A Resource that create Environment for better Education


What do you do to explain your views and thoughts to others? ………….wait…wait…Let me modify this question a bit first……What do you do to ensure whatever thoughts explained by you, correctly understand by listener?

Not very different question; My initial question was focusing only the presenter so I just modify it to include audience also. If someone ask this question to me for my blog…say how can I ensure whatever things I write in my blog, correctly catch by reader without much efforts…my answer will be like this – I usually emphasis on three things to send my message to readers –

  1. Knowledge – It includes my knowledge, understanding and confidence on that topic.  (However, I don’t want to comment on itJ)
  2. Resource: – These are the tools that make my messages more effective and easy to understand for receiver. It includes pictures, links, and audio/video clip.
  3. Environment: – It’s all about how I represent my views. It includes formatting, UI setting, language and word selection. People also used option like comments, like and share button to become more interactive with audience. It creates environment where people share their view and also get new ideas.

So this is my answer in terms of my blog. But I don’t want to keep this discussion only around my blog. My aim to start this discussion is different. How can teacher/professors ensure whatever things taught by them in classroom, is understand correctly by students? Ball is on different court now but I think all that matters in this case are same three things –

  1. Knowledge –It includes knowledge, understanding and confidence of teacher. Again I don’t want to add more comment on this point.
  2. Resource – It includes all the tools which are used by teacher to explain his thoughts. It may be blackboard, chalk, duster, marker, globe, maps, charts, laboratory, instruments, projector, slides, toys, playground etc. These are the tools which present one’s talk in more effective way. It help student to understand critical theories and concepts in easy to understand and effective manner.
  3. Environment – These are the teaching techniques which create an atmosphere where student not only understand the explained things but also learn something new and also relate them with real life. Some teachers teaches in interactive mode; some teachers explain their thoughts with practical example; some use very lemon language and include real life experience to explain critical concepts; some used to teach in friendly environment with fun and games. Environment has such a capability that makes a very boring and dull subject, interesting and also attracts students to learn about it.

In ancient time, Acharyas create special school called Ashram/Gurukul in far Jungle for study. They managed all tools and resources need for study there. Students have to move away from their family and live in this ashram for study. Teachers (…Gurus…) maintained such environment in their ashram where student can automatically learn many things without giving any special lecture.

Now time has changed and Aashrams/Gurukuls are replaced with schools and colleges. Every educational institution manages such resource and environment for study. Every educational institution mention about such resource and environment in their advertisement like we provide playground, music, sports, swimming, lab with modern instruments, toys, lunch, projector, assembly hall, computer education facility in our institute. But are these resource and environment plays such important role in education. Just imagine how education will become without these resources and environment? How education will be if student will be given just set of books and videos library of lectures for study; and told to be ready for exams after studying those text books and looking video lectures. It becomes dull, boring and less effective. If somehow students study from those books and video lectures and pass the exam than they only get knowledge of subject. Learning will be totally washed-out in such technique; Education is not only about knowledge but it’s about learning as well. Resource and environment are two necessary pillars of any education technique that lean it toward more and more learning with adequate knowledge.

One of our maths teacher once very well said about the importance of mathematics in engineering study “No one will ask you whether you know to solve a quadratic equation or not when you will do any job in real life; nowhere in the life you need to find the value of ‘x’. Maths is taught just to enhance one’s logical and analytical skills so that he can do anything in life. There is just a minute difference between an engineer and ordinary person “An ordinary person may know many things but he can learn and do only few things; and an engineer may know about few things but he can learn and do anything.”

It is the responsibility of any educational institution to provide such resource and environment for study. Students of such schools/colleges that are providing good resources and maintain innovative environment for study are definitely get more chances to learn and grow. It also adds values in their education.  If you don’t believe me than compare an average person who studied from a small, less-resourceful school (small town government school) with an average person who studied from school that provide well resource and environment (may be any urban convent school) for study; Compare where they stand as a professional in their career; Compare their analytical, logical and learning capability; you will surely get the importance of resource and environment in education.

