Technology literacy is one of the important literacy skills students require to keep pace with the fast-changing world in the 21st century. In the digital age, where technology is taking over the day to day transactions like e-learning, e-hospital, e-banking and accessing important government schemes, it is necessary to be able to use, manage, understand and access technology. Thus, the know-how of technology use is essential for local youths emerging as social change agents in their community. They learn the use of tech throughout the fellowship training.
SEEKHE SIKHAYEN (LEARN AND TEACH)
The design of i-Saksham fellowship is deeply rooted in the philosophy of "Seekhe-Sikhayen” i.e. learn and teach. In the fellowship journey youths develop as edu-leaders. Edu-leaders are those local youths from the community who are willing to make knowledge and learning a powerful medium to enable and empower himself/herself and others in the community. The fellowship training works on the personal transformation of fellows through building their content knowledge, communication skills, coaching skills, and creative skills to ensure they deliver quality education to underserved children. To be able to fulfill the purpose, i-Saksham uses innovative pedagogy methods, including digital technology. Edu-leaders are given a mobile phone as a supporting tool for their learning as well as children. Edu-leaders learn (Seekhe) the use of mobile which includes building an understanding of learning apps, use of online resources for self-learning, operating dashboard for effective centre management. Edu-leaders teach (Sikhayen) children with the support of the apps and video content, as we strongly believe what Bill Gates once said “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important." We strongly have faith in the capabilities of our edu-leaders and the mobile phone acts as a supporting tool in the development of our edu-leaders and children.
Edu-leaders learning use of tablet in their fellowship training
THREE E’S OF USING TECHNOLOGY IN CLASSROOM: EXCITEMENT, ENGAGEMENT AND ENRICHING LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Across the community learning centres and schools, edu-leaders are using technology in their classroom. They use mobile phone for teaching. It provides a platform for children to explore the use of mobile by themselves, it gives them a sense of self-learning and allows learning at their own pace thereby keeping them interested and excited in activities. "Children have shown excitement when they play games and use learning apps," says an edu-leader Rohit from Sonay. Learning apps like Bolo app, Hello English, Duolingo, Word Swipe and Math Duel are useful in getting students excited and motivating them to learn. "I divide children into groups and turn by turn they learn using the app. Students wait for their turn. I have seen them enjoying doing this exercise. I also feel supported as when I'm teaching one group, I can pay attention to them effectively as the other group is learning by themselves using learning app" says Kajal an edu-leader from Adampur, Munger. Thus, the use of tech serves two-fold purpose bringing excitement as well as strengthening the teaching process.
Children doing a group activity
“सर फ़ोन में दिखायेंगे हमको ? गूगल में खोलके देख लेते है ” says a curious student at Paramjeet’s Learning Centre excitedly to look meaning of a word. An important aspect of teaching is to keep learners involved. Learning happens when the learner actively participates, inquires, asks questions and is deeply engaged. Paramjeet is an edu-leader from Kolua. He shares his positive experience using tech in his classroom “when children know they will learn watching videos, they reach early at the centre because they are fond of using mobile. I have observed that they learn quickly to sing rhyme with the help of action while watching the video. When I use learning app like Math duel or other apps in which they sit in small groups and compete against each other, I'm surprised to see irrespective of whoever wins the game, all of them gets happy, laugh on scores and enjoy learning together" this is an example of how tech-based learning opportunities offer a space to build other skillsets like cooperation, using emotional intelligence, communication needed to thrive in the world. This also strengthens the teaching process for Paramjeet, as when children ask general questions or meaning of a word he quickly uses online resources and responds.
"The drive to show the world how children are learning at my centre I created a YouTube channel village kids learning centre” says Paramjeet, who actively runs his own youTube channel putting videos of his innovative teaching and activity-based learning. When children go back home they search for the channel and show it to their parents. They feel extremely joyful to watch themselves on youTube.“वाह !हम मोबाइल में आ रहे है |”- says a student, who is amused to watch himself on screen. Children feel motivated to learn and actively participate in the classroom session. Like Paramjeet, there are 90 + other local youths (edu-leaders of the community)who are empowering their community.
Children watching Meena video
ENRICHING TEACHING AND LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Children always acknowledge novelty in classroom learning and Pravin, an edu-leader from Lakhanpur shares "with use of the internet I'm able to do something new in the classroom. Earlier I used to share syllabus based knowledge and now I'm able to share more about the world and surroundings. I use ePathshala to teach and children are always eager to learn something new”. Pravin uses digital content frequently to teach concepts of English, Hindi, Maths and prepare lesson plans.
These voices of the community exhibit the effectiveness of tech-based learning. Edu-leaders enriching the educational experience of underserved children face many challenges, some of them are - students' lack of interest in learning, multi-grade – multi-level students in classroom and classroom management. To address these challenges they have found the use of mobile to be useful. With different groups of different levels, one group learns using an app while another group engages in an activity with edu-leader. Edu-leader feels that playing video saves a lot of time as children watch and they explain topics along with it. Furthermore, there is a wealth of information out there, this helps in generating ideas for taking a session on particular themes. Recently on the occasion of Republic Day, edu-leaders used mobile to show videos, conducted art and craft sessions, children prepared national songs and celebrated the day.
Children playing Math duel
COACHING FROM A DISTANCE: MENTORING AND FACILITATING LEARNING FOR EDU-LEADERS VIRTUALLY
Our edu-leaders come from different rural areas. Today they are addressing educational challenges because in their school life they have faced challenges due to lack of opportunity to access quality education. Most of our edu-leaders’ dream is to learn English speaking, perfect reading, and writing skills, secure a job and become a teacher. Their dream is our dream. In the digital era, mobile phones make it possible to connect. They come for training once a week and on other days we coach them virtually, we run a learning group on WhatsApp. Edu-leaders are divided into a different group and each group has one team member. Team member facilitates English learning sessions, practice exercises are given and additionally general awareness information is shared with them to add value in their learning and support them to achieve their dreams.
TECH SE SAKSHAM- STORY OF A 19-YEAR-OLD EDU-LEADER EARNING 16000 EVERY MONTH !
Priya is a 19-year-old edu-leader and currently in her second year of graduation. As part of the i-Saksham fellowship, she has been facilitating a session at Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Jamui. She also runs her learning centre in Bithalpur. Priya’s interest lies in doing art and craftwork. Her interest motivated her to look up YouTube videos and paint, draw and do craftwork in other forms. One will find her making the best use of waste materials, she made a pen stand using old newspaper. Her fondness for art and craft is now helping her earn. An online agent of the "VMate” app connected with her and asked if she is interested in making craft videos. Priya felt it was a good opportunity and started making videos. Priya spends almost one and a half hours every day to make videos, every week she receives Rs. 4000 and she earns Rs.16000 per month. “It requires a lot of patience to make these videos, I make 10-20 videos every week but I enjoy making these. I feel empowered” says Priya.
Many other edu-leaders are using online resources to prepare for general competition, learn English, look for job opportunities and as well as teaching more effectively.
We at i-Saksham, strongly believe that everyone is capable to fulfill their dreams provided resources and platforms are given to bridge the gap. Effective use of technology is one of the way to strengthen the learning and teaching process.