OLE Nepal March-April 2012 Newsletter - Issue 14

We hope you enjoy this edition of OLE Nepal Newsletter, a bi-monthly email newsletter from Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Nepal. It provides current news and information about the organisation and its activities and will keep you up to date with OLE Nepal's work to provide high quality education for children in Nepal.

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OLPC Program Expansion

Officials from OLE Nepal and the Department of Education (DoE) visited Banke, Baglung and Solukhumbu districts ahead of the launch of the ICT-integrated education program at the beginning of the new academic year. The program, supported by Government of Finland’s Fund for Local Cooperation (FLC) and implemented jointly by DoE and OLE Nepal, aims to improve quality of education and increase students’ interest in learning through the integration of technology and digital learning materials in daily teaching-learning process. During the interaction programs held in the districts, OLE Nepal and DoE officials held discussions with the district officials, prospective schools, teachers, and other local stakeholders about the goals of the initiative, school selection criteria, responsibilities of stakeholders, and the expected benefits of the program. The team also visited potential schools in the districts, and identified focal persons for the program at each District Education Office (DEO). Schools interested in the program were asked to fill out a detailed form about how the school planned to meet the infrastructural and human resource needs of the project, what steps they would take to ensure success of the program, and how they thought this would benefit their students. The responses provided by the schools were one of the factors used in the selection process.

Banke

An interaction program held at the Banke DEO in Nepalgunj on March 9, saw participation from district officials and other local stakeholders. OLE Nepal’s Mr. Subir Pradhanang and Mr. Tikaraj Karki, and DoE official Mr. Narayan Prasad Subedi gave presentation about the initiative, and the team identified Mr. Man Prasad Regmi as the focal person for the program at the DEO. The team also visited six potential schools in the district on March 10-11.

Baglung

Baglung

Interaction program at Baglung

The same team from OLE Nepal was accompanied by Mr. Krishna Prasad Ghimire from DoE on the visit to Baglung from March 29 to April 1. The interaction program held at the DEO in Baglung headquarters was attended by school supervisors and other local stakeholders. Mr. Kusma Raj Upadhyaya was designated the focal person for the program at the DEO. This was followed by a visit to potential schools in the district where the team interacted with School Management Committee (SMC) members, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), school principals and teachers.

Solukhumbu

Solu Survey

Participants taking notes about OLPC Program in Solu

Mr. Sunil Pokhrel and Mr. Abhishek Singh from OLE Nepal, and Mr. Damodar Regmi from DoE visited Solukhumbu on April 7-8. At an interaction program for interested schools held at Jana Jagriti Lower Secondary School in Salleri, the DEO and DoE representatives shed light on the importance of integrating ICT in education. The current District Education Officer, Mr. Devendra Khanal, is very familiar with the project because he was previously the head of DEO in Mustang when OLE Nepal and DoE launched the OLPC program in 2009. The team also designated Mr. Sal Bahadur Pandey as the focal person for the project in Solukhumbu DEO.

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Project Deployment

Following the interaction programs organized at the districts, OLE Nepal and DoE launched ICT-integrated education program in four schools in Banke, and five in Solukhumbu at the beginning of the new academic year. The schools were selected on the basis of recommendations made by DEO upon review of the forms filled out by the schools and interactions with the schools. The program deployment in Baglung had to be delayed due to the ongoing strikes in various parts of the country.

The seven-day-training focused on equipping teachers with the skills necessary to integrate ICT in regular classroom teaching and learning process. The training prepared a total of 55 teachers in the two districts on using computers and digital resources effectively to teach various subjects such as English, Nepali, mathematics and science. The training program was developed by OLE Nepal in collaboration with DoE, National Center of Education Development (NCED), curriculum experts and teachers. Teachers were also provided with a standard teacher manual detailing the usage of the laptops (E-Paati), the curriculum-based digital learning activities developed by OLE Nepal (E-Paath), other educational tools in the laptops, and OLE Nepal’s digital library (E-Pustakalaya).

The training program combined presentations, interactions, hands-on activities, and practice teaching to prepare teachers to successfully conduct ICT-integrated classes. Training teachers on how to use E-Paath activities, and how they can be integrated in regular teaching were the main focus of the training. Various activities were conducted to make the teachers feel comfortable and confident in using E-Paath to teach various subjects. The training program also covered topics such as lesson planning, basic troubleshooting, classroom arrangement, techniques for managing the class, and pre and post non-computer activities that can be used to integrate the computer-based activities more effectively. The training also emphasized the use of digital library E-Pustakalaya and how its content can be used to benefit teachers, students well as the community. Various sections of E-Pustakalaya were briefed and showed to the teachers.

