Friday, June 22, 2012

Doesn't everyone have the same problems?

An interesting revelation came about in a phone conversation with a dear friend last night.
"Forget it, man, everyone's stuck in their own problems."
"But if we look close enough, doesn't everyone have the same problems?"

So what's the best way to solve our problems? To keep treating them as our own unique problems and continue waging lonely battles or silent compromises for survival?

Or to recognise the common traits, to share and band together to conquer them?

4 minutes that changed my life

Kung Fu Panda 2, from 1:01:56 to 1:05:10 (h:mm:ss)

Your story may not have such a happy beginning,

but that doesn't make you who you are.


It is the rest of your story. 

Who you choose to be. 

So, who are you, panda?

 I am Po.

 And I'm gonna need a hat.

PS: Copyright wolves... I'm doing free publicity here! Live and let live, huh?

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
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
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 ,
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
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.


Portals where you might be able to find more open resources and connect with people who make them:

Projects underway to create OER, inviting collaborators:

1. Wikipedia for Indian Schools
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
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
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 ,
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.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Using BYTubeD in Firefox to download lots of videos from Youtube

1. Use Firefox web browser. (get the portable version here)

2. Go here: and install the BYTubeD extension.

2.1. Also go here: and install the DownThemAll extension.

3. Restart Firefox (or just close it and open it again).

4. Go to this page which has a list of Youtube videos. (this is a list of all Khan Academy videos under a specific subject)

5. Right-click anywhere in the page (and by anywhere I mean DO NOT click on a link! There's so much more free space, use that!)

6. Choose BYTubeD


7. Now a smaller window opens up. Wait a minute or two, and BYTubeD will enlist all the youtube videos with their original titles. Green means... green!


8. Go to the Preferences tab and select the second option "Preserve order..." if you want to keep the files you're downloading in order. (in this example, that's important because it's a lecture series)


9. Other things... choose your preferred Video format..

10. For "What to do?", choosing "Enqueue... " will directly start saving it all using the normal saving mechanism. Not recommended. Better to choose the other option and it will make a page with the links listed and you can either select each one and download, or use a download manager like DownThemAll! to save them all.

11. Enjoy!

Gift Economy

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