Indian President launches Amrita’s A-VIEW on Aakash Tablet

11 Nov 2012, Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi

Hon’ble President of India Pranab Mukherjee launched the latest version of Amrita University’s E-Learning platform A-VIEW 3.0  (Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World) on the Aakash 2 tablet.

The President A-VIEW Server with 1 Gbps link was unveiled and dedicated for the nation. Any institution of higher education can now use A-VIEW free of charge with this server.

The President said that technology enhanced learning was necessary for India, and these novel initiatives in Higher Education will be useful for Nation Building.

More than 14,000 teachers and students across 240 remote centers in India attended this event live. They are currently attending a national workshop about Aakash 2 using the A-VIEW software platform. Live teaching was demonstrated, and participants at a few remote centers showed their new Aakash tablets.

A-VIEW 3.0, the latest version, allows sharing of multimedia like 2D and 3D. A-VIEW comes packed with various unique knowledge sharing modules, high performance, better reliability, and features to handle huge classes easily. “A-VIEW addresses the most critical issue of India’s Education today: Millions of eager students wanting to learn but who are not fortunate enough to have well-qualified teachers” said Prof. Kamal Bijlani, Director, Amrita E-Learning Research Lab.

A-VIEW is currently being used by over 350 Universities and over 1000 colleges, and is provided free of charge for higher education. Earlier in June 2012, A-VIEW was used by IIT Bombay to train 10,000 teachers online at different geographical locations, which is the biggest online program undertaken in India, and probably across the globe.

The Union Minister for HRD, Dr. M. M. Pallam Raju; Ministers of State for HRD, Dr. Shashi Tharoor and Shri Jitin Prasada; Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and Dr. Karan Singh, India’s representative to UNESCO were also present on this occasion.

 

For more visit www.aview.in

Amrita University launches four research oriented projects

27 Sep 2012, Amritapuri – Amma’s 59th Birthday celebrations

During the 59th birthday celebrations of Amma, along with the many charitable projects, a number of new research-oriented projects of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham were inaugurated.

Wireless Landslide detection

Wireless technologies to alert people living in landslide at-risk areas by sending a sms when the possibility of landslides are high. The project, which has been active in the Sahya Mountain region of Kerala will now be employed in the Himalaya regions. {read more on the project}

Online labs
These online labs have been set up to assist the school children in attaining higher levels of success in the fields of science and technology. With the support of computer technology, these online labs have been installed in 27 schools on an experimental basis. {read more on this project}

Career Lab and English Language Lab
These two labs are designed to refine university students’ interview skills, vocabulary, and general competency in speaking, understanding and comprehending English.  The site includes Role Plays for developing confidence in speaking English, Speech Analysis and Pronunciation Tutor, Flash Card games and exercises to master upper level English vocabulary and a Resume Builder to guide students in creating a powerful resumes.  Labs can be accessed at www.amrita.edu/englishlabs

A new program to help school children study material such as physics, chemistry, biology, maths and environmental sciences via multimedia has been developed by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. These programs will be available in both local languages—totally free of cost. They teach basic lessons in how to protect the environment. This computer program will opens the door of communication between people sitting in any corner of the world. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has developed this technology, with the aim of helping scientists share and discuss ideas. Amrita will provide this technology free of cost to educational and governmental institutions.

 

 

Cyber security

Amrita University also announced a program to provide cyber security, free of cost.

Inaugurating these projects, V.S. Sivakumar, Minister for Health, Family Welfare & Devaswom, gave a bouquet of acknowledgement to Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham for its virtual classroom program for setting up computers to communicate with students from around the world.”That is why the Central Government has chosen Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s global classrooms” he said. He also used the opportunity to thank Amma for sending the volunteers to clean Sabarimala. “With Amma’s blessings, the last Sabarimala pilgrimage season went very smoothly. Amala Bharatam Campaign workers sent by Amma kept the pilgrimage site very clean.”

