Education & Learning through Mobiles
Session 3.3
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Chairperson: Dr. Sitansu S Jena, Chairman, National Institute of Open Schooling

Co-Chair: Prof. Rajesh Chakrabarti, Executive Director, Bharti Institute of Public Policy

Moderator: Dr. Amir Ullah Khan, President-Glocal University

Jury Expert: Ramakrishna N K, Co-founder & CEO, Rang De

Session Focus:

  • Share the use of various digital media & tools and create policies where educational institutions & govt. machinery should take advantage of mobile infrastructure and m-application through m-learning programmes.
  • Use of growing penetration of mobile, internet and other digital media platforms like radio & TV in delivering education to unreached masses.

Summit Bytes:

Mahendra Sharma, Indian Pride : Indian pride is a group of apps who act as language editors for transliteration of 21 Indian languages. Here users can write in languages using their English keypad, save and share content. They also contain literature content like stories, shayaries, jokes, kavita, quotes and eBooks all available in Gujarati, Hindi, and Marathi. All apps are known with language prefix like Hindi Pride, Gujarati Pride etc. It has been conceptualized with the aim of preserving the language movement through digital means. The apps adopt the ‘freemium’ model with an integrated mobile payment system to access paid content.

Anuragini Nagar, Play ‘n’ Learn: An experiment conducted in urban as well as rural schools revealed that children are finding it difficult to pick up Hindi & Maths. Upon receiving this information, the creators of ‘Galli Galli Sim Sim’- a popular Indian cartoon show decided to launch a mobile application to aid in the same. 10 interactive games were designed- each focusing on learning a particular topic and facilitators in both rural & urban schools were trained to use them in classrooms. The response has been excellent with teachers saying learning has been improved and accelerated. Since the games are mostly multi-player, children take turns in playing with one another which has led to positive group dynamics. Another important observation has been that the positive impact of the app has been more pronounced in girls than boys.

Rohit Taneja, Perfect My English : Command over English is a major skill that boosts employability. Though there are numerous coaching centres for communicative English courses, every student personalization and access to content based on his/her command over the language. Perfect My English addresses the same by using quizzing techniques in the form of flash cards as learning tools. It diagnoses user’s weakness in various skill areas and prescribes and delivers remediation through scores, feedback and lesson material. The app allows users to continually re-asses and re-target their remediation through self-learning, deliver reports on progress over time broken down as per skill areas and topic wise feedback. Thus it is purely adaptive learning. Moreover, special emphasis has been placed on commonly made mistakes to have a real impact on the command over language.

Gayathri Sriram, Mobile Enabled Teacher Education: Though there are numerous
applications which try to address the lack of teachers, there are not many which try to help the teachers in delivering better quality education. The service has a curriculum designed specifically for teachers in rural areas. Training is delivered one fact at a time through SMS, which the user can configure when to receive. The facts could relate to techniques of attracting more interest in class to motivational quotes on teaching.
Feedback and motivation loops are built in. This is a highly customized model in which the educational institution signs up to train its teachers through the service. The creators then conducts a detailed study to understand exact training requirements and creates a set of highly customized messages, which are then sent out in a pre-determined sequence. It has had strong positive impact on teachers in numerous schools so far.

Amy Lightfoot, Jobseekers: Job-seekers is an m-learning resource for young adults to improve their livelihood and employment opportunities by improving their vocabulary, pronunciation and listening skills. The app also provides skills like writing CVs and job applications and giving interviews. The learning is provided through a series of 90 animated video stories which follow four characters in their search for employment. The content is pedagogically sound and the animation aids in making the learning more fun. It also has built-in assessment system which has tests and crosswords.

Vineesh Kumar, Pocket Science: Science is routinely perceived as being difficult whereas it could be so much fun if delivered in the right way. The app aims to make learning science easy through creative learning in various forms. Currently based on CBSE 10th standard science syllabus, app has numerous features including videos based on chapters, doubt clearing, discussion forums, gamified revision in the form of the games like anagrams & crosswords, competition tools in the form of compete and the ability to challenge one’s friends. Thus the app helps internalizing new dimensions of science ensuring various levels of competitiveness.

Adi Jain, StudyCopter: There are so many competitive exams in India which rule the fate of millions of students taking the test. This has led to exam coaching becoming a multi-billion dollar business. Study copter helps a user in preparing for these exams without having to spend exorbitant amounts on coaching classes and materials. It adopts a process of social learning and customized content delivery to enable user to have a holistic preparation.

Ankit, Discover English with Ben & Bella: : The mobile has made it possible for children to start learning early through more engaging experiences. The app has stories of two characters named Ben & Bella who visit the zoo, which is used to provide learning about animals and places. Since the child is able to listen to the names, he would pick it up faster. The app also has provisions in which the child could make his own story by picking the characters, animals and sequence of occurrence and share with friends. It makes learning a lot more fun and creative.

Yasith Kanchana Lokuge, Sipsala: TSri Lanka had been ravaged by civil war for decades which made education a luxury. There has been a significant lack of teachers and adequate learning materials which led to literacy levels plummeting. Sipsala is an educational mobile application for primary and secondary school children in Sri Lanka. It contains text books from all the subjects they learn at school in grade one to eleven in the three main languages of Sri Lanka i.e. Sinhala, English and Tamil. The offline feature helps even the students from rural areas to access the e-lessons and is very sustainable.

Panel Recommendations:

  • In education, technology must aim to bridge the gap of human delivery and hence the potential is huge in the Indian sub-continent.
  • It is very important to understand the requisite form factor- mobile applications are very different from desktop and website resources.
  • Whereas the earlier generations used to view mobiles as distracting from studies, the youth are increasingly using it for effective learning.
  • Teachers must be empowered to use technological medium in classrooms for facilitating learning, which would help in creating a virtual learning environment.
  • Technology must directly link education with livelihood, therein lies the real benefit of learning.
  • There should be a collaborative platform for various developers- each of them could work on one aspect of learning and create a solution. The integrated solution can then be piloted and deployed in open schools to gauge impact.
  • The role of parents in aiding education through mobiles needs to be paid more attention.