A two-day collaborative inter-university workshop, Amrita-TAU Sustainable Development Workshop on Education (SDG 4), was held at the Amritapuri Campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham from December 23-24, 2019.
Fourteen noteworthy delegates from Tel Aviv University (TAU), many of which are heads of university departments, came to share their knowledge and research, and exchange best practices, challenges and solutions on the topics of ‘Science and Technology Education for a Sustainable World’, and ‘Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Education’. A total of more than 45 participants took part in the workshop.
Preeti Arora (Head of Learning Resources and Technology at the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)) attended as a celebrated guest, presenting a keynote speech. Her talk was on the Role of NSDC in the Skills Ecosystem. Shri. M. Sivasankar, Secretary to Government, IT Department since June 2016, graced with his presence and shared his wisdom with the audience. He also holds the charge of Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister of Kerala. Also present were professors, researchers and students from Amritapuri Campus, as well as four Amrita Vidyalayam School Principals. Representatives from Nagarcoil campus were also present.
The event was hosted by Dr. Bhavani Rao R. (Director Ammachi Labs) and the Centre for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality. In Dr. Bhavani’s address, she expressed that both universities have equal synergies. She explained the features of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, lead by Chancellor Amma, in which Compassion is the underlying theme.
Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya gave a speech about the vision of Mata Amritanandamayi for education today. He ended with a famous quote by Socrates, “Education is not filling up a vessel but it is lighting a lamp.”
The inaugural keynote was given by Dr. Rafi Nachmias (TAU). He conveyed his happiness that both universities are working together. His work includes learning analytic modeling and personalization, and special technologies for special needs such as virtual environments and robotics. He also discussed their goal of providing clean and safe drinking water to South India in collaboration with Amrita’s Jeevamritam project. He also had many innovative ideas to share about using MOOCs.
Dr. Reuven Babai (Head of the Science and Technology Education MA Program, TAU), gave a presentation on intuitive inference in science and mathematics. These educational implications are supported by his neuro-educational research. He discussed how the use of brainwave analysis can demonstrate that salient variables can interfere in the learning process of science and math.
Dr. Asi Kuperman (Researcher and Lecturer, Technology and Learning among Young Children), presented on ‘Learning as Designing in the Kindergarten’.
Mr. Balaji Hariharan (Research Scientist and Associate Professor, Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications (AmritaWNA), Amritapuri), presented on ‘Global Classroom and Progressively Immersive Multimedia Representation for Enhanced Pedagogy in E-Learning Systems’.
Dr. Krishnasree Achuthan (Dean of Post Graduate Programs at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Head of the Center for Cybersecurity Systems and Networks and Amrita Technology Business Incubator (Amrita TBI) at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham) gave a presentation on 'Virtual Labs'.
Mr. Kamal Bijlani (Director of E-Learning, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri) presented his research on ‘Online Blended Learning with Digital Classroom’.
Dr. Prema Nedungadi (Founding Director of CREATE Labs, Head of Computer Science Department), presented on ‘Adaptive Learning & Intelligent Systems’.
Dr. Alona Forkosh (Lecturer and Researcher focusing on Innovative Pedagogical Practices using Technology in Education and Teacher Training), gave a presentation on ‘New Literacies For the Knowledge Society: Implication For Education and Teacher Training’, where she discussed 21st-century education and the use of technology and gadgets.
Dr. Anat Cohen (Head of the Technology & Learning MA Program), discussed her research on ‘Learning and Technology: Enhancing Teaching and Learning’
Dr. Erenberg Ruhama (Curriculum Supervisor of Science and Technology Curriculum, Ministry of Education and Member of the National Teacher Center of Science & Technology Education) gave a talk on 'Science and Technology in Elementary and Junior High School'.
Mr. Ajay Balakrishnan (Assistant Director of Ammachi Labs), and Srividya Sheshadri (PhD Candidate at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Deployment Team Research Lead at AMMACHI Labs), gave a presentation on 'Computerized Vocational Education Project and Technology-enabled Skill Development Solutions'.
Gayathri Manikutty (Assistant Professor, Haptic and Robotics Research Coordinator at AMMACHI Labs and Coordinator the MTech Robotics Program), presented on The Second Foundation, a venture of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and AMMACHI Labs which provides support in experiential learning through Making.
A round table session on 'Robotics & AI Education' was held to wrap up this exceptional workshop.
Research collaboration between Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Tel Aviv university was discussed, action plans were made. Participants from the government side have also agreed to work with the universities to tackle future challenges.