani, TISS

Perspectives and Practices in Technology-Enabled Teaching, and Learning: What have learned? Where could we be going? What are the new ways of thinking about the future of education with technology opening up new forms of teaching and learning ?

Education technology has been in schools around the world now for about four decades or so. The journey has been a chequered one from the euphoria of ICT being the answer to educational issues to the cautious pragmatism about its pedagogic value. The keynote plenary consists of speakers that draw from their scholarly and practice based research and experience to map the successes and challenges of ICT in education. They will present to us the key issues that must be engaged with during the symposium that will mark the direction that technology in education will take in the coming years. The direction will enable us to respond to the themes of connectedness and scale.


Plenary 01: “Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx): Quality at Scale” Designing and Implementing CLIx across schools in India

Panelists: Padma M Sarangapani, Ajay K Singh, Amina Charania, TISS, Eric Klopfer, MIT; Tara Sabavala, Tata Trusts; Nagarjuna G., HBCSE.

Moderator: Amrita Patwardhan

Designing and Implementing CLIx across schools in India: What did it take? Principal Investigators and core team leads of CLIx will discuss the developments of the initiative, key findings and learnings since its inception in 2015.

Connected learning at scale was the idea that has informed the work of CLIx for the last three years. What were the building blocks of this initiative, what were the key principles and design strategies that went into the making of CLIx; its curricular interventions and ecosystemic approach to partnerships; pedagogic approaches and action research that informed implementation. The people that were instrumental in shaping the CLIx initiative take a trip down memory lane to talk about the journey, and reflect on what they feel have been the key achievements so far and what could have gone better. CLIx experience provides the backdrop and the trigger for the discussions on education innovation and scaling with quality.


Plenary 02: Teachers’ Voices: Opportunities and Challenges in Implementation of ICT Based Learning

Panelists :Odelu Kumar, Teacher Telangana; Shweta Gupta, Teacher, Rajasthan; Jogen Chandra Rajbongshi, Teacher, Assam ; Sajid Ansari Hussain, Teacher, West Bengal; Sanjay RadhaKrishnan, Principal,Kerala

Moderator: Amina Charania

Teachers representing national and international initiatives will share their reflections on their technology-enabled practice and professional development

Teachers’ knowledge and commitment lie at the core of education innovations. It is teachers’ practice, their imagination and creativity, rich knowledge of the context and domain that imbues pedagogic value to the innovation. This panel places teachers’ practice and professional development at the forefront of the discourse on educational innovation and what it means for teachers to interpret these innovations within their own diverse contexts. Teachers share their experiences of being part of education innovations and lend their rich experiences and reflections that will provide new directions for design thinking and research.


Plenary 03: Policy and Practice in Technology and Education

Panelists: Gurumurthy Kasinathan, ITfC; Krishna Barua, Govt. of Assam;Gaurav Dwivedi , Govt. of Chhattisgarh, Pekka Neittaanmäki, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Moderator: Archana Mehendale

This panel will bring together government representatives from India and other contexts to address policy dimensions

Policy is a critical lever that guides and shapes education technology, from infrastructure to curriculum, it has the potential to influence meaningful use of ICT in education. This panel seeks to bring together a diverse set of speakers who have been at the forefront of influencing, drafting, and implementing policy nationally and globally. They offer their critical perspectives on what has worked in ICT policy, how policy and practice reciprocally influence one another, where we stand today in terms of what ICT policy means for curricular change and what we can expect in the near future. The speakers bring their rich experiences from both ends of the spectrum, i.e., policy making and practice to examine the implications of ICT policy particularly for large scale education initiatives.


