Author Archives: Cherian

Google Classroom. Admissions opening soon!

21 Aug , 2014,
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‘MORE TEACHING, LESS TECH-ING.’ What an intriguing headline!

It caught my eye and led me to find out what the search giant was up to in a field that’s been close to my heart – Education.

Besides, experience has taught me that whenever Google enters an industry; chances are that some major game-changing may be underfoot.

“Classroom is a new tool in Google Apps for Education that helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with their classes.” Thus reads the introduction page of the new service from the search giant.

Naturally, I was curious to know more, and this is what I found. It gives teachers access to a content management system that allows them to post updates and homework assignments, add and remove students from their classes, and provide them with feedback (including grades). The service is integrated with Google Drive and the productivity applications, such as Google Docs and Slide.

It also makes the teacher’s routine tasks and monitoring a lot easier.

Create and collect assignments: Classroom joins together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly. They can quickly see who has or hasn’t completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback to individual students.

Communicate effortlessly: Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class.

Organise Content: Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what’s due on their Assignments page.

Currently, Classroom is available in 42 languages. So the impact of the service will go global . When it was announced in May 2014, more than 100,000 educators from more than 45 countries signed up for a preview. That’s a huge number and an indication of its potential to transform education as we know it.

Google Classrooms is definitely something to keep track of, for anyone interested in developments in Training and Education in the brave, new world.

Settle down comfortably with your favorite paperback. Err… mobilephone.

12 Jun , 2014,
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Is the mobile phone becoming the new book?

As mobile screens become larger and resolutions sharper, more and more readers are embracing the handiness of mobile phones over the familiar printed & bound paper format

And why not indeed?

Epub, Mobi and other ebook reader software has evolved rapidly to offer unprecedented customizing options (fonts, spacing, margins, book marks, size, etc). The range of works across genres available in the ebook format is ballooning. Major global news papers and magazine publications have begun switching to the tablet format en masse.

Question is: Why not use mobile devices in organizational learning?

Sure, there are some valid obstacles. The usual suspects include the cost of device, IT support capability for a wide range of smart devices, an older workforce who are tech averse, and the BIG issue of adapting training content to the Mobile phone.
The last one – Content, is quite a challenge. Because it involves more than just a format change.

Entire Lesson need to be reimagined to make them bite sized. And be able to incorporate Retrival Learning and quizzes. It should support spaced repletion. And ideally, have an element of gamification built in to drive learner engagement.
While these remain valid issues that organizations need to address, the sheer momentum of mobile adoption across the country seems to indicate that the time for mobile training is imminent. What do you think?

To BYOD or not to BYOD. That is the question

12 May , 2014,
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Bringing your own smart device to use at work is no longer an emerging trend, it’s a fact of life. It also brings along a host of sticky policy issues for the organisation. Technology heads and HR departments have been wrestling with this issue for the last few years. While no clear viewpoint has emerged, one thing is certain: The number of personal devices will only increase; and a formal organisational policy will be required sooner rather than later.

In fact, personally owned smart devices in the workplace have become so ubiquitous, it is now a serious cause of concern for enterprises. Where there was once a closed space of company-issued smartphones, is now a growing, fragmented ecosystem of smart devices.

Is it a boon or bane? There are valid points to be made for both sides of the argument. One the one hand, it positively impacts employee morale, boosts productivity and in some cases, users even buy their own devices. On the other, there are questions on data security, sharing cost of data access, misuse of corporate information and the responsibility of possibility of illegal activity from within the workplace.

In the Indian context, enterprises are moving forward cautiously. Anecdotal evidence says that they are yet to find solutions to compliance and security issues as well as have the means to support multi-brand, multi-platform devices.
What is required for a win-win is a kind of formal co-operation between employees and the organizations that takes into account the real issues at stake here.

If you have any ideas or views on how you see BYOD from an organisational viewpoint, I would be interested to know. Do write in with your views!

Is your organization’s head in the Cloud?

11 Apr , 2014,
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While the origins of the Cloud can be traced back to the 1950’s, it entered the mainstream about 8 years back when Amazon launched its Web Services. It allows users to rent virtual computers on which to run their own computer applications. The benefits are so huge, that today, the cloud has become the centerpiece of major training programs worldwide.

So why should you care? Here are some reasons why:

Takes the pain out of delivery
In the old onsite delivery model the organization buys, installs, accesses, controls and maintains all learning applications and courseware in-house. In the new cloud delivery model the cloud hosts all or part of the organization’s learning applications and courseware.
So Training organizations will no longer be required to be experts on the underlying infrastructure to deliver training — the computation, software, networking, storage and so on. They can instead focus on their core competency and what they do best — educating.

Boost learning engagement with video capability
Online video on mobile devices has become the rage across the world. Your employees love the new medium. So it makes sense to piggyback on the momentum to increase learning engagement. Cloud services like Youtube takes the pain out of loading and serving video. The cloud is designed for global, 24/7 delivery of learning content through various technologies — laptops, mobile devices, tablets and more.
Cuts down labor and costs
The Cloud takes care of the technology aspects. This will free time, management talent and resources to be directed toward critical organizational needs. This boosts efficiency and brings down costs on an ongoing basis.
More independence to the both user and organization.
Since content and applications in the cloud are easy organise, simple to update and instantly accessible, cloud technology can grant greater autonomy to the user and learning organization. The learner can learn at his convenience and the organisation can load extensive content that can be accessed as needed.

There are so many more ways the Cloud can help to improve your organisations learning efficiency, and is evolving rapidly as more and more services get on the cloud. The Cloud seems to be here to stay. Will you be a part of it?

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