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Educating the Heart, Mind and Body

True education, which comes with an educated heart, mind, and body, helps us overcome our prejudices and become wholesome human beings who are not only intellectually sound but also physically productive and socially conscious.

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Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all!

Aristotle

The above adage by Aristotle implies the importance of imparting values like empathy, compassion, resilience, rationality, humanity, accountability, integrity, confidence, and courage through education. True education, which comes with an educated heart, mind, and body, helps us overcome our prejudices and become wholesome human beings who are not only intellectually sound but also physically productive and socially conscious.

In considering the opening paragraph, are we ready to re-envision our learners and rethink their education? Are we ready to prepare our children for an unknown future and make them believe in their potential to create the future they desire? 

I believe the immediate responses would be: Undeniably! It is the need of the hour! However, preparing the creators of the future requires an internal shift in the adults’ mindset—be it parents, educators, or policymakers.

At Jhamtse Gatsal, a young children’s community that I started in 2006 to raise and educate children from backgrounds of trauma and adversity from my remote region in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, we believe that education must align every child’s potential, developmental needs, and dreams with their talents and abilities. It must focus on the processes of learning over outcomes as well as nurture each child’s unique competencies, skills, and pace of growth. Finally, it must foster holistic student learning and expression in academic, social-emotional, artistic, and essential life skills.

Embracing a gardener’s approach because Jhamtse Gatsal means Garden of Love and Compassion, our educational approach values every child. Each adult at Jhamtse Gatsal acts like a gardener and sees children as unique seeds with their own growing needs and contributions. We believe that every child is like a tiny seed with the immeasurable potential to grow into healthy, thriving, and abundant trees. Thus, our educational model places the child at the center, and through the right nurturance and a conducive environment, lets their potential emerge from within.

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I believe that today’s learners require an education system and learning environment which enhances creativity and engagement rather than conformity and compliance to make the transition from seeker to a creator mindset. A truly educated person understands the purpose of creation. S/He works with intelligence for the benefit of everyone. Hence, at Jhamtse Gatsal, we focus on fostering an understanding of interdependence and responsibility to nurture our children as individuals, but not make them individualistic.

The National Education Policy 2020 is a step in the right direction towards such nurturance. Its rootedness in the rich heritage of ancient and eternal Indian thought of pursuit of knowledge (jnan), wisdom (pragyaa), and truth (satya) being the highest human goal which is supported by modern-day technological developments strongly resonates in the educational model being practiced at Jhamtse Gatsal.

When we educate the heart, mind, and body of each child through a learn, reflect, and engage pedagogy, it enables our children to cultivate compassion to nurture, wisdom to guide, and skill to serve. I believe such learning equips children with skills to create an equitable and sustainable future for themselves and others. To achieve this goal, our education needs to transition from schooling with siloes of academic, extra-curricular, vocational, life skills, or social-emotional learning. Given the rapid post-liberalization growth, climate change, and a pandemic that brought humanity to a standstill, fostering adaptability, resilience, and human-centric skills are the need of the hour. All these skills must be interwoven to raise conscious, responsible, and capable human beings.

Such preparation necessitates us—the adults—to be willing to unlearn and relearn first. Simply incorporating skill-building or social-emotional programs as extra-curricular activities is not enough. Learning must give mainstream emphasis and time to foster a diverse range of skills to enable children to create the future they desire. Our National Education Policy 2020 has broadly mapped out how such interconnected learning can be achieved. Now curricula need to be developed to translate it into action.

Furthermore, simply reimagining curricula that accommodate the three essentials of educating the heart, mind, and body as well as the diverse learning styles of all children is not enough to meet the educational needs of all learners. We also need to imagine a new generation of learning spaces that can support our learners and educators to engage with and deliver progressive curricula.

To my mind, the new generation of learning spaces must include the following aspects:

Utility

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Be adaptable, spacious, and flexible learning spaces, designed for efficient access, and which can respond to the needs of all learners, educators as well as the evolving technologies needed to fulfill the present and future needs of our learners.

Wellbeing

The design of the reimagined learning spaces must be comfortable, safe, and healthy for children while stimulating their emotional wellbeing.

Significance

Research has shown that when a physical learning space embodies its ‘inherent pedagogy,’ the cultural, psychological, and behavioural attributes of the physical space shape both the learning and the teaching. Envisioning our learning spaces to manifest our values, as was the case in generations past, would inspire learners to imbibe these principles.

When the design of our learning spaces is inherently suited to enhance the educational experience of all learners, it would allow learners to make choices and experiment with learning techniques to ultimately discover how they learn best and where their true passions lie. It would equip educators with a greater capacity to effectively respond to the diverse learning needs of their learners.