Plenary 04: Looking Back & Moving Forward – Sustainable and Smart Financing for Education

Panelists: Lucia Dellagnello, CIEB, Brazil; Nidhi Pundhir, HCL Foundation; R. Venkataramanan, Tata Trusts; Shaheen Mistry, Teach for India; Sanjay Gupta, English Helper

Moderator: Vijay Kumar

This panel brings together people representing foundations and organisations who will address questions and issues related to holistic development of the sector, effective ways to reach under-resourced communities preserving the principles critical to quality at scale

Educational technology is a dynamic space that draws together a multitude of actors with diverse sets of interests and passions. Over the past decade, the private sector has increasingly been recognized as a major stakeholder in financing and implementing large-scale education initiatives. The interweaving themes of connectedness, partnerships and scale of the symposium require diverse stakeholders to take on the looming question of how education technology can be leveraged to address the vexing issues of equity in education particularly with respect to STEM learning. Collaborations across private, government and non-government sectors can leverage upon mutual strengths in technical expertise, pedagogic knowledge and research, , access to networks and data to help build a strong eco system for ed-tech initiatives. How do we move beyond traditional models of engagement and look for ways to co-create sustainable solutions to common problems?

This panel brings together people representing foundations and organisations who will respond to address questions and issues related to holistic development of the sector, effective ways to reach under-resourced communities preserving and preserving the principles critical to quality at scale. Questions emerging from the two day long deliberations from practice and research will be placed before the panel inviting their pertinent responses that offer clear directions for action.



Parallel Sessions


1. A. i. Conecta Ideas: ICT Supported Teaching with a Social Motivation Strategy

Speaker- Roberto Araya Schulz, University of Chile

We present learning outcomes using Conecta Ideas. This is a system that supports teachers to perform whole class guided instruction using a social motivation strategy: periodic inter-class synchronized tournaments. The strategy is to activate ancestral social mechanisms of collaboration (similar to team sports) and a sense of belonging in order to motivate all students to practice math and prepare for the tournaments. We conducted a cluster randomized controlled study with 48 fourth grade classes from 24 Chilean low SES schools. In each school a class was randomly assigned to a year-long treatment. More than 1,500 sessions of 90 minutes of treatment were registered with students´ activities that include answers to multiple selection questions and written responses to open questions. In addition, reviews of the written responses by peer students were also registered. On the other hand, there were tens of thousands of interactions between student monitors who helped answer queries from their peers. Additionally, four inter-class tournaments were implemented. From the baseline, midline and final line standardized tests administered by independent specialized institutions, and the national standardized test at the end of the year, positive effect sizes statistically significant were obtained.


1. A. ii. IT Training through Spoken Tutorials to Reach the Unreached

Speaker- Kannan Moudgalya, IIT Bombay

A Spoken Tutorial (ST) is a 10 minute long audio-video tutorial, created to provide training on Information Technology (IT) topics. Spoken Tutorials are created for self learning; Spoken part of STs are dubbed into all 22 official Indian languages; STs can be used offline. Both ST and the software it attempts to teach are available free of cost to everyone. We currently have about 1,000 original English ST and 9,000 ST, including dubbed tutorials.

Four million college students and teachers have been trained using ST during the past four years. 40,000 college lab courses have officially used ST. Many academic institutions have used STs as MOOCs for practical courses. We are about to implement a paid model of online testing to reduce the dependence on government funding and to improve the training efficacy.

This valuable resource is available for other countries, for use as it is, or after dubbing into their languages.The ST approach can be extended to other skills training also.


1. B. i. Education Reform: Role of Assessments and Technology to improve learning outcomes at scale

Speaker- Pranav Kothari, Educational Initiatives

Technology has held a lot of potential to improving learning outcomes at scale. Only a few technology based initiatives, however, have shown clear learning gains. Recently, a J-PAL RCT conducted on Mindspark – a personalized adaptive software – showed impressive gains. This session will describe the journey of Educational Initiatives from using research from large scale assessments to build Mindspark (a learning solution) and deploying it in settings ranging from rural/tribal parts in Rajasthan (using a vernacular version in Hindi/Gujarati) to elite private schools (in English). It will also share challenges faced in working with teachers and product improvements and operational techniques implemented to overcome some of them. Finally it will showcase the different data analysis and monitoring screens made to support a scale-up and describe an operating playbook that will be made public for any EdTech agency to implement in government schools.


