nano-self-learning expeditions for UoM students

Create 10 teams : of about 5 members each
10 topics to pursue nao-self-learning expeditions
Each team presentation to be in about 6 minutes of about 10 slides or speaking from a set of notes. there will be 3 minutes for Q&A from the audience. So each team gets about 9 minutes for their presentation.
Total time taken will be about 100 minutes.

This is an experiment based upon Feynman’s advice that if you want to learn something then plan to teach that thing. This is often called the pedagogy of ‘ learning by teaching’.

Below are a few suggested topics. We are happy to include a few more from students to make a larger pool from which the 10 teams can choose one each.

1: Driver less cars: potential & implications
2: Drones :potential & implications
3: Multi-purpose robots:potential & implications
4: High order machine intelligence such as Watson:potential & implicationsq
5: Ubiquitous access to SuperComputers: implications
6: Improving Farming with sensors and networking: possibilities
7: Smart Cities: how can existing cities be transformed to Smart Cities?
8: How can future technologies help Diabetic ( other life-style diseases) patients?
9: Delivering Learning on Mobile Devices.
10: Acquiring the learning in an MBA program from MOOCs and OERs
11: How the world of Apps can transform Education ?
12: Enhancing Conversational Capital : why would people talk about you/ your company?
13: How will emerging technologies transform the hotel industry?
14: Blue Ocean Strategy
15: Launching a new religion for the CIIDD world.
16: Use of Infographics in business communications/ presentations.

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Learner Disposition

Most people tend to take the formal academic credentials to the most important part of their education and often the be all and end all of their educational pursuits
While academic credentials are important, perhaps critical, they represent the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’ for success.
Having read through many reports and books and articles, I have tried to put these in one page and list them belw.
For those who are familiar with the traditional Indian horoscope, it is easy to imagine a mapping to the 12 houses in the horoscope.

The 12 elements of the learner disposition portfolio :
1. The element ( as proposed by Ken Robinson, where aptitude meets passion)
2. Creativity and Innovation
3. Social Skills/competencies : Leadership
4. Multiple Intelligence
5. English language Skills/competence
6. Communication Skills
7. Character : Grit, Perseverence, deferred gratification, empathy, optimism and a sense of gratitude.
8. Emotional Quotient
9. Academic Qualifications and Credentials
10. Learning to Learn : autonomous self-directed learner
11. Abstract, Scientific, Mathematical and Computational Thinking
12. Financial Acumen and Entrepreneurial Spirit

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The 7 Streams of the VishwaGurukul Academy: current thinking

Our Focus: Addressing life-long learning:
Each of these would be treated as a project. There are 7 streams and 16 projects identified as of now. More projects may be added in due course.
Stream 1: Elementary and Pre-School:
1.1: Pre-natal, neo-natal and pre-School learning ( targetted at young or prospective parents, and not the children themselves)
1.2: Classes 1 to 5 ( targetted at parents and teachers with some activities designed for the children)
Stream 2: Middle School :
2.1: Class 6 ( targetted at the students with some support materials and programs for teachers and parents)
2.2: Class 7 ( targetted at the students with some support materials and programs for teachers and parents)
2.3: Class 8 ( targetted at the students with some support materials and programs for teachers and parents)
Stream 3: Secondary School :
3.1: Class 9 ( targetted at the students, who are oriented to become autonomous self-directed learners with some support materials and programs for teachers and parents)
3.2: Class 10 ( targetted at the students, who are oriented to become autonomous self-directed learners with some support materials and programs for teachers and parents)

Stream 4: Senior Secondary School:
4.1: Class 11 ( targetted at the students, who are expected to become autonomous self-directed learners with some support materials and programs for teachers and parents)
4.2: Class 12 ( targetted at the students, who are expected to become autonomous self-directed learners with some support materials and programs for teachers and parents)