Last but not the least, the Covid-19 pandemic lay bare the existing fault lines within the educational system and reinforced the importance of technology in narrowing the long-standing gaps, disparities, and inequities. I envision a Classroom 2.0 which would pair humans and technology and enable parents, educators, and policymakers to reimagine and rethink the design and development of digital infrastructures to achieve inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all.

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About the author:

Lobsang Phuntsok is a former Buddhist monk whose work is focused on transformative education, sustainable development, and social entrepreneurship. In 2006, he started Jhamtse Gatsal Children’s Community in Lumla, Arunachal Pradesh – a loving home and learning environment for 100+ children from backgrounds of trauma and adversity.

Jhamtse Gatsal is a right living laboratory practicing the principles of love and compassion in raising our children through an integrated educational model which focuses on the Three Essentials of the 21st Century: Educating the Heart, Mind, and Body.

Jhamtse Gatsal has been featured in the Emmy Award winning documentary, Tashi and the Monk. Lobsang is a global speaker on raising and educating children mindfully and compassionately. He has given keynote addresses at the United Nations during the Universal Children’s Day celebrations, the Ministry of Education in Israel, and at diverse learning platforms within India and internationally. He has received several prestigious awards including the Spirit of Humanity Award from the Americares Foundation and the State Gold Medal from the Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

Knowledge

Online presentation tools for the classroom

In this article, we feature 5 of the best free tools teachers can use to create awesome slideshows and presentations.

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Image by Esa Riutta/Pixabay

Once upon a time, presentations meant PowerPoint. And using PowerPoint meant excellent presentation skills, creativity, and maybe some designing skills.

These cool tools will be of great help to the teacher with minimal demands.

Canva

Educators can use Canva’s web-based tool to design stunning visuals and presentations that will engage their students. Canva contains hundreds of beautifully designed layouts to create presentations, social media creatives, videos, printables, and handouts on any topic. Making an interesting presentation is as simple as choosing the perfect images (over 1 million stock images are available), fonts, and colours. Check out Canva’s Design School for more inspiration.

Emaze

Emaze makes it easy for teachers to create fun, interactive lessons that keep their students “zoomed in”. With Emaze’s out-of-the-box templates, even teachers without technology background can build lessons that combine video, sound, and text.

Google Slides

Using Google Slides, educators can create, edit and present wherever and whenever they need. This free tool from Google contains a variety of presentation themes, hundreds of fonts, embedded video, animations, and more. It gives the teacher the ability to access, create, and edit presentations on the go — from a phone, tablet, or computer — even when there’s no connection.

Keynote
(Apple devices only)

Keynote makes it easy to create stunning and memorable presentations and comes included with most Apple devices. A simple, intuitive interface puts important tools front and center, so you can easily add beautiful charts, edit photos and incorporate cinematic effects.

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SlideDog

SlideDog is a multimedia presentation tool that lets you combine PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, Prezi presentations, movie clips, web pages, and more into one innovative, seamless viewing and audience interaction experience.

Do Let us know your favourite online presentation tool and mention any tool you think needs to be on this list and isn’t there.

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Becoming a 21st Century Teacher!!!

How do you teach? Should today’s students learn the same way their teachers did?

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Step back and look at the days gone by… your own days. What were the skills we needed to survive 20 years ago?

How do you teach? Should today’s students learn the same way their teachers did?

If we teach today as we were taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.

John Dewey

What are the 21st-century skills every student needs to survive and succeed in today’s world?

What abilities and traits will serve them in a time that’s changing and developing so rapidly?

Let us think about how our world has changed in education.

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Twenty-two years ago, when I was in school, all I remember are my teachers. Not the content, not the pedagogy, not the methodology. Not even the tests they gave or the marks I scored. My fondest memories as a school-going child are those of my friends and teachers. The bonds we forged, the memories we made, the connections we built, and the impact created. ‘Marks are but numbers’ is what I have learned over the years as a student-turned-teacher. What matters most now are skills, demeanour, resilience, and the zeal to do something. The ignited passion and the kindled flame go a longer way than report cards. We hear a lot about how important it is for today’s students to develop their 21st-century skills, in addition to what is often referred to as the basics. These are the skills, dispositions, and attitudes that our students will need to thrive in their future lives of work and play and will have global acceptance at the same time.

But all of this does not come on its own. A lot of it depends on the teachers. Since times immemorial we have witnessed the teacher creating an indelible impression on the learner’s mind, not through the content knowledge but through the connection with the child. Gone are the days when education depended on textbooks, green board & chalk, and report cards. Marks matter but more importantly the attitude towards learning and the desire to create, innovate and collaborate mark the 21st Century traits of a teacher and a learner. Earlier, teachers taught the subject but a 21st-century teacher needs to teach the student.