1. B. ii. Addressing Student Learning Outcomes through Progressively Building Teacher Capacity

Speaker- Mona Mathur, Million Sparks

Continuous professional development of teachers is an established need to ensure continued relevance of the curriculum, knowledge, and pedagogical approaches. Every country has adopted different approaches to train their teachers. The sheer scale of the number of teachers and their diversity in many developing countries especially India presents several challenges. Existing training methodologies rely on face to face trainings which has several bottlenecks in terms of quality of content, lack of availability of quality trainers, finances, logistics, and infrastructure. ChalkLit is a mobile centric platform developed by the Million Sparks Foundation which focuses on capacity building and relies on the effective use of technology to overcome some of the bottlenecks faced in addressing the massive scale and quality requirements. The platform is being used by over 20000 teachers by the department of education of four states of India, namely Goa, Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to support their capacity building initiatives. The learnings from the ground are being constantly used to further improve both the product and the content available on the same.


1. B. iii. Building a world where every teacher will learn and grow anytime, anywhere at zero cost.

Speaker- Sarita Sharma, Teacher App

The presentation would focus on sharing how TheTeacherApp has attempted to reimagine the MOOCs to solve one of the biggest challenges in India. We would share the hypothesis we developed to explore the possibility of creating a powerful digital learning experience for teachers by carefully looking at four key pillars – Content, Engagement, Access and Motivation- in cohesion. We will also discuss the process of developing a minimum viable product and share our learnings from a pilot study conducted with over 500 teachers across 7 states in India.

The presentation would also focus on sharing specific strategies we are adopting to unlock exemplary content for teachers by partnering with individuals, organizations and government.


1. C. i. Continuous Professional Development for Government School Teachers

Speaker – Amina Charania, TISS

This workshop will discuss opportunities, challenges and achievements of a Continuous Professional Development model for Government school teachers in India. Evidence from teachers’ artefacts, CoPs, classroom practices and student impact data will be showcased to delve in to some of the opportunities and challenges in the various teacher professional development. The discussion will seek suggestions and systematic feedback from the participants of the workshop on the processes and artefacts from the participants of the workshop to enrich the teacher professional development practices and models undertaken at CEIAR.


1. C. ii. Online Teacher Communities of Practice

Speaker- Bindu Thirumalai, TISS

The idea of online teacher communities of practice (oCoP) as scalable and sustainable ways of providing continuous teacher professional development by developing a shared language of practice has emerged as an essential feature in teacher professional development discourse. CoPs offer a safe, professional space for teachers to share and reflect on their practice, connect with peers and experts in the field to address the issue of professional isolation by making classroom practice and school contexts public. However, the management (technical and pedagogical) of oCoPs are complicated in the Indian context, where teachers are very recent entrants to the digital world.In this session, I discuss both technical and pedagogical management designs to create and sustain oCoPs based in the context of rural secondary school government teachers in India. I also present analysis from one oCoP and suggestions for restructuring and managing the oCoP for developing reflective practitioners.


2. A. Building Design Capacity: A Model for Developing Teams’ Design Expertise

Speaker- Eric Klopfer & Judy Perry, MIT

Designing effective and engaging educational tools and games requires a variety of specific, practical skills. Through an iterative design process, designers are able to thoughtfully integrate their knowledge of content, pedagogy, and technology, test their products, and adapt them to real-world constraints to produce measurable desired outcomes. To support teams in developing these necessary design skills, we developed a model for building the capacity of our project partners. Our goals included leveraging participants’ existing skills (e.g., deep domain knowledge, pedagogical experience) while strengthening and adding new skills as needed. Our team provided support via both ongoing remote collaboration as well as face-to-face intensive Design Camps. While capacity building efforts were tuned to each specific groups’ needs, all integrated elements of a Design-Based Research approach (including both research methodologies and design practices). In this workshop, we will share our experiences, successes and challenges of using this capacity building model. Participants will participate in a mini-activity in which they will grow their own design skills, and will then reflect on how these types of capacity building experiences might help their own teams sharpen their skills and improve outcomes.


