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School Education Showcase: The Chhattisgarh Project

SHOWCASE PROJECTS
- Overview
- Spot Billing (Electricity)
- E-Governance
- School Education

 
Four children with Simputers

Simputer access for every child

 
 
English to Hindi dictionary

Simputer displays a searchable English to Hindi dictionary. Its built-in Text-to-specch engine lets children learn how to pronounce any word

 
Letter from a grateful teacher

A school teacher writes in to share his appreciation of the Simputer

 
Quizmaster tool

A PC-based tool for teachers to create quizzes to be displayed on the Simputer

In the developed West, computerization of schools has had a tremendous impact on the way children learn. But computerization has largely remained a distant mirage for most of India's schools, owing to the high cost and relative complexity of computers. PicoPeta's Chhattisgrah project addresses these issues, and shows the way forward for Technology in School Education for developing countries in general.

The Chhattisgarh project went beyond merely providing hardware and software. It involved a methodology and an infrastructure plan which led to a sustainable and self-contained model for school education using technology. For example, rather than depend on outside sources, teachers use their experience and creativity to create content for the Simputers.

"It used to take me several hours to teach children topics like Optics and Projectiles. But with PicoPeta's Simputers, I can do the same in just a few minutes. What's more, I feel the interactivity enables children to internalize concepts better."
- Physics teacher in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh

"Wrote my name, drew a flower!"
- The joy of creation for a primary school girl of six


Let us examine the details of the project that prompted such reactions from its users:

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • A Simputer for every 5 school children
  • One PC per school for teachers to create content
  • Extension cords and spikebusters for the efficient use of Simputers in the class: a critical need when stable and adequate power supply cannot be taken or granted

APPLICATIONS (for school children)

  • An interactive Optics application (reflection, refraction etc.)
  • A basketball game for children to understand Projectile Motion
  • Geography Quiz
  • Hindi-to-English dictionary
  • Several such applications and content

CONTENT-CREATION TOOLS (for school children)

  • QuizMaster software to create Simputer-based multiple-choice quizzes
  • PC-based GUI tools to create content in Hindi and English
  • Tools to transfer content and data between Simputers and PCs

METHODOLOGY

  • Teachers use PCs to create content (prior training and support from PicoPeta
  • They transfer content from PCs to Simputers
  • Other school staff get Simputers into individual classes and set them up within minutes
  • Children use the Simputers in class, with guidance from the teachers
  • At the end of the day, Simputers are placed in the library
  • Children from other schools can use them for free
  • Some schools permit children to take Simputers home with them

POTENTIAL BENEFITS TO CHILDREN

  • Improved skills in reading, writing and arithmetic
  • Better understanding and internalization of school subjects
  • Cultivation of analytical skills
  • Motivation to go on to higher levels of achievement in later years
  • Technology Familiarization: the confidence and skill to use technology usefully in adult life
  • Learning through fun

LEARNINGS FROM THE PROJECT

  • Simputers are simple enough to be used by even technology neophytes
  • Teacher participation greatly increases the likelyhood of success of a Technology-in-School program
  • The "up, close and personal" nature of Simputers encourages children in a way that the somewhat impersonal PCs do not

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

  • All subjects to be taught using Simputers
  • PicoPeta wants to extend this project to as many schools in developing countries as possible, with the ultimate aim of empowering every student with a Simputer


SHOWCASE PROJECTS IN OTHER BUSINESS DOMAINS
- Microfinance
- Office Administration
- Science & Technology

         

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