CHARACTERISTICS OF 21ST CENTURY TEACHER

  • Learner-Centered Classroom and Personalized Instructions
  • Committed to students and their learning
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Learn New Technologies
  • Collaborate & Connect
  • Innovate & Keep Learning
  • Think Globally & are tech savvy
  • Develop sensitivity towards cross-cultural differences and diversity
  • Build partnerships and alliances beyond classrooms
  • No child left behind (NCLB)

Learners should be conditioned by their learning to be:

  • Inquirers
  • Inquisitors
  • Communicators
  • Appreciative of diversity
  • Compassionate
  • Courageous
  • Risk-takers
  • Tenacious
  • Reflective
  • Responsible

A good teacher can inspire, hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning.

Brand Henry

How do we teach these skills?

  • Make it relevant
  • Teach through the disciplines
  • Develop lower & higher order thinking skills
  • Encourage transfer of learning
  • Teach students to learn to learn
  • Address misunderstandings directly
  • Promote teamwork
  • Exploit technology
  • Foster creativity
  • Provide opportunities
  • Build trust & connect

The 21st Century teacher is the adapter, communicator, learner, visionary, leader, mentor, model, caregiver, collaborator, and risk taker.

Obviously, teaching in the 21st Century is a different phenomenon altogether, especially with the kind of exposure and technological advancement. When thinking about education in the last 25 years, a lot has changed. From textbooks to tablets, from chalk & duster to padlet, from green board to smartboard, from taboos and stigmas to open discussions, from being intimidated and apprehensive to being confident and inquisitive, from being the sage on the stage to the guide by the side, from teacher talk and monologues to active learning & flipped classroom; a lot has evolved.

However, the 21st Century teacher knows that the learner is the most important stakeholder and center of focus and for as long as education revolves around students and their holistic growth, it will never fade out or weaken its value.

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About the author:

A passionate educator & an enthusiastic public speaker, Dr. Pooja Jain is currently the Head of the English Department at The Assam Valley School, Assam.

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Knowledge

Universalizing Education and Skilling using Metaverse

‘Metaverse’ can be a real-time ecosystem that overcomes the limitations of geographical boundaries to offer services to users.

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Have you played any online games like Caesar, Game of Thrones, Building Farms and trading its food grains, or taken a virtual tour of a city or a new housing project? If your answer is ‘Yes’ or you are aware that such online games or virtual tours exist, then you have already tasted ‘Metaverse’. Further, if you or your child has tried using a VR headset to play games or taken a virtual tour of a museum using AR technology, then too, you have already experienced ‘Metaverse’ at a small scale.

Have you seen the Hollywood movie ‘Avatar’ or SRK’s Bollywood movie ‘Ra.One’? If ‘yes’, then you have experienced a glimpse of ‘Metaverse’ on your TV/mobile already. Further, imagine tomorrow experiencing Google Earth giving you a facility to walk on the roads virtually or you finding a way virtually through Google Maps. Imagine you buying a house property in Metaverse and also being able to sell it for money. This can be possible in near future.

The ‘pandemic’ has given us the importance of connecting the physical world, virtually. Without internet penetration and smartphone technology enhancements important services like education, jobs, and banking would have come to halt during the lockdown, the world over. ‘Metaverse’ is one such need of the future.

What is ‘Metaverse’?

‘Metaverse’ refers to a three-dimensional (3D) virtual world combining aspects of online gaming, social media, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and devices like haptic gears (VR-based suits, gloves, headsets) to create an extended reality (XR), where users can use their senses, body motions and interact virtually and experience the immersive, life-like 3D world. Integration of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) can facilitate functions of limitless interactions and seamless integrations of data.

‘Metaverse’ is currently in a nascent stage, which will bring in a highly immersive user experience beyond the current two-dimensional browsing and socializing experience. ‘Metaverse’ can be a real-time ecosystem that overcomes the limitations of geographical boundaries to offer services to users. ‘Metaverse’ can make you create a digital version of yourself and it can be in the form of an ‘Avatar’ profile. The physical world can be mirrored in the ‘Metaverse’.

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According to a recent Citi report, Metaverse could generate up to $13 trillion in value for businesses around the world by 2030.

‘Metaverse’ in Education and Skilling?

‘Metaverse’ can be the next evolution of EdTech—from the use of conventional teaching aids to using AR/XR for a never experienced engaging experience.

Imagine you or a student swimming through the sea and playing with fish sitting in a living room or a student going on a field trip in a factory/farm or taking a walk on the moon without leaving the study desk. Imagine students using VR on a virtual field trip to Antarctica to learn about climate change instead of just watching a recorded video. Imagine a history teacher instead of lecturing on the Harappa civilization takes the students to Harappa and Mohenjo Daro virtually through VR tools and devices. Imagine a doctoral student dissecting a frog to learn anatomy or doing a surgical operation on an Avatar and learning surgery. Imagine a 3D virtual classroom where students irrespective of their geographical location can virtually meet and interact with their classmates and teachers.

