Transformational Stories – Ep 1: Learning in rural homes in the Corona Times
Mrs. Prabha Raman is a name you may not be familiar with but is a Hero for some really progressive reasons that you must know. This is her story and how she is using digital tools to create a learning transformation in one of the most rural villages of Himachal Pradesh.
It was the summer of 2019. We were hustling in our office when one afternoon I received a phone call. The lady on the line asked me if we work on digital learning for government schools. When I answered in affirmative, she requested if she can take just one learning tablet and use it in her school for teaching her students.
Perhaps I was preoccupied with something so without going into further details, I simply asked her to share with me classes, board and medium for which she needed the content. And that once I have the information, I will get one tablet ready. But then I forgot. Usually in our business model, so far, we had focused mainly on setting up TABLABs, wherein each lab has at least 20 tablets. In 2019, we were yet to open a segment for individual users.
After a few days, the lady called again. This time she introduced herself as Mrs. Prabha Raman and I insisted to listen to her story. Once she began, I was intrigued to know more.
For 30 years, while in the city, she taught in many schools like La Montessori, Happy model, Gagan Bharati and in many more such schools but unfortunately when she lost her husband (an army man) in 2004, she chose to work for the army. It’s been 11 years since then.
But teaching was always her first calling and upon the insistence of her friend, while on a trip to Himachal Pradesh, she fell in love with a school and its students. Since then, ensuring that these students receive the best of education and life skills has become the purpose of her life.
I wasted no time. We got an offline individual tablet ready with all the digital content we had and shipped it to her.
A few days later I received this photo on my Whatsapp:
It is moments like these which reaffirm your belief in what you are doing. At iDream Education, we have a very simple vision – to be able to facilitate a very easy access to enjoyable digital learning content to every last mile learner in the language that they understand best.
Also read about the best learning app in Hindi.
Android devices like tablets and mobile phones being low in cost and easy to use, they are taking our vision to such places and directly into the hands of the learners. For any other learning tool to reach such a location would have required a lot of effort and investment. Nevertheless our learning tablet was simply a plug and play thing. The content was pre-loaded and activated into this tablet for it to be used offline in any kind of condition in this school. Mrs. Prabha and her students have since then have been regularly using their learning tablet to learn better.
Wait, there is more to this story.
Chapter – 2
We got great inspiration with the whole incident and its positive progress. We then decided to go ahead amidst the Covid-19 Lockdown when all our school projects came to a standstill, to expedite the launch of our app and released the iDream Learning App on 29th March, 2020. The cherry on the cake is that we launched it as a free app where school students can access enjoyable videos, read books, make projects, practice and take tests as per their curriculum.
There are two immediate thoughts behind the app:
- In the times of lockdown, while urban children have a number of resources for learning and entertainment, our government school kids have none. So, there is an urgent need for an in-home digital learning supplement for such students.
- With the penetration of smart phones and internet happening at such a rapid pace in India especially in the rural parts, offering local language content in a very easy-to-consume format can actually transform the way last mile learning happens. The interesting part is that it will have an impact even beyond the corona times.
So, once the iDream Learning App was launched, our teams started sharing it with their network of teachers, NGOs, our CSR partners and State Government officials. This immediately reminded me of Mrs. Prabha Raman and I thought of contacting her to share the details about our new app.
But lo and behold! There it was – a message on Whatsapp from Mrs. Prabha Mam herself congratulating me on the launch of the app, even before I could reach out to her! We exchanged greetings and I requested her to share the app with all her students and with other prospects in her network whom she thinks would benefit from the usage of the app.
So, once the app was launched, our teams started sharing it with their network of teachers, NGOs, our CSR partners and State Government officials. In my own list of people whom I had thought of contacting, I had written Mrs. Prabha Raman’s name as well.
But lo and behold, there it was – a message on Whatsapp from Mrs. Prabha Mam herself congratulating me on the launch of the app. Even before I could reach out to her. We exchanged greetings and I requested her to share the app with all her students and to anyone else in her network whom she thinks would benefit from the usage of the app.
We received a massive response. The app had been downloaded by 150+ government school students of Himachal Pradesh within just 4 days from the day of launch. Once again, It is noteworthy that a place where nothing could have reached these students, iDream Learning App is ensuring that they continue their learning, have a lot of fun and do not miss out on their academic cycle during such critical times.
The motivation for this change were self-driven teachers like Mrs. Prabha Raman, who even in these times are more concerned about how to continue education for their students. She called me up a few days ago. She told me how her students are enjoying the animated videos and reading story books sitting at their homes. It gives her and to us an immense sense of satisfaction that without any compromises on the safety, health and mid-sets of our children, we are empowering them with the best of local language learning tools.
In other words, it us not solely about our Offline Learning Tablets or iDream Learning App. It is about accepting all challenges and facing adverse situations with sheer innovation and out-of the-box thinking. It is about keeping the show on irrespective of any kind of circumstances.
I am leaving you with the the ‘thank you’ note that Ms. Prabha shared with me. I hope this will continue to inspire us and to many of you to innovate and keep thinking of best ways to serve our students and our nation.
For the sake of reading, I am writing down what she wrote below:
Myself Prabha Raman was working as an educator in Delhi since 30 years and now I am blessed to teach the rural students in HP for the last 5 years. I always dreamt of giving digital education to these rural children that was easy in delhi. My wish was fulfilled in 2019 when I came in contact with iDream Education and Mr. Rohit with his team was able to provide a tab for the students. It had all that I wanted and being Science as my subject, the tab helped me and my students to perform various experiments with great zeal. We also conducted a presentation of experiments that was highly admired by the parents.
And now during the period of lockdown, iDream Education started an app free for the students so that they utilise their time wisely. I am trying to make the app reach all the students (faster than Covid-19). It also has a library with value based stories which is my favourite.
We are humbled and inspired. Thank you to Mrs. Prabha Raman and to millions of teachers out there whose focus even during such times is to kickstart their classes and ensure that their students do not miss out on their learning.
To everyone reading, if there are any other thoughts and ideas you would like to share which can support our teachers in their efforts, please write to us in the comments below or email us at email@example.com. We would love to compile them and take it to as many teachers as possible.
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