Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - DIGITAL LIFE - BY NANDAGOPAL RAJAN

Till a few years ago, outof- 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.


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. 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. Com­put­er­ 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 95.

` 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 1,700, but the com­pany prom­ises a full money back if you are un­sat­is­fied.

` Classtop­ 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.


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. 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. 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 15. `


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. 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 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 49/week for 18 prac­tice tests and a mock test.


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