Tanmay Bhatia is all eyes and ears at Sister Margaret Abraham’s science class. So are the other 29 seventh graders at a school in Delhi. As Abraham opens a small box, the students start making a line towards her table.Abraham is making her students observe a housefly through her laptop, which has been converted into a microscope. Intel’s lab camera, when stuck to a tablet’s camera, makes it a microscope. On a floor above, eleventh standard student Reyansh Varma is working on a project on Intel Galileo—a microcontroller board for Do It Yourself enthusiasts. Reyansh is trying to build a remote controlled switching mechanism for lights and fans.
Intel is revolutionising the way science is taught in classrooms. The lab camera, Galileo board and a two-in-one tablet-cum-PC were on display at the EduTech Expo 2015 in Brisbane, Australia, on June 2 and 3. EduTech is the largest exposition of technologies that are transforming education in the Asia-Pacific and southern hemisphere regions.The tablet-cum-PC is specially designed for school students. It can withstand a fall from 70cm and offers IP 51 water and dust resistance.There are kid friendly features such as a handle that makes it easier for small hands to hold it and a stylus with a realistic pen-like grip.
Intel also displayed an interesting software called ‘Kno’, which offers students and teachers access to a global digital content library of more than 225,000 educational titles. Its tablets and laptops come pre-loaded with free resources, offering anytime, anywhere access to a wide range of courses.
“No matter what country are you in, students are very comfortable with technology. But, we are making sure that they have right content in place so that the whole experience becomes very engaging,” said John Galvin, VP, Intel Education.
Over the past decade, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than $1 billion towards improving education in more than 100 countries. In India, the company has been working on improving the quality of education and the way it is delivered through various stakeholders over the past 15 years. Said Kishore Balaji, director, corporate affairs, South Asia, at Intel: “We are in fact planning a ‘fifteen years in education’ celebration in India.”
A programme—Intel Teach—has trained 15 lakh teachers in the last 10 years.Take, for example, B. Magdalene Premalatha, a teacher at a small village in Thiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu. Magdalene’s school was facing issues of drop-outs and low attendance. But by integrating technology in the way she taught, she could observe a dramatic difference in student behaviour towards studies.
Intel is also helping states design an ICT in education policy. Said Balaji, “We have worked with states like Haryana, Gujarat and Karnataka. Policy is a long-drawn process but we have done a series of workshops with them.” Of late, there has also been increased emphasis on ramping up India’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and innovation capabilities. Intel is working with top 50 colleges to help create content that is relevant and in tune with the needs of industry.
Galileo boards, incidentally, form an important part of this STEM strategy. Said Balaji, “We will be covering 100 schools where we will be providing Galileo boards and we will train faculty also.” To encourage school students to take up research-based projects, Intel organises Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science, the largest science fair in the country, in partnership with the department of science and technology. Top 17 students from IRIS are chosen to represent India at International Science and Engineering Fair—world’s largest science competition.
The journalist’s trip to cover EduTech in Brisbane was sponsored by Intel.