Multi-screen classroom

Nandagopal Rajan        Print Edition: June 2012

Till a few years ago, out-of-school education meant tuition classes in the evening or at the most, an hour of ho-hum UGC programming on television. But now the classroom is just one of the many places of learning. While digital blackboards and computers have take schools education to new levels, tablets, mobile learning tools and e-books are taking academics way beyond the classroom. A look at how the digital revolution is taking education beyond the blackboard to multiple screens and mediums.

1.PHONE
The screen might be small, but the phone is emerging as the most cost-effective way of taking education to those beyond the digital divide.

iTunesU
This app for the iPhone (and iPad ) lets you access thousands of world-class course material. There is content here for everyone from primary to university students. The medium is also diverse from podcasts to text books. A sizeable chunk of the course material is free.

Nokia Ovi Life Tools
Not all e-learnig tools are for smart devices. In fact, the Nokia Life Tools education services works on the cheapest of phones and tries to boost the confidence of consumers by letting them learn English, improve their general knowledge and prepare for exams of state and central boards. While users in some parts of the country can even take an IGNOU certification programme in English using Life Tools, it also features content from other education players.

2 COMPUTER
Yes, there is nothing new about learning on the computer. But never before have students had so much content at their beckoning. From CDs providing digitised lessons of all school texts to online certificate courses which you can take from the comfort of your home, the PC has now become biggest extension of the classroom.

Computermasti.com
This website from InOpen Technologies tries to teach computers in an innovative and fun way. The content, presented in a unique story format, lays emphasis on understanding the concepts behind computer-based activities than specific tools. Used by many schools in India and abroad, the content is available in eight Indian and two foreign languages. Prices for the learning modules start at Rs 95.

Edukart.com
This education portal offers multiple industry relevant courses for students and working professionals. For instance, there are certificate courses in Retail Management, Financial Management, Digital Marketing and Programming languages like Java Script and PHP. Courses cost upwards of Rs 1,700, but the company promises a full money back if you are unsatisfied.

Classtopper.com
This CLAAS (cloud learning as a service) application uses proprietary algorithms to find a personalised learning path for students, identifying their strengths, weaknesses and unique learning styles in the process. The website lets parents create accounts for their wards, who can then test their skills according to their class. There are dashboards for parents to check the child's progress. The software adjusts to how well a student appears to understand different concepts and presents the content in a different way if there is any confusion.

TABLET
The stakeholders are all fast realising the power of the tablet computer as a teaching tool. While they try to make the device affordable, there is also a mad rush to provide content.

HCL MyEduTab
In an ideal scenario, a teacher will upload academic content on to the cloud, which the students will access using their HCL tablet. Loaded with educational toold and content, the Android Ice Cream Sandwich-based MyEduTab aims at personalised learning. Parents and teachers can, meanwhile, monitor their progress. MyEduTab-K12 Version will have NCERT K12 mapped content, solved examples, quizzes and revision points as well as free text books. Rs 11,499.

Micromax Funbook
Another Android Ice-Cream Sandwich tablet, the Funbook comes loaded with study material, videos, multimedia, tests, assessment, and even references from Pearson, Everonn, GK Publishers, Scholarshub and others in a bid to take digital learning to those who can benefit from it most. Powered by Vriti, its e-learning app allows access to more than 500 smart courses ranging from Class I to graduation courses. Rs 6,499.

Attano
From pre-school to high education courses, Attano Media And Education has ebooks for all students. Attano's ebooks are available for both iOS and Android tablets and mobiles as well as for the PC, with the interface being the same across devices. Attano has also started an EduTV option for students. Prices for books start as low as Rs 15.

4 TELEVISION
The telly is no longer an idiot box. Well, it can still be downright stupid at times, but if you want to use to your advantage the TV can give you a lot of direct-to-home options.

GALLI GALLI SIM SIM RADIOPHONE PROJECT:
Qualcomm's Wireless ReachTM has taken this popular programme to many migrant families who have limited access to eduction. The programme uses 3G to share awareness on hygiene, nutrition, motherhood and childcare to the families.
TataSky
The educational suite includes Actve Wizkids, Actve Stories and Actve Learning available throughout the day and have been designed to improve a child's vocabulary, communication skills and language skills. Actve Wizkids is an edutainment service which tried to improve the child's general knowledge, mathematics, logic and English, while Actve Learning uses interactive quizzes in sync with their classroom syllabus. Actve Stories, meanwhile, has popular stories in English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali. The service costs Rs 40 a month.

Airtel digital TV
The recently launched iExam is aimed at helping children prepare for competitive examinations from their homes. Airtel has tied up with coaching brands to offer mock and practice tests directly on the TV. iExam now focuses on AIEEE, IIT and various state level entrance exams, but content for CAT, Bank PO, PMT will be added in the near future. Airtel digital TV customers can access iExam at channel no 134 for free. Mock tests and practice tests will need a subscribtion priced at Rs 49/week for 18 practice tests and a mock test.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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