Monday February 18, 2019
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Click it, learn it: A digitalised educational model

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

What if the burden of your kid’s school bag is reduced to mere grams from the bunch of many kilos? What if you are no longer worried about your child not understanding the complex concepts at the school? Well, hold your breath because your reveries are soon going to meet a dead end. The introduction of tablets in school learning has refurbished the scenario. Now tablets will be replacing books in educational institutes.

Though the new found technology is limited to only 1.5 million schools in India but the trend is slowly picking up pace in varied parts of the country. The exclusively designed tablets are helping students in getting familiar with the digital mode of learning. These tablets have inbuilt access to notebooks and learning material for different classes. Features like audio-visual presentations, preloaded dictionary are giving a hand on experience to students to make learning ‘paperless.

The Muslim Educational Society (MES) International School in North Kerela is one such example of digital-education. The students of the aforesaid school are being taught with the help of tablet. Owing to the nominal rates of the tablets, even parents are being saved from the perils of a costly education system. Eductech Company Extramarks has equipped MES and five other schools in this area. The tablets are available in both English and Hindi. Besides, it has also turned out to be a boon for the teachers at the schools.

The students at MES too seemed satisfied with the hand on experience with the tablet. It has made the process of learning easier with the visual representations of complex concepts.

The industry of digital classrooms worth $1 bn is constantly growing with 12.5% of Indian schools being on the verge of digitalisation. Companies are also planning to digitalise government schools and aanganwadis in order to help the underprivileged.

But the new age schism is being equally criticised on the grounds that it might adversely affect the health of the children using it.

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The Unconventional Way of Learning: Textbooks Come Alive in Gujarat’s Schools

Outdated teaching methods, lack of interest among students and teachers, and gender discrimination were some of the common problems.

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Outdated teaching methods, lack of interest among students and teachers, and gender discrimination were some of the common problems. Pixabay

 In a small school near Bhuj in Gujarat, a group of class five students sit attentively in class, their eyes glued to an LCD screen. The opened science books on their laps have come alive on the screen before them, as an animated character explains the nuances of the chapter in their native language, Gujarati. Efficient learning, experts say, happens when students enjoy the experience, and in hundreds of schools across Gujarat, digitised school textbooks are opening up children’s minds like never before.

Learning Delight, the hand that is turning the wheel of change in 10,000 government schools, mostly in rural and semi-urban areas across the state, has been digitising the state curriculum since 2011, and has the approval of the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT). The idea is simple: use technology to aid classroom teaching to make the learning process more engaging, more efficient – and definitely more fun.

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This led the two to use technology and design, an e-learning tool that would aid classroom teaching.. Pixabay

So much so, that in a survey done in 350 schools where they have a presence, Parinita Gohil, co-founder of Learning Delight, said, “The dropout rate among children studying between Class 1 and Class 8 has come down by 6-7 per cent in the past five years.”

It all started a decade back when two friends, Harshal Gohil and Vandan Kamdar, who were doing their MBA, realised that there was a huge gap in education between schools in different settings. Outdated teaching methods, lack of interest among students and teachers, and gender discrimination were some of the common problems. This led the two to use technology and design, an e-learning tool that would aid classroom teaching.

“Harshal and Vandan began with a survey in five schools. Here they found that although there was no dearth in infrastructure – the schools had computers – there was scepticism about using them,” Parinita Gohil, who is married to Harshal Gohil, told IANS. The resistance mainly arose because “most teachers were not comfortable with the English language, were scared of using the computer, and apprehensive if the computers would replace their role”.

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There has, however, been an exception in this digitisation process – the language textbooks, be it English, Hindi, or Gujarati, have been left out. Pixabay

Therefore, the offline computer software that they developed was designed in such a way that a teacher’s presence was necessary in the class. The medium of instruction was Gujarati. “So be it any subject – science, math, social studies – the content was digitised in a way that through animation, riddles, puzzles, and stories textbook learning is made more interactive and fun,” Parinita Gohil said. The experts who designed the digitised content also had teachers on board.

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There has, however, been an exception in this digitisation process – the language textbooks, be it English, Hindi, or Gujarati, have been left out. “We don’t want children to leave reading their books. So, while we have digitised the grammar lessons, language textbooks have been left as they are,” she said.

Next in the pipeline is a mobile phone app being developed with a similar software and a foray into Rajasthan, for which software has been developed in Hindi and in tandem with the Rajasthan state education board. (IANS)