Written By: The Progressive Teacher|
July 3, 2015|
Education is the single most important factor to address socio-economic problems. Many rural families are trapped in the vicious poverty cycle due to illiteracy and lack of education opportunities. By empowering the next generation and equipping them with the necessary skills and intellectual capital to break free of the poverty trap, CLT India emancipates many families and provides opportunities for a better life.
(CLT India’s content is licensed at Rs. 1 per child per month for non-profits. They have been called as MOOC of Rural India, as their repository for K-12 in regional languages, both online and off-line, is low-cost and high volume.)
Mr. Prabhudeva, the Headmaster of Jakkur Government High School, is very supportive of the CLT e-Patashale ‘Smart Class’ that was implemented three years ago. Since then, there has been good improvement in the learning outcomes of his 9th and 10th graders. This is despite the fact that his school did not have teachers to teach Physics and Maths for the last two years. Facilitators, and even the Headmaster himself, are able to teach these subjects even if they do not have subject expertise. In rigorous scientific evaluations, e-Patashale has led to a two-fold learning improvement in English test scores and increased engagement between students and teachers.
Mr Javaraiah, the Headmaster of Gorur Government School, is very proud of the fact that his school was the first school in Hassan District to get a solar-powered e-Patashale ‘Smart Class’ (in partnership with Menda and Selco Foundation). In the initial stages, many teachers thought that e-learning would never become a permanent fixture in their school, because it was seldom that the government schools could afford them. He was amazed that an entire curriculum for the Middle School can fit into a small device and the multi-media content can be stored and projected at any time. He was also pleasantly surprised that five students from the neighbouring private schools had migrated to his government school. He is pleased with the learning outcomes of the students and is hoping to acquire the content in English medium, in addition to the regional language (Kannada) that his school already has. CLT e-patashale created such excitement among the teachers at Gorur Middle School and High School that it drew the attention of Mr Paneesh, the Hassan District level coordinator of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. He was impressed with the cost-effective learning model that was sustainable even with severe power cuts. It is also easy to implement and requires only one day of training for the teachers. This inspired him to source the required funds to have ‘Smart Classes’ implemented in twelve more schools in his District.
Mr Shiva Kumar, the Headmaster of Hulikal Government School, is excited about the changes e-patashale is bringing. Dropout rates have dropped 92% from 5% to 0.04% since the implementation of e-patashala. He attributes this achievement to the transformation in the learning environment from passive to collaborative. The digital content is developed by expert teachers and the interactive and engaging content is aligned to state-board curriculum. The continuous usage increased the teaching capacities of the teachers as well as learning outcomes of students.
CLT e-patashale is changing the face of e-learning in remote areas. In the past, e-learning in remote areas would seem to be an unattainable goal due to the high cost, frequent power cuts and no internet access. However, CLT’s partnership model circumvents all these problems. With its low-cost and accessible model for development and delivery, CLT is able to bring high quality education to rural government schools.
A Typical Class: A student leader operates a wireless mouse while the teacher teaches. On the pull out screen next to the traditional blackboard, e-Patashale digital content is displayed. Video captures and animations illustrating Science and Mathematics concepts are shown. The teacher pauses the video and points to a detailed and labelled diagram on the screen while facilitating a lively discussion. A student goes up to the blackboard and draws a similar diagram. The students sit perched on the edge of the seats and are eager to contribute ideas. At the end of the lesson, a quiz is given and the teacher is able to assess the students’ progress and plan for the next lesson. The next class begins and the teacher simply goes back to the home page of e-patashale and chooses another subject/grade. Since all the lesson content for all three subjects for all three grades (middle school, high school) are loaded in an Android mini PC, minimal time is wasted to set up the classroom and prepare for the next lesson.
‘The different methodologies from many teachers engaged in developing pedagogy have improved my teaching style. By employing the different maxims of teaching, I am able to teach better. The constructivist and deductive approach employed in the development of digital content helps my students become better thinkers…’ – D. S. Sujay, a teacher at Chitradurga Government School.
This sentiment is echoed by teachers from other schools. They have also commented that e-patashale has increased confidence among the teachers and the teachers are able to teach better.
‘e-patashale combines all the best teaching content and I spend less time and effort to prepare for a class, yet am able to teach better…’ – Javaraiah, Headmaster and math teacher of Gorur Government School
Many government schools lack the required resources to conduct frequent experiments. e-patashale makes use of locally available materials to create cost-effective videos to illustrate concepts, making them easier to understand. e-patashale contains many detailed drawings and animations for students to better visualise concepts. Visual aids, with their high recall value, help in retention of information and many students understand better after watching videos of experiments and activities. The students enjoy the classes so much that they were sharing stories with their parents and neighbours. This piqued the interest of the community and many were attracted to the smart teaching and improved learning outcomes at the schools, increasing the admission rates.
‘The real world comes to class in the form of e-patashale… Science is related to their immediate surroundings and the use of locally available materials to demonstrate concepts makes it more relatable to the students.’ – Shivakumar, Headmaster of Hulikal Government High School
What makes CLT e-patashale successful? Unlike other e-learning models, our solutions address rural challenges and focus not just on the development of content, but the delivery of the content as well. e-patashale can be used in non-connectivity areas and in electricity-starved areas. CLT e-patashale implementation programme works efficiently with partnership models for low-cost, energy-efficient solar-powered classrooms. Some of our current partners are Menda Foundation, Selco Foundation and Rotary Districts. Our solutions are very easy to operate and navigate. CLT endeavors to strengthen the existing social structure and government schools with a network of support for pedagogy, technology, infrastructure and mentoring programmes through collaboration. CLT believes that teachers are the best resource and our solutions do not attempt to replace teachers, but to use technology to transfer pedagogy and scale distribution to the base of the pyramid.
CLT e-patashale has been implemented in more than 3000 classrooms in 23 districts to date. More than 300,000 children have been impacted and 4000 teachers have benefited from the low-cost, high-volume product and service.
Note: m_pata, our free mobile app is recently launched and is available for download at Google Playstore. Teachers are able to download PDF versions of teaching resources free of cost in regional language and English and there are plans to include a discussion forum for teachers to share their ideas and practices. m_pata leverages on the fact that mobile phones are the most common technology in rural areas to expand teachers’ bandwidth to teach Science, Maths and English Grammar. www.cltindia.org