Resources and Environment –

     

  1. There are some teaching techniques which teach in environment with fun and sports. These techniques are very effective in primary and nursery education. Here teachers use games and toys to teach counting and maths. Use singing, music and acting to teach literature and languages (poems, stories etc.)
  2. Some teacher prefers to explain their views with practical examples. This technique is specially used by science teachers. They first demonstrate the practical example and then explain concepts and logics associated with them.
  3. Some teachers use very common and le-man language while teaching. This technique is very famous among science and social studies teachers. History can become an interesting subject if it narrates as a story. Similarly student can understand chemical equation quickly if it explains with common words.
  4. Sports are a very effective tool to teach moral science. Observe a person who plays any kind of sports; you can easily find him more social and practical than others. Sports teach many things without any lectures. It prepares us to face tough challenges in life; it teaches us how to maintain confidence, morals and spirit in critical condition; manage anger, work in a team, respect to others, follow rules, help and motivate others, making friends, work hard to improve himself.. A lot of learning like these becomes part of one’s character automatically while playing just a game. I must say sport is a teacher who teaches a lot without any lecture.
  5. Some teachers explain their views with real life example and stories. Generally physics teacher gives real-life example to explain physics concepts (Newton’s law, motion and force, heat and electricity and optics). Stories can be used to teach moral science. I am sure you must remember the story of a bunch of wood to show the power of unity. Students generally remember the things to long time that are explained with examples.
  6. Art teacher uses a series of resources to enhance artistic capability in students. Colours, drawing boards, musical instruments, music…..colourful papers, even dust, waist cloths are also used to nourish artistic and creative side of students.
  7. Teachers also used resources to attract students and keep their concentration in study. Some (strict) teacher uses scale and ruler to keep the concentration in study. Other uses games and fun activity, interaction with students and creative punishment to attract student for study. I will not go into debate which way is best but these tools are very effective to attract students and keep their concentration in study.
  8. Some teachers ask questions in between while teaching. This technique gives student a chance to think about the knowledge they are getting in classroom. Some teachers like to teach in interactive mode. These techniques motivate student to share their ideas, improve their communication and also remove their fear while expressing their self.
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You might be thinking why I am talking so much about education today and how these thoughts about education system strike in my mind. So here is the answer….it because of a product I explored few days ago. It’s very useful in teaching; and name of this product is Smart Whiteboard. This is made by a Canada based company ‘Smart’. It looks like a normal whiteboard installed on schools and colleges but it had several additional facilities which make it an extremely useful while teaching. It work like a normal whiteboard with several advanced features –

  • It can connect with normal computer systems and displays everything on board like monitor
  • It is touch sensitive, one can operate it by touching using finger in the same fashion we use a computer by mouse and keyboard
  • Digital Ink and erasing capability;
  • It has most of the features of MS PowerPoint, MS word and MS paint (zoom level/full screen view, word formatting, drawing and colours);
  • User can draw shape, line, and picture using hardware pen or finger;
  • User can insert images, flash file, and animation on whiteboard
  • It is capable of recognizing human gestures; one can write, erase, zoom, scale and rotate any object on whiteboard using finger
  • One can easily save content of whiteboard in the form of notebook file on the system connected with board

Wiki definition of SMART board -The SMART Board interactive whiteboard is an interactive whiteboard that uses touch detection for user input – e.g., scrolling, right mouse-click – in the same way normal PC input devices, such as a mouse or keyboard, detect input. A projector is used to display a computer’s video output on the interactive whiteboard, which then acts as a large touch screen. The SMART Board typically comes with 4 digital pens, which use digital ink and replace traditional whiteboard markers

Every teacher faces two main challenges while teaching – First is visualize the lesson to students that he taught and second is keep the concentration or interest of student in the lecture and subject. On the parameter of both challenges, I find Smart Whiteboard a very useful resource which help teachers to make a clear picture of the things teaching in classroom and it also create an environment which not only keep student’s interest in subject but also encourage them to learn in very creative manner.

