Will Online Education change the face of India?

It was just another awesome day at Vedantu. We were working continuously for one vision of making Education Democratized and I was planning to take some carbohydrates and proteins which will ultimately give me energy and keep me healthy to contribute in this one and ultimate vision of all Vedans. I was about to leave my desk and suddenly I heard something very familiar… 

दिलों में तुम अपनी बेताबियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो ज़िंदा हो तुम…

नज़र में ख्वाबों की बिजलियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो ज़िंदा हो तुम…

Ohhh! Suddenly I realized that  it’s my ringtone. A call was coming from an unknown number.

I received the call and the conversation got started.

Me: Hello…Good Afternoon…Abhishek here.

Student:  Hello Sir, I am Vikas Dewangan. You remember ???

Me: Dear, I am really sorry…but can you tell me a little more about you?

Student: Sir, I am Vikas from Raipur (Raipur is the capital of Chhattisgarh). Actually, just few days back I took few sessions on Vedantu. You taught me Inorganic Chemistry and important problems in General Organic Chemistry…

Me: Ohhh…Okkk…So how’s your preparation going on? (I was not even aware about the date of JEE Examination. Can’t believe on my own stupidity)

Student: Sir, JEE mains are over. I just left the examination hall. I just want to say you Thank you Sir, Thanks a lot. I am very positive for JEE advance and sir, definitely those 6 hours will have some contribution in this.

Me: (I was very happy, It was probably one of the best moments in my life. Thanks to Vedantu for giving me such a beautiful opportunity) Hey….it’s too good to hear that. I’m very happy for you. All the very best !!

I wished him all the best for his dreams and moved on for lunch. During my lunch, I just kept thinking about how much powerful this idea can be! If we harness the true potential of online learning, we can bring a lot of change in our society.

Let’s accept this bitter truth that a very few people in our country want to become a teacher. In our society, it is neither a highly paid job nor it is considered to be a very respectful one. Isn’t it an irony that we all want an extremely qualified teacher for our kids but we don’t want our kids to be a teacher?

In urban areas,  the situation is a little better but in rural areas we are facing a huge shortage of quality teachers.  We all have a teacher inside us and online education platforms can be used to connect the rural India with plenty of these awesome teachers across the country. They may be working professional or government employees elsewhere, but they can use their free time for the benefit of the society by imparting quality education sitting at their homes.

Definitely there are few hurdles in the conceptualization of online education. The biggest hurdle is of the infrastructure that includes a Computer/Mobile, Internet access and Power supply. Let’s take them one by one –  If we talk about computer, it is not readily available for rural/urban students in our country. Mobile is a beautiful solution to this problem. 

Whiteboard-Mobile

Also, mobile is cost effective and portable over a computer any day. Vedantu has worked relentlessly to bring the whole online education concept on mobile. Download the app and experience the comfort of learning on the go, specially enjoy one-of-its-kind whiteboard which is a shared interface between the student and the teacher. Now let s discuss about the internet access. As far as the internet accessibility is concerned, Internet users are growing day by day. If you see the data of last 3 years, it is indeed encouraging. In 2014, 18% of the total population was using internet which increased to 27 % in 2015 and in 2016, the penetration is near 35% of the total population. As the population is also increasing every year by 1.2-1.3 %, the growth is really humongous. In this image you may see a comparison in between rural and urban internet users:

Another big challenge is Electricity, but there is a good news too for all of us. In order to address the lack of adequate electricity availability in the country by the platinum jubilee (2022) year of India’s independence, Government of India has launched a scheme called ‘Power for All’. This scheme will ensure that there is 24/7 continuous electricity supply provided to all households, industries and commercial establishments by creating and improving necessary infrastructures. It’s a joint collaboration of center with states to share funding and create overall economic growth. Currently 18 states have joined this scheme.

Now here are a few more facts to justify why online education can go a long way to educate not only rural India but it can change the face of whole education:

  1. Literacy rate in India – Approx 75% (Still we are far behind the world’s average that is 84%)
  1. 79.39% of the population access mobile in our country (although not all of them are using a smartphone but the way technology is evolving and smartphones are getting cheaper, in near future a substantive population will be using a smartphone)
  1. Unavailability of good teachers in rural areas: As I mentioned earlier, we all have a wonderful teacher inside us. We all were good in at least one subject during our school or college time. We can teach those subjects. Also, we have world’s largest youth population, and we can harness this underlying potential for educating all. Through an active participation from all the sections of the society and with the help of online education, we can create a revolution in the field of education. Let’s spread the idea  ‘Each one teach one’ which is a very famous phrase originated in the United States where African slaves were denied education. In the first half of the 20th century. Dr. Frank Laubach utilized the same concept to help address poverty and illiteracy in the Philippines.