‘Metaverse’ can also contribute towards skilling and re-skilling the workforce.

A fully immersive experience can help speed up the pace of learning and improve retention of even some complex concepts. The use of technology can also reduce the cost of purchasing and maintaining expensive equipment for training purposes.

Imagine a fresh automobile engineer from a tier 2-3 town in India getting a virtual tour of an automobile assembly floor and learn fixing repairs or design a sedan car. Imagine a fresh mechanical engineer getting a walk-through of a manufacturing plant.

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Automobile companies can develop virtual courses on managing manufacturing workflows in factories or FMCG companies training their staff on supply chain management operations. This reduces onboarding costs and also the cost associated with building training centers. Immersive simulations can be done for automotive, electronics, and biomedical engineering, material design, material synthesis, and fine arts.

Education and skilling through ‘Metaverse’ can make learning more engaging, and improve learning outcomes. Universities offering online education programs can enhance their learning deliveries and make students experience real-world challenges through Metaverse.

Challenges?

‘Metaverse’ is believed still to be in the nascent stage (developing), so proven cases are yet to stabilise and replicable.

Some challenges in developing Metaverse are:

  • An effective and strong 5G network will be a prerequisite to developing Metaverse for mass use.
  • Affordability in terms of costs of hardware tools like VR gadgets and goggles. Though the current cost is expensive, improvements in technology will reduce the costs gradually. Users require light and affordable AR/VR devices and fully immersive content of the highest quality.
  • Software and hardware investment costs for institutions and corporate for imparting education and training would be initially on a higher level.
  • The cost of learning for students and workers will be high initially.
  • Cyber security
  • Addiction and Mental Health of users
  • Privacy & Data Security
  • Digital Payments
  • Law and Jurisdiction
  • Lack of Tech experts

Career Opportunities:

Since ‘Metaverse’ will be a next-gen technology platform, there will be a growing need for tech experts who can develop, build, operate and maintain it. There will be a growing need for tech experts like Developers, Programmers, Coders, Game developers, VR developers, 3D tech experts, AR experts, AI experts, ML experts, Blockchain experts, IoT experts, cyber security experts, and hardware engineers.

‘Metaverse’ can be the future to impart close-to-life education and training, without physical intervention. Companies and educational institutions need to invest in building a ‘Metaverse’ for their workforce capability enhancement and young student training, respectively.

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How can Schools benefit from Digital Certificates and Badges?

Digital Certificates and Badges have the capacity to make a huge difference in a student’s performance and career choices.

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Teacher Recognition

Teachers undeniably play a critical role in the life of every student, which is why teachers need to be acknowledged. Recognizing teachers with digital certificates and badges shows that teachers are valued. Every teacher has a unique way of interacting with students and teaching methodology. Teachers need to be admired when they give extra assignments to students, remain open to questions from the students, use creative teaching techniques and motivate their students in more promising ways. Appreciating teachers who take extraordinary measures encourages others to improvise and perform better. 

Moreover, sharing the badges and certificates earned by teachers on the school’s social media channels, can act as a powerful force for many students and parents seeking information about the teachers. In the end, intrinsic/extrinsic rewards to individuals, whether students or teachers, are essential to motivate them to do better.

School Branding

Certificates are a fantastic way to advertise your school to parents, teachers, and students. A beautiful certificate with your brand on it has significant marketing power.  Brand recognition is crucial since most parents prefer to choose schools for their kids that they are already acquainted with. When paired with good feedback, brand awareness boosts the likelihood that the parents will recommend your school to others. Schools that don’t prioritize increasing brand recognition may find it difficult to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Using digital credentials is a terrific method to increase brand recognition. Digital credentials should be developed in accordance with the brand style requirements, including colors, graphics, typography, and layout, to boost brand recognition through consistent branding. Digital credentials are meant to be shared, so encouraging your recipients, viz. For teachers and students, publishing their awards online is a great way to build brand recognition as well as authority.

ValidateMe.Online provides numerous features to help you build your school’s brand. Let’s look at two of them to help you understand better.  

  • Social Media Sharing

Digital certificates are a perfect marketing tool to help you broaden your audience and improve traffic on social networks by their shareability. When a recipient shares a certificate, it constitutes a form of legitimate marketing. Utilizing the beneficiaries’ networks whether it’s a parent, teacher, or student, schools can increase the exposure of the brand, their credibility, and their programmes through sharing and endorsements. Recipients who divulge their credentials to their networks naturally become brand champions and influencers. This is a powerful method for boosting brand recognition since the links in the recipient’s social network frequently have connections to the organization’s target market. 

