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  • Community children learning their subject based on eEducation at evening tuition centre
    Community children learning their subject based on eEducation at evening tuition centre
  • The children shows interest to learn their subjects through this new technology
    The children shows interest to learn their subjects through this new technology
Computer Wallah Project

Since October 2009, The Vicky Standish electronic Education Centre (VSeEC) staff have been running this project at local schools and in the community to provide a free of charge, highly accessible, mobile computer-assisted instruction program which uses an innovative combination of ‘netbooks‘ – essentially ultra portable, low power consuming laptops – running customized school curriculum content in multiple languages including Tamil, English and Hindi. This program we call “Computer Wallah” (CW).

Aims of Computer Wallah Project

  • To improve the literacy skills of the children and provide them with better understanding in their own language and the English language
  • To develop the academic knowledge of the children through e-learning
  • To provide the children with computer based literacy which will help them with basic computer operation
  • To reinforce the academic syllabus taught by the class teacher
  • More widely, as we move beyond the initial pilot phase, to benefit various cross-sections of the community including women, unemployed youth, farmers, and fishermen based on the same principle of accessibility and customized, relevant, local language-based content

Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) or Computer-aided Learning (CAL) refers to instruction or remediation presented on a computer to impact learning competencies. Computer programs are interactive and can illustrate a concept through attractive animation, sound, and demonstration. They allow students to progress at their own pace and work individually or problem solve in a group. Computers provide immediate feedback, letting students know whether their answer is correct. If the answer is not correct, the program shows students how to correctly answer the question. Computers offer a different type of activity and a change of pace from teacher-led or group instruction. Further, many educational computer programs are available online and from computer stores and textbook companies. Computers capture the students’ attention because the programs are interactive and engage the students’ spirit of competitiveness to increase their scores. Also, computer-assisted instruction moves at the students’ pace and usually does not move ahead until they have mastered the skill.

For Unemployed Youth

Through a partnership with a Chennai-based software development firm, the CW program has access to “Digital Literacy” software at no charge. This enables us to run Information Technology-based industry certificate courses in Tamil. We expect demand for this program to be primarily amongst unemployed youth who are looking to increase their employability with additional skills training.

5.More widely, as we move beyond the initial pilot phase, to benefit various cross-sections of the community including women, unemployed youth, farmers, and fishermen based on the same principle of accessibility and customized, relevant, local language-based content

With involvement of headmasters and teachers, four schools in the local area – Alamparai, Vembanur, Kadapakkam and Kottaikadu schools – have been targeted in the initial phase of the program. The program’s initial focus is on the 4th and 5th Standard students targeting approximately 90 students each year.

CW incorporates the following elements:
  • 1. The transportation of mobile laptops to schools on a regular and planned basis.
  • 2. The laptops are fully charged, removing the problem of irregular electricity supply.
  • 3. A training course is provided by VSeEC staff for a designated teacher at each school training ensures continuity and sustainability and gives the school ownership of the program
  • 4. The class teacher leads the session with the aid of VSeEC staff
  • 5. Classes begin with a brief subject introduction to gain an understanding before progression onto the CAL program
  • 6. Students are able to learn in Tamil, Hindi or English
  • 7. The subjects which are taught using CAL at present are Tamil, English, Science, Mathematics and General Knowledge
  • 8. The content of the topics which are covered follow a recommended syllabus
  • 9. Computer sessions typically include competitions between students and a certificate is presented to the students on completion of topics
  • 10. Each school has a scheduled session which last 3 hours
  • 11. Topics currently covered by CW are English, Tamil, Maths and Science
CW was designed to meet a variety of needs,
  • 1.It is no secret that the Indian public school infrastructure is by and large best described as “woeful”. Basic infrastructural facilities are often lacking and teacher attendance is a major issue
  • 2. Education was a recurring and dominant theme throughout focus group sessions held with the community
  • 3. Transport. Unless one is living close to the VSeEC, access is difficult
  • 4. Distance. It is difficult for many people in the local area to make it to the VseEC, unless they are living close or have access to their own transport,
  • 5. Time. Many potential students attend school during the day, only leaving the possibility of evening classes
  • 1.The program has by all accounts, teachers and students, been successful
  • 2. Prior to the course commencing, children were at different levels of computer literacy and knowledge but the self-paced nature of the software means that everyone learns albeit at varying speeds.
  • 3. A competition was held amongst the children reached by the CW program to determine how much the children had learnt from the software and to maintain enthusiasm in the program
  • Click here to view the Assessment report of the Computer Wallah Project(Academic year 2009-10)
  • Click here to view the Computer Wallah Project competition report for the Academic year 2009-10.
The consequences of such a project are,
  • 1. improved teaching methods and curriculum coverage
  • 2. better engagement of all the children in the class, including those with poor concentration or ability
  • 3. The provision of information may be adapted to suit the prior knowledge of the students
  • 4. Improved access to, and the use of information technology systems
  • 5. Capacity building for VSeEC staff. The staff have obtained experience in running a program of this nature and are ready to expand to other schools and to provide other services of the netbooks
What are we going to do in the future?

