Session 3.2

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CHAIRPERSON : Dr. Sitansu S Jena, Regional Director, IGNOU
PANELISTS:
Rajesh Chakrabarti, Clinical Associate Professor of Public Policy, Executive Director, Bharti Institute of Public Policy
Sumana Sarkar, Program Manager, Region India, Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson
JURY EXPERT & MODERATOR : Archana Sahay, Community Relation Manager, India and APJC, CISCO Technology

The Session manager, Rajat introduced the chairperson, panelists, jury expert and moderator to the audience. He also briefed the audience about the session agenda.

Presenter: Neeraj Jewalker          Product: Smartur 3D

Neera Jewalkar, head of Trendworks Technologies, began the session with a presentation about their product Smartur 3D. He said the Smartur 3D App creates a better teaching and learning experience in classrooms. Neeraj referred to this latest cutting edge technology software as an augmented reality study App. The inspiration for this App was the challenges millions of students face in their classrooms related to their course curriculum. Neeraj and his team decided to come up with an interface which is easily understood and suits today’s generation lifestyle. They zeroed in on the mobile as a modern ICT tool to help students and facilitate an enriched education experience for them.

Neeraj and team has closely mapped the CBSE course curriculum for Mathematics and Science subjects and converted the entire curriculum into digital interactive content. This technology is built exclusively for the mobile platform. The content created covers all Mathematics and Science topics and also has a digi lab option. The Digi lab is a unique space on the App to play with the fundamentals and theories of science and math. The App has got an audio-visual content feature and its high quality graphics adds huge impact to learning experience in classrooms. The App is text sensitive, and the moment a mobile camera captures book text, an interactive virtual graphics matching the same book text pops up on the mobile screen with voice over explaining the science and math concepts in a very simple and easy to understand manner.

Smartur 3D caters to the curriculum recognized by the CBSE and the Andhra Pradesh board. The App currently offers digital content up to tenth standard. The App has received good response from the teachers’ fraternity and thousands of students are getting benefits from it.

Neeraj also mentioned that unlike private schools who can easily afford expensive digital education software available in markets like Educomp, NIIT and Extramarks, the technology deprived government schools in a big way and it is they who have come up with queries related to such technologies. There are no two ways about the fact that government schools are unable to integrate the latest ICTs tools in their teaching methods due to lack of funds. This leads to inequality of education standards in private and public schools.

Comments from Experts

Panelist- Rajesh Chakrabati, clinical associate professor of public policy

Rajesh was in awe of this App. He admitted that if he had access to this technology in his school days he would have learned much more. He appreciated Neeraj and his team for their hard work (it took 3 years for Neeraj and team to come up with this App) and described the technology as fascinating.

Chairperson- Sitansu S Jeena, regional director, IGNOU

He asked about the ability of the technology to explain complicated science diagrams. Neeraj explained that figures and diagrams are explained with the help of a special marker. Jeena also asked about how technology has impacted the learning process in school students. Neeraj acknowledged that often teachers who are old school and prefer chalk and talk method, are reluctant to use such technology in their teaching methodology. He also said though initially teachers are overawed by technology but once they ealize the App’s ability to empower them in their teaching they start loving the App. Today the use of Mobile as an ICT tool is widespread and this proximity with target audience makes Smartur 3D a user friendly App. The App has provision to provide customized services and offers voice over in several different languages. The App is also priced economically to suit government school pockets.

Q and A (Audience)

What is the business model and login procedure for this App?

Neeraj- Students pays for the content. The charges are modest Rs 250 per student annually.

Presenter- Rohini Gahlaut          Product: DEIAB (Digital Education in a Box)

Rohini Gahlaut, Co-founder & Director- Education, 4SLearning, gave the second presentation on DEIAB (Digital Education in a Box). Rohini talked about the current scenario of education system in remote rural areas of India. She also mentioned about the story from TOI about girl students dropping out of schools due to regular harassment faced from local goons on the way to schools. Later, she briefed the audience about the depleting teacher student ratio (42:1) in villages. To counter such prevalent road blocks in rural areas, Rohini with her team came up with the DEIAD (Digital Education in a Box) idea.