Local resources such as School Supervisors from the DEO and Resource Persons (RP) from Resource Centers were integral part of the training and deployment programs. In addition to learning about ICT-based education and its merits, these resources were prepared to provide support to schools and teachers in the future.

At the end of the training, laptops, school servers, routers, charging racks, UPS, batteries and several other accessories were handed over to the teachers from respective schools.

The OLE Nepal’s deployment team visited the schools after the training program to install school network consisting of school server with E-Pustakalaya and other network equipment. The charging racks were installed where students could reach easily and routers were mounted high on the wall ensuring good balance of wifi signal in every corner of the room. UPS and battery backup systems were installed to supply power to school servers and routers during power outage.

Upon completing the deployment, OLE Nepal team visited all the schools to check proper functioning of the system and to provide needed support to the schools as well as to answer any immediate queries that students and teachers had about the laptops and other equipment.

Banke

The ICT integrated teacher training was conducted for 29 teachers from four schools in Banke district at the Educational Training Center, Nepalgunj from 16- 22 April. The four schools selected for the program were Nepal Rastriya Lower Secondary School-Gharbari Tole, Nepalgunj, Gyanodaya Higher Secondary School- Khajura, Sahid Smarak Higher Secondary School-Kumdi, and Janashakti Lower Secondary School-Balapur. The training was facilitated by OLE Nepal’s trainers, Sunil Pokhrel and Tika Raj Karki, and assisted by Mr. Aman Maharjan. The deployment team of Mr. Basanta Shrestha and Mr. Aman Maharjan visited the schools to install the school network while Mr. Bikee Maharjan joined Aman to provide further support at the schools.

Solukhumbu

OLE Nepal’s trainers Ms. Kamana Regmi and Ms. Usha Joshi conducted teacher training to 26 teachers in Phaplu, Solukhumbu from April 24 to May 1. They were assisted by Kayomars Bilimoria Puri. The five schools selected for the program were Dudhkunda Himalaya Lower Secondary School-Phaplu, Pike Secondary School-Tamakhani, Swarnim Primary School-Salleri, Jana Jagriti Lower Secondary School- Salleri, and Garma Secondary School-Garma. The training was followed by deployment and school network installation.

OLE Nepal’s network engineer Mr. Ram Singh joined the team on April 28th and explained to the teachers about the network function and wiring essential to use E-Paati in schools. He also oriented the teachers on how to connect the school server, switch and router in the class.

Laptops, servers and other equipments were handed over to the school on the last day of the training. Following the training, Mr. Ram Singh and Mr. Kayomars Bilimoria Puri visited all five schools to install school network and spent few extra days in the district to provide further support at the schools.

Rupandehi

Rupandehi

Teachers learning about wireless router during installation in Rupandehi

Mr. Tika Raj Karki and Mr. Basanta Shrestha from OLE Nepal deployed laptops, installed school network and trained six teachers at Shree Shanti Priya School in Rupandehi district from April 27 to May 4. A Danish association, Skoleliv i Nepal, had recently donated twenty laptops to the school, and had partnered with OLE Nepal to prepare the laptops, install E-Pustakalaya server, train the teachers and support the program at the school. Students at the school come from poor and marginalized families belonging to the Musahar communities.

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E-Pustakalaya News

OLE Nepal on a regular basis collects, digitizes and uploads relevant learning materials in E-Pustakalaya and make them available to anyone for free. For this we contact authors, publishers, organizations and other creators, and ask them to contribute their publications to E-Pustakalaya.

With the commencement of School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam in March, we featured SLC support materials in E-Pustakalaya. These support materials included over 50 types of model questions and exam preparation guides in different subjects like science, math and english. During this month, we also expanded health section in E-pustakalaya by adding Hesperian Health Guides which will inform individuals and communities about their health rights.

In April, we added a new category on cottage and small industries that includes different industrial scheme and informative guides for the promotion of small scale products and cottage skills in local communities. E-Pustakalaya also include many academic books in humanities and social sciences that are available under creative commons at OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks).