According to me the whole purpose of education is to uplift the society. Education (Includes moral education too) is a powerful  blow on awful, cheap and atrocious cruelties present  in our society. Through online education and the inherent teacher within us, We can teach from anywhere to anyone sitting in any part of the country – All we’ll have to do is, believe in ourselves and have that confidence to change the world.

Ohhh! Why only India and  not Pakistan or any other country? Why not, online education can really go beyond geographical boundaries and that is one of the most beautiful aspect of this concept. I am pretty sure, soon we’ll hear some heartwarming stories of Indian teachers imparting the elixir of knowledge to millions of kids deprived of education due to poverty or terrorism worldwide. I believe the scope is infinite. You may call me ‘too optimistic,’ but you’ll agree, harnessing the true potential of online education can bring a substantial change in our societal conditions.

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I want to conclude my thoughts on high hopes by  quoting a few lines written by Harivansh Rai Bachhan.

“लहरों से डर कर नौका पार नहीं होती,

कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

….

कुछ किये बिना ही जय जय कार नहीं होती,

कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।”

Let’s DEMOCRATIZE EDUCATION together.

 
This post is contributed by Abhishek Kumar. Abhishek Kumar is a dreamer, a poet, an avid music listener and a Chemistry enthusiast. He works with Vedantu as Manager-Academic Research and makes students fall in love with Chemistry.

 


Making Group Learning Personalized & Interactive.

We, at Vedantu, have always been curious to do something new and better. So when One-to-Few (OTF) online batches were launched on Vedantu, we thought of finding the best ways to make it more meaningful and interactive for our students. One of the most engaging ways that we could think of, was making a group outside the class. This would be a kind of offline Vedantu group, where the students are still in touch with each other even if they are not in the class. After researching on what can be done to break the ice between the students and the teacher of a particular online OTF batch before the first class, we ran a student community building experiment using asynchronous interactions via a WhatsApp group. And lo, there we were. Creating our own WhatsApp experiment! we were sure it would work best in a small OTF group tuition where a focused group of 5 to 7 students learn in a common online classroom.

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The reason we did not exceed this number by 5 to 7 was simple, we didn’t want the personalized interaction to be compromised in any way. From our experience it appears that when there are more than 7 participants, the learning outcomes are compromised and the learner satisfaction goes down. Smaller group sizes make this phenomenon less likely to occur.

In launching such batches we ensured that the students enrolled for a particular class be comfortable with each other from the very first online session on Vedantu, as they are new to each other. The teachers are also guided to be sensitive to different communication styles and behaviors for various cultures to be seen in a learning community.

Here are a couple of pointers we kept in mind for a successful group interaction and meaningful learning of the group in an online environment.

1. Start WhatsApp interactions well in advance!

namo editThe course teacher creates a WhatsApp group a few days before the course starts. The teacher initiates the interaction by framing  a simple activity for the learners to introduce themselves to the rest of the focused group, by writing one or two paragraphs about themselves, their interests, hobbies etc. The teacher then have students respond to at least two of their fellow course mates in the forum. 

When learners feel connected, the barrier of the technological infrastructure comes down.  Learners feel they are part of a community and establish a social presence. The social presence, which is an important & intangible dimension in an online ecosphere.

2. Highlight the Purpose!

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It is vital to highlight the purpose of the group. This helps learners and their parents know that the WhatsApp group is a special group – A group that would help improve the learning outcomes of the entire online study group you are part of. Also, it is a great medium to stay connected with the teacher, fellow learners and understand  their academic needs, anytime and anywhere.

 

3. Early contacts lasts long!

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As soon as the the group is created, the course teacher ensures that he/she induces some interaction. We saw some really amazing work from the teachers to break the ice. It involved sharing  ‘Question of the day’, ‘Thought for the day’ or a fun activity that engaged the entire group. Doing this early on really helped in ensuring that a bonding is created amongst the group members and learning became fun.

4. Profile pictures – Make it real

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The admin of the group also encourages students to upload a profile pictures of themselves in the WhatsApp Group. Although it is not a compulsion, but having a profile picture helps putting a face to a name. We are sure you’ll agree, this minor change of putting across a picture helps building and strengthening personal connections multifold in a student community online.