  • Certificate Analytics

ValidateMe.Online offers analytics to monitor all KPIs, including social media shares, PDF downloads, and certificate views. A marketing dashboard provides you with information on referrals, and brand recognition that your certifications and badges are producing for your online courses.

 ValidateMe.Online can provide you with information such as the number of times your digital certificates have been viewed and the number of click-throughs that have been made to your website. Integrating these analytics with other marketing analytics tools like Google Analytics can also help you estimate the value that the referrals are generating through each social media channel.

Streamline Administrative Efforts

With ValidateMe.Online, issuing Digital Credentials like mark sheets, report cards, student transfer documents, etc can be accomplished in bulk and with just a few clicks.

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  • Verification 

Immense administrative effort goes into creating, managing, and distributing these documents, and a bigger effort goes into re-issuing them in case they are lost or in verifying them. ValidateMe.Online enables issuing these in a single click,  and the verification load is reduced to zero, especially when transferring a student and future admissions. The third party can simply visit the school’s website and self-validate the documents using the verification widget.

  • Template Library

Schools may generate certificates for the students using the built-in certificate builder. ValidateMe.Online offers a diverse range of free, ready-made templates for certificates and badges. The creation of digital certificates is made convenient by the certificate-create-and-sign API, which can automatically generate and deliver secure certificates to your event attendees directly. No need to spend time on hiring a designer and designing and printing certificates. Anyone can pick and choose certificates from the vast template library and add elements like organization logo, and watermark, among others.

These are only a few merits of Digital Certificates and Badges.  Do you want to know what urgent problem digital certificates and badges are solving for students? Read More.

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Knowledge

7 of the Best Free PowerPoint Template Websites

We have curated 7 of the best websites to get professional and beautiful presentation templates for any kind of lesson, report, or submission.

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PC: Pixabay

Liven up your classroom and presentation with these free PowerPoint templates. We have curated 7 of the best websites to get professional and beautiful presentation templates for any kind of lesson, report, or submission.

POWERPOINT SCHOOL

Besides a huge selection of animated PowerPoint templates, PowerPoint School offers infographics and timelines. You’ll also find easy-to-follow tutorials on adding your own animations.

You’ll find both colorful and minimalist, monochrome charts, graphs, and explainers.

SLIDESGO

Set the License filter to Free to see all Slidesgo’s free animated templates. These files work in both PowerPoint and Google Slides. They’re available in many themes.

SLIDESALAD

SlideSalad has many educational and informational templates. They provide slick, animated designs for proposals, reports, portfolios, and more. You will need to create a free account to download templates.

SLIDESMANIA

Unlike many other templates, SlidesMania templates offer more than transitions and entrance animations. The backgrounds and decorative elements are animated, too. And they keep moving the whole time.

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SLIDECHEF

Slide Chef is a free Google Slides resource, however, you can use the files in PowerPoint as well. The animated slide decks on SlideChef are a good fit for children’s lessons.

ABERT’S

This website has several free PowerPoint templates. It specializes in infographics and charts, so it’s great for explainers and reports. Some are editable in Excel, so you can integrate your detailed charts and graphics.

SLIDEMODEL

SlideModel has a good selection of free animated PowerPoint templates.

BONUS SECTION: PowerPoint Courses and Resources

This section contains useful links and resources on learning to create beautiful presentations with themes, backgrounds, images, tables, charts, and diagrams

PowerPoint Training Course

Free Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 course

Downloadable PDF – PowerPoint 2010 by Tutorialspoint

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How to Learn PowerPoint Quickly

Note:
Information in this article applies to PowerPoint 2010 and above.

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Knowledge

Wiki Loves Museums India 2022

A photo campaign & fellowship to improve Indian culture, art, and heritage-related content on Wikipedia

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PC: Vyacheslav Argenberg/Wikimedia Commons

Wiki Loves Museums India is a photo campaign & fellowship to improve Indian culture, art, and heritage-related content on Wikipedia.

On the occasion of India’s 75th year of Independence, Wikimedia Commons invites residents of India to photograph museum collections that celebrate the stories of India.

The photo contest runs from August 16 – September 30, 2022. Visit the Campaign Website for details.

Prizes:
The winner receives Rs. 25,000/-
1st Runner Up receives Rs. 15,000/-
2nd Runner Up receives Rs. 5,000/-

Before uploading, please ensure you read the captioning instructions given on this page.

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Transforming School Curriculum – Empowering Learning for Life

As educators, we understand the importance of critical thinking, communication, conflict resolution, teamwork, collaboration, and creativity in the changing environment. 

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“By education, I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man-body, mind and spirit. True education must correspond to the surrounding circumstances or it is not a healthy growth”.