At the end of April, OLE Nepal met with Ethnic Media Foundation and discussed on the possibility of adding ethnicity related scholarly works to E-Pustakalaya. Ethnic Media Foundation will share over hundred scanned titles published by renowned authors to be made available on E-Pustakalaya.

Titles that have caught our online users attention during the whole of April*

Title Author Downloads
Function of Organs of Speech [Lesson Plan Example] NCED 1174
Hitler Ra Yahudi Bisheshwar Prasad Koirala 222
Nepali Brihad Shabdakosh Nepal Academy 213
Vyavaharikam Samskritam Pramodvardhanah et al. 193
*Does not include the downloads from the offline servers in our program schools

Gulmi

OLE Nepal’s Gaurav Thapa and Sunil Pokhrel went on a two-day visit to Tamghas, the district headquarters of Gulmi from March 15 to 16 to sensitize leaders of 31 schools about OLE Nepal’s E-Pustakalaya, and its benefits. After the presentation that included a demonstration of E-Paath and E-Pustakalaya, the group discussed on possible strategies to introduce digital learning methodologies in schools in Gulmi.

Parbat

Parbat

E-Pustakalaya is available at Moti Community Library, Parbat.

OLE Nepal’s network team visited Moti Community Library from March 25 to 28 in Phalebas, Parbat to setup E-Pustakalaya and provide orientation to local staff. Desktop computers, server and other necessary network equipment were provided with the support of Nepal Library Foundation, Canada. During the initial two days the team set up the lab and networking and installed the computer programs. On the final day, the team oriented 12 participants which included librarians, teachers and local community and did a demo on E-Pustakalaya.

Following the orientation, the team also shared some inspiring stories of how E-Pustakalaya was being used to benefit not just the OLPC program schools but also local communities in other districts. Mr. Bhola Nath Sharma, the chairman of the Library, also underlined the benefits of digital library to the local community.

Kavre

Mr. Ram Singh and Mr. Basanta Shrestha went on a five-day visit to Koshi Dekha, Kavre from April 8 to 10 to install E-Pustakalaya and school network at Shree Ram Higher Secondary School. The team installed operating systems and other applications in seven desktop computers that were at the school. The school headmaster Mr. Rajman Tamang had taken the initiative to improve the school by introducing innovative teaching practices, and he believed that installing E-Pustakalaya at the school will go a long way to providing access to learning materials to students and teachers alike.

The team also briefed about 20 teachers and community members on E-Pustakalaya and E-Paath, and highlighted on the benefits of community oriented books, videos and other materials available freely in E-Pustakalaya. The teacher were also briefed on the network topology of the lab.

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Training Program

Science Training

A two-day science training was held in the Dadeldhura District Education Office from April 30 to May 1 for 15 science teachers from eight program schools in Doti and Dhadheldura where OLE Nepal and DoE have been implementing OLPC program in partnership with the UN World Food Programme. The training was conducted by science subject expert Mr. Ram Prasad Subedi from the Curriculum Development Center (CDC) and Mr. Sunil Pokhrel from OLE Nepal. The training focused on disseminating science related digital activities that emphasized on enhancing understanding of agriculture, health and nutrition while studying science. The trainers discussed the science digital activities for grades two to six developed by OLE Nepal with support from the WFP, and highlighted how they address core scientific ideas as outlined in the national curriculum while reinforcing the concepts with examples and applications relating to agriculture, health, food and nutrition and gender issues. In addition, the program trained teachers on innovative methods of teaching science through process skills and discussed appropriate methods of implementing them in the classroom setting.

Teachers believed that the new methods of teaching such as Predict, Observe and Explain (POE), Gallery walk, and Review, Overview, Presentation, Exercise and Summary (ROPES) could be implemented in their classrooms. The micro-teaching exercises carried out by the participants was promising in regard to achieving ideal ICT integrated teaching.

Belbas Support Visit

Belbas

Students of Shree Siddha Beni Lower Secondary School, Belbas.

A team of trainer and technical support staff from OLE Nepal visited Shree Siddha Beni Lower Secondary School in Belbas, Tanahu from March 20 to 22. The main objective of the visit was to observe and provide feedback to teachers delivering ICT-enabled teaching, support teachers on intricacies of ICT integrated teaching approach, update school server and laptops with new digital resources, and to review the effectiveness of the ICT intervention in teaching and learning. A total of five teachers’ classes were observed by the team. OLE Nepal trainers had earlier conducted a refresher training at the school on December 12-14, 2011.

