Tapping a Child's Natural Curiosity
The India Education Collective (IEC) working closely with State Governments, is transforming education in India to make public or government schools the "first choice" for students, parents and teachers. In addition to shifting greater decision making powers concerning planning and practices to the local level, fundamental changes are taking place in the classrooms. IEC is focused on empowering teachers; promoting capability based learning; and harnessing the potential of technology to advance learning opportunities in its mission to make the public school system more equitable, accountable and qualitative.
Teachers are encouraged to see themselves as facilitators of learning by designing "equal opportunity" creative environments where learning can happen.
The once quiet classrooms where all eyes and ears are on the teacher are being replaced with dynamic learning-labs where students are learning by doing. Competency based learning with hands-on, active engagement is credited with helping them internalize information far better than watching and listening.
Another key change in the education revolution is a focus on assessing each student's current knowledge and dispositions in order to facilitate their individual learning journey. To improve learning outcomes, the IEC turned to Gooru and the Learning Navigator, a free and open app to help accelerate learning outcomes.
Even in rural and often remote areas with limited access to technology and the internet, the Learning Navigator is proving to be an effective tool for teachers and administrators. One teacher with a cell phone can assess a student's knowledge and quickly input the information in the student's profile. Teachers can see in real time how each student is progressing over time and can assignment them additional activities based on their performance or dispositions. It is not uncommon for teachers to have students of different ages and grade levels in the same classroom. The Learning Navigator is helping them by providing access to thousands of free and open resources and assessments. Teachers who create lesson plans for several grade levels each day can search the catalogue of curated content on numerous subjects and grade levels to add specific lessons and assessments to their plans. This not only saves time for the teacher, but also saves resources in learning materials and text books for the schools (see video below).
The IEC is supporting governments to implement the changes across eight states in India. Currently more than 80,000 children are transitioning away from rote learning to building their capabilities and changing their attitude toward learning. More than 1,800 schools across the states are in the process of adopting 'transformative' learning practices, and 3,000 teachers are engaged in redefining classroom processes with the ultimate goal of graduating students who will be leaders in their chosen occupations. Workers and engaged citizens who know how to learn, can apply their knowledge and abilities in creative and novel as well as familiar situations, and who can work well with others. The kinds skills and qualities that are valuable in the work place and in life.
Gyan Prakash Foundation (GPF)is a non-profit organization working with the sole purpose of ensuring and sustaining the quality of education in Government schools in the state of Maharashtra. GPF believes that the fundamental change in the way classrooms function today can only be brought about if learning begins with the child. From a humble start in 8 villages, GPF has demonstrated the possibility for systemic change in the education system. GPF works very closely with teachers and all the administrative and academic structures in the district to ensure alignment and collaboration towards the approach and principles of improving learning.
Data driven decision making at each level in the system from teachers to district officials is central to GPF’s approach to transforming learning outcomes. The State Education Department and the Academic Authority Institution of the state has recognized and endorsed GPF’s approach and processes at various state level platforms.
Currently GPF is working with the government for transformation of 4 districts in the state that have varying degrees of challenges and ground realities. Being on the ground with the teachers, system officials, and providing data-based feedback to the top, GPF is working towards reducing the gap between policy and implementation in the state.
Providing precise data to help teachers understand the child's current learning level better and also enabling them to support and maximise learning have emerged from GPF’s work as two critical needs of the teachers. Learning Navigator will strengthen GPF’s hands on the ground as it will actually address the needs of each child and each teacher in the system.
Gooru is proud to partner with the Gyan Prakash Foundation and supports its mission to help underserved children realize their full potential to become independent and socially responsible citizens. GPF is in the process of bringing the Learning Navigator to teachers and schools across the state of Maharashtra. Teachers will be better able to track each student's knowledge and skills and facilitate their independent learning journey. The Navigator will also allow GPF and the State to see in real time how their programs are working at the local, regional and state level.