 Mahatma Gandhi

The tremors caused by COVID -19 have shaken the very foundation of the education system globally. The future will bring new challenges and force us to further alter the course of teaching and learning. With social differences becoming fluid and workplaces increasingly complex, education curriculum needs to change and develop systems to confront these challenges. As educators, we understand the importance of critical thinking, communication, conflict resolution, teamwork, collaboration, and creativity in the changing environment.

We are fortunate to have entered the digital era, assisting us in developing new strategies to reimagine learning, thus empowering the young learners to apply classroom concepts to real life. Keeping pace with the changing times, we need to reassess the purpose of a school, the curriculum design, models of assessment, individualised learning, and inclusive education, among other core issues.

Delhi Public School, Sector 45, Gurgaon, understands the relevance and need to consider the development of knowledge, skills, and values for a sustainable ecosystem by creating a safe and effective environment with resilience, emotional intelligence, and a consistently engaged adult learner. We strongly believe in empowering students by adopting best teaching and learning practices, thereby facilitating lifelong learning and the application of acquired knowledge beyond the boundaries of classrooms. Some of our best learning practices are student-led initiatives mentored by the faculty.

Peer Education Programme – The programme aims to empower students from classes IXXII in knowledge, attitude, and skills. Peer educators serve as role models to direct the thought process of their peers towards leading a disciplined life, honing life skills, strengthening value systems, and making informed choices, thus strengthening the school environment for the psychosocial well-being of the students.

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Team Shiksha Kendra (TSK) – As community outreach programmes are an integral part of our curriculum, the senior school students teach the students of Shiksha Kendra, a non-formal afternoon school for children from the marginalised sections of society. They carry out co-scholastic activities with these children for their holistic development, thus creating an inclusive environment through equity in education.

Student-Led Clubs- We have 18 student-led clubs. Every student from classes IX to XII is a part of one club as per their choice. The club is given autonomy to drive and organise meetings, activities, workshops, and competitions, with the support of a teacher in charge who plays the role of a mentor. The club is a platform where the students learn by doing, thereby inculcating 21st -century competency skills- collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Reconnecting with your Culture (RWYC)„Reconnecting with your Culture’ (RWYC) is an initiative by the EdA Esempi di Architettura (Italia), UNESCO, University and Heritage. The project pursues ‘Quality Education’ objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda, encouraging collaboration between schools, local artists, and musicians and exploring indigenous sports, allowing students to gain quality and inclusive education. The RWYC and DPS Gurgaon collaboration has resulted in the RWYC, Asia India, Chapter collaborating with 12 like-minded schools pan India who have embarked on this journey, sharing their pride and love for their culture across the globe.  Thus, introducing the youth to the rich culture and heritage of the country by involving them to research the cultural diversity.

Seek Ek Khoj- An immersion programme for the students of classes VI to VIII that helps to develop important research skills and promotes hands-on applied learning. The students are mentored by their senior school peers who mentor them in showcasing experiments through working models. These young scientists share their innovations and learn from each other’s experiences.

Keeping the school’s vision in mind, even during pandemic, many initiatives were undertaken in order to maintain the connection with the community and to give back to society like Unmasking Sustainability and Wellness Webinars.

  1. Unmasking Sustainability- Our student leaders undertook an initiative -Unmasking Sustainability contributing to SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. They collected used cloth through a collection drive in the school and respective localities. After sanitising the clothes, they sent them to Pravah: a skill development centre where 25 female weavers who were facing difficulties seeking employment were asked to create beautiful masks, thus boosting the local handicraft industry and contributing to the call for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”! Sewing machines were bought with the revenue generated through selling masks, for the weavers to support their households.
  2. Wellness Webinars- Conversations during the pandemic became imperative for social, emotional, and mental well-being and to stay connected during quarantine. Our student moderators interacted on a virtual platform with the stakeholders of the school community- students, teachers, parents, and alumni on issues ranging from getting comfortable in the new normal, FOMO, social anxiety, compassion, and cyber wellness to saving the environment. Encouraging student partnership in resolving issues concerning community by creating responsible, mindful, and compassionate future leaders.

International Collaborations- beyond boundaries

Encouraging cross-border collaborations, we partake in international initiatives involving student contribution. Germany, France, and Poland are our Student- Exchange partners but during the pandemic as we could not meet in physical space, we collaborated on the virtual platform. These online collaborations included:

  • Beats of Harmony – In Harmony with Diversity was a musical collaborative project between our school and VIII PALO, Poland
  • We participated in a partnership project between Thames Festival Trust and the British Council, called the ‘River of Hope’. This art-based project linked schools globally through the study of, rivers and climate change to form the central part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Students participated in the project with a belief to bring about a change and address some pertinent environmental issues through their artwork.
  • We collaborate with Boston Latin School, Massachusetts, USA on the Project: Global Exploration of Civic Obligation and Civic Responsibility to Advance a Worldwide Common or Collective Good. Our students participate, debate, and engage in conversation with international students using multi-modal ways of communication to put forth their points of view.
  • The Anthology of Poems: Around the World is another international collaborative project spearheaded by our school. This project, a compilation of poems in a flipbook, was the culmination of international collaboration across schools from 13 countries, 21 schools involving  29 teachers, and 93 poets. The project addressed Sustainable Development Goal 4 – The Education Goal, Target 4.7 Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship.

