Blackboards out, plasma monitors in

None | ByM Rajendran, New Delhi
Jan 19, 2007 11:47 PM IST

Schoolchildren in two of Delhi's top schools are set to mix the joys of prime-time quizzing with classroom education, reports M Rajendran.

Ma'am will now take time off from that chalkpiece and move a mouse instead.

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HT Image

Schoolchildren in two of Delhi's top schools are set to mix the joys of prime-time quizzing with classroom education with the next phase in computer-aided lessons.

They will get to learn about complicated chemistry formulae or the periodic table or photosynthesis the 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' way and test their knowledge by playing a "fastest finger first" round, mimicking the nation's popular television quiz show in their classrooms.

And thereby hangs a big business opportunity for Educomp Solutions Ltd, a stock market-listed company which estimates that the digital content for such education could be worth around Rs 1,800 crore a year, if 10,000 of the creamiest Indian schools from a universe of 50,000 private schools in India adopt a trend it has kicked off in the capital.

Computer labs in schools are passe. Information technology-enabled classrooms now mean a teacher logging on her laptop to a school network, and downloading the latest and the best and displaying them on large plasma screens that complement the good old blackboard.

The Bal Bharati Public School, (BBPS) Pitampura and Delhi Public School (DPS), RK Puram have taken the lead to implement Educomp's Smart Assessment System (SAS).

Educomp's digital content for the SAS is based on the syllabus prepared and approved by the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT). The company offers educational content in 10 Indian regional languages.

A personal or notebook computer connected to the plasma screen enables the teacher to highlight a point with animation and live pictures using the digital content based on NCERT syllabus. And five minutes before the class concludes, the students are given a gadget the size of a mobile phone with keys -A,B,C and D. The teacher splashes the question on the subject/topic just taught with four options and the students are to press the right option. The results of each student are computed and reflected for the teacher on the PC/Notebook.

Internet "dotcoms" founded years ago to tap school education in India went bust, probably because they were far ahead of their times. Educomp, slow but steady, is eyeing a goldmine.

Shantanu Prakash, managing director, Educomp Solutions Ltd says, "The school curriculum is abstract, there is no joy of learning, no relevance in the present day life and teachers create an environment which is not interesting for students. Digital content and IT can be used for improving the quality of education where the focus is on child learning — analytical learning rather than being exam smart."

The pioneering schools are evidently excited about the new approach to teaching which involves investing Rs 1.5 lakh per class for the plasma monitor and networking software and hardware.

"As an educator, the most exciting part about SAS for me, is that it allows teachers continuous evaluation of a child and the chance to remedy any deficiency in his/her learning in real time," said SC Baveja, Principal, BBPS.

Mukesh Kumar, head of the computer science department at DPS, RK Puram, said, "Educomp's Smart Assessment System has added a new dimension in educational technology which is visibly impacting the teaching-learning process in classrooms." 
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