Digitial Interactive Solutions for K-12

Technology is spreading its branches and small towns are bucking themselves to adapt the transformation with open arms. Classteacher Learning Systems, a pioneer in the K-12 education system now forays into Gaya to provide 180 Digital Interactive Classrooms in 12 schools. Classteacher has recently tied up with the DAV schools in the city to provide Digital Interactive Solutions and make learning more fun and easier for the students.

Classteacher, with its various learning programs provides a holistic approach to the students as well as the teachers to make education a more personalized and interactive experience. There are myths that digital  interactive programs cost a lot but with the friendly and flexible solutions from Classteacher, the overall cost was really worth it.

  Seeing the phenomenal change and progress of the student, Mr KK Sinha, Principal, DAV Gaya proudly says, “It feels great to see the response of the students in the class now. The interactivity of the curriculum makes the students feel empowered thereby boosting their confidence and participation level. With Classteacher, we have provided Digital Interactive Learning Programs in 180 classrooms as we believe it provides seamless integration of educational content thereby creating a truly immersive learning experience for both students as well as teachers”.

Mr Rohit Pande, CEO, Classteacher Learning Systems said, “We are proud to be part of Bihar’s growth story. Technology in education and our latest innovation – classpad is poised to bring the flame of learning to every nook and corner of Bihar and help the new generation leapfrog to the possibilities of our times and age.”

Educational standards in India have been deteriorating in recent times. Assessments of Indian school students by two different entities are indeed discomfiting. In the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test held by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for South and South-East Asia, India was second last — barely nosing out Kyrgyzstan. Incidentally, China topped the assessment.

If that seems like some consolation – wait. The ‘Annual Status of Education Report, 2011′ (ASER) released in January 2012 by NGO Pratham revealed that reading scores across India have declined by 5 per cent over 2010. Worse, only 30 per cent children in Class 3 and two-thirds in Class 5 could solve simple two-digit problems – a 6 per cent decline over 2010.

Rote Learning’s Limitations

Barely two years after the Right to Education Act was cleared, what ails Indian education? The problem: the wrong focus. Presently, authorities are simply seized with ensuring that all children are educated. While there’s nothing apparently wrong with this, it simply reduces education to statistics. The responsibility for ensuring students learn and imbibe what’s taught is missing. Rote learning only works up to a point.

In today’s hyper-competitive environment, rote learning without comprehension won’t take students far. For example, rote learning only works with standard questions. Re-frame the same questions from another angle and students schooled in rote learning cannot comprehend them and respond appropriately.

Fortunately, solutions to surmount such learning problems exist. Simply pinpoint the actual problem and then choose the right solution. Instead of rote methods used in traditional teaching, schools should use modern means such as introducing interactivity and personalisation in education. In this regard, Digital Learning and Interactive Education methodologies can provide solutions. Digital Learning uses modern gadgets such as computers and tablet PCs — something today’s generation is most comfortable with.

Digital Learning Revolution

In fact, students have taken to technology like ducks to water. This compatibility between the students’ receptive minds and the limitless possibilities of digital technology has led to paradigm shifts in the K-12 (primary and secondary levels) education system globally. Where adults were once befuddled by fast technological transformations sweeping the globe, children welcomed these swift changes.

The truth about this transformation is gradually becoming evident as schools slowly adopt interactive classroom teaching and virtual learning systems by using information and communication technology. Of course, the transition from traditional teaching methodologies to modern modules has had hiccups at some stages. The reservations, paradoxically, were voiced by teachers and parents, not students.

But as more schools embraced technology, the sceptics realised the value of what they’ve been missing. Modern education transcends the brick walls of classrooms, as well as the borders and boundaries of nations. As education becomes an interactive voyage of discovery on colourful computer screens, students of all ages discover exciting prospects in studies. Digital teaching modules offer integrated solutions that assist teachers in classrooms via the use of software, hardware and school support services. Once considered just a ‘job’ by teachers and ‘dull and dreary’ by students, interactive learning has now become an enriching experience.

Moreover, interactive learning promotes critical thinking among students, too. Students no longer accept what the teacher says at face value. They are unafraid to pose unconventional questions that cannot be answered via stereotyped responses. Students would earlier think twice before replying. Today, teachers need to marshal their facts before answering offbeat queries. Such interactions fuel the creative thought processes of not just students but teachers, too.