5. Utilize the Group Better

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The teacher, who is also the admin of the WhatsApp group, makes sure that it does not becomes a yet another place to chit chat, but also plays a key role in major announcements of online tests and assignments. It was observed that whenever a doubt was posted, not just the teacher, but fellow students do come ahead to clears the doubts. Here is where the magic happens and social connections get stronger with a whole new meaning. The key remains in striking the balance! Whenever it was possible, we ensured creating groups based on experiences and kept a healthy mix of experienced online students and first time online learners.

6. Be available at the need of the hour!
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The teacher makes sure the  concerns and questions of the students are resolved well in time. We observed, in most cases the doubts were peer-solved and the teacher remained a facilitator in the group. while this enhanced the peer learning amongst the students, teacher makes sure to go an extra mile to arrange for a one-to-one session for further doubt clarification. As a matter of fact, when a teacher is involved and supportive of his/her students, higher levels of learning outcomes are more likely to be achieved.

The entire exercise was so much fun and gave us some really great insights – How a small study group behaves, how the interaction amongst complete strangers can be achieved, and what enhances the personalization in a group of 5-7 students learning an academic topic. Overall it was a great learning experience for all of us. It also paved way to an awesome community at Vedantu – Our very own OTF student community!

Image Credits – Google Images

 

About the author:

Namo Kaul

Namo works with Vedantu as Product Research Manager and is a Physics enthusiast. In his free time he loves to explore new cuisines and restaurants.


Which Curriculum You Should Choose!

Staying in India, and being a parent, we usually face this question of the comparison between the ICSE, CBSE, IB and IGCSE board. Since the time a child is born, parents get worried about the education and career of the child. Deciding which board is best for the child, is one of the toughest decision parents have to take. Though most of us are aware of the boards but,  we usually are in dilemma when it comes to the admission of our kids.

confused

Here, in this post we have tried to give a brief insight on various important curricular boards followed in India and some pros and cons of the same.

Brief about ICSE:

icse-logo

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE Board) conducts two examinations, Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE) examination towards the end of class 10th  and an Indian School Certificate (ISC) examination towards the end of class 12th. It’s an offshoot of the University of Cambridge  that existed during the British regime and is now governed by the ‘Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations’.

Let’s see what are the hidden characteristics of ICSE?

  • ICSE gives a  lot of stress on the languages. Especially, English and Hindi are too extensively done, with novels as textbooks. So anyone wanting a career in English Literature and languages, ICSE is a very good bet.

  • ICSE curriculum is too extensive and elaborate when it comes to subjects like Mathematics and Sciences as compared to other boards. They expect their students to know everything in these subjects. For eg, there are many a chapters in mathematics like banking, logarithms etc which have become obsolete in CBSE right now.

  • ICSE class 10th and ISC 12th board examination are considered to be the toughest one in India right now.

  • ICSE gives importance to practical knowledge especially in Sciences.

Now for those who are still confused between ICSE and CBSE, we have tried to give a precise comparison of CBSE and ICSE, stated as follows:

  • CBSE has both English and Hindi language as the medium of instructions, ICSE does not recommend Hindi.

  • CBSE is affiliated to a large number of schools all over India. The board allows both regular candidates, who study in CBSE schools, as well as private candidates to appear in the exams. Contrary to this, ICSE does not allow any candidate, other than the ones studying in an ICSE affiliated school, to appear for the exams.

  • The certificates provided by both of them are globally valid, yet CBSE has a better footing in India as compared to ICSE.

  • The syllabus prepared by CBSE is more suitable for qualifying in various entrance examinations, including the medical and engineering professional exam like IIT-JEE, AIEEE and AIPMT.

  • The syllabus of ICSE is very detailed and requires a student to remember a lot. CBSE is comparatively easier, especially in higher classes.

  • Students of both the boards can sit for exams like SOF Olympiads, MARRS Spell Bee etc.

  • Some exams like PSA, NTSE, and many scholarship programs are run only by CBSE.

  • In a city like Delhi, the tutors teaching CBSE syllabus are easily accessible whereas in the case of ICSE, it is difficult to find tutors due to a low number of schools following this board. On the other hand, in cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, ICSE tutors are in easy to find.

  • CBSE affiliated schools are easier to find when you move to a new place.