Stream 5: Post Secondary Education ( concurrent programs at University level)
5.1: Management Strans: Focus on Entreprenurship in a Knowledge Dara driven environment, including Educational Entrepreneurship
5.2: Computing Strand: Coding for all : Scratch, Python and many others, Computational Thinking: Computer Based Maths, Tinkering with digital systems, Making with 3D Printers, Gaming and Games Development, Apps Development

Stream 6: Life-long Learning :

6.1:Continuing Professional Education: Learning during the Thirties
6.2: Second Innings : School for the 40+
6.3: Retirement Planning : Learning in the Fifties
6.4: Post Retirement Learning in the Sixties and Beyond

Stream 7: The Long Tail:
7.1: Programs from Independent Educators; structured as nano-MOOCs, micro-MOOCs and mini-MOOCs
This stream is what we can start ( have actually started) with a few courses from me. A draft announcement flyer for this is ready

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The VishwaGurukul Academy : a few preliminary ideas

The VishwaGurukul Academy : A venture of and by 21st Century JagadGurus for 21st Century UberSmart Learners

Vision: To create a new personalised learning environment ” mobile first, wearable next” with wireless Internet and personalised flipped, blended and jigsaw learning to supplement and complement the existing formal educational structures and is entrepreneurially driven.

Indian thought leaders (15) who have inspired this initiative:
1. The Upanishads, Vedas and ancient Hindu heritage
2. Vivekanand
3. Aurobindo
4. Aryabhatta
5. Panini
6. Mahatma Gandhi
7. Gautam Buddha
8. Sir Syed ( founder of AMU)
9. Guru Nanak or other Sikh Guru with views on education
10. Mahavira or other Jain thought leader
11. Srinivas Ramanujam
12. Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore
13. Satyendranath Bose
14. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan
15. Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya

We can add to this list, to have more inspirational ideas that may have been omitted above.

Inspiration from 10 Modern Educational Thought Leaders: ( listed in alphabetical order of first name)

“ If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”: Isaac Newton

1. Burton R Clark
2. Clayton Christensen
3. George Siemens
4. Guy Claxton
5. John Daniel
6. Ken Robinson
7. Ram Takwale
8. Richard Feynman
9. Salman Khan
10. Stephen Downes

We wish to acknowledge the above named modern educational thought leaders whose ideas have influenced our architecture of the next generation ecosystem for learning. The dots that we are trying to connect from these luminaries are as follows:
Burton R Clark ( The Entrepreneurial University), Clayton Christensen ( Personalisation of learning as the Disruption in education), George Siemens ( Connectivism and MOOCs), Guy Claxton ( developing learning power), John Daniel ( massification of quality education), Ken Robinson ( learner uniqueness, creativity and creating the right climate), Ram Takwale ( importance of an always connected learning environment), Richard Feynman ( learning to teach as the real learning), Salman Khan ( flipped teaching, chunking of learning and Analytics), Stephen Downes ( with George Siemens on Connectivism and MOOCs)

Reports on Educational matters from time to time:
1. UNESCO reports on mobile learning and Open Education Resources.
2. Horizon reports on Emerging Educational Technologies
3. UKOU reports on Innovative Pedagogies
4. World Bank and ADB reports on Education

The Implementation approach is at the intersection of 3 ideas in the following books:
1. Blue Ocean Strategy: Kim and Renee Maugborne
2. Disrupting Class : Clayton Christensen
3. The Long Tail : Chris Anderson

Main features of the Teaching-Learning model:
1. A next generation campus. Technology driven and technology embedded futuristic education. Learning 221 ( my trademark).
2. Teaching method: flipped teaching blended with personalised remote coaching and mentoring, including some guidance on becoming a self-directed, collaborative and co-operative learner.
3. Every learner will be using as access device a Tablet or Smartphone for learning. In 2 words, the motto will be ‘ Mobile First’. And no particular device will be forced on the learners. This is the BYOD ( Bring Your Own Device) philosophy. In due course, when appropriate, wearable devices will also be used. So ” Mobile First, Wearable Next”. ( MFWN)
4. Adopting what is doable with latest educational technologies
5. Implementing the latest innovative pedagogies, which are learnt of from an Observatory and experimented with in our ‘ Educational Innovation Centre’
6. New generation Physical Learning Spaces that encourage thinking, tinkering and making in the Rainbow Clubs.