     

  • Children easily attracts towards colours, games and fun. Anything teach with fun and game is easily grasped by them. Smart’s whiteboard has everything available to attract children – colours, creative ink, flash games, pictures, sound, animation, human gesture. All ingredients available to make a delicious, decorative and healthy dish, now it’s just depend on cook (teacher) how he uses it.
  • Proportionality relationship was the thing confused me most of the time when I was in school. Whether it was direct or reverse proportional; both confused me equally. One can easily understand that the area of rectangle increases while increasing its side length by increasing the length of rectangle using scaling widget on whiteboard. One can easily join three cones (and make a cylinder shape) using group option and show that why the volume of cone is one third of cylinder. Similarly one can explain arcmedies, rocket propulsion, Newton’s law, theories of heat and temperature.  It’s very easy to explain complex mathematics and physics concepts on whiteboard.
  • History was the mysterious subject for me until a teacher came in my life who studied history to us in the form of stories. Whole Indian independence chapter was become a story of struggle and freedom for me from that day.  I can not only feel the passion of Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh for country but also sense the contradiction in the path chosen by them. These stories were helped me to understand difference between Akbar and Aurangjeb’s thoughts, cruelness of Hitler, compulsion  of America to join world war and tragedy with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Any tool or teaching methodology that help student to connect with older era, really create their interest in History; and Smart board has all options available to do so.  One can show pictures of historical person, monuments, sculptures on whiteboard ; play music or video clip of olden time or speech of the person at that time; record and playback some interesting incident in one’s voice about historical era; all these options of Smart whiteboard really help a teacher to alive historical era while teaching.
  • Everyone find difficulty to explain a three dimension object on normal boards. Smart board’s zoom feature really helps to show complete internal picture of every portion of an electronic circuit diagram. One can easily follow the complete path of Neil River using panning feature on geographical map. Every side of a three dimension object like cube can be easily shown using rotate and flip option. It’s very easy and effective to teach any topic that require 3-D picture or shape like electronic circuit, geographical map or three dimensional geometry.
  • When I was studying engineering, I used to draw/write everything in my notebook that teacher drawn/write on board while explaining something during lecture. I also write some notes in very short and concise manner (sometimes in my native language Hindi). This really helped me to refresh everything taught in classroom when I was studying that topic at home. But it has certain disadvantages. Sometime single erase of teacher removes everything from board before I copied it to my notebook. Sometime I missed important talk during lecture in copying something from board or making notes. I found solution of this in Smart whiteboard. One can easily save the content of whiteboard with the voice of lecturer in the form of notebook file and used it later while studying same topic from book. Really impressive and very valuable feature!
  • Something that looks overhead to me when I was in school or college were accessories like divider, scale, protector, compass, sketch colour, water colour, drawing sheet, graph paper, maps etc-etc-etc. Sometimes as a student I didn’t have these tools available and sometimes teacher didn’t have all these tools available in classroom. Smart board has all these tools available in single application. One can use any of these tools while teaching with ease and comfort.
  • Let’s talk about art and literature now. Its fill colour, ink, eraser, fancy pen, calligraphy, background and themes feature really facilities to teach drawing.  Word formatting and voice attachment option are helpful to show correct spelling and pronunciation of a word and sentence. Rotate, group and clone operation are really fascinates student to draw some creative paintings on whiteboard page. One can easily deliver a musical instrument or poetry or story lecture on whiteboard in very creative and effective manner.
  • One of my friend shared wonderful thing about one of his teacher in school time. His maths teacher has allergy with chalk and dust. So he didn’t use blackboard, chalk and duster while teaching maths. He just explained all the steps of maths question orally to students. I get amazed how one can explain maths sum without using blackboard. One friend said that his one of teacher never erases blackboard as her make-up get spoiled due to chalk powder soars while erasing; every time when she has to clean board, she called anyone of student and he erased board for her. Anyway Smart board has solution for such things. It doesn’t have chalk, dust; one doesn’t have worry about ink of marker or dust of chalk and it’s very easy to erase. Icing on cake is one can easily retrieve erased content using undo redo option.
  • One major problem teachers faced in interactive teaching technique is that only few students participate in discussion. Only few active students answer to the questions; most of the students especially backbencher preferred to maintain mum in such discussions. Teachers have also certain limitations, they have limited time available for lecture and during that they have to complete the lesson also. Smart provide handheld devices for students that get connected with board.  UI is provided to teacher to feed a question with multiple answers, student can answer that question using handheld device. Teachers can check answers on board. Various graphs can be created to show common opinion of class. It helps teachers to know understanding of complete class about any topic and also help to figure out the common mistakes made by students.
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I shared all my knowledge about smart board with you; importance of resource and environment in education, Features of smart board, Usage and effectiveness of these features in teaching on the basis of resource and environment needed in education and I must say it’s very.. Very useful and effective product for any educational institution. It has everything that one need while teaching; all option in single combo pack. Now I am moving to the last but not least (I must say most important) thing about Smart Board and that is its cost. Yes…its cost is much-a-much greater than our normal traditional blackboards or whiteboards. Its worth also includes maintenance cost, latest configured computer systems and skilful teachers. But yes..if we compare its cost with features, it seems very low. A product that provides such values especially in area like education is really priceless.   Anyway I just finish-off this talk about smart board here; hope our next generation will get education in an environment with more and more resource like this. Aamin !

