TAMIL NADU

How e-learning enriches children’s capabilities

Liffy Thomas

“Web-based programmes provide relief to teachers”

CHENNAI: Getting four-year-old Vishal Ratha to learn and grasp lessons had been a task. He is slow in recognising numbers and vocabulary, teachers would say. They were even considering that he repeats the class. Things, however, have been different ever since Vishal started going for a supplemental programme outside school, which he takes on the computer, made both interactive and fun with cartoon characters, speed games, etc.

“It’s not like going to another computer class. Here, they analyse the child and design a curriculum to work on his strengths and weakness. Today, he quizzes me on addition and his attention span has increased,” says Sunita Ratha, his mother.

Thanks to technology, computer-aided teaching with audio-visuals and animation has come to the aid of many children.

While smart classroom or technology-enabled learning is prevalent in most private institutions and has enhanced teaching in many ways, what is making some of these programmes outside schools stand out is that they offer personalised guidance and even get parents involved.

Shine, for example, is a learning centre where the supplemental programme is designed to strengthen a child’s fundamentals in Mathematics and English for L.K.G to Class VII.

It is less than a year old in the city but already boasts of three centres, with around 150 students and a personalised tutor made to guide every student.

“It’s not only the weaker students who come to us. We have average, bright and children with special needs. We work on the child’s strength at his/her own pace,” says Kanika Subbiah, managing director, Shine ( >www.shinekids.in).

The company recently collaborated with Abacus Motessori School, where the programmes have been introduced as a club activity and has won the patronage of quite a few schools.

Talking about how technology-based programmes have evolved beyond digitised classrooms, Abel Daniel, assistant vice-president, Everonn Education (school division), says these programmes have gone to the parents where they also get involved in teaching the child. “For example, our ‘Class on the Web’ programme can be accessed at home. Besides, 620 schools pan-India have adopted the programme. As of June 2009, around 5,000 children from these schools have taken the interactive programme home,” he says.

Similarly, Educomp Solutions say it has reached out to over 75 schools in the city.

Never mind if parents have to shell a little more for these after-school activities, the results which parents and teachers are seeing are double-fold.

“Web-based programmes provide relief to teachers, enhance classroom teaching and is a worthwhile investment about which parents will not complain,” says Chandra Nagarajan, vice-principal, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, T. Nagar, talking how “smart classes” have come as a boon in the PSBB group of schools.