2. B. Implementation Monitoring at Scale: The Good, the Bad, and the Difficult

Speaker- Archana Mehendale, TISS & Glenda Stump, MIT

Implementation monitoring, with an emphasis on fidelity of implementation (FOI), provides critical information regarding how and why an intervention produces desired results. In this session, we will discuss implementation monitoring as a form of action research that is highly appropriate for educational interventions delivered at scale. We will highlight fidelity of implementation and its measurement in efficacy trials as well as in effectiveness evaluation studies. An intervention monitoring framework will be presented as a guide to the design of a monitoring strategy. We will talk about potential use of technology for implementation monitoring in diverse field settings. Participants will explore key considerations for implementation monitoring via case studies (examples and non-examples) from developing country contexts.


3. A. Roundtable: Contemporary Approaches to Partnership Development for Large Scale Education Initiatives

Speakers– Maarit Palo, IBM Finland; Lalbiakdiki Hnamte, Mizoram University; Nirada Devi,Govt. Of Assam, Romen Das, Govt. of Assam; Brandon Muramatsu, MIT, Omkar Balli, TISS; Manmohan Singh, KEF; Sylvia Garde, Fit-Ed; Archana Mehendale, TISS;Nagendra Nagpal, CERP; Anil Mammen, Tata Class Edge

Moderator: Ajay K Singh

The round table is designed to bring together experiences, challenges, questions, failures, learnings towards developing partnerships and possible models for the implementation of large scale education initiatives. Individuals and groups who have worked in the education space in different sites with a range of media and pedagogic forms will share their expertise and ideas that have guided and evolved through their work with various stakeholders. Reflections will be towards trying to articulate possibilities of how the constantly changing space of education can be shaped by innovative collaborations and the possibilities that are worth pursuing in future courses of action. As a more immediate outcome, the roundtable will come up with a set of questions and recommendations for the deliberation of the Foundations panel.


3. B. i. Practice based Research in Educational Technology

Speaker- Pekka Neittaanmäki, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

This presentation is going to talk about Research based principles for the design and use of digital learning solutions , adoptive learning, localisation, Innovative teaching and learning process. Since 2009 they are working on various research projects including Science, Technology, Innovation, Mathematics for the Young (STIMEY).


3. B. ii. Designing Educational Technologies for Collaborative and Connected Learning at Scale

Speaker- Nagarjuna G., HBCSE; Sadaqat Mulla, TISS

More often than not, in the EdTech, “Tech” develops first and then gets fitted onto “Ed” – one of the reasons why, the workshop moderators think, EdTech is yet to cross its nascent stage despite spanning several decades. When it comes to resource constrained contexts such as India the amorphous EdTech becomes even more puzzling and pessimistic. However, CLIx learning technologies – an ecosystem of CLIx Platform for student, TISSx as teacher platforms, apps, bots, OER and dashboard – make a fundamental departure and experiment with technologies designed and primed for educational objectives. There is a intriguing story to share about how a mashup model of learning technologies is being experimented in and beyond CLIx. In this workshop, with a blend of discussion, demonstration and hands-on, we share the experiences of how the CLIx technologies came into being, how connected learning in disconnected spaces is being experimented, possible approaches for scaling up and tools to foster connected and collaborative learning.


3. C. i. Traditional Games: Kavade. Followed by Fireside chat on Games for Learning

Speaker- Sree Ranjini

Discussants: Amit Dhakulkar, TISS & Judith Perry, MIT

Kavade is an endeavor to revive ancient board games, games that are on the verge of extinction. In an extremely disparate “games” marketplace attracting varied wallet sizes from students to socialites exposed to several varieties of games in the same lens, Kavade aspires to evoke a feeling of bonding through human interactions in the real world rather than human-machine interactions in the virtual world. It represents the cumulative consciousness of the way games are meant to be played – face-to-face, with minimum infrastructure, for the joy of playing! In this session, Sreeranjini from Kavade, will share the journey of Kavade, significance & relevance of ancient board games in today’s times, as well as provide an experience of game play.


3. C. ii. Open Educational Resources

Speaker- Indu Kumar, National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER),CIET, NCERT, India

The National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) is an initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India and CIET-NCERT to bring together all digital and digitisable resources across all stages of school education and teacher education. This spans to all subject domains and will be available in all Indian languages. It proposes to use the digital resources to reach out and connect all members of the school community through a variety of events and interactions. The repository will provide workspace for every registered user. It will also provide platform for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and online forums for different stakeholders.

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