For more details check these –

http://smarttech.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_Board

http://eduscapes.com/sessions/smartboard/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqmrIqWQiAw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN3ikyDpgmM

Conditional Access System


Television in India

Television industry is launched in early 80s in India. At that time there was only one national channel Doordarshan, which was government owned. Doordarshan was broadcasted terrestrially. In the early 90’s, Indian government allowed private and foreign broadcasters to engage in limited operations. At the start of private channels, cable television is started in India. Cable television does a good business in 90s.

In the year 2003, Indian government launched conditional access system. It first launched in metro cities. CAS or conditional access system is a digital mode of transmitting TV channels through a set-top box (STB). The transmission signals are encrypted and viewers need to buy a set-top box to receive and decrypt the signal. It starts a new era of CA system and satellite TV in India.

Conditional Access System

Conditional Access means inserting some condition criteria in broadcasted digital multimedia data so that only authorized user can view that program. It is a technology used to control access to digital television (DTV) services to authorized users by encrypting the transmitted programming. Under the Conditional Access System (CAS), user needs a set-top box (STB) to receive services (pay channels).

Components of CA System

A CA system consists of several basic components:

Subscriber Management System (SMS): The SMS is a subsystem of the CA system that manages the subscriber’s information and requests entitlement management messages (EMM) from the Subscriber Authorization System (SAS). An EMM provides general information about the subscriber and the status of the subscription. The EMM is sent with the entitlement control message (ECM). The ECM is a data unit that contains the key for decrypting the transmitted programs.

Subscriber Authorization System (SAS): The SAS is a subsystem of the CA system that translates the information about the subscriber into an EMM at the request of the SMS. The SAS also ensures that the subscriber’s security module receives the authorization needed to view the programs, and the SAS acts as a backup system in case of failure.

Security module: The security module, usually in the form of a smart card, extracts the EMM and ECM necessary for decrypting the transmitted programs. The security module is either embedded within the set-top box or in a PC Card that plugs into the set-top box.

Set-top box: The set-top box houses the security module that gives authorization for decrypting the transmitted programs. The set-top box also converts the digital signal to an analogue signal so an older television can display the programs.

Working of CA System:

Under the DVBconditional access system standards are defined in the specification documents for DVB-CA (Conditional Access), DVB-CSA (the Common Scrambling Algorithm) and DVB-CI (the Common Interface). These standards define a method by which a digital television stream can be obfuscated, with access provided only to those with valid decryption smart cards. This is achieved by a combination of scrambling and encryption.

Working at broadcast center

SMS manages subscription information of users. It takes input from billing and customer service about the service subscribed by user and stores it in its database. It provides subscription information to SAS whenever it requests.

SAS get subscription information from SMS, translate it in EMM format, finally encrypt it and send to multiplexer.

SAS also provides control information to generate ECM packets. ECM packets contain private Conditional Access information, which carries the control word in a secure manner.ECM packet send to the multiplexer after encryption.

Multiplexer get the audio, video and other data of a service with ECM and EMM packet, multiplexed it in single stream and send it to scrambler.

DVB scrambler scrambled the output stream of multiplexer using control word and sends it to modulator, which further broadcasted it after modulation.

Working at Receiving End:

At the receiving end, the set-top box descrambles the program streams and decodes the MPEG-2 data.

