concept maps on evolution by the BASE teachers

September 29, 2008

On Saturday 27, 2008 at Nehru Science Centre, a symposium on Evolution Since Darwin was organized by the BASE (Bombay Association for Science Education). The events organized by BASE are attended and conducted by teachers and educationists from Mumbai. This particular event was scheduled on account of 150 years of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The organizers gave me an opportunity to conduct a concept mapping workshop in two consecutive sessions. In the first session, I did a presentation on concept maps for science education, and the second session was a hands-on session wherein the teachers (in groups) constructed concept maps on the topics of evolution—adaptation, natural selection, speciation, origin of species—from Ernst Mayr’s book on What Evolution is. The teachers really did a good job in constructing the maps. I am going to analyze the maps later and comment on them. Overall the teachers were impressed by the concept mapping technique and I was really happy to know that they were eager to use it in their classrooms.

Later in the afternoon, I was involved in the panel discussion. We were to comment on teachers’ ideas and their concept maps. Lots of issues came along during the discussion, which made us realize that the topic of evolution is not so easy to understand.


FKFT pre-conference SELF workshop, Barcelona Spain

July 14, 2008

The SELF consortium has organized a one day SELF workshop as part of the FKFT pre-conference. We are at the Universitat de Oberta Catalunya. The participants are getting hands-on sessions on creating, organizing, editing courses using the SELF Platform and Gnowledge Portal.

Workshop on collaborative building of online e-learning courses @ HBCSE

June 10, 2008

Announcing a workshop on
“Collaborative building of online e-learning courses”

June 25, 26, 27, 2008
Gnowledge Lab, HBCSE

The Gnowledge Lab (computer lab) of HBCSE has developed a
web-based e-learning platform for creating courses. The platform is
mainly focused on authors, content generators, translators,
instructors who wants to create course materials for dissemination of
knowledge. A glimpse of a few prototype course materials that are
being developed can be viewed from
The Gnowledge Lab is pleased to announce a workshop on Collaborative
building of online e-learning courses using SELF Platform, in all
languages particularly in english, marathi, or hindi.

We invite all of the staff members from HBCSE—academic, scientific,
research scholars, project, administration, technical—to participate
in this workshop.

Features of the workshop:

* Creating on-line courses in any subject using any language
* Adding & organizing lessons, glossary, faqs, test questions
* Creating personal bookshelf
* Inserting images using filemanager
* Exchanging course materials using import and export modules
* Creating versions of courses and comparing changes
* Using electronic conference room for online collaboration of courses
* The participants who will be developing content will be credited as
authors of courses automatically by the system
* The content developed will be published under GNU-FDL licence
(same as wikipedia license)

Our team will provide a demonstration on using the SELF Platform. A
training on how to type in Indian languages and publish on the
Internet will also be provided as part of the workshop.


Interested participants can register for the workshop by sending an
email to —– self [at] —— before 20th June. The
number of participants is limited upto about 10 participants on each
day. The same workshop will be repeated on each day. So please specify
the date on which you would like to join the workshop in your email
registration. After the one day workshop you can continue to build the
courses from anywhere and collaborate using the electronic conference

Venue: Gnowledge Lab ( Computer Lab – 108 )

Timings: 10:00 to 17:00

Tentative Schedule:

10:00 – 10:30 Introduction to the Gnowledge Portal & SELF Platform

10:30 – 10: 45 Quick demonstration on building on-line courses

10:45 — 11:00 Tea break (Tea and Snacks will be provided)

11:00 — 13:00 Hands-on session on building courses

13:00 — 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 — 16:00 Hands-on session on building courses

16:00 — 16:15 Tea break (Tea and Snacks will be provided)

16:15 – 17:00 Discussion on courses & Feedback

All are welcome ! Please register through —– self [at] —— for the workshop.

SELF Team & Gnowledge Team

Share your Knowledge

Kumar Vishwakosh

April 7, 2007

HBCSE is organising a two day workshop on creating a Marathi Vishwakosh i.e. Junior encyclopedia (std. 9-12). Several teachers, writers, and eminent scientists from Maharashtra are involved in the workshop. The workshop began with address by Prof. J. V. Narlikar an eminent astrophysicist and who is active in science popularization.

The speaker began his address with an answer to a commonly asked question — is there a need for Marathi Vishwakosh (encyclopedia in Marathi language). He affirmatively said—“Yes!” and defended his position by saying that teaching science can begin by using our mother tongue, because it is natural for anybody to understand due to the fact that we communicate and understand clearly in our mother tongue. When it comes to any other language (English) for learning science then one needs to translate, paraphrase before understanding.

During the workshop, the speaker gave suggestions related to the improvement of  Marathi Vishwakosh such as usage of a simple, and common i.e. unofficial language in the encyclopedia, incorporating a FAQ at the end of the volume to encourage the students to find out the answers, to include articles releated to current issues, and most importantly to contextualized with the Indian culture.

After the address there were questions/suggestions.

I too was tempted to provide with a suggestion by pointing out that the project can involve students. Just before the volume gets published, get a good representative of students (10-25) and during vacation ask them to read the entries in the volume and then get their feedback on the simplicity, understanding, etc. and then incorporate the feedback before publishing. The encyclopedia is ultimately for the students. I am glad that the suggestion was accepted as a good idea. 🙂

science education in India

March 22, 2007

Prof. Arvind Kumar addressed the issue of science education in India during the workshop organised by HBCSE and People’s Science Council.

The speech started by taking a position that India should have a  strong education in school and college and good in science and technology. While addressing this position, he also pointed out some threats into the above mentioned goal.

Threat one: The threat of bad, imperfect, poor inadequate science education. Science in India is restricted to a few compared to the large population, to a few individual and few institution. If we have to meet this threat, we have to have much greater number of scientific institution in our country.

Threat two: The threat of bearaucracy, scarcity of funds, bad infrastructure, our scientific institutions

Threat three: The ideological threat of science from anti-science movement.

If we don’t ensure good science education, the basic goal gets threatened“.

democratic science education

March 22, 2007

A workshop has been organised by People’s council of education and HBCSE to dwell upon the cognitive and socio-political issues of science education in India. The workshop commenced with an innaugural speech by Prof. B. M. Udgoankar who addressed the issue of democratic science education.

What does it mean by “democratic science education”?

Does it mean— providing children with same school system, same curriculum; ruling out of coaching classes; is the education system same for 1st, 2nd generation, urban, rural, tribal children; is there equal access to education for all children.

the issue of the role of language (english or native) in education was also addressed upon. we need to distinguish between english as language for providing with higher opportunity and english as a medium of instruction.