“Humanity’s greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”- Bill Gates
Rohit Prakash, son of an environment entrepreneur, left his well-paid job at Marico to chase his dream of being a changemaker. He co-founded iDream Education with his like-minded partner Puneet Goyal in 2016 where they are striving to transform education by making it more personalised and interactive via tablets and mobiles. Impactpreneurs had a detailed talk with the co-founder of iDream Education, Rohit Prakash.
What is iDream Education?
iDream Education is a social ed-tech organisation working with underserved learners to deliver engaging and enjoyable digital learning solution via mobile and tablets.
TABLAB is their flagship product which they have custom designed for government and rural schools. Under this, educational tablets pre-loaded with various categories of interactive content in local language are provided to the schools. Keeping in mind that every child is unique, iDream moulds the learning curriculum on the basis of what a child wants to learn. TABLAB is a student-centric learning infrastructure for schools that deeply understands the psychology of all the key stakeholders in rural education ecosystem.
“Our main aim via TABLAB is to introduce the last mile learner with the idea of digital learning through touch-based devices in a fun way”, said Rohit. These TABLABs in government schools are funded either via CSR or NGOs working in the space of digital learning. “We are also in discussion with some state governments to explore doing a pilot project in their schools”, said Rohit while talking about how the government is supporting TABLAB.
Rohit’s observations while exploring government schools
Rohit also threw some light on the education system of India. During his visits to government schools, the lack of learning infrastructure didn’t escape his notice. He added that a significant amount of money has been invested in introducing technology for learning in government schools, but unfortunately, it is yet to create the impact with the children. He also added that the rural people are very much interested in educating their kids so that their standard of living is upgraded. He mentioned the fact that the smartphones are penetrating the rural areas rapidly and there is already so much familiarity with touch-based devices, which can be leveraged to deliver fun and engage in the learning processes.
Current Education System
“The smart class-based system which is very prevalent today also follows one of many approaches and does not appreciate that every child is unique”. This Rohit said is a huge gap in our current education system as it does not connect with the child and hence fails to engage and excite them for learning.
Most of the technology interventions for schools are teacher-centric which means that the teachers are responsible for its usage and maintenance which create a major roadblock for regular usage as the solution does not connect and understand the core psychology of the teachers.
“Another gap, I observed was lack of high-quality multimedia content”, added Rohit. “Data is available on the internet but it is fragmented”. iDream Education digitizes multiple subjects and presents it on one tablet as a result students get all the necessary content at one place. He also brought out the fact that the computer technology is not being used the way it should be, the current teaching methodologies are not sufficient for the current generation students.
TABLAB, an alternative to the current education system
We are not replacing books and teachers. These entities have their own important role to play, TABLAB makes learning personalised, interactive and enjoyable for the child,” said Rohit on explaining how TABLAB is an addition to the education system and not an alternative.
TABLAB and the growing competition
On talking about the growing competitions in the market, Rohit said, “Considering the size of the Indian education market and a huge need for an impactful solution, more players are needed to open up the segment. We are very positive, the invention of such technologies in the market will improve the education system of India and of course, we keep on adding new features to our product to make our product more efficient”.
Currently, iDream Education has worked with multiple government schools across Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir. Rohit threw some light on the usage statistics of TABLAB. On an average, a TABLAB is used for 3 to 3.5 hours per day in a school which translates to a per child usage of 25-30 mins per day.
TABLAB’s aim is to make learning a fun activity and has managed to engage the students, leading to an increase of 30% in the enrollment process and an increase of 20-25% in the attendance.
Rohit also shared a story of a class VIII student from a government school in Greater Noida who within two weeks of setting up TABLAB in his school was able to self-teach himself to build a model of a motor-driven fan using waste items in his home. Such is the impact of TABLAB that a new scientist was just born in rural India.
Rohit shared that when he and Puneet started iDream Education, there were two key challenges:
- Can the technology be used regularly in the schools without any external influence?
Solution: iDream Education focuses on designing student-centric solution which also understands the psychology of all the stakeholders, be it teachers, parents or the funders. The entire set up including the hardware, content and the learning platform is very easy to setup and hassle-free to use and manage. All the hardware is covered under warranty which drives teacher and students to use TABLAB regularly without any fears.
2. Can we have drive student engagement with the tablet?
Solution: The tablets offer multiple categories of play-way learning content and the entire content is in the local language and aligned with the curriculum followed by the school. This helps in bringing familiarity and ensures seamless integration with the daily schedule of the school.
Over a long-term period, once a child regularly starts using the tablet and engages with the content, we hope to achieve an improvement in the learning outcomes as well. Rohit mentioned, “We are already seeing a slight improvement in our children’s retention capabilities such as English speaking skills, improved clarity on Mathematics and concepts of Science. Our teachers are actively sharing this feedback with us.”
Where is iDream headed?
“We are in the scale-up mode and are actively reaching out to CSR and NGOs who are working or are planning to work in the space of digital learning for their schools and students. We also hope to work more closely with the government and HRD ministry in bringing student-centric digital learning to all the government schools across the country.”
On seeing the participation in the Digital Learning programme organized by HRD Ministry, the government has made iDream a part of a group which will help the government in drafting a roadmap for the education system.
“A lot of people say what if their idea doesn’t work rather they should think what if it works. Trust yourself and believe in your idea, and take the leap of faith. Don’t be afraid, it just clouds your judgement. It is a fancy inspiration but that is what I believe in”, said Rohit on giving an advice to the upcoming/aspiring entrepreneurs.
Picture Credits: iDream Education