TC-I Week in Review

First off there seems to be a lot of interest in our TC-I Changemakers profiles as that page on our website received a number of hits this week. For us here at ThinkChange India, interviewing people active in the field of social entrepreneurship in India is something that we truly love to do and we expect to bring you many more articles in the future on such agents of change. Check back tomorrow actually for another installment of the series.

Here are the top 3 posts over the last seven days.

  1. Vinay’s interview with TC-I Changemaker Kal Raman of GlobalScholar earned the top spot this week.
  2. Also written by Vinay, a post on GE’s new portable and affordable EKG for rural populations came in second.
  3. Finally, Prerna’s op-ed on whether or not SKS Microfinance should go public placed third.

Highlighted Jobs, Internships and Opportunities

  1. Oxfam’s job openings that we posted about a month back has received renewed attention.
  2. A similar resurgence was enjoyed by our posting of Source For Change’s internship opening.
  3. Finally, Deshpande Foundation’s Fellowship in NW Karnataka is still open for applications.

Reaching into the Archives

Building off of the highlighted post last week, which was written by Prerna, this week we will feature Shital’s very first post as a TC-I editor which spoke to the linkage between migration and remittances.

Advertisements

[TC-I Changemakers]: Interview with Kal Raman of GlobalScholar.com

Editor’s note: The following interview is part of an ongoing series for ThinkChange India where we interview social entrepreneurs firsthand. The ThinkChange India staff is committed to providing our readers with interviews with people we believe are at the brink of something special but have for the most part been overlooked by the mainstream media. Readers will be able to see other conversations under our TC-I Changemakers tab. The featured social entrepreneurs this week are working to improve education in India and around the world.

A few weeks ago, we posted on GlobalScholar — a Web 2.0 based platform that will make education more accessible to people throughout the world — and their current push to develop solutions specifically tailored to the Indian subcontinent. As a followup, ThinkChange India’s own Vinay Ganti spoke with GlobalScholar‘s CEO Kal Raman on this ambitious effort and to also gather more details on how the company intends to serve the Indian people. The following is a recap of the phone conversation between Vinay and Kal — all comments have been paraphrased unless set aside by quotation marks.

Vinay Ganti: Why did you start Globalscholar.com?

Kal Raman: The fundamental idea behind GlobalScholar is the use of technology to eliminate unecessary barriers to education. “We believe education can change a human being’s life everywhere in the world,” and it is Globalscholar’s job to figure out how to utilize technology to enable anyone to have access to such education. Right now many other companies are trying to address this problem in niches and we are very respectful of their accomplishments so far, but a lot more can still be done.

VG: One thing that seems to be unique about GlobalScholar is the conscious effort to provide means for parents to be involved in the education process, can you speak further to that?

KR: First off I want to say that other players in this market have taken great strides in providing tools for online education, and we greatly respect what they have done. GlobalScholar began by asking “”how can we create an ecosystem for education?” From this basic question, we recognized the need for including parents in the discussion on a student’s education, especially in the younger grades. Likewise, other players in education also need to be included, and so Globalscholar aims to bring together students, teachers, administrators and parents all under one platform. It is a huge undertaking.

VG: Calling this a huge undertaking seems like a huge understatement. Let’s switch gears then from the why and focus on how GlobalScholar intends to actually accomplish this goal?

KR: The GlobalScholar approach is to take Web 2.0 technologies and figure out how to implement them in a way that will meet the needs of our customers, whether that be the students, teachers, parents or adminsitrators. The key point here is that Web 2.0 tools are by nature collaborative and promote interactions among parties, so by using these tools we can provide ways for people like parents to participate where they previously may have had difficulty.

Doing this successfully is by no means easy, as education is a “complicated problem and a long-term problem.” We recognize that we have a long way to go. In the end we want to create a product that is “living and breathing” and evolves as new technologies develop. At the heart of this inquiry is “”how can we let community learning happen?” In the end, simply building the technology will not solve the problem, we need to make sure that the technology effectively addresses the issue of education access. “We use technology as the means not as the end.”

Continue reading

Kal Raman aims to reshape education with GlobalScholar.com

Utilizing the power of internet technology, GlobalScholar.com is an online platform for teachers, students, administrators and other education professionals to develop, disseminate and review curriculum. The company goes one step beyond that to figure out ways to implement such curriculum into schools. Focused on K-12 education, the venture is currently searching for a CEO to head is India division.

Their platform for schools helps them create, manage and align content within schools so each students has a personalized monitor with special recommendations for each student. … [T]hey also try and get parents in the loop by sending them updates of what children are learning constantly and also supplementing those updates with material that might be useful – so its sort of a home education eco system of you might.

The platform also is able to provide online tutoring — a feature that I personally would have loved in college and even now in law school. Here is a video of the software.

Continue reading