Seated amidst rain water puddles in their classroom, more than a 100 kilometres from Hyderabad, in Jadcharla of Mahbubnagar district, Pushpa, Prashanti, Sivamma, Swapna, Rihana and their classmates are unlikely pioneers of an educational revolution.
These children of Mohamed Hussainpally Village School in Ghanpur mandal are glued to their I-slates as maths teacher T Srinivas guides them through a lesson in solving problems.
These first generation village learners wield the stylus on their I-slates with ease, using it like a magic wand, displaying creativity, identifying problems and brimming with knowledge of the web world opened up to them.
The school tucked away between hillocks in what was once a Maoist bastion, has transformed the lives of these young children with the new generation learning solutions. Farmer Pandha Narasimha watched his daughter Sirisha 'etch' his name and take his picture on the webcam with unconcealed joy. Mr Narsimha said “I do not want her to know of my farm debts, let her study and she will bring me joy.”
The I-slate has been a hit, said Ms Pingali Rajeswari, a descendant of Pingali Venkanna ( who designed the National Tricolour), who introduced the technology to this remote village in August 2011 through her ViDal (Villagers for Learning and Development) Foundation. Ms Rajeswari said, “ ..after all India lives in its villages; they (rural folk) only watch urban India grow . Now let the talent bloom from rural India.”
With the I-slate in their hands, the school children are into web designing and have shunned watching the television, said Mr Srinivas. “They take the I-slate home do their home work.” The I-slate has a software that allows the teacher to track how much time is spent on a particular subject at home.
Watching their children work on the gadget, their parents are keen to buy the high end I-slates for the children. For now 20 students have been given the I-slate free of cost. The school children have learnt about conserving energy as they charge their I-slates from a small solar panel installed over their school building.
Students Manjula and Ashok are keen to find a solution to reduce the heating of their I-slates and are very inquisitive about it, said Mr Srinivas.