Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Open Content and Open Educational Resources in India

I sent this in reply to a mail on wikipedia india community mailing list. (click here to check them out),
that called for collecting Open Content and Open Educational Resources in India. Sharing here...

1. Arvind Gupta Toys
http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/
This is a collection of fascinating videos, pictures and instructions to make scientific toys from trash. Also has books on a plethora of subjects.
I believe this collection has been given out with no strings attached - I have an offline copy and can share it if you want it. (we can meet up in Pune or Mumbai, or I can just courier a DVD to you)

Including the email address listed on the site in CC... Hope they respond with an affirmative!
Dear Sir / Madam at arvindguptatoys, can your content be taken and distributed freely as Open Educational Resources?

2. Rajasthan Ki Rajat Boondein -- by Anupam Mishra
http://www.indiawaterportal.org/node/7354
A seminal work on local sustainable rain water harvesting techniques being practised since generations in Rajasthan. Given out free of copyright, and translated to english as well. Check out his TED Talk.

3. Vigyan Ashram
http://vigyanashram.com/ , http://www.techshala.com/index.asp
An institute that trains school dropouts in rural technologies and entrepreneurship, following models of Gandhian Naee Taleem and hands-on learning philosophies. They have created a curriculum for schools, to equip high school students in basic technology skills in engineering, agriculture and animal husbandry, energy and environment. Including their listed email address in CC as well. See a documentary on them here (in Marathi but you'll understand)

Dear Sir / Madam at Vigyan Ashram, do you have content that can be taken and distributed freely as Open Educational Resources?

4. Natural Farming Institute
http://multiworldindia.org/natural-farming-institute/
They've prepared a comprehensive curriculum for rural education based on sustainable agriculture and it covers a lot of things that the conventional Indian education boards have missed out on due being urban-biased. The whole thing has been posted on this page for free download.

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Portals where you might be able to find more open resources and connect with people who make them:
http://multiworldindia.org
http://www.swaraj.org/shikshantar/
http://barefootcollege.org

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Projects underway to create OER, inviting collaborators:

1. Wikipedia for Indian Schools
http://wiki.wikimedia.in/Projects:_Wikipedia_for_Schools/Indian_version
A spinoff from the UK-based wikipedia for schools, initiated by Ashwin, this project aims to create a comprehensive offline encyclopaedia having articles on anything and everything in India in addition to the original edition, (there is room for thousands more articles thanks to ZIM compression), to be distributed for free to Indian schools and homes. And by everything, we mean EVERYTHING. Places of interest, local customs and festivals, foods, flora and fauna, history, current happenings, things that we can find in India but nowhere else... we need to catch'em all.

2. Knowledge Base
http://wikieducator.org/India/Knowledge_Base
I set this up with a vision of having a one-stop resource base where educators from all over India can share and collaborate to build resources to help teach, like lesson plans, assessments, teaching methodology, classroom management techniques. The idea is to have several heads work together to churn out the best possible methods to teach any and every concept in every subject and every grade level, empowering anyone anywhere to dispense high quality education using local resources at no extra expense. Presently just a one-man pilot project, inviting collaborators!

3. A board for Alternative Education in India
http://wikieducator.org/Talk:India/Alternative_Education_Board
What if unschoolers, homeschoolers, unconventional schools and self-guided learners had a common platform that could lend them recognition and credibility in the mainstream? What if we could give millions of children and parents a viable, solid alternative to the rigid soul-destroying factory-based schooling system? Just in its starting phase, inviting collaborators. And of course this would make extreme use of OER.

4. Khan Academy subtitles
http://www.khanacademy.org/contribute , http://tinyurl.com/khanacademysubtitles
An awesome collection of 3500+ educational videos released in creative commons. I've figured out ways to download all the videos in bulk for offline distribution and even extracted their english subtitles that can help learners with weak English understand the lessons better. Now, need to add subtitles or audio dubbing in Hindi / other languages to overcome the language barrier. They have an open platform for volunteers to contribute audio dubbing or subtitling, need people to pitch in. Currently the Indian participation is very low.

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