The Child Vision Foundation works to boost digital literacy, bridge digital divide, facilitate the adoption of information technologies in education and equip disadvantaged youths with skills, tools and capabilities that new global economy demands.
Our programs, products and services are designed for socio‐economically disadvantaged population. Our holistic program development and implementation efforts are more focused on reaching out to the grassroots with the active participation of community stakeholders, which includes Govt., corporations and civil society. We greatly value the time, the resources and the knowledge our partners and supporters share with us, and hold ourselves accountable to them.
Child Vision Foundations “URJA” Computer Aided Learning (CAL) Program is initiated in 2015, and has expanded in Maharashtra States, serving over 5,000 school children and youth since its inception.
The objective of the Child Vision Foundation is to reach out to all the children from disadvantaged backgrounds, which do not have the opportunities for exposure to IT like other children. IT training in professional institutes is unaffordable for them. Child Visions aims to spread the vast knowledge of computers among these children according to their age.
Our approach has always been holistic and program management oriented.
The execution of the CAL Program is always locally pertinent and contextually relevant, taking into consideration innumerable criteria.
The preliminary stage involves careful selection of partner schools, recruitment/training of teachers, community mobilization, curriculum finalization, development of teaching-learning aids and base line testing. Classes are kept small to ensure individual attention and optimal learning. The Hardware used is of a high quality and the software includes that developed by Child Vision in local languages designed around school curriculum.
The computers are provided in a ratio of 50:1, i.e. 50 children per computer.
To make certain that desired goals & outcomes are being achieved, Evaluation and Monitoring is donate regular intervals and overseen by the CAL Executive Team.
The prime motto of Child Vision being universalization of Primary education, it also specializes in various aspects of education to benefit to the end at the fullest. This includes provision of Educational Training, Content Development, Hardware Training and Services and Development of Software based on the demands of the community. Post the selection of schools, Child Vision selects trains and appoints a Sancharak (Computer Instructor), who looks after the functioning of the computer centre and is responsible for the scheduling of classes.
Is another major aspect of the CAL Program, which helps in keeping the track of the program on a regular basis, and is done via frequent visits, register maintenance, evaluation, student-teacher-parent meets, etc.
URJA – CAL PROGRAM OVERVIEW
Computer Aided Learning “URJA” (CAL) program is establish in 2015 with an aim to provide the underprivileged children with quality education with an aid to computers. The program was initiated in Maharashtra with 10 private schools with 10 computer centers. The program has now extended to Maharashtra State, serving approximately 5 thousand children; and is actively working in partnership with various Private Aided and Unaided schools.
WHY URJA-CAL PROGRAM?
While thinking about universalize of elementary education, grassroots community level mobilization is a key factor. There are also other approaches, which can supplement the process of achieving this goal. One such input is the use of Computer Aided Learning (CAL) in Private schools, where children get an opportunity to use Indian language educational software’s on computers as part of their weekly schedule. This possibly improves learning in schools, generates interest, increases enrollment and reduces dropout.
The program has enabled us to understand various facets that influence a child’s learning, also the multiple variables that contribute to the overall success and sustainability of the computer centers run the schools. Thus, the execution of the CAL program is always locally pertinent and contextually relevant, taking into consideration the innumerable criterion.
CAL program has been extended for the overall academical and social improvement of the school children, community that includes the youth and the mother parents. The computer centers are purposely kept small to ensure individual attention and optimal learning. Library corner that has numerous educative books in local language, craft corner that enables the children to learn their academics through the projects and crafts the children themselves prepare; the computer teachers who assists the children in their day-to-day learning and skill enhancing.
CAL program has phased out a self developed curriculum, which enables the children to understand the basic concepts. This includes educational games for class I to IV, curriculum books for class V to X available in English, Hindi and Marathi, project materials to enable the children in quick understanding of the skills, IT Posters of the current leaders who have contributed towards the technology to ensure general knowledge in the field.
Besides the digital learning, CAL program has its own evaluation and monitoring system that is carried on in all the schools in regular intervals to make sure that the desired goals and outcomes are achieved.
Child Vision runs a Computer Aided Learning (CAL) program in 1 state of India namely Maharashtra of digital divide as well as use IT to increase learning in primary school age children. A total of 10 schools with 5000 school children have been covered under the program in various states since its inception.
It is widely accepted that we are living in an increasingly digital world and the role of software in our lives is becoming critical. Whether it is in booking train tickets, banking, using search engines for getting information, communicating with friends, political parties and NGOs, using the net for campaigns, individuals participating in virtual professional and social networks, accessing public services, including on entitlements from government schemes, over the Internet or through tele centers; computers and the Internet have become critical to our lives. Software is a basic building block of the digital world and structures our social interactions. Being able to use relevant software applications for various purposes thus becomes an important ability to successfully negotiate the increasingly digital world. Learning to use computers, including learning it to use it as a media for further learning (called computer aided learning), is therefore considered increasingly important component of school education.
OBJECTIVE OF THE URJA – CAL PROGRAM
- Bridge the digital divide in the unaided schools and enable the school children to experience technology and computers
- Use computer technology to positively impact children’s learning levels
- Impact children’s learning in competencies like math and language skills as well as in domain knowledge like science, history, geography, etc.
- Expose school teachers to computer technology and train them in its potential usages
- Increase parental and community interest in computer technology and its uses in schooling
- Use IT to assist the school management
- Train community youth in computer technology
The main aim of the CAL program is to reach out to all the children from disadvantaged backgrounds, which do not have the opportunities for an exposure to IT like the other children. This program focuses on availing the less privileged children who get less access to the IT training in professional institutes.
