Union HRD Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ Launches UNESCO MGIEP Digital Learning draft Guidelines at the General Conference in Paris

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UNESCO MGIEP Digital Learning

On the occasion of the 40th UNESCO General Conference, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal‘Nishank’, Union Minister, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, launched the first of its kind ‘Industry Guidelines on Digital Learning (discussion draft)’ at the Ministerial Roundtable on ‘Media and Information Literacy and Games in the Digital World’. The Roundtable was jointly organized by the Government of Finland and the Government of India, in partnership with UNESCO Headquarters and UNESCO’s category 1 institute, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP). The event was moderated by Mr. MoezChakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO, and opened by Ms Li Andersson, Minister of Education, Finland.

The Draft Guidelines were developed by UNESCO MGIEP, based in New Delhi, responding to the Vizag Declaration on Digital Learning adopted at TECH 2018, an international conference co-organized by UNESCO MGIEP and the State Government of Andhra Pradesh. Building on the neurosciences of learning, which shows that parts of the brain can be ‘wired’ or ‘trained’ in intellectual as well as emotional intelligence, the Institute promotes the whole-brain approach to learning and harnesses the power of digital technologies to enable innovative pedagogies.

During the UNESCO General Conference, UNESCO and UNESCO MGIEP, in partnership with Samsung and other partners, are setting up a “Games Bar” at the UNESCO Headquarters from November 12th to 22nd. The Games Bar provides a space for General Conference participants to play games related to Media and Information Literacy and SDGs, to have fun and to acquire critical thinking and social and emotional skills while playing. A set of games developed by youth-led game companies, mainly fun and serious games, as well as SDG-related games will be available at the Games Bar, on Samsung smartphones, tablets and displays. It will also be a space for participants to immerse themselves in the digital curricula designed by MGIEP through their online learning platform Framer Space.

Speaking on the occasion the Minister said that Today’s event has a special significance because it is being held at a time when the whole world is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Technology has become an important part of our lives. With the power of technology, we can get quality, inclusive and holistic education quickly. He lauded Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), a UNESCO Category 1 institute, for  harnessing the power of digital technologies to facilitate learning in students.

He said that today, there is an urgent need to create digital learning solutions. We need to find solutions of this type that prepare students for a rapidly changing global environment. He expressed his happiness that MGIEP and Samsung have set up a gaming bar which will provide information in the areas of education, communication and information.

The HRD Minister said that the main objective is to encourage the development of critical thinking in the field of media, information and literacy. The objectives also include promoting better understanding, dialogue and peace among the youth by taking advantage of the unique potential of gaming based learning methods. Shri Pokhriyal said that this joint effort will not only achieve its objective but will also initiate a new chapter with its excellence in this select field.

Commenting on the launch, Dr. AnanthaDuraiappah, MGIEP Director, said, “We’re proud to say that MGIEP is India’s contribution to transforming the educational landscape globally, with key work areas including digital pedagogies for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) for K-12.Samsung and MGIEP are working on a research study called MyDream to enhance learning outcomes for middle school students in India and to study how their curriculum stress can be reduced. The Games Bar we have set up with Samsung at the General Conference aims to exploit the unique potential that games have to educate, stimulate critical thinking, and promote tolerance, dialogue and peace.”

Under the MyDream project, UNESCO MGIEP and Samsung are conducting a two-year research study at JawaharNavodayaVidyalaya (JNV) schools across India. This study is designed to understand how project-based learning and SEL can be used to drive learning outcomes of students as defined by their Mathematics and Science scores measured by JawaharNavodayaVidyalaya and also to reduce their stress levels.

UNESCO MGIEP will also deliver 200 hours of course curriculum that is being developed for the Andhra Pradesh Government under the UNESCO MGIEP initiative ‘Teaching Teachers for Technology’ for Samsung Smart Class being set up at 14 government colleges across Andhra Pradesh which offer Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) and Diploma in Education (D.Ed) courses. The course is been developed by UNESCO MGIEP so that future teachers can be effectively trained to teach students with the help of the latest technology using digital pedagogies.

Technology is increasingly permeating our everyday lives. Leveraging the power of technology is key to high quality, inclusive and equitable education. According to a KPMG and Google report, the EdTech market in India is set to grow to $1.96 billion with around 9.6 million users by 2021, from $247 million and 1.6 million users in2016.The massive influx of digital learning resources has made the task of selecting appropriate digital learning games, applications or tools difficult for teachers, parents and school leaders.

These challenges highlight the importance of creating a set of guidelines for educational technology developers to integrate principles of good learning with digital pedagogies that are aligned with the values of peace, non-discrimination and sustainable development as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Draft Guidelines were developed to help build digital learning solutions that promote active learning and build 21st century skills, including social and emotional skills. In order to keep pace with rapidly changing societal and economic needs, the Draft Guidelines serve as a working document and invite feedback from relevant stakeholders.

During the UNESCO General Conference, UNESCO and UNESCO MGIEP, in partnership with Samsungand other partners, are setting up a “Games Bar” at the UNESCO Headquarters from November 12th to 22nd. The Games Bar provides a space for General Conference participants to play games related to Media and Information Literacy and SDGs, to have fun and to acquire critical thinking and social and emotional skills while playing. A set of games developed by youth-led game companies, mainly fun and serious games, as well as SDG-related games will be available at the Games Bar, on Samsung smartphones, tablets and displays. It will also be a space for participants to immerse themselves in the digital curricula designed by MGIEP through their online learning platform FramerSpace.