(The author is CEO, Classteacher Learning Systems.)

E-books

E-books in India are though at a nebulous state, but there is no denying the fact that it is ever evolving and has a promising future in India. E-books are the next big leap for education system in India. For a generation that is essentially driven by technology and has tabs and smart phones as indispensible part of their daily lives, introduction of e-books as a part of their education is indeed the next step.

With the digital medium for education catching up in India, e-books will not be left far behind. Apart from saving trees, which are the main source of print books; e-books make reading and learning much more fun. Unlike traditional print books, e-books have simulations, animations which make e-books much more interactive.

Apart from the above advantages of an e-book over traditional print book, e-books provide much more advanced features. Every word in an e-book can be searched, because their content is scanned.  While reading an e-book, a reader can jump from one book to another e-book through the hypertext, so e-books are not just the future of education, but in due course they will redefine the process of learning as well. Not to forget that e-books will free students of their heavy bags.

Although to experience the benefits of this amazing technology, we do need to make sure that every classroom has computer lab and has access to internet and to achieve this, infrastructural reforms are needed. According to Internet World Stats, an international website that features world internet usage, India ranks third in internet usage with nearly 100 million users, comprising 8.4 per cent of India’s population and 4.7 per cent of world users

The good news is children are not just accepting technology as medium for learning but are enjoying it as well. The e-publishing industry in India is growing and a number of new e-readers are being introduced in the market. The launch of different e-readers shows growing confidence in this industry.

Classpad is the latest innovation in field of interactive teaching and learning by Classteacher Learning Systems.  Classpad marks the next level of innovation in terms of personalized pedagogy structure and newer applications which are designed to equip and empower teacher to teach better, and students to learn better.

Classpad facilitates personalized and interactive learning in the classroom and makes education accessible to every student according to his/ her individual intelligence level and talent. Using the Classpad, teachers can effortlessly transfer class work to the students’ tablet, share their own content instantly and conduct tests/ assessments hassle free. Students can also give undivided attention to class lessons, attempt assessments and get immediate results to further enhance their learning.

Classpad provides educational solutions based on the NCERT syllabus. Using the tablet, students can download 7000 education applications on the cloud. Classpad has a touch screen with a 7 hour battery life, 1.3 Ghz processing speed and a built-in memory of 4 GB expandable upto 32 Gb.

Our education system does not differentiate students according to the learning capabilities and teach them at the same level, but the software installed in Classpad tests students’ problem solving, creativity and application of language skills. It provides them with personalized teaching as per their learning capabilities. Equipped with artificial intelligence, Classpad can help to categorize students as fast learners, average learners and slow learners. Classpad can assist in reducing the monotony of repetitive sessions in the classroom. Teachers can now complete their syllabus within schedule and get considerable time to focus on slow learners.

Available for students in standard 3 to 12, Classpad can serve as an interactive e-reading device, with the capability of storing dozens of books. Equipped with distinctive software that is designed to integrate smoothly with existing school platforms, Classpad can easily be connected to the interactive whiteboards. The  Classpad is  available in 2 models: Trolley model for multiple student usage and one Tablet per Child (OTPC) model.

Classpad  offers three learning models – ‘In-class’, using which teachers can effortlessly transfer class work, tests and home assignments to the students’ tablet; ‘In-school’, for out-of-class learning; and, ‘In-home’, for parents to monitor children’s school and home work.

Classpad provides seamless integration between school and home. Powered by an adaptive technology engine,  Classpad works both on the cloud and the school server.

Technology- and activity-based modules in digital learning products make teaching easier for teachers, while facilitating faster learning by students. Such interactive teachings are immediately followed by practice sessions for students. In such a scenario, the comprehension and retention capacity of students soar manifold, unlike in tradition teaching, where monotonous lectures lead to the lowest retention capacity among students. Besides being user-friendly, many digital teaching modules come with control functions that allow teachers to monitor each student’s real-time performance. Although students have personalized consoles, each teacher holds administrative rights to make the class fully functional. The teachers can then allocate personalized lesson plans to each student, according to their specific levels and performance. After the lessons are submitted, the teacher is well placed to assess the performance levels of each student. Assessment serves as an important cog in the learning process, as it helps in measuring learning outcomes, providing remedial inputs and offering a powerful set of solution towards a consistent development of the students. Implementing assessment programs assist the teacher to know the strengths and weakness of the students and then plan the future lessons in tandem with the pace of the students.