Rabobank and their clients in cooperation with MeetIn had provided 50 laptops to the school and partnered with OLE Nepal to implement the program including teacher training, equipment and local network installation, monitoring and support.

PESDP at Excelsior

OLE Nepal conducted Progressive Education Skill Development Program (PESDP) at Excelsior School in Kathmandu. The five-day program conducted by Ms. Achala Pokhrel and Ms. Usha Joshi was attended by 20 teachers from the school from April 1 to 5. The participants enthusiastically discussed ideas and practices to improve educational standards of the school and worked on strategies to make learning fun and meaningful for the students. Giving students experience of using hands on materials to work with instead of delivering lectures, helping them to learn by doing, observing and analyzing individual’s learning style, taking them for trips and letting them explore places in detail encouraging them to do post trip activities were some of the strategies discussed that would be useful in teaching and learning.

Refresher Workshop in Triyog School

Triyog

Teachers from Triyog School conducting mini lessons.

OLE Nepal trainer Achala Pokhrel facilitated the refresher workshop for grades 1 to 3 teachers at Triyog School. The main objective of this workshop is to reinforce key concepts and skills learnt during the initial teacher training. This was done more in one on one basis with each teacher. Each teacher’s mini lessons were observed and there was discussions about classroom management. The facilitator emphasized the fact that if the teacher in the first few weeks of a new academic session, discusses and makes classroom rules and job charts and reminds the students on a regular basis, students easily accept and follow rules. Then there was a discussion about how to think of alternative ways to make the best use of whatever facilities they have to make their lessons effective. The teachers came up with brilliant ideas like integrating subjects and taking students out of the classroom to do many activities which was difficult to manage inside.

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Other News

OLE Nepal’s Local Heroes in National Conference

LTK Conference

Ms. Sangyani Thapa sharing her experiences from Navin Primary School.

As part of honoring local heroes who have successfully implemented ICT programs to enhance education, four teachers from OLE Nepal’s program schools were invited to share their experience on ICT-based education in a national conference ‘Use of ICT in Rural Nepal’ organized by Language Technology Kendra (LTK) in Kathmandu on March 22-23. They included headteacher from Shree Siddhabeni Lower Secondary School of Belbas, Tanahu, Mr. Laxmi Kanta Mishra, headteacher from Laxmi Lower Secondary School of Hetauda, Makwanpur, Mr. Gokul Prasad Aryal, focal teacher of Navin Primary School, Khanalthok, Kavre, Ms. Sangyani Thapa, and Nepali teacher of Pancha Lower Secondary School, Baijalpur, Kapilvastu, Ms. Sujata Regmi, were invited too.

The local heroes shared their schools’ experience in using laptops, and digital learning materials including E-Paath and E-Pustakalaya in classroom teaching, and how their schools have been reaping the benefits of ICT-integrated classes. Their sharing of experience generated a lot of interest from teachers from other schools to introduce similar programs in their respective schools. The program opened with keynote speeches by OLE Nepal’s Mr. Rabi Karmacharya, wireless guru and OLE Nepal’s Board member Mr. Mahabir Pun, and Prof. Pat Hall.

Farewell

OLE Nepal recently bid farewell to Gaurav Thapa, who had been working at OLE Nepal as an E-Library Coordinator. Gaurav has gone abroad for further studies after being associated with the organization for more than a year.

Wedding Bells

Hearty congratulations to Ganesh Ghimire and Sarala K.C. who recently tied the knot in Kathmandu. Ganesh has been associated with OLE Nepal since September 2009 as an E-Library Coordinator. We wish Ganesh and Sarala a happy married life.

Visit by Tony Anderson

Tony Anderson, who had played an active role in Nepal’s deployment in 2009 and 2010 as a volunteer, was here at OLE Nepal from March 18 to 30, 2012 to work on offline build system for the operating systems for XO and the school server. Tony and OLE Nepal’s super system administrator Abhishek Singh worked together on the Dextrose build system for XO and rebasing the XS on CentOS 6.2 with custom modifications (at the same time focussing on offline capabilities).

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  • E-Paath is a set of curriculum-based interactive digital learning materials developed by OLE Nepal.
  • E-Pustakalaya is OLE Nepal’s education-centered digital library consisting of books, reference materials, school wikipedia, etc.
  • E-Paati is the Nepali name for the XO laptops used in OLPC program schools.