Article in VarIndia
Featuring Santanu Paul
Education in India has seen a sea change in the last decade. These changes were scarcely perceived a generation ago. An interactive education module does not tax the teacher which, in turn, transforms learning into a voyage of discovery and fun for students. Technology is enabling teachers to expand beyond linear, text-based learning and to engage students who learn best in other ways. Its role in educational institutions has evolved from a contained "computer class" into a versatile learning tool that could change how we demonstrate concepts, assign projects and assess progress.
Enormous possibilities with e-learning...
Vendors offering e-learning solutions are mostly IP-driven company, powered by a vast repository of digital instruction materials mapped to meet with the specific objectives laid out by different state learning standards. The content repository consist of thousands of highly animated, lesson-specific, 3D and 2D multimedia modules built with an instructor-led design that allows the teacher to effectively transact the lesson in a typical classroom of diverse set of learners.
"Our product Smartclass has been designed especially for school environment. Smartclass is the digital initiative of Educomp Solutions Ltd., which has brought technology right inside the classrooms. Enabling teachers to use digital resources at the time of teaching, the Smartclass model has provided completely new methods of imparting education. Not only to the teachers, Smartclass has been a new multi-sensory learning experience for the students as well. The Smartclass model has replaced the classroom chalks and blackboards with various digital resources such as graphics, animations, 3D images and video clips. It is a revised form of learning process for children making studying simpler and easier," opines Shantanu Prakash, MD & CEO, Educomp Solutions Ltd.
Study content has largely become digital which helps in better understanding of the subject. For instance, Classteacher's Digital Math Program is a blended solution of technology and activity- based teaching which facilitates better understanding of abstract mathematical concepts. Digital Science Program is a portable and versatile solution which helps the teacher in demonstrating experiments live in the class. At the same time, iPerform is an anywhere, anytime web-based self-learning platform for students.
Rohit Pande, CEO, Classteacher Learning Systems, says, "Classteacher Learning Systems is largely into K-12 educational content and applications in India. Classteacher has the largest database of educational content of 85,000 modules which are updated at regular intervals to make education a quality oriented enjoyable experience. Classteacher combines ommitment to education and provide content to leading schools across India."
E-learning has transformed the way knowledge is being transferred to students. Kids at schools are very actively participating in computer-based and web-based learning process. Students can enhance learning and have a better understanding of varied subjects and access the required information by just a click.
Education has truly undergone an alteration, wherein online learning, computer aided simulation and usage of graphical features has helped in making e-learning realistic and all the more interesting. E-learning is surely a boon to many to enjoy a richer learning experience. "Computer Masti (CM), as the name suggests, is a Fun and Innovative way towards learning computers and is a collaborative effort from IIT, Bombay and InOpen Technologies. It addresses the need for an active computer learning through a cutting-edge IT curriculum. CM is designed as a content-service solution to teach computer science in schools. The emphasis is to understand the concepts behind various computer-based activities, rather than just the mere usage skills of specific tools," shares Rupesh Shah, Co-Founder & CEO, InOpen Technologies.
Oxford University Press (OUP) India offers to schools a range of course-linked interactive digital resource available in CD-ROMs as well as online, free of cost. "Based on extensive market research, these digital resources have been designed to provide explicit linkages to the respective courses and include a variety of interactivities including slideshows, animations, activities, games and assessment. In addition to these interactive resources, OUP India has developed e-books for teachers with interactive tools to zoom, highlight, write notes, etc. These E-books are unique as they can be used by the teacher with minimum technology and can even be used in classrooms that are not equipped with an interactive white board," says Manzar Khan, MD, Oxford University Press.
Beyond Classroom Scenerio...
E-learning has virtually changed the meaning of distance when it comes to distance learning. "SMART Board interactive whiteboards and SMART Bridgit conferencing software gives students and teachers around the world access to collaborative learning materials and the opportunity to connect, even in remote or impoverished areas. Post-secondary and K-12 education institutions see the benefits of distance learning as it affords students the opportunity to learn from teachers around the world and benefit from their expertise. Distance learning could be especially useful for students located in remote areas who have to walk a substantial distance to reach the nearest school. This mode of learning is highly effective in allowing collaboration and learning amongst students and provides them a holistic immersive learning environment and experience. Distance learning is also a viable solution to the teacher-shortage problem," explains Sanjiv Pande, Country Director - India and South Asia, SMARTechnologies.
TalentSprint aims at creating employability focussed transformation programs for unemployed college graduates. Being an NSDC partner company, it has developed experiential learning programs for the IT / BFSI sector that are based on industry-designed curriculum and are backed by national or international certifications.
"Our short, industry-focussed, rigorous and fast-paced programs enable unemployed college graduates to become 'industry-ready' and find their first job with leading companies. TalentSprint has over 50 corporate partnerships and has graduated more than 2,500 students. We are able to skill trainees in the rural areas at subsidized rates. We are also creating in- campus Professional Learning Centres in colleges in rural sectors. We supplement the academic education students receive with industry relevant practical knowledge so that they are 'job-ready' by the time they graduate," points out Dr. Santanu Paul, MD & CEO, TalentSprint.
Initial handholding with Staff...
Classteacher Learning Systems places their own facilitators at each school for the initial round of training for the faculty members to get acquainted with the technology. Classteacher frequently holds sessions/ workshops to assist the teachers to get familiar with the technology. There are general technicians placed at every school to assist if any glitches happen in software during classes for a smooth running of the applications. Educomp is highly proficient in Professional Development/Teacher's training company. While SMART Technology works closely with its distributors to ensure that any customer who adopts their technology receives the support and training required to make the technology as effective as possible in the classroom. InOpen believes that the teachers play a pivotal role in the whole process. They have an in-house training program, just like "train the trainer", where the staff members are trained on how to use the system and engage students in learning computer science. The teachers go through rigorous training program at out IIT-B. The training is conducted by professors of IIT-Bombay along with education officers from InOpen. The handholding visits are also done quarterly in the schools to ensure smooth functioning of Computer Masti.
TalentSprint takes up full responsibility of installing the iPEARL (Interactive Platform for Employability And Remote Learning) technology at partner colleges. They also train technicians and the teacher's assistant onsite at the college.
OUP conduct close-to 800 professional teacher training programmmes and train over 65,000 teachers across the country every year. Web and digital training forms an integral part of these programmes. They perceive themselves as supporters of the teacher’s journey from a novice to a proficient user of digital material through our range of teacher training initiatives, and support materials integrated with textbooks.
Digital interactive and immersive education has seen tremendous growth in the last two years in the market across both large and small towns. This is just the tip of the iceberg as the education community is just getting exposed to the power of digital tools. Apart from the market for interactive classroom teaching, there is more than 100-per cent growth in market for assessments as well as web-based learning. The industry is getting bullish on next generation of personalized learning systems. E-learning is growing both as a support tool for existing educational institutions as well as for delivery of high-quality solutions for the end-user.
E-learning is an outstanding option in education, particularly when there are hindrances to traditional learning situations. It provides a great opportunity to the students who find it difficult to learn well in a traditional learning environment, but thrive in a more flexible setting. This also ensures that quality of instruction is maintained.
Moumita Deb Choudhury