DEIAD is a portable ICT tool to educate people living in the remote rural areas. The areas are very far off, and are not even connected to rail, road or air transport. Due to unavailability of resources the locals are deprived of access to even basic education. But with the help of portable DEIAD, a robust satellite based online content; people living in far off places may commence their education journey. Rohini also stated that this technology is specifically designed to cater to the education and learning requirements of the young female (of age 5-25 year’s age group). The USP of this App is that it needs no electricity. Electricity has always been a disturbing issue and such breakthrough in education field can really boost the literacy rate in rural India. The content in DEIAB is audio visual enabled for best learning experience and its portable feature makes it one of its kind App available in today’s market.

Comments from Experts

Chairperson- Sitansu S Jeena, regional director, IGNOU

Dr Jeena inquired about the strategy used to counter language barrier in different state. The presenters acknowledged the diversity in target audience and constraints in such landscapes. To solve this issue the team is forming a group of dedicated content developers. Content has been done for U.P and U.K and content for North East and Leh is underway. Dr Jeena said that biggest challenge will be to make teachers actually use the technology. Rohini’s future plan is to start more certified skill and networking development programs to empower the illiterate.

Panelist- Rajesh Chakrabati, clinical associate professor of public policy

Rajesh was curious about the fact that why this amazing technology is specifically designed only for girls. Rohini said that often in rural India girls are not allowed to go out to study. This practice has led to high illiteracy rate among women in rural India. It might take some time for a social change and this practice to finally go away. Meanwhile, portable DEIAB technology can reach education to the doorsteps of women students. Rajesh also enquired about the expenses involved in this project and safety measures to protect this set up. Rohini assured that village people treat the box as their own property and takes good care of it. She informed the audience that DEIAB came in two versions; one is a light weight version weighing 30kg and the other solar gel battery version weighs 70kg. The battery backup is of 4hrs.

Presenter- Mrs. Archana Digumarti          Product: Mindspark, Lab on Tab

She heads an Ahmedabad based firm, Agastya International Foundation. She said often students don’t share their concerns and queries and are hesitant in expressing themselves. Teachers in schools also have limitations and can’t give personal attention to every student in class. This app is designed to encourage students to participate in classroom activities and help teachers in identifying the weak areas in conceptual knowledge of students. The app triggers critical thinking in students by intelligently sequencing the questions based on the level of difficulty and answers given by the students. The App content has closely mapped ICSE/CBSE curriculum. The content also has diagnostic tests for students to practice and improve their conceptual knowledge. The App USP is its ability to highlight student deficiency in different subject/topic. Since 2009, thousands of teachers and students have benefitted from this App.

Q and A (Audience)

How do you decide on difficulty level?

Archana said this is not her area of expertise. The expert content developers along with technical staff take a call on that.

Presenter- Ashok Basnet Product: LokSeva (Nepal)

Ashok, CEO, Mantra Ideas Pvt Ltd, gave the next presentation about their product LokSeva. The product is helping the people of Nepal who are seeking government jobs. The motivation behind this was unavailability of an interface between the citizens of Nepal people and its government to communicate and exchange information about news and notices related to government jobs openings. This App has revolutionized the information flow and has provided an easy access to even current affairs to the citizens.

Comments from Experts

Panelist- Rajesh Chakrabati, clinical associate professor of public policyHe was highly impressed by the App and its utility. He asked about the charges to use this App. The presenters were happy to inform the audience that the charges involved were very minimal, less than the cost of one cigarette. In the wake of the recent Nepal earthquake, LokSeva App played a significant role in helping locals to get government jobs.

Q and A (Audience)

If the App can be used in India too?

Can it be run offline?

How do you list the government jobs?

The LokSeva team was not sure about running the App offline. They added that App consolidates information from various government offices, agencies and government newspaper.

Presenter- Mridul Chowdhury          Product: Shikkhok project/solution

The last presentation of the session was given by Mridul Chowdhry from Bangladesh. He is CEO, mPower Social Enterprises. He filled in for Ragib Hussain. The Shikkhok project is Ragib’s brain child. Due to his busy schedule he couldn’t make it to the award function. He has developed an online content portal, and it can be easily accessed by the people around the world. It’s designed on a low cost mobile platform. The App offers much better and highly localized Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and is very conducive for study purposes. This App is receiving huge response from students who prefer Bangla as a language to communicate. App is far more economical than any other App available in the market. The hosting cost on this App is around US$ 15 .

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