In the corridor of the ground floor of Vadodara Municipal Corporation’s primary residential school at Manjalpur, a group of girls in rapt attention watch an animated explanation of converting kinetic energy into electric energy on a screen as computer generated voice of a woman give out details of the process in Gujarati.
This is part of the interactive smart classes that have “changed” the way education is imparted in civic primary schools.
For the students, the fun of attending interactive classes has become a reason for them to come to school everyday. Rajeshri Parmar of Class VII says, “I love to study science in this way. It explains the experiments and we know exactly what we should do.”
Another student Hetal agrees, “The maths lessons also make understanding formulas easier.”
Teachers say that unlike text-book reading, an interactive digital board works well to keep the attention of the students. “This generation of children is so used to having visuals around them that it is difficult for us to contain their distractions with only text books. Because they listen attentively and remember the visuals, their grasping power has also become much better,” says Yogesh Mistry, principal of the school.
While the first lessons on smart boards in 2014 included only maths and science, now social science is also part of the course through interactive learning. This academic year has also seen addition of English language as a subject for interactive teaching.
The teachers of the schools say they are awaiting a similar move for Gujarati language.
In the last two years, since the civic schools have adopted the interactive learning system, the results have shown a great improvement. As per Gunotsav initiative of the Gujarat government, civic schools are graded every year into four categories, based on academic results of the previous year.
In 2013, all 104 schools of the VMC were listed in D-category, while in 2015, only 7 schools were in the lowest category. The VMC saw 26 schools being featured in category A and 50 schools in category B.
However, currently only four schools have smart interactive board. VMC Primary School Board chairman Keyur Rokadia says, “We have been trying to adapt new methods of teaching in our schools. We have intensive coaching for weak students, which has immensely improved results over the years. Currently, we have four interactive smart board classes, while through donations from corporates, we have installed Smart LED TVs in 50 schools that allow us to use software for interactive learning.”
Apart from smart boards, VMC’s Pragnya initiative for the lower classes ensures that students do not lug heavy school bags. “It is a process of learning through activity. We are discouraging students to bring bags to school,” says Rokadia.