Wherever there is sorrow, Amma is there to wipe away the tears

27 Sep 2012, Amritapuri – Amma’s 59th Birthday celebrations

Retired Supreme Court Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer inaugurated the Amrita Vocational Training Centre. Upon doing so, he said, “This [Amritapuri] is a sacred land. It’s not enough to give food and clothing. Everyone also wants justice. Amma is working for that justice. Amma is a symbol of universal brotherhood and is God in human form. This human ocean of compassion represents this immortal power.” He also said that, wherever there is sorrow, Amma is there to wipe away the tears.” This  inauguration was part of the number of charitable activities launched  during the 59th birthday celebrations of Amma.

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Class room on wheels ‘MOVE’ from Amrita to empower women

Amrita University is ushering a new era for the empowerment of socially and economically weaker sections of women in India by taking computer aided vocational training courses to villages using technology aided mobile vehicles called MoVE (Mobile Vocational Education).

A MoVE unit is a fully functioning classroom-on-wheels, equipped with latest computer and communication technology. The unit typically contains 20 computers, through which students are trained in vocational skills using the haptic technology. It employs WiFi and a local and central database to monitor and assess student performance. Also, A-VIEW has been embedded into MoVE providing students instant access to experts in their field of study, for real-time, online interaction.

 
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A mobile class room has several advantages over a regular class room such as reusable infrastructure, reduced operating costs and increase in outreach. A MoVE unit is sustained by solar energy. The technologies used to deliver classes are intuitive and are designed to teach those even with rudimentary literacy.

In the first phase of deployment, vocational training through MoVE will be made available to 3,000 women that cover areas of Chavara and Panmana in Kollam District, Kerala. The courses taught during the initial phase of deployment are fabric painting and assistant plumbing.

 

 

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In me lies a piece of gold

12 April 2012, Kenya
A new vocational training program for disadvantaged youth was launched at Amrita Watoto Boma, care home in Athi River, Nairobi. For a period of three months, 90 youth will receive training in IT, electrical engineering, hospitality and garment making. The initiative is a joint venture between CAPs-Youth Empowerment Institute and MAM Charitable Trust Kenya.

 
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During the launching ceremony, Viktor Mwendwa, 22, one of the new electrical students, said: “I believe that in me lies a piece of gold – if I explore myself and accept what I get through this vocational training course I will become the best I can be. You can never make it in life if you have a low self-esteem. But if you look at yourself as a winner, if you believe in yourself, you can make it in life. All of my fellow students should have the same spirit – it is such a privilege to be trainees here in Athi River. This is a second chance that we get to prove ourselves. I would like to tell the representatives from the industries around here that we are going to make a difference in this nation. I don’t know how many “Thank You’s” I can say, how I can pass on this gratitude to you. This is the best that we can get.”

– Das

When Science meets Spirituality

Dr. R. Chidambaram, the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India met with Amma during his visit to Amrita University for the International Conference on Wireless Technologies for Humanitarian Relief (ACWR2011) at Amritapuri on 19 December 2011. Along with Dr. Chidambaram, his colleague S. Chatterjee and Dr M.H. Mehta, Chairman of the National Bioshield Society also participated in the discussion.

 

Dr. Chidambaram, who is a renowned nuclear scientist and metallurgist, mentioned to Amma that his focus at the conference was to combine wired and wireless networks. He felt that Amrita University’s haptic technologies project had a lot of potential. Dr. Chidambaram was very much impressed by the landslide detection system developed by Amrita University and requested Amma to bring this technology to the Himalayan region of Uttarkashi where landslides are a regular phenomena. Amrita University had designed, built and deployed a real-time landslide warning system in the hills of Idukki district of Kerala and was even able to issue warnings on time.

