24 August 2010

Phuntsok Dorjee

I really like facebook these days!

Recently, I tried to contact Phuntsok Dorjee, the TCV head office computer coordinator, with the email address his colleague Norbu gave to me. Unfortunately, the message twice failed to deliver. I finally searched for Phuntsok on facebook, found him easily, and sent my message through facebook email. He responded the next day and included his email address (it is the same one that Norbu gave me except with ".in" at the end).

Here's what he said (with minor editing):

Teachers do use computers and there are computers in the staff room with internet connection. Albeit, schools have computers, overall computer penetration with internet in the household are not great. Hence, we do have teachers (older ones) who aren't comfortable using the computers. But slowly things are changing . . .

Computer education in TCV schools are started from class 6 onwards. The practical lessons for the students are limited to 3 to 4 classes a week. Currently, computers are limited only to look for reference materials. Things are changing here with younger students referring materials on the internet for their classes. We have an e-Granary digital library from widernet.org installed in the school library with 10 computers for reference.

Technology put to constructive use can help students with their studies.

Phuntsok has a twitter account in addition to facebook. He is also connected to the aforementioned Tibetan Technology Center.

Right now, I'm composing a response to Phuntsok. I hope that he'll be able to help me to know what has already been researched (especially by the Tibetan Technology Center) and what I can and should research. Phuntsok Dorjee is an ideal contact to help me narrow my focus.

As I'm searching for questions to drive my research, I keep returning to that which I know: facebook.

Would an experiment like the one my professor Dr. Burton conducted in my British literary history class (discussed here, here, and here) improve education for Tibetan students? What would change in the classroom use of facebook in their culture? Since, based on the 1,137 members of the TCV facebook group (see this post), a significant number students have private facebook accounts, what impact would an academic application have on their perception of the social medium?


  1. I just want to say I'm so impressed with all the progress you're making! You already have so many great contacts and connections. It's so interesting how technology keeps becoming more of a presence in schools. My high-school-aged brother had a summer assignment that included Facebook discussions, like Dr. Burton uses in his classes. It makes me wonder how many teachers worldwide are using these sorts of tools, and how it effects the educational experience of the students. It will be so interesting to see what you find out about Tibet.

  2. Thanks Katherine! You're my biggest fan! :) I think the presence of technology in schools is both interesting and overwhelming, since the possibilities are seemingly endless! I wrote about this on Mike Lemon's blog: http://mrlemonscorner.blogspot.com/2010/04/thoughts-of-iic-finalists-and-social.html

    Many teachers use or suggest online components to their courses, though the trend is not as prevalent in the Tibetan community. Perhaps this enhances India as a research location for the possibilities of technology in the classroom!