A computer program guides English classes across schools in eight Indian states to make teaching and learning the language easier with narration, picture definitions and direct translations.
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Learning Queen’s English does not mean classroom monologue for students at a Kannada-medium school in Bengaluru. They are learning the language with a digital teaching tool that gives them multi-sensory experience.
In a small classroom at the Government Higher Primary School in Channasandra, students appeared enthusiastic as their classes were to begin. The wall turned into a book with text projected on it.
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STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Despite being a developed state since decades, leaders in Gujarat admit that the state has lagged behind in the Information Technology (IT) sector due to weakness in English among its younger generation.
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Schools without internet access are given DVDs of the software
As government school classrooms go, this room in the Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya near Delhi’s Thyagaraj Stadium is strikingly different. Instead of a blackboard, it has a projector and a screen. The teacher wields a mouse instead of chalk. The students have no notebooks — instead their digitised Class VI English textbook is on the screen. However, what makes this classroom unusual is the enthusiastic class participation. All 35 hands go up whenever the teacher asks a question, and when it is their turn to read from the text, all 35 voices rise in high-pitched unison. “To think that when these students joined this school last year, some couldn’t even write their names in Hindi,” says Sunita Sharma, the principal.
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Technology is being deployed not to replace teachers but to support them to improve learning outcomes
Even as English Helper, in collaboration with American India Foundation and the IL FS Education has witnessed positive outcomes in some 5000 government schools spread across eight states, studies of other similar initiatives show the growing and evolving role of technology as an education tool to promote not just language skills but also make learning more engaging. Experts emphasis that technology is being deployed not to replace teachers but to support them to improve outcomes.
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English is a tricky language. Remember the time in school when most of us spelt ‘received’ incorrectly? But not sixth graders in government Girls’ High School in Rezimental Bazaar in Secunderabad.
“They got it right in the first time,” said their teacher, Asha Kumari, as close to 25 children listen to a voice reading out content from their English textbooks. The children sit in their digitised computer lab, all staring at the big screen and reading out the text.
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शिक्षण पद्धतीत केलेले छोटे बदल मुलांना शिक्षणाची गोडी लावू शकतात, याचे उत्तम उदाहरण ‘राइट टू रीड’ या सॉफ्टवेअरने अनुदानित शाळांना घालून दिले आहे. गेल्या वर्षीपर्यंत किचकट व्याकरण, अवघड स्पेलिंगमुळे इंग्रजीच्या पुस्तकाकडे पाठ फिरवणारी मुले सध्या इंग्रजीतून संवाद साधण्याचा प्रयत्न करीत आहेत. एवढेच नव्हे तर, इंग्रजीच्या तासाने विद्यार्थ्यांच्या मनात घर केले आहे.
राज्यातीलच नव्हे तर देशातील बहुतांश अनुदानित शाळांमधील मुलांना इंग्रजीचे वाचन करता येत नाही. त्यातील बहुसंख्य विद्यार्थ्यांच्या घरात आर्थिक परिस्थितीमुळे इंग्रजी भाषेला प्रोत्साहन देणे तर दूरच; मुलांच्या दैनंदिन गरजाही पूर्ण करणे शक्य नाही. इंग्रजीपासून दूर पळणाऱ्या विद्यार्थ्यांना रंजक पद्धतीने हा विषय शिकवण्यासाठी ‘इंग्लिश हेल्पर’ या संस्थेने दोन वर्षांपूर्वी ‘राइट टू रीड’ नामक सॉफ्टवेअर विकसित केले. महाराष्ट्रासह, दिल्ली, गुजरात अशा सहा राज्यांतील शंभर शाळांमध्ये हा उपक्रम राबविण्यात येत असून, वीस हजारांहून अधिक विद्यार्थी इंग्रजीचे धडे गिरवत आहेत. आयएल अँड एस, अमेरिकन इंडिया फाउंडेशन, बोध शिक्षा समिती यांचे या उपक्रमाला सहकार्य मिळत आहे.
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"I want to be a lady in a flower shop, instead of selling at the corner of Tottenham Court Road," said Eliza Doolittle. "But they won't take me unless I can talk genteel. He said he could teach me." At least since the time of My Fair Lady, people in many parts of the world have been willing, wanting, and waiting to learn English to improve their economic and social standing. Unfortunately, few can find an exemplary scholar of Professor Higgins' commitment or afford private lessons.
With India having a British colonial legacy and now being a destination for outsourcing and call centers, one could get the impression that every Indian spoke English. Indeed, the numbers are large but the percentage is small. Some 70 per cent do not speak English. Yet, knowing English is still seen as a key achievement on the path to success. On a practical note, those who know English get better jobs and a recent report showed they earn 34 per cent more. And having been the language of the erstwhile rulers, knowing English still has a certain social cachet.
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Ten-year-old Zaqiya Parveen is reading aloud the story of the monkey and the crocodile to a class of 32. She hardly stutters and confidently sails through the two paragraphs. This is an achievement for the Class V student to whom words in the textbook didn't make any sense just a year ago.