Amma said that this system is designed to work in the Kerala mountains. She started by talking about the necessity of simulations before actual deployment and how mini-models need to be implemented for testing. Amma went on to talk about ‘pore pressure’ due to a large quantity of wide-spread rainfall on a hill. She outlined that each hill or mountain may have different types of soil every 10-20 feet and that this variety may yield more questions to study. She said that we need to consider the weather conditions and the soil/mountain quality before deploying in Northern regions. Upon hearing Amma pointing out these scientific matters in such detail, Dr. Chidambaram was indeed surprised.

Amma then began talking about mobile communication towers, “Because of the radiation of huge cell phone towers many small birds are not able to build nests and are disappearing. If we produce devices that are smaller in size and keep them in individual houses, connected to one another, such problems can be solved.”

Amma also mentioned that her motivation to pursue research at Amrita University originated from her seeing the suffering around – poverty, starvation, sickness, environmental pollution and contamination. She stated that multinational companies abroad give importance to research, but not so in India. Now the situation is changing. Amma also mentioned that other countries must grow and become happy. Another problem of India is the so-called ‘brain drain’. To this, Dr. Chidambaram replied by telling Amma that she had attracted a lot of talented people from abroad, which even the government finds hard to do.

Amma continued saying that the level of respect society shows for scientists should increase. When science is respected the motivation to serve and find cures for cancer and other diseases will automatically arise within, while the desire to make quick money will decrease.

Amma said “Nature is God’s form. In creation, nothing is insignificant. Everything is important. Creation and creator are not two, but one. The ocean and its waves are not different but the same. Gold and gold ornaments are the same. Clay and clay pots are of the same essence. That is what science tells us too. Everything (matter) is energy” Amma talked about seva (selfless service), science and education and how they benefit both the individual and society as a whole. She also mentioned about the need of quality education and the essence of values.

As the meeting was coming to an end, Amma asked how the attendees became interested in spirituality. Dr. Chidambaram talked of how science has its limits. He said that for any scientific law questions like ‘Why that law?’ ‘Will that law stand true in the future?’ still cannot be explained. The laws that connect living and non-living matter and determine the interaction between atoms are still a puzzle. Parabrahmam (Consciousness that pervades all matter) could be the explanation, he added.

Science can explain ‘how’ things are happening, but not ‘why’ they are happening. That’s where one turns to spirituality for the answers.
–Sakshi

Free Tuition Program

Amma’s 58th Birthday celebrations

27 Sep 2011, Amritapuri

Free Tuition Program was launched by MAM, to provide free online tuition to All-India college students. Through this program many students can benefit from a few good teachers. Program will be available to all college students free of cost.

This was inaugurated by Sri. Vilasrao Deshmukh, the Honorable Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences during Amma’s 58th birthday celebrations.

Sri. Vilasrao Deshmukh recalled his first meeting with Amma, in 2007 in Mumbai, when he was chief minister of Maharashtra, whereupon he sought Amma’s help with the farmer-suicide epidemic that was ravishing his state. Reflecting upon the impact of Amma’s subsequent farmer-oriented welfare programs, he said, “Amma has created new hope in the farmers.” He also acknowledged the exceptional work done by MAM following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, saying, “Amma’s house construction is much better than the construction of the government. In Andaman, the people would say, “We want houses from Amma, not from the government. Furthermore, Amma is there to look after the interests of the disadvantaged in any part of the world.” I am impressed with the sprawling network of Amrita professional institutions especially in many specialty areas, and the government would be only glad to help such institutions.”

The pilot programme will be launched first in Kerala and later will be extended to other States. Initial market survey conducted at colleges in Kerala found that students are highly interested in learning career opportunities in their respective fields and enhancing their soft skills. On that basis, to begin with, Amrita University has decided to start off free tuition program covering career awareness. Subsequently, other subjects will be added.

The online program is supported by the Ministry of Human Resources Development’s (MHRD) National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) initiative.