The tuner portion of the set-top box receives the incoming signal, demodulates it and sends the resulting data to the transport stream generator. This reconstitutes the transport stream, which is passed to the MPEG-2 decoder.

DVB descrambling system sends CA specific data (ECM and EMM) to the demultiplexer which separates it in ECM and EMM packets and sends them to smart card.

Smart card contains algorithm for EMM and ECM decryption.

EMM contains the service key which decrypts by the EMM decryption algorithm using master/smart key.

ECM decryption algorithm decrypts ECM and extracts the control word using the service key. The encrypted Control Word, carried by the ECM, is related to particular program material. This key allows the transport stream to be descrambled so that the viewer can see a particular program or view the program material for a particular session.

The contents of ECMs and EMMs are not standardized and as such they depend on the conditional access system being used.

Process of scrambling and descrambling can be summarized by following diagram:

Benefits of CAS

Consumers: Consumers get the option to choose the channels they want to pay for and view, rather than receiving the whole set of channels that the Cable Operator makes available to them.

Cable Operators: Cable operators get the opportunity to pay a part of the subscription fees to the broadcasters only for the actual number of end users who opt for the channel, rather than all households having cable access. This allows operators to price their channel offerings according to their popularity.

Broadcasters: Broadcasters have a long-standing grouse that the Cable Operators under-declare the actual number of subscribers, and hence pass on only a fraction of the paid subscriptions. With a system like this in place, it is possible to address the exact number of subscribers with a cable operator.

Advertisers: It gives a far more accurate indicator of programme popularity with only the actual subscribers of each channel being accounted for.

Government: Since the issue of addressability ensures a fair degree of transparency in accounting across the entire value chain, it minimizes the loss of revenues to the government through mis-reporting or non-disclosure of actual revenue figures. The government also facilitates the introduction and development of consumer friendly systems like pay per view, interactive programming, etc.

Definitions

Control Word (CW): data object used for scrambling.

Encryption: The method of processing the continually changing electronic keys needed to descramble the broadcast signals, so that they can be securely conveyed to the authorized users, either over-the-air or on smart cards.

Entitlement Control Message (ECM): A cryptogram of the control word and the access conditions. An ECM is a specific component of the electronic key signal and over-the-air addressing information. The ECMs are used to control the descrambler and are transmitted over-air in encrypted form.

Entitlement Management Message (EMM): A message authorizing a viewer to descramble a service. An EMM is a specific component of the electronic key signal and over-the-air addressing information. The EMMs are used to switch individual decoders, or groups of decoders, on or off and are transmitted over-air in encrypted form.

Scrambling: The method of continually changing the form of the broadcast signal so that, without a suitable decoder and electronic key, the signal is unintelligible.

Service: A sequence of events, programmes or data, based on a schedule, assembled by a service provider to be delivered to the viewer.

Smart Card: A device that looks rather like a credit card; it is used as a token of entitlement to descramble broadcast signals. Most of the major European access control systems use smart cards. Other systems that bury the same functionality inside the decoder do not usually allow the system to be changed to combat piracy or to add new services. Smart cards can be issued by the Subscriber Management System which can validate them by pre-programming them with keys to authorize access to certain tiers of programmes and/or data services. As part of the same issuing and validation process, the card may be personalized to make each one valid for one particular decoder only.

Subscriber Authorization System (SAS): The centre responsible for organizing, sequencing and delivering EMM and ECM data streams under direction from the Subscriber Management System.

Subscriber Management System (SMS): The business centre which issues the smart cards sends out bills and receives payments from subscribers. An important resource of the Subscriber Management System is a database of information about the subscribers, the serial numbers of the decoders and information about the services to which they have subscribed. In commercial terms, this information is highly sensitive.

Satellite television: It is television delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by a satellite dish and set-top box. In many areas of the world it provides a wide range of channels and services, often to areas that are not serviced by terrestrial or cable providers.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_access_system

http://www.ebu.ch/en/technical/trev/trev_266-ca.pdf

http://www.nhk.or.jp/strl/publica/bt/en/le0012.pdf

http://www.atsc.org/standards/a_70a_with_amend_1.pdf