Smile Foundation Starts Digital Education for Underprivileged: Adding Digital Wings to Hopes

A literate India! A digitally literate India!! It isn’t only a dream nurtured by policy makers but also every citizen of the country. Unequal access to education and lack of a robust education system at the primary level has largely affected the equally large underprivileged section of India. Smile Foundation has been proactively involved in every nook and corner of the country to narrow this gap. Recently, Smile Foundation has launched the Digital Literacy project for underprivileged children. In line with the Finance Minister announcing the gradual shift of education from ‘black board’ to ‘digital board’ in Budget 2018, this initiative is directed towards making this dream of digital literacy come true fast.

The Concept

Blackboard teaching is an inherent feature of traditional classrooms. Going by the latest technological trends, application of innovative digital models will further facilitate all round development of the students. This will give them an insight into the use of digital technology in everyday life in and beyond classrooms. Creation of smart classrooms is part of this new-age concept. Students, without the use of pen, pencil, and paper gain a competitive advantage of learning smartly and understanding chapters visually in class.

Many a private school across the country has adopted smart classroom technology. Smile Foundation is creating a similar digital milieu in classrooms for underprivileged kids. The initiative is already given shape. It is just the beginning. Smile pledges to give digital wings to the hopes nurtured by lakhs of underprivileged children across the length and breadth of India.

After installation of smart classroom techniques, both teachers and students undergo an orientation program on the usage of the same.

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcome is an equally significant follow-up schedule that Smile Foundation follows in its Mission Education centres. This is directed towards monitoring the development of the students periodically. Smile Foundation believes not only in quantity but also quality – of producing a big number of quality and responsible citizens who can contribute to nation building in the future.

Smile Foundation’s Mission Education programme team on ground conducts baseline assessments on the students to measure their existing learning levels regarding computer education.  Accordingly, their development over time is monitored. The team is utilizing application based digital technology to assess and measure the learning outcomes of the students.

Part of the assessment is based on the language and numeracy skills of the children. To achieve this objective, Smile Foundation has collaborated with an external agency (Ayodhya Prasad Takniki Shiksha Evam Vikas Samiti) to create question papers along with their blueprints based on National Curriculum Framework (NCF) guidelines.

The Smile Smart Classroom Set-up

  • Smart Interactive White Board
  • Interactive Classroom Projector
  • Wall Mount Kit for Projector
  • Smart Station Computer
  • Smart Digital Cabinet
  • Digital content for State Board Syllabus – in locally preferred languages
  • Biometric attendance to keep track of the attendance of children the digital way, which guarantees accuracy and efficiency
  • Other digital learning solutions: Installation of desktops/laptops, installation of Competency Based e-Learning solution (CoBELS) application on computers, and more.

Competency Based e-Learning Solution (CoBELS)

Competency Based e-Learning Solution (CoBELS) is an application based standards-aligned pedagogical tool that helps children learn concepts through real-world Acti-Game. The application works when installed in computers. The scientifically designed bite-sized ‘Acti-Game’ is an activity based game that delivers learning in a highly enjoyable form. It helps the child engage in activities and learn in the process the fun way. Children can understand and learn concepts better.

Some of the key features of CoBELS are:

  • Learner centric
  • Interactive
  • Experiential learning environment through activities and games that the learner engages in
  • Competency based curriculum
  • Standard (class wise) wise games and activities
  • Focuses on definite learning outcomes of learners
  • Curriculum covered includes Grade 1-8: Mathematics (English and Hindi) and Grade 1-5: EVS (English and Hindi).

Smile Foundation has installed CoBELS in few of its Mission Education centres. The underprivileged children are already enjoying the highly enjoyable digital learning process. Smile Foundation aims to include CoBELS in all of its education centres.

Qualitative Interventions and other Facilities

Smile Foundation has adopted methods/tools to asses and enhance the current classroom settings and optimize learning experiences in its Mission Education centres. Accordingly innovative techniques are implemented to make learning effective, engaging, and fun. It helps teachers to enhance their skill sets.

A small library cum language space is what Smile Foundation has started accommodating in its Mission Education centres. The books suit all skill levels, ensuring active participation from all students. The learning induced environment in this space is designed in such a way that language and reading skills of the underprivileged children shall definitely improve.

Learning through shapes is facilitated through seating blocks in the form of different shapes (circle, rectangle, triangle, square, hexagon, etc.) whereby children can sit as well as gain knowledge about the concept.

Organizing of workshops is now part of the Smile curriculum in its Mission Education centres. The objective is to transform the classroom space by integrating multiple arts where students discover their voice to express their thoughts about community strengths and issues through theatre arts, visual arts and narratives. Workshops are regularly conducted on theatre art, film making, etc.

Children are encouraged to express their views on the ‘Children Wall’, ‘Word Wall’, etc. Few other engagements include painting of Math periodic table and formula on walls and staircase as an easy and visible learning resource. And the list goes on.

Smile Foundation’s objective of Digital Education Project is directed towards facilitating the holistic development of every underprivileged child of India, in and beyond classrooms and thereby transforming them to become responsible citizens of the 21st century.

To know more about Smile Foundation’s education programme, please visit our website.

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Author

Richa Kapoor

Officer, Mission Education Programme, Smile Foundation

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