The traditional “chalk and talk” method is being supplanted in urban classrooms by digital tools that enable learning and are aimed at enhancing the experience of both teachers and students. But in the rural sphere, such modern methods have a limited reach, thanks to inconsistent power supply and low Internet penetration.
One achievement of the K-Yan, or Knowledge Vehicle— designed and developed by Professor Kirti Trivedi of IIT Bombay, in association with IL&FS Education and Technology Services Ltd.—is that it manages to surmount all the challenges, taking digital learning to rural classrooms.
Introduced in 2004, the K-Yan is a unique device with varied functionalities of a high-end computer, projector, inbuilt audio-video systems, DVD/CD player and an interactive smart board. The objective of the device is to enable “collaborative learning” in order to achieve broader goals of equity and social inclusion while motivating educators to themselves adapt to smart technology.
R.C.M. Reddy, Managing Director and CEO, IL&FS Education, says, “K-Yan is not just a multipurpose device but a solution that transforms pedagogy from mere transmission to transformation, empowering teachers and students, and enriching teaching-learning solutions.”
The compact unit of this device is equipped with features such as WiFi and Bluetooth, and can be linked up with a keyboard and mouse. With its portable design and easy-to-use interface, the K-Yan can convert any room into an interactive classroom with minimum infrastructure, and can also connect with multiple handheld devices over a wireless network. It can also act as a local cloud/server in a low-connectivity environment.
IL&FS Education has invested years of expertise to develop over 10,000 2D/3D learning units of multimedia animations, assessments, simulations, interactive virtual experiments, practice sheets and science videos that are mapped to the Indian school K–12 syllabus. All of this digital content is loaded on a 1TB hard disk available on the K-Yan to aid experiential and participatory learning in classrooms. The curriculum mapped videos make academic concepts simple and contextual, helping children grasp concepts while enhancing their retention power. In addition, the device includes a software module, called Exploriments, also designed by IL&FS Education, which encourages students to actively participate in the learning process, instead of being passive recipients.
K-Yan-based solutions have reached to more than 45,000 classrooms and are improving learning outcomes of over 15 million students across the country. The device has also been shaping young minds as far afield as Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Oman, Bangladesh, Nepal etc.
Classrooms powered by the K-Yan make for highly-engaging teacher-student experiences, leading to the empowerment of both teachers and students. For teachers, K-Yan aids in improved lesson delivery by making the classroom sessions more interactive, resulting in increased student attention.
Besides this, teachers can use this opportunity to build technological capacities for faster adaptation to a rapidly modernizing field of education.
Shaileshwar Sharma, a teacher at the Government Senior Secondary School in the Sangli district of Maharashtra, says, “Students take more interest in learning new topics, as the learning process is interesting and interactive. Besides, teachers also feel comfortable using the device. The introduction of the K-Yan in our school has resulted in a decrease in dropout rates, which is a huge benefit.”
The impact on learners, the prime beneficiaries, has been significant as well. With the aid of interactive content loaded in the K-Yan, students can learn more effectively and at a relatively faster pace. The other most important and tangible outcome has been of improved attendance in schools.
Meghana is a student of the Zilla Parishad High School in Kaligiri village in Andhra Pradesh. Her parents are farmers and she has an elder brother who is pursuing a degree in electronics and communication engineering from the Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai. Meghana says that classes supported by the K-Yan have helped her learn more effectively and get better at subjects she used to struggle with, like chemistry. A CGPA score of 9.5 in Class X has helped her gain confidence to work towards achieving her dream of becoming an engineer, just like her brother.