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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Education and Technology

As I travel the world exploring various methods that other Countries are improving and implementing the current models of broadband deployment, access, and training to bridge the global digital divide, I am more and more coming to the firm understanding that education and technology have to go hand in hand.  Now this is not a new concept or idea, but what types of educational content that will be effective in truly presenting underserved citizens with empowering uses of the Internet, will be key in this fight to connect every home and person on a global level.  You can not have technology without the complement of educational content in order to address digital divide impediments. On the other hand, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in how technology will be the one uniting factor to fuel, progress, and advance future and impacting educational initiatives around the world.  Thus, the quest for the right model continues…..  

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB)
The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore is India’s comparative to Wharton in the United States. A 100-acre oasis in south Bangalore, the IIMB, with its all-stone architecture, lush verdant woods and landscaped gardens provides an idyllic environment to engage in management studies, academics and learning. Located in India’s high technology capital, IIMB is in close proximity to some of the leading corporate houses in the country, ranging from information technology to consumer product companies, giving it the added advantage of integrating classroom knowledge with practical experience.
IIMB was established in 1973, the Institute has since then built on its base of highly accomplished faculty, world class infrastructure and motivated student body to emerge as one of the premier institutes for management education and research promoting managerial excellence in the country.  IIMB strives to achieve excellence through partnerships with industry, and leading academic institutions, the world over. IIMB’s mission is to “build leaders through holistic, transformative and innovative education.”

Dr. Rajeev Gowda, the Chairperson for the Centre for Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Social Sciences, invited me to speak to the IIMB Women’s Entrepreneur group on a very beautiful Friday afternoon.   I had the opportunity to speak and make a presentation to about 25 young IIMB women entrepreneurs, policy researchers, and various students of differing disciplines, about Wilco, our business, the Eisenhower Fellowship program, technology and the national and local broadband initiatives taking place in the US.  This was my first time as a guest speaker at an academic institution of such high repute.  Loved the opportunity. Especially was overjoyed to have a conversation and dialogue with young Indian women about these issues and hear what concerns, questions, and feedback they had in regards to deployment and processes in the United States. 

In the end, I received some tough questions from this very energetic and engaged group that has lead me to further hone the supposed outcomes and what exactly needs to be assessed from this our broadband efforts in the States. Overall, a great way to end the week and my time in Bangalore.

Thank you Ladies! You made my day. 

International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore ( IIIT-b)
The International Institute of Information Technology, a Deemed University, popularly known as IIIT-B, was established in 1999 with a vision to contribute to the IT world by focusing on education and research, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Since its inception, IIIT-B, with its unique model of education, research, and industry interaction, has grown in stature to become an institution of considerable repute in academic as well as corporate circles. 

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Professor S. Sadagopan, The Director of IIT-b, and about 5 other professors at to share and discuss the Eisenhower Program, my proposed objectives, Wilco, our missions and goals for growth, and to discuss overall, technology in India and what can be utilized in the US marketplace. 

Professor Sadagopan and his colleagues were very versed and extremely knowledgeable about what is going on globally in technology and where India takes its place in this vast eco system.  During our discussion, the suggestion that corporations or businesses who are part of these digital divide private / public partnerships must be able to employ or offer employment to underserved communities after they have completed training, if jobs are going to be an assessment factor for the success of these government funded initiatives.  In addition, computer based “task centric” assessments should also be a considering factor when including specific action items associated with success and outcomes of these broadband/ digital divide partnerships as well.   This will help to justify the need for additional government funding if specific outcomes are able to articulated, monitored, and met.
Thank you IIIT-b! Great conversation on many different levels.

Shristi School of Art, Design, and Technology

Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology was founded in 1996 by the Ujwal Trust with the objective of providing art and design education in an environment of creativity to maximize the individual’s potential. Srishti's mission is facilitated by its organizational structure – a “community of learners” comprising industry-experienced faculty and energetic students who continually explore and experiment with art and design pedagogies, aesthetics, values and innovative practices.

Srishti has a strong indigenous cultural grounding in the teaching of the visual arts and also provides a liberal arts curriculum comparable to reputed institutions in the West. Srishti is interfacing with institutions across the world with a vision for and commitment to quality education through new technologies and pedagogies.  

Through the Artists-in-Residence and Research Associate programmes, Srishti supports new and critical innovations in the field of art and culture using real world projects to enable an integrated cognition of the design and communication arena, facilitating at times an environment where one can “earn and learn”.

I ended my week long list of meetings in Bangalore at a place which is surrounded by one of my favorite things, arts and culture.  Indira Chowdury who is a professor at Shristi and a Center For Advanced Study of India Fellow through the University of Pennsylvania, invited me to the campus to meet several professors and technologists who engage in learning, research, and the education of students through creative and innovative methods. 

While at Shristi, I met with Warren Greving and Girish Prabhu who run the Shristi labs group out of the campus.  Their mission lobo says it all “ enriching the early phase of innovation”.  Essentially, under the leadership of Warren, who is an US ex-pat who has basically settled in India for the last 10 years, conducts research in the rural India that deal with technology for corporations, organizations, institutions, etc..  The conversation I had with Warren and his team was very beneficial in regards to how to assess our marketplace and their needs and success in digital divide initiatives.  Content surveys were suggested. As well as broad levels of group sharing in order to not only cut down on theft of service but begin innovative ways to engage the community we serve.  Overall a great conversation that again, helped to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Lastly, I was able to visit two classrooms in engaged in creative and innovative learning. One class had the students drawing art forms that they were learning from local artisans to increase technology models of education in the labs.  So cool to see this! I also visited a school and classroom for under-privileged children that were engaging in textile and embroidery making in order to enhance the educational outcomes and successes of the various creative and innovative curriculum models.  These kids were the highlight of the week. Loved talking to them, laughing with them, and seeing their faces glow after creating pieces of beautiful art and innovation.

Thank you Indira! A great way to cap a wonderful and blessed week in “India’s Silicon Valley”

Goodbye Bangalore!


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