  • There is no particular text book prescribed by ICSE for any class, where as CBSE prescribes a standard NCERT book all over the country with almost zero error.

For those who want to know about IB and IGCSE board,we have tried to consolidate main points about both the boards:

International Baccalaureate (IB) is an international foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and founded in 1968.

ib

Now let’s have a brief look at the features of IB and IGCSE board.

  • The curriculum is based on practical application and experimentation and is recognised by most of the universities of the world, unlike CBSE and ICSE.

  • Schools affiliated to IB board have better infrastructure and it’s the best option for NRI parents or the families planning to shift abroad.

  • Fees is on a higher side as compared to other boards.

  • The schools affiliated to IB board is found mostly in metropolitan cities and Tier-1 cities in India.

  • Books of IB board are very expensive.

  • Tuitions and books are not easily available in India.

IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) is an internationally used, specialized in English curriculum which is offered to students to prepare them for International Baccalaureate and CIE A-level.

igcse

Few of the characteristics of IGCSE are listed below:

  • IGCSE is recognized by most of the Universities in the world.

  • Students can apply to foreign universities wherein CBSE and ICSE board is not recognised.

  • IGCSE curriculum is more advanced and application based and it provides a variety of subjects to choose from.

  • It’s one of the best options, if parents are NRI or plan to move abroad.

  • Fee of IGCSE board is on the higher side and the schools are found in metropolitan cities and Tier-1 cities of India.

  • Tuitions and books of IGCSE curriculum are expensive and are difficult to find in India.

 

reema-mam

 

Image Courtesy: Google Images


EXAMS: How to Be Positive About It

exams

EXAMINATION ….. Whenever, I ask any student about the synonyms of this word, the few answers which I usually get are: terror, nightmare, no play and all studies. Every student wishes if they had the power to delete it from their curriculum structure. Buy Why? What’s so terrifying about exams?
Answer: ‘Exams are exams after all!!!’

Personally, I feel exams are very important in life. Every step of life is faced by an exam. So , what if you are facing exams for your learning in the school. Dear young friends, exams are to be taken in a sporting manner. Don’t take it as a competition. I hope once you start taking it lightly, it will be less of a burden for you. But don’t get extra light with it, I hope you know what I mean!!

Following are few small tips which we can follow for any exams:

Be Mentally Prepared:
Preparing for examination does not mean just studying for it. It begins with mentally preparing yourself for it. On top of it, imagine a scenario where exams are around the corner and you are not prepared for it, at all. I would suggest, do not panic. Do not think of failure, as thinking of failure will surely lead to failure. Do not think about the result, whether you will pass or fail, just think that what should be done to give your maximum input. Focus on the goal, and not the result of exam.

Make a time table:
First of all, make a time table for yourself. Check quickly if you are fully loaded with your notes and material. Because, if you are not, then there always will be a state of panic during the last days. Then, make a perfect determination of following the time table and following it religiously. ‘Come what may, I may not deter from it’, should be your voice from heart deep within. Believing is half a leap to your goal. It costs nothing to do that, so why not do it right away.

Start working towards your goal:
After making time table and strong determination, is to start working towards it. Start following your time table. Just imagine, how the people who study medicines would be meeting their target. With fully trusting your abilities to follow the timetable just Get, Set, Goooooo.

Attack your syllabus, part by part:
Think it of as a war, where what happens once you face the complete army or face the army part by part.

Know what is important for exams:
Now, while studying, be wise enough to know what is important from exam point of view. Give more time to those topics and type of questions. I know, those things may be important in long run, but thinking about the short term goal, stay focussed on important things only.

Stay away from distractions:
Not to say, leave all fun activities for few last days. Be it movies, songs, parties, get-togethers, Facebook, WhatsApp, long chats over phones and all parallel things which are too easy to divert you from your goal.

Some general instructions:
You can follow some general instructions as well. Take a sound sleep and take rest. Periodic rest is best for test. Remember, sound mind and health is very important for a better result. Go through some previous year papers and sample papers. That will surely give you a hint of important topics, if not questions. Study periodically and consider exams as a natural phenomenon in the event called LIFE. Believe you me, cool minded average student will score better than a tension filled good student. After all, it’s all a game of your mind.

So don’t panic, stay calm, give your best shot and with full confidence prepare for your exams and enter the exam hall with your parent’s blessings. I’m sure, success will be yours.

BEST OF LUCK!!!!!

reema-mam