Today, Parveen is familiar with the words on the glowing white screen in her computer lab. More importantly, she reads out the tale of the smart monkey to her younger siblings. Her father, an electrician who's barely literate, is very proud of his daughter.
Things changed dramatically for Parveen once the English class at the Cossipore Institute for Girls was shifted to the computer lab. ... read more
Indias Reading Challenge – The Technology Compulsion – The Economic Times Blog... read more
"Digitised textbooks make reading English easy - Navraj Bhatia ,90 CAPS"... read more
"Government school children lose their fear of #English"... read more
"Lack of proficiency in English is a big stumbling block. However talented, they struggle to read basic English."... read more
EnglishHelper's new white paper about how use of technology in language learning is very common, and it can be combined with multisensory learning for an optimized learning experience... read more
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and English Helper today launched the project 'RightToRead'
to improve the reading levels of one million schoolchildren in India.... read more
Indias one million government schools have a reading problem The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) published on the state of education in rural India, declared that nationally, the proportion of children in grade three able to read at least a paragraph of grade one text, is still abysmally low. Overall, the situation with basic reading continues to be extremely disheartening in India.... read more
The teacher crisis in India is well known but not spoken about as much. It is estimated our government schools are in need of 5.9 lakh primary-level teachers and 3.5 lakh upper primary-level teachers.... read more
As the crow flies, Bandhwari village is less than 12 km from Gurgaon. In Bandhwari, there are 643 children below six years, about 15 per cent of the total population of just over 4000 people.... read more
Students of Chennai Corporation Schools demonstrate the power of using technologies to enable English reading skills.... watch video
Partur is a Municipal Council in Jalna district, Maharashtra. The Partur Municipal Council has a population of just over 35,000 and the literacy rate is lower than the state average. The main source of income is agriculture.... read more
Learning English is becoming the goal of increasing numbers of people around the world. The resources provided in the classroom, however, are not always sufficient for adequate practice and reinforcement for English language learners.... read more
The Marathwada Zonal Council of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has planned an initiative called 'Right To Read' this academic year for government school in Aurangabad, Parbhani, Hingoli, Jalna and Beed districts that will enable students to read and comprehend better by employing technology enabled reading solutions in classrooms.... read more
There is a large and growing body of literature on the efficacy and positive impact of technology for improving English language learning. The vast majority of these studies have examined the impact of adopting technology such as digital classroom, videos, and mobile platforms on the proficiency of learners. More recently electrophysiological studies of letter-speech sound processing have revealed that multi-sensory learning approaches have significant potential to reduce the effort in mastering the ability to read.... Download
India's large English-speaking population has often been credited with playing a significant role in the success of its services sector. However, with other emerging economies continuing to close the linguistic gap and given the limitations of our vernacular-oriented education system, the advantage India has held so far may not last for too long.... read more
In India, knowing English often directly translates to improved employment prospects and sometimes, better social acceptance. And with the Indian Constitution recognising it as a subsidiary official language, those who do not have the opportunity to learn the language can often feel disadvantaged. EnglishHelper Education Technologies (EH) hopes to facilitate this learning process through its innovative products. ... read more
Omidyar Network announced today it has invested in EnglishHelper. The company provides innovative products that address the English-language learning and training needs of educational and skill-building institutions, as well as corporates in India. Omidyar Network will hold an equity stake in the company, and Mallika Singh of Omidyar Network will take a seat on the board of directors.
not disclosed. ... read more
Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm, has expanded its India portfolio by backing two education companies. The first is a venture capital investment in English language learning solutions company EnglishHelper while the other is a $950,000 grant to Akshara Foundation, which focuses on elementary education.... read more
It was the year 2007. I had just returned to India after a few years in New York and Singapore. I had an exciting job and worked for a great company. Something, however, kept whispering in my ears that it was time for change.... read more
Sanjay Gupta is managing director of the Delhi-based EnglishHelper Technologies Pvt. Ltd (EHT, estb. 2009) — a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Boston-based EnglishHelper Inc — which offers unique technology-driven English language learning solutions using its proprietary ReadToMe™ (RTM) software, to 10,000 clients including corporates, education institutions and individual learners countrywide. ... read more
Dogged by claims of poor governance, financial mismanagement and the absence of corporate best practices, social enterprises in India have often been given a short shrift by private capital, a situation that had led to liquidity deficiencies and an absence of supportive ecosystem.... read more
On Friday morning, we had a guest session with two speakers: Dr. Venkat Srinivasan and Mr. Sanjay Gupta. Their session's main takeaways were do what you like to do, trust your gut and then "make your luck". Venkat is the founder of several companies including English Helper, Rage Frameworks, Brightleaf Corporation, Corporate Fundamentals, and eCredit.... read more
Know what Sanjay Gupta, Global CEO of English Helper has to share on his experiences in building up his business in a unique way. Hear his thoughts on the education system and what can be done to improve it.... see video
You may see less online humor around English speaking classes because of the efforts of a startup like English Helper which has developed tools to make the language easier to learn.... read more