In conclusion, due to the paradigm shift in the concept of school in present unpredictable times, our effort at DPS Gurgaon is to develop a curriculum that fosters innovation and creativity amongst learners. We feel that education should provide knowledge applicable beyond the printed pages of textbooks, empowering one to face real-life issues and promote a sustainable ecosystem for everyone.

About the author:

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Ms. Aditi Misra is an alumnus of Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram. She graduated from the Lady Sri Ram College, the University of Delhi with a BA (Honours) in History.

She is the Founder Principal of DPS Gurgaon for 20 years.

She was the CBSE master trainer for CCE and has ideated many books ranging from Life Skills, Art and the CBSE ibook in Social Studies. She has written a series on Social Studies for Class III to V with Pearson Education.

She is a philanthropist, who has initiated many community outreach programs and has collaborated with various NGOs to give back to the community (Cancer Support, Education for the marginalised). She runs a school (non-formal education) for a thousand underprivileged students in the afternoon on the premises of her school.

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Salient Features of NEP-2020

The National Education Policy 2020 proposes various reforms in school education as well as higher education including technical education.

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Ministry of Education, Government of India

National Education Policy 2020 was announced on 29.07.2020. The National Education Policy 2020 proposes various reforms in school education as well as higher education including technical education. A number of action points/activities for implementation in school education as well as higher education are mentioned in the National Education Policy 2020. Details of the salient features of NEP 2020 are as follows-

  1. Ensuring Universal Access at All Levels of schooling from pre-primary school to Grade 12;
  2. Ensuring quality early childhood care and education for all children between 3-6 years;
  3. New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure (5+3+3+4);
  4. No hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between    vocational and academic streams;
  5. Establishing National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy;
  6. Emphasis on promoting multilingualism and Indian languages; The medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language.
  7. Assessment reforms – Board Exams on up to two occasions during any given school year, one main examination and one for improvement, if desired;
  8. Setting up of a new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development);
  9. Equitable and inclusive education – Special emphasis is given to Socially and Economically Disadvantaged  Groups (SEDGs);
  10. A separate Gender Inclusion fund and Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups;
  11. Robust and transparent processes for recruitment of teachers and merit based performance;
  12. Ensuring availability of all resources through school complexes and clusters;

(xiii) Setting up of State School Standards Authority (SSSA);

(xiv) Exposure to vocational education in school and higher education system;

  1. Increasing GER in higher education to 50%;

(xvi) Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education with multiple entry/exit options;

  1. NTA to offer Common Entrance Exam for Admission to HEIs;
  2. Establishment of Academic Bank of Credit;

(xix) Setting up of Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs);

  1. Setting up of National Research Foundation (NRF);

(xxi) ‘Light but Tight’ regulation;

  1. The single overarching umbrella body for the promotion of the higher education sector including teacher education and excluding medical and legal education- the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)-with independent bodies for standard setting- the General Education Council; funding-Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC); accreditation- National Accreditation Council (NAC); and regulation- National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC);
  2. Expansion of open and distance learning to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER).
  3. Internationalization of Education
  4. Professional Education will be an integral part of the higher education system. Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities, or institutions in these or other fields, will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.
  5. Teacher Education – 4-year integrated stage-specific, subject-specific Bachelor of Education
  6. Establishing a National Mission for Mentoring.
  7. Creation of an autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, and administration. Appropriate integration of technology into all levels of education.
  8. Achieving 100% youth and adult literacy.
  9. Multiple mechanisms with checks and balances will combat and stop the commercialization of higher education.
  10. All education institutions will be held to similar standards of audit and disclosure as not-for-profit entities.
  11. The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
  12. Strengthening of the Central Advisory Board of Education to ensure coordination to bring overall focus on quality education.

NEP 2020 aims to increase the GER to 100% in preschool to secondary level by 2030 whereas GER in Higher Education includes vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035.

The Central Sector Scheme Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) was launched in 2014 to address comprehensively all issues related to Teacher Training/ Capacity Building and Professional Development of Teachers. Under the components, a total of 95 Centres were established throughout the country through which faculties/Teachers have been trained. Currently, The Standing Finance Committee has appraised the Scheme and recommended it for continuation till 2025-2026 with a total outlay of Rs. 493.68 crores. Under the PMMMNMTT Scheme Centres are established on the basis of the proposals received from education institutions, their screening by the Screening Committee, and approval by the Project Approval Board.