These user-friendly teaching modules not only take a great burden off teachers, but make topics simpler for students to understand. Furthermore, interactivity aids focused concentration for longer periods. All this ensures students considered laggards in class could now even put in above-average performances. Given the element of fun and interactivity that digital learning programs bring into classrooms, teachers may soon find it difficult to label students as genuine slow learners.

Students taught in this manner possess an array of creative, problem-solving, communication and analytical skills – the best means to beat a path to success in the 21st century’s ultra-competitive environment. With most modern schools in Indian cities and towns introducing computers and computer education, the time is right to adopt digital learning technologies across classrooms.

Once digital learning is accepted by most schools across the country, India will no longer be a laggard in student assessment programs but instead lead from the front. Considering India’s rich cultural heritage and millennia-old teaching traditions, this would be its rightful place amongst the global comity of nations.

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Rohit pande is CEO of Classteacher Learning Systems

 

Technology is an indispensible aspect in fostering education and the Indian society is waking up to this fact.

 Today, we often come across jargons such as ‘knowledge economy’, ‘information explosion’, ‘world at your fingertips’. These are not alien terms, as they have become an indispensible part of our regular vocabulary. Rewind a decade ago and a totally different picture would have surfaced. The dichotomy exists even today, translated by economists as ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’. While urban India has taken IT for granted, there is a mammoth demographic segment who doesn’t know how technology touches their lives, if at all they do.

In  these two words –‘Information and technology’, the aspect to be noticed is the fact that Information always precedes technology. Information existed, technology made it accessible, thereby building a society knowledge rich, aware and discerning. With time, the fact got proven that IT is an enabler of social inclusivity, by the sheer truth that it can bring information to the masses, educate them and make them live a life of quality.

Technology is an indispensible aspect in fostering education and the Indian society is waking up to this fact. Of the nearly one million public schools in India, less than 0.2 percent has any form of IT infrastructure or computer-based education. Though technology has made inroads into areas hitherto inaccessible, still there is a major chunk of the Indian population who cannot take advantage of the possibilities because of obvious constraints, cost being one. Several organizations are undertaking initiatives to negate those constraints and time testifies the fact that we have come a long way in doing so.

Grass-Root Initiatives and innovations
Numerous grass-root innovations are happening to bridge the glaring digital divide. The biggest challenge in India undoubtedly is that of infrastructure. Setting up a school is a cumbersome process necessitating very high costs in terms of building materials, municipality permits, electricity, remuneration for teachers, and maintenance. As a corollary, this acts as a hurdle to many bright students who cannot afford that kind of money.

 Keeping in perspective the fact that today, out of approximately 200 million children in the age group of 6-14 years only 120 million are going to school, these initiatives will pave a long way in fostering an inclusive atmosphere for socio economic growth. As part of its Vision 2020 plan, the Government is looking to increase the number of school-going children to 30 per cent by 2020.
How is Technology paving the way for Socio-economic growth in India?
Now is the season of Tablets. We often read in the papers about how low cost tablets are made available to village panchayats, students and even the Government in India. With a medium to access information and the information content itself, technology is acting as a game changer. Both these components are existing in a complementary relationship and technology is enabling this trend. Information technology industry has already ushered in a catalytic change in the Indian society by collaborating with the government to increase accessibility, affordability and accountability of essential services.

Technology has brought about effective alterations in administrative functions in terms of public services and e-governance projects, to eliminate avoidable inefficiencies, reduce corruption and guaranteeing ease of collaboration amongst diverse departments. The industry itself has accelerated technology-adoption across various sectors including healthcare, real-estate, BFSI, tourism and retail; thereby improving quality of life of the citizens of India. Constraints still exists in terms of cost and awareness. As these dissolve with time, technology will make its presence felt even more assertively and act as building blocks for social inclusivity.
Rohit Pande is the CEO and co- founder of Classteacher Learning Systems which was established in 2000. Rohit started his career with Andersen consulting where he worked as a consultant. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi of the 1995 batch, he pursued management studies at Indian Institute of Management- Calcutta.