This free tuition programme will be transmitted through Amrita University’s award winning E-Learning platform, A-VIEW (Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World).

visit www.onlinegurukul.in/

– Tulasi

One Million to Japan tsunami children’s education fund

16 September 2011, Sendai, Japan

Embracing the World (ETW), the international organization of Mata Amritanandamayi Math, formally presented its donation of US $1,000,000 to Yoshihiro Murai, the Governor of Miyagi, Japan. This money will be used for Miagi children’s education fund. The donation is part of Ashram’s Japan Tsunami relief and rehabilitation work. Amma had announced this amount during her visit to Japan in the month of July {news}.

ETW was represented by its Indian General Secretary, Swami Purnamritananda, as well as the Country Director of ETW Japan, Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya handed over the money to the Governor.

Mentioning the potential for various relief measures, ETW’s representatives expressed their ongoing commitment to the reconstruction work in the region. Governor Murai responded by saying, “We are deeply grateful for your support… Embracing the World is a world-renowned NGO. Thus I hope that you will use your international network to keep people all over the world informed of the disaster conditions here, so they will remember in the future.”

Also in attendance was Indian Embassy Tokyo’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Sanjay Panda along with the other ETW volunteers.

Just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in March, ETW dispatched a team of volunteers to Miyagi to determine the scope of the disaster and distribute relief supplies. Food and relief supplies were distributed at Kotodai Park. The volunteers have continued to return to the area to provide aid and help with the relief work in Ishinomaki and Kesennuma.

Since 1990, Amma has been coming to Japan every year to conduct programs in cities such as Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, and Sapporo. Swami Purnamritananda has been visiting Sendai for the last ten years, offering bhajan and spiritual talks.

– Kalidas

Amritas A-View to connect universities and colleges

Coimbatore

Amrita Virtual Interactive e-Learning World (A-View), the e-learning platform, of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, will be used to connect all universities and colleges of the country free of cost.

The platform will be used for education dissemination, particularly in the distance education mode. It will focus on the courses being offered under the aegis of the National Mission on Education through Information Communications Technology of the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

This was announced by Kamal Bijlani, Head, e-Learning Research Laboratory of the university, at the recently concluded Vice-Chancellors’ Meet in New Delhi.

The platform is seen as an important tool in making education more accessible in the context of on-going discussions on policies and strategies being planned for higher education in the XII Five Year Plan.

Amrita – IIT partnership to empower teachers nation wide

20 Dec 2010
In a historic partnership, IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Bombay and Amrita University have come together to deliver a nationwide teacher empowerment program delivered online via India’s emerging high speed educational network. The goals of this program are to improve the quality of teachers in professional colleges to world class levels.

Over 1000 college teachers from around 500 professional institutions gathered at 32 nodal centers across the country to attended a 2-week online workshop on “Database Management Systems” from the 13th to the 22nd of December 2010. The session was led by Dr. Sudarshan, IIT Bombay Professor and the renowned author of the standard international textbook on Database Systems. These 32 remote centers used the A-VIEW (Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World) system developed by Amrita University, to connect and communicate.

These online workshops for improving the quality of teachers are the brainchild of Prof. D.B. Phatak, Subrao M. Nilekani Chair Professor, IIT Bombay, who said, “It is gratifying to see that my dream to empower thousands of college teachers in core engineering courses has been realized.” National Knowledge Commission in its findings has concluded that the low quality of higher education is one of the key factors affecting India’s economic growth.

Mr. S. Ramadorai, Tata Consultancy Services vice-chairman and software industry pioneer, while addressing the participants today said, “India’s future depends on the capabilities and expertise of its human capital. It is the academic community that can play a transformation role in building this future. This ‘first of its kind’ online national teacher empowerment program is a bold step towards building excellence amongst the teaching community. This unique operation should be scaled for much wider usage in coming years, spanning all dimensions of Indian education including schools.”

IIT Bombay Director Prof. Devang Khakhar in his address said that IIT Bombay is committed to make a difference to education and research in Indian academia through several outreach programs.