The information was given by the Minister of State for Education, Dr. Subhas Sarkar in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on 1st August 2022.

Here is a set of infographics highlighting the fundamental principles of National Education Policy 2020:

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School Innovation Council

School Innovation Council (SIC), an initiative taken by the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell (MIC) was launched on 1 July 2022 and has been introduced to all schools in all the states including Rajasthan.

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School Innovation Council (SIC), an initiative taken by the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell (MIC) was launched on 1 July 2022 and has been introduced to all schools in all the states including Rajasthan. It is a council of teachers, students, and experts from industry and academia to conduct round-the-year activities for students and teachers on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, monitored through the SIC portal of the MIC, to record the influence at the ground level.

SIC will enable mindset change, awareness, and training on Ideation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, design thinking, Intellectual Property Rights, start-up finance, and HR among teachers and students. It will also enable the ranking system for schools on the level of innovation-oriented activities.

To implement the SIC council in all schools across the nation, the SIC portal has been developed where schools can register themselves. All registered schools are encouraged to perform innovation-related activities as per the SIC Calendar Activities that include Leadership talks, motivation sessions, webinars, sessions, awareness, boot camps inviting innovative ideas from the student, development of the prototype, and national level exhibition of the best prototypes, etc. (for complete info refer section XI in SIC document under download section, https://sic.mic.gov.in/).

NEP 2020 envisages the education system to include a ‘light but tight’ regulatory framework to ensure integrity, transparency, and resource efficiency of the educational system through audit and public disclosure while encouraging innovation and out-of-the-box ideas through autonomy, and good governance, and empowerment. Besides, NEP has a provision for School Complex Management Committees for more robust and improved governance, monitoring, oversight, innovations, and initiatives by local stakeholders.

In order to strengthen the mentoring capacity of teachers for cultivating and handholding innovative and ingenious ideas from students, the School Innovation Ambassador Training program (SIATP) was launched through an online Mode. Under SIATP, teachers undergo 72 hours of training and those who qualify for all the five modules i.e. 1. Design Thinking & Innovation;  2. Idea generation & Idea hand-holding; 3. Finance/Sales/HR; 4. Intellectual Property Rights(IPR); 5. Entrepreneurship and Prototype/ Product Development;  with a minimum of 50% passing marks are recognized as “Innovation Ambassadors” which makes them competent to nurture young school students in Ideation, IPR, product development, design thinking, problem-solving, critical thinking, and skills of entrepreneurship.

The information was given by the Minister of State for Education, Smt. Annpurna Devi in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on 1st August 2022.

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All Students are Good Students

To know more about ValidateMe Digital Certificates, visit validateme.online.

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“Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid”

We live by this quotation and believe that every child is talented and deserving. When given an appropriate platform, every child can achieve great heights.

Schools are intended to provide the right environment for children for their overall development. However, not every child is perceived as a “good student” at school. Not every child performs to the best of his capability at school and during formative years. The chief difference between good and bad students is that the former take responsibility for their education; the latter is passive in the face of their teachers’ expectations.

Teachers, you have prime responsibility in your students’ learning journey. An emphasis on learning and personal growth, not grades or testing scores, should be the primary goal of every teacher. Every child’s learning journey is distinctive. Hence, the focus must be shifted more to learning than just competition.

The best way to assist a child is to make him responsible for his/her learning journey and equip him with a sense of freedom to choose his/her path. With the teacher’s encouragement, all students should be nudged to take responsibility for their education path. If a student is confident about his abilities and abilities to learn, then they will not fear failure. Knowing what they want from education and being confident that they can master it allows a child or youth to take control of their lives in fundamental ways so that at least a decent standard of living is attainable.

Learning with Digital Certificates and Badges

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Good teachers keep the classroom going and actively promote their students’ learning. One of the easiest ways to bring a sense of ownership and motivation to a child’s learning journey is with  Digital Certificates and Badges to felicitate every student’s milestone. These milestones can be set according to a student’s learning capacity and pace. ValidateMe.Online is a unique platform that allows you to create and issue certificates when your students achieve milestones. ValidateMe.Online also gives your students access to an exclusive digital vault where they receive all the certificates, to enable them to keep track of their learning curve. Read “How schools are using digital credentials to empower students” to know how you can leverage Digital certificates and badges for your students.

At the same time, rewarding and pushing the students to do better isn’t always the best strategy. Teachers should know when to let their students slack off and even help them with their assignments. Learning and curriculum are only one part of development, and a student should know that it is not the end of the world if he/she is lagging.

In the end, we hope that every child carries a mountain of hope and confidence within themselves and that schools reinforce this daily.

To know more about ValidateMe Digital Certificates, visit validateme.online.

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