WES 2012 :: A Successful Mobiles-in-Education Intervention in Indian Schools

WES Track: School Track

Title of Paper: A Successful Mobiles-in-Education Intervention in Indian Schools
Author Name: Chitra Ravi
Email: chitra@ezvidya.com
Organization: EZ Vidya Provate Limited
Address: 66, Kamdar Nagar Second Street, Nungambakkam, Mahalingapuram, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, India

Co-Author 1:
Author Name: Matt Wennersten
Email: matt@ezvidya.com
Organization: EZ Vidya Provate Limited
Address: 66, Kamdar Nagar Second Street, Nungambakkam, Mahalingapuram, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, India

Co-Author 2:
Author Name: Dr. Zubeeda Banu Qureshy
Email: zubeedaq@ezvidya.com
Organization: EZ Vidya Provate Limited
Address: 66, Kamdar Nagar Second Street, Nungambakkam, Mahalingapuram, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, India


In Academic Year 2011-12, EZ Vidya piloted BridgeIt India, a unique mobiles-in-education intervention across Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, resulting in : increased student attendance, better learning, measurably higher quality teaching, increased student engagement, and positive teacher feedback. The response from Year 1 of the project convinced partner government school systems to increase from 24 to 104 schools for Year 2, with increased patronization and funding support. This paper describes the project implementation, evaluation methodology and key results, with an eye towards replicating similar success across India. The objectives of BridgeIt India were – DIGITAL TEACHERS: To integrate mobile platform into teaching and evaluate its effectiveness through teachers’ experience of using it in classrooms; – ENGAGED STUDENTS: To evaluate learning improvements due to the integration of new technology, content, and methodologies adopted into teaching processes; – SCALABLE MODELS: To broaden impact of technology in school education, evaluate sustainable models, and identify how to scale at low increment cost Put simply, the goal was to use a standard mobile phone to improve the quality of teaching. Our principle is that supporting teachers is the best method for improving educational outcomes in students. Quality teaching means students stay in school longer and think better. This project is a partnership between Government schools, NOKIA, The Pearson Foundation, and EZ Vidya (the key implementing agency). Teachers receive a TV-out cable and C7 mobile phone pre-loaded with NOKIA Education Delivery (NED) which is an open-source content delivery platform. They get training, suggested lesson plans (Activity Guides), classroom visits and remote support. The school provides a TV or LCD projector. The teacher uses NED and the TV-out cable to display content in class. NOKIA provides the NED technology, support and assists in overall project steering. The Pearson Foundation supports project steering, but also focuses on digital content utilization methodology and pedagogical training aid. EZ Vidya’s responsibility is to scope, manage and implement BridgeIT. This includes training, support, data gathering and evaluation. In early 2011, EZ Vidya mapped Pearson Foundation content to the school syllabi, and prepared a project evaluation framework. Participating government and private school partners in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu signed MoUs to implement – schools would contribute to the overall cost of the project and participate in data gathering. Once the school year started, EZ Vidya surveyed teachers and observed them teach in class. After this baseline visit, EZ Vidya validated schools for participation as experimental or control. Subsequently, NED teachers attended centralized training, received the phone and supporting materials, and began using NED with students. Throughout the year, EZ Vidya Field Staff observed and supported teachers as they used mobile technology in class. Post-tests from experimental schools show a sharp increase in learning compared with control. Teachers have changed the way they teach, away from lecture style and towards more student-centred, hands-on methods. EZ Vidya observed 40% more indicators of good teaching in NED classes. For example, NED classrooms had less “teacher talk time” and more student collaboration than non-NED classes. Teachers and students are enthusiastic to participate for year 2. In the words of a teacher \”Mobile technology increased the motivation levels of the students. It develops the various teaching skills of the teacher.\” Most importantly, school partners have increased their financial support to scale up to almost triple the number of schools.

Brief Biodata of the Presenter:

Matt Wennersten heads the Scalability in Education (SiE) group at EZ Vidya. He has 16 years experience in strategic ICT consulting and training. With Masters degrees in Engineering and Education, Matt has served as enterprise architect, country manager and consulting practice lead for multiple Web 2.0 development companies. He has also been a classroom teacher, department head, teacher trainer, and curriculum developer for multiple school systems, including consulting on state standards for New Zealand and Washington, DC, USA.

Other Details:

NED – How It Works NED is a unique open-source mobile phone content delivery platform, developed by NOKIA and made available as a free download. In schools across India, EZ Vidya consultants have given 5th standard English and Science teachers a NOKIA C7 phone and trained them how to use NOKIA Education Delivery (NED). Over the course of the school year, NED broadcasts video content to each phone over the 3G network, along with support materials such as suggested lesson plans and activities for use in class. Using their mobile phone with Nokia Education Delivery software, a teacher can access and download a catalog of videos. These are stored on a remote server and organized by subject and grade. By connecting the mobile phone to a TV or a projector, the teacher can play the videos to a class, and get help from EZ Vidya by phone call or SMS. Already, teachers are tapping more than 4Gb of video and teacher support content, mapped to the progression of topics over the course of the year, with connectivity in places where DSL just doesn’t reach. And the kids really love the video lessons. “We were able to understand the lessons easily and also learning the subject English has become easier” says Meera, a student in Rangareddy. For more information, please visit: https://projects.developer.nokia.com/NED

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