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5 Transformational Ideas for Indian Education

5 Transformational Ideas for Indian Education:

1: MOOCs impacting School leavers

* MOOCs is the story of the ‘ugly duckling that became a swan’. Now that IITs have jumped on to this bandwagon, we may use it for improving the quality of our School education.
* The idea is to offer MOOCs appropriate for learners at class 11 and 12 of School in subjects such as Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, English, etc. Admissions to higher education Institutions with limited seats can then be made on the performance of learners on tests on these. This will truly create equality of opportunity and reduce if not eliminate the coaching industry.
* At the very least it will improve the quality of the entire higher education system, because learners would have experienced what the future higher education system would be like, with MOOCs from the best Universities of the world being accessible to all learners on their handheld devices.

2: India as the world’s hub for ‘ Educational Apps’

* India has perhaps the largest number of students for any country in the world. It also has a very large penetration and adoption of the mobile phone. The model of learning to ‘ reach the unreached’ is therefore of Apps on mobile devices.
* India has well established and firmly demonstrated competencies in IT development. It is therefore in a good position to use the potential of its domestic demand to underwrite a comprehensive mobile App development program that can then move to the world. Else or perhaps it is already planning Amazon will seize this space.
* Malawi, perhaps the 4th poorest country of the world that has 300 students per teacher has adopted Tablets and Apps for teaching Mathematics to its children. These Apps are now being considered for adoption in UK schools. A report is available at : BBC News – Malawi app teaches UK children a lesson

3: Developing the UberSmart Autonomous Self-Directed Learner

* The attributes and dispositions of our learners today have to change from passive learners being taught the ‘Queens English’ to co-explorers of learning and creators of learning. From extrinsically motivated to intrinsically motivated learners with skills for success in future.
* Worldwide thought leaders concerned with their future in a knowledge driven economy are pursuing this in widely varying contexts such as Finland, Singapore and South Korea.
* We have made an attempt to create an awareness and sensitisation program that is available for free at :

4: Promoting Independent Educators
* The Prime Minister on teacher’s day said that a teacher never retires. Just as a lawyer, doctor, engineer, architect, chartered accountant can work for a state government, the central government, a large corporation, a small business or independently on his own, similarly qualified educators could work on their own.

* A teaching profession, with International standards would allow independent practitioners to move about under mode 4 of the GATS as well as practice their profession at home without the need for Institutional intermediaries.

* We can create a ‘ 21st Century Gurukul for 21st Century Gurus’ program where using MOOCs and flipped teaching, we can over 6 months (21 weeks) equip passionate educators in modern ICT tools for synchronous and asynchronous interactions across the globe, making the ‘ Digital Jagadgurus’

5: New Thinking for the new millennium:
* We have already entered the 2nd decade of the 21st Century. We had been talking about the coming 21st century, that we have not noticed that half of its second decade is upon us.
* We have to inculcate in our youth the abilities of learning to learn, traditional analytical and critical thinking, creative and innovative thinking, design thinking, strategic thinking, computer coding and computational thinking
* Learning is not a spectator sport and must include activities that encourage tinkering with single board computers such as Raspberry Pi, making things with 3D printers, playing with robots and drones with goal oriented projects such as ‘ swachch Bharat’. We should make all efforts to bring in events like the World Robot Olympiad to India. This can be done earliest by 2016, because for 2014 it is in Russia and in 2015 it is at Qatar.


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Would Gandhiji be delighted with a mobile in every hand, and see it as a symbol of empowerment?

On Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary one’s thoughts naturally turn to his views on education. In a famous Chatham House, London speech on October 29,1931 he held the British Administration responsible for the destruction of ‘the Beautiful tree’ of Indian education. To him the purpose of education transcended employability and he believed that persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisite for acquiring learning of any kind. He was advocating a Scientic temper and suggesting a self-directed learner. He thought of education as a liberating force, whereas the rulers wanted to use education also as a force of subjugation. His charkha was a disruptive instrument to challenge large scale industrialisation. Today it is the mobiles, handhelds and 3D printers that challenge mammoth manufacturing. The emergence of communities of practice and forums to help, the possibilities of crowd funding all show instances of the kind of society that Gandhiji would have wanted. Perhaps he would have been delighted that large scale de-humanising industrialisation is yielding to an age of enlightenment that is empowering the individual in learning, thinking, tinkering and making, and Gandhiji advocated working with own hands.

So, would Gandhiji be delighted with the way new technology is empowering the masses? According to a contrary viewpoint it is creating fresh divides in terms of access and resulting empowerment. So would Swaraj for him in today’s context mean high bandwidth, space in the ‘cloud’ and a mobile access device in every hand?

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Why become a USASDL?

Why becoming an UberSmart autonomous self-directed learner is essential for success ?

Plato had an inscription at his academy in Athens (ca 387 BC) that said ” let no one ignorant of geometry enter “.
The road to the 21st century has an unwritten advice ” Only UberSmart Self-directed Autonomous learners are welcome”. So no bans, but friendly advice.
Why is it so? We have moved over a relatively short period of a couple of decades to an information abundant and hyper-connected society. It’s greatest effect has been a greater challenge on all of us to become life-long learners, who have to continue to learn, unlearn and relearn for ever. Somewhat like in the Red Queen’s race in Lewis Carrol’s ‘ Through the looking glass’ wherein the Queen says “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
So, the ritual of education alone will not take you far. If you really want to go someplace, you have to do more than just traditional compliance with the mandatory requirements.
Let me explain the terms used in the title of this program. I coined the term UberSmart Learner to describe a learner who is well versed in current information skills and can learn almost anything on his/her own from existing information resources and social media, and demonstrate the learning at a comparable level to one who has been formally taught the same stuff, and then some more. That is the ‘uber. An automobile is something that moves on the basis of its own mechanisms, without having to be pulled or pushed by another. An auto-didact is one who is driven to learning on his own, and a self-directed learner can satisfactorily respond to why and what should he learn, how to learn and knowing that he has learnt what he set out to learn?

Schools are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning and implementing Education 3.0.
Education 1.0, the ritual of education is largely a one-way process where the 3Rs are : receive in class lectures, respond by taking notes and re-gurgigate in exams.

Education 2.0 includes more interaction between the teacher and student; student to student; and student to content/expert. But we will move on to
Education 3.0 which is based on the belief that content is freely and readily available. It is self-directed, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation and creativity drive education.
Education 3.0 is a constructivist, heutagogical approach to teaching and learning. The teachers, learners, networks, connections, media, resources, tools create a a unique entity that has the potential to meet individual learners’, educators’, and even societal needs.

Many learners aren’t all that well prepared by traditional or present day schooling to handle the massive flow of information and the continual need for upgrading our knowledge and skills that are demanded for flourishing and thriving in the “knowledge, innovation, creative ideas economy” in which we now live.

Now we’re at the dawn of a new era, in which the focus has shifted to potential to deal with the future, rather than certified skills, knowledge or experience acquired in the past. In a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment (VUCA is the military-acronym-turned-corporate-buzzword), the most critical attribute is whether you have the potential to learn?

If you can’t wait to become a USASDL, all you have to do is to go to and register for a FREE course for the same.
And this course will help you get ready to prosper and flourish in the future.
My best wishes for success.

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