Informative, multimedia‐rich and interactive educational materials are useful to teach some of the complex topics in Computer Aided Learning. For example, it is possible to Design character of an animation advertisement or film (Graphic Use), (a topic in 8th grade Computer), which otherwise students find difficult to comprehend, using computer graphics. An expert’s lecture on an important topic can be video recorded. This video lecture can be viewed repeatedly and on‐demand.Also, unlike printed lesson plans, digitized lesson plans are easy to edit, customize and enhanced with multimedia.
We believe this supplementary approach makes learning easy, engaging and enjoyable for the students who underperform because they find learning in traditional computer classroom settings less interesting. Handheld platforms like tablets and smart‐phones have enabled easy and on‐demand access to study materials during classroom session. All we need is quality instructional materials and an online delivery platform.
- Selecting URJA Schools
We plan to conduct a schools selection drive immediately after term results are out, usually around the first week of May. The selection drive will begin with visiting the schools participating in the URJA (CAL) program to identify underperforming students who could be “URJA” candidates. This way, we will collect information about the school and we will immediately schedule school visits. In the school visits, the program team will interact with school principal.
RECRUITING URJA – CAL FACILITATORS
We plan to recruit 10 young individuals who aspire to a career in teaching and possess desired qualifications as URJA Teaching Fellows. We will advertise the fellowship positions in local newspaper. However, more emphasis will be given to spread a word of mouth through the network of Child Vision’s employees who work in low‐income communities neighboring the schools that are selected for the URJA intervention. Later, the applicants will be interviewed and shortlisted on the basis of the following criteria for a one week workshop.
Compatibility: The applicants must possess appropriate educational credentials in Computer to teach.
Aptitude and desire to learn: The candidates must demonstrate the abilities to learn and apply into practice “URJA” teaching techniques.
Proximity: Preference will be given to the local applicants who are residents of the low‐income communities neighboring the schools that are selected for the “URJA” intervention. During this one week period, the shortlisted candidates will undergo intensive pre‐fellowship training on “URJA” pedagogy, lesson plans, delivery formats and assessment techniques. On successful completion of the training, the candidates will be recruited as “URJA” Fellows and assigned to schools to teach the subject area, either Computer, per their specialty.
The program is divided into 3 crucial phases, Phase I, Phase II and Phase III. Phase I (1-2 months from start): Selection of schools and community spaces Phase II (2-3 months from start): Recruiting & training the school teachers, mobilizing and communicating with school administration and the community, curriculum finalization understanding the local needs, development of Teaching Learning Materials, roll-out of the project and scheduling of classes for the children. Phase III (within 3 months from start & during the academic year):
Commencement of classes and actual teaching, evaluation, various educational activities aimed at drawing local communities and facilitating transfer of know-how to the school.
The “URJA” teaching fellows and their area supervisors will be asked to prepare monthly progress report based on the collected data from the following students:
- Daily attendance: “URJA” tutors will be asked to maintain daily attendance book for each session
- Weekly syllabus planning and completion status book: Each “URJA” tutor will be provided a Standard format to record weekly syllabus planning and syllabus status completion for each class they take
- Student evaluation report: “URJA” tutors will have to prepare a couple of evaluation reports as per scheduled evaluation
- Supervisor visit registers: “URJA” supervisor will have to attend live” URJA” session biweekly for the “URJA” tutors they supervise and record observations relating to tutor teaching style and student engagement
ASSESSMENT STRATEGY FOR “URJA” STUDENTS
Other than academic assessment, which schools conduct 2 times a year, we plan to evaluate “URJA” students in three stages:
- Mid academic year assessment: This assessment will be done post‐midterm examination around Diwali vacation. The midterm assessment is informal in nature in which students will have to apply the knowledge they gained into fun‐filled project assignments in computer subject.
- Annual pre‐term exam assessment: This assessment is designed as a practice test to enable “URJA” students run through all essential topics and important questions for annual term examination.
CAL program was mainly established keeping in mind the young citizens of India, basically the less privileged class of the society. The program aims at providing computer assisted learning to the primary, upper primary and the secondary school children in various government, private, corporations and council schools. The concept of teaching the children in subjects like Math, Science, English and Language was unique as this class of society is getting lesser focus to technological aspects of studying. This concept was further given shape after Child Vision developed educational games where in these subjects were covered.
An evaluation is conducted twice a year, mid test and post test, for evaluating the children’s performance based on the educational competencies taught during the academic year. The test is conducted for theory, practical and project work; children attendance is a key aspect during the evaluation process.
USAGE OF COMPUTER CENTRE
The total usage of the computer per year per child will be approx .hours 32. The computer classroom will be open for about 6 hours a day for 5 days (in single shift schools). Every classroom will use the PC s for about 2 hours every week and the PC will be available on Saturdays for teachers to use for their record-keeping and other administrative work on the PC. The teachers may take turns to do this work. Each computer will serve about 50 children, which makes the children-computer ratio to 40 : 1. Each centre to cover 500 school children.
- Increase in Enrollment
- Increased Student Retention
- Increased Interest in the Community
- Student Progress
Sustainability is also a key component of the project plan. Thus, CAL implementation also involves motivating stakeholders from school managements, parents, Government entities, local bodies etc to get involved, lend resources, share ownership and eventually lead the program independently. Child Vision has worked with 10 Private Schools in the Maharashtra for the sustainability of the program after the donation period. The model is linked with various governmental ministries, namely SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan), Women and Child Welfare Department, Education Department, Urban Development Ministry and Information Technology Ministry. It is mainly a public-private partnership program. The program has been adopted by the various governmental ministries, which assists in the sustainability of the program in the long run.