A robust technology backbone to deliver learning
Edtech startup Schoolnet India is present in 40,000 schools in 30 states/UTs. The current times have opened new avenues for all the stakeholders in India's education ecosystem where digital learning methods and solutions will be seen more seriously, thereby increasing industry acceptance, says Shourie Chatterji, Head - Digital Initiatives, Schoolnet India
Schoolnet India (formerly known as IL&FS Education and Technology Services), is a leading edtech service provider working towards transforming the educational ecosystem in India and abroad, by making quality education accessible and affordable through technology. “We partner with Government and private schools for improving the quality of K-12 education by providing solutions combining technology, interactivity, portability, pedagogy and innovative content,” says Shourie Chatterji, Head – Digital Initiatives, Schoolnet India.
The company is focused on the following three areas: (a) Providing edtech services to schools for improved teaching, learning and assessment outcomes; (b) English language learning solutions for schools and for employability ; and (c) Personalised digital learning solutions for individual learners on a blended model.
“Through our presence in 40,000 schools in 30 states/UTs, we have impacted more than 12 million students and teachers annually, and are the largest in the segment. We have developed 325 large and diversified intellectual properties (IPs), covering edu-devices, content, platforms and solutions. Leveraging our footprint, IPs, and the expertise of implementing full value-chain services across multiple geographies, we are poised to act as a platform, co-creating innovative, tech-led and customised solutions to deliver impact at scale,” states Chatterji.
The solutions comprise of IT hardware (proprietary teaching-learning device: K-Yan, along with others), curriculum aligned multi-sensory content, training of educators on digital pedagogy, along with handholding, monitoring and evaluation for a 3-5 year period.
(i) Digital Classrooms: Schoolnet provides digital classroom solutions to schools centred around K-Yan® (patented “6-in-one” interactive, affordable, easy-to-use, integrated teaching-learning device) or Google’s Chromebooks, along with content and services for 3-5 years, as follows:
(a) K-Class (Knowledge Classroom) – a digital classroom solution combining K-Yan® as an interactive device, multimedia content for classes K-12, innovative experiments, training of teachers on technology and other value-added services. This has been implemented in more than 45,000 classrooms.
(b) Future Classroom – Personalised and Collaborative Learning Environment developed jointly with Google for Education: Schoolnet has developed a cloud-based solution stack for K-12 education. The solution is being implemented in more than 300 institutions.
(ii) Englobe – English Language Training (ELT) solutions, which has improved the learning outcomes by 20 per cent. “We have impacted more than 1mn learners across 4,000 schools. The solution is being currently piloted in 26,000 schools additionally,” adds Chatterji.
(iii) Personalised digital learning solutions: Cloud-based blended digital learning platforms (combining self-learning and remote/virtual teacher support) for K-12 (Geneo) and spoken English (EnglishBolo):
(a) Geneo, an AI-powered blended learning services platform, currently offered for students from Classes VI – X for English, Science and Mathematics, has
more than 2.8 lakh registered users.
(b) English Bolo, a blended learning solution that helps improve English speaking skills, anytime and anywhere, developed in collaboration with US-based edtech company EnglishHelper, currently has more than 6 lakh registered users on the platform.
How it helps students and institutions
Schoolnet believes that nurturing young minds is critical for the socio-economic growth of the country. “Our vision is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” mentions Chatterji, adding that some key benefits of these solutions are as under:
– Expanded learning opportunities
– High engagement learning
– Continuous learning assessment
– Collaborative learning
– Curated knowledge resources
The main advantage for institutions is that it empowers schools to make conventional classrooms more engaging and effective for teachers and students through the use of various edtech solutions. “We help schools create digital learning zones for teachers and students to experience and acquire 21st century skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. It helps teachers to spend more time on enhancement of student learning in a collaborative environment using emerging technologies,” affirms Chatterji.
Overall digital learning environment offers three-fold benefits for the institutions –
Tech proficient teachers
– Acquire digital skills
– Adopt blended teaching-learning
– Access to curated multimedia learning content
– High scope for student interaction and participation
Improved school profile
– Improved pass out rate
– Reduced drop outs
– Higher school enrolments
Providing digital-enabled education services to both Government and private institutions, within the private schools, the key focus is on the affordable private schools segment. “Our innovative and scalable solutions provide us access to different learner segments across India. We are also present in 17 countries in MENA, South/SE Asia. There is a further interest from the Government and private sectors in these countries for our solutions,” he states.
Impact of Covid-19 outbreak
Chatterji believes that with the current education system rapidly moving towards advancing technologies to help keep various stakeholders aligned and up-to-date, times like the Covid-19 outbreak have only re-established the need of having a robust technology backbone to deliver learning at an institutional level as well. “Be it in-classroom solutions or self-learning methods of providing faster and tailored content, these are definitely finding wide acceptance from schools and institutions,” he points out.
Affirming that the current Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in a greater need for effective digital learning solutions, Chatterji says, “With such a large volume of students and teachers at home, time spent online has increased manifold which earlier was only time available post-school hours. Hence, it is important for organisations like ours to improvise on our offerings to quickly reach out to this captive audience and bring them solutions that offer an added advantage to what the schools are trying to teach using various methods. We have launched a social initiative called #LearningNeverStops which focuses on offering Live Video Classes to students free of cost.”
Schoolnet has also extended the same to teachers who want to join this initiative by becoming online mentors and conduct these live sessions. “So yes, the current times have surely opened new avenues for all the stakeholders in this education ecosystem where digital learning methods and solutions will be seen more seriously thereby increasing industry acceptance,” he remarks.
“We think that we soon may see a shift in trends making organised digital learning needs shift from “good to have” to “must have” methods of knowledge enhancement,” asserts Chatterji.
According to him, these three areas would be the company’s business focus in the coming years:
• Digitally assisted education that can effectively promote self-learning ability among students, help them take more responsibility towards their own education and in turn prepare them to navigate an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
• English language training for K-12 schools and for employability.
• Blended learning solutions that can effectively deploy artificial intelligence to provide a personalised experience to students wherein learning of students is assessed and students are guided to appropriate learning content based on their individual learning needs.
A range of Education Technology solutions were adopted at Bloom Public School, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi during 2019-20 in collaboration with Schoolnet. The school has established smart classrooms wherein every classroom is equipped with projectors, projection systems and speakers. A wide variety of digital learning content has been made available including:
• Teacher resources
• Multimedia learning modules for K-12 (K-Class)
• Virtual experiments (Exploriments)
• English language program (ReadToMe)
• Online learning modules for Class 6-10 (Geneo)
The school has a computer lab and Google Chrome Books to facilitate students’ online learning and assessments. Students of classes 6 to 10 have been provided IDs to access Geneo – a personalised online learning platform – for subjects English, Math and Science.
Following edtech adoption at the school, a series of teacher training programs was organised for effective integration of technology in teaching-learning activities at the school. The training focused on effectively using K-Class and Geneo in tandem for implementing flipped classroom teaching at the school. The teachers were trained to incorporate K-Class content for classwork and Geneo-based homework assignments in their lesson plans for flipped classroom implementation. Following the workshop teachers have been integrating flipped classroom approach in their lesson plans.
Bloom Public School envisions effective integration of technology with curriculum and has begun streamlining various edtech initiatives adopted at the school.