Education in India and the use of tablets in education
India is waiting!
An article written by Ramya Raju
“Technology is bringing us the world in our pockets and it would be a good day for education in India if the government were to use this to best advantage.
Ensuring an educated India is a challenging task.
There is the top bracket earning a few million rupees each month, who aspire for top notch international education for their children. They are prepared to pay, and they get it. Their children attend branded schools, often franchises of an international educational brand. Students get to sit in air-conditioned classroom and get personalized education from teachers, because their classes are optimally populated. Primary children in these schools learn the use of tablets to access maps or any other learning aid. The children are techno-savvy, and if guided well, can go on to make important innovations and discoveries.
But every school in India does not enjoy the same advantages. Several free, primary education schemes have been implemented to close the gap in educational facilities. Getting technology at the students’ fingertips is a related endeavour. The Indian government has been actively promoting the use of the Aakash tablet, especially in the schools that it runs. These include the Kendriya Vidyalayas and the Navodaya Vidyalayas that are run by the central government; in addition, there are the municipal or state run schools in most cities. Efforts are made, through grants and donations, to provide each student with a tablet, so lessons may be more interactive and better learning may ensue. In many schools, parents are encouraged to buy tablets for their children as part of the school-going kit.
There have been many prototypes of the Aakash tablet, each with the aim of empowering students and bringing them abreast of the latest technology; but none has really gathered momentum. Obviously, a cost-effective technology has to enter the market.
This technology would have to have the following attributes–
Accessibility – to even the lower middle class (the Aakash costs Rs 2250 per tablet)
Indigenousness – so it is easy to replace or repair
Light and Robust– for obvious reasons
It would be wonderful if every student could have instant access to the internet, get facts and get to know the world through it, access online tutorials and so on. With English being the international currency, fluency and a degree of command of the language are a must. Online dictionaries expedite this process by providing instant audio examples. There can be many other uses and currently students access this through satellite technologies. The biggest advantage of having a personal internet access tool is that the student can learn at his own pace, in his own time.
Another advantage is that in the absence of adequate teaching resources, a dedicated teacher might help the students with accessing information via the internet. The internet is a mine of teaching resources; films and video clips can become valuable learning tools. A video tutorial of, say, the mechanics of lifting an object, is clearer than what a text can explain.
Besides, if the LAN is set up in schools, and the students have tablets, a number of school administrative processes can be conducted online. However, caution has to be exercised, lest we substitute technology for the interactive schooling experience. For example, over-emphasis on computer based education will not give our young minds the inputs that they need for holistic development. We have to teach them to use their minds; thinking, creating, going wrong and then getting it right – these are natural processes and they must be allowed the freedom to explore their own minds and environment. Tablets and computers are to be introduced as tools to learning.
Thus, it begins with the teacher being trained to use them optimally, introducing them at suitable points in the lesson, in much the same way as a chart or a working model was used decades ago. There was a heartwarming advertisement of Idea mobile phones – a teacher speaks into a phone and her students at a remote village connect on another phone, place a microphone near it, and the entire class listens.
For Idea mobile, read smart phone or any other device. If it is affordable, light and robust and will be used as an effective teaching-learning tool – India’s waiting!!”
I’m Ramya Raju, a freelance writer/web designer from India. I write on varied topics like English Courses, SEO, Web Design, Mobile, Marketing etc., I have an experience of about 8 years in content writing and have worked for top blogs and websites. I’m generally an extrovert; I like photography, anthropology and traveling to different countries to learn the culture and living of the local inhabitants.