Now that the pilot program is drawing to a close, there are several plans afoot. There are several cross-section of the community that can be benefit by CW using not just educational software but other services described below. Note that the primary strength of CW’s design is that it enables the fitting of technology to people’s schedules and not the other way around.

For Children

As the pilot mode currently focuses only on two class years in four schools, the program is expected to expand to reach out to not just other class years within the current schools, but also to a whole network of other schools in the area. For this, we will need not just more netbooks but also the personnel to manage these programs. As part of the CW program, VSeEC will also provide a free 3-month training course to a designated teacher from each school. This will improve program sustainability, reduce burden on TEWFI and to give schools ownership over computer education. The teacher is then expected to take responsibility for the program in their school.

For Farmers and Fishermen

Partnership with MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), VSeEC has received information on local language CDs relating to farming, fishing, health, and other practices that can enhance livelihoods of villagers. It was determined that the best way to make this information readily available to the local population is by running the VKC information database on CW’s netbooks and taking it out to communities. As the information is available off-line, Internet connectivity is not necessary for all the operations of the VKC. The VKC system is already operating informally at the VSeEC and at UHCC on a needs basis (with staff assisting community members with internet research, etc). Again, the CW program’s primary benefit will be used to take these programs out to people enabling a better fit into their schedules.

For Unemployed Youth

Through a partnership with a Chennai-based software development firm, the CW program has access to “Digital Literacy” software at no charge. This enables us to run Information Technology-based industry certificate courses in Tamil. We expect demand for this program to be primarily amongst unemployed youth who are looking to increase their employability with additional skills training.

For Young Women

Young women are wxpected to benefit from the “Digital Literacy” software as they also seek to improve their employability but also to find benefit through access to information on the VKC, such as that around nutrition and maternal health, to be relevance. Further, women Self-help Groups (SHGs) are expected to benefit from the CW program as we offer the possibility of integrating its various services in the SHG’s operations.

Now that the pilot program is drawing to a close, there are several plans afoot. There are several cross-section of the community that can be benefit by CW using not just educational software but other services described below. Note that the primary strength of CW’s design is that it enables the fitting of technology to people’s schedules and not the other way around.

For Children

As the pilot mode currently focuses only on two class years in four schools, the program is expected to expand to reach out to not just other class years within the current schools, but also to a whole network of other schools in the area. For this, we will need not just more netbooks but also the personnel to manage these programs. As part of the CW program, VSeEC will also provide a free 3-month training course to a designated teacher from each school. This will improve program sustainability, reduce burden on TEWFI and to give schools ownership over computer education. The teacher is then expected to take responsibility for the program in their school.

For Farmers and Fishermen

Partnership with MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), VSeEC has received information on local language CDs relating to farming, fishing, health, and other practices that can enhance livelihoods of villagers. It was determined that the best way to make this information readily available to the local population is by running the VKC information database on CW’s netbooks and taking it out to communities. As the information is available off-line, Internet connectivity is not necessary for all the operations of the VKC. The VKC system is already operating informally at the VSeEC and at UHCC on a needs basis (with staff assisting community members with internet research, etc). Again, the CW program’s primary benefit will be used to take these programs out to people enabling a better fit into their schedules.

For Unemployed Youth

Through a partnership with a Chennai-based software development firm, the CW program has access to “Digital Literacy” software at no charge. This enables us to run Information Technology-based industry certificate courses in Tamil. We expect demand for this program to be primarily amongst unemployed youth who are looking to increase their employability with additional skills training.

For Young Women

Young women are expected to benefit from the “Digital Literacy” software as they also seek to improve their employability but also to find benefit through access to information on the VKC, such as that around nutrition and maternal health, to be relevance. Further, women Self-help Groups (SHGs) are expected to benefit from the CW program as we offer the possibility of integrating its various services in the SHG’s operations.

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No.6, Kamala Avenue, Off Alamparai Beach Road,
Kadapakkam Post, Cheyyur Taluk,
Kancheepuram Dt-603304, Tamilnadu,
India. Phone: + 91 44 27501200, +91 7639598405.
email: admin@tewfi.org