When Niwas Shevale, a maths teacher in a civic school, draws a diagram on a board in Dadar, students in 80 civic schools across the city make notes simultaneously.
More than a thousand Class 10 students from civic schools in the city have been studying in a virtual classroom set-up, initiated by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in 2011.
The virtual training programme, called Edubeam, uses satellite technology to connect a teacher from a studio in Dadar to classrooms across the city. A company called Value Group has provided the technology.
“While the traditional classroom environment is more comfortable, the virtual classroom is effective in reaching out to thousands of students,” said Shevale, one of 70 civic teachers trained to teach from the studio.
As schools in the city are increasingly using technology to enhance learning, civic schools are also catching up with the trend.
Classrooms in each school have a television set and other necessary equipment, such as webcams and a microphone. The teacher monitors the classrooms through a television screen in the studio. The programme is used for teaching in Marathi, Hindi, English and Urdu.
“Infrastructure and teaching skills are not the same across municipal schools. With this project, we wish to bring about consistency in quality of teaching,” said Kailash Arya, BMC beat officer who is also the co-ordinator for the programme.
Students, too, have found the change refreshing. “It is different from a regular classroom, but I have adjusted to it. I pay more attention now because the teachers present the content in an interesting manner,” said Sneha Mabde, a Class 10 student of Prabhadevi Municipal Secondary School.
“Students in civic schools can take full advantage of technology,” said Ameya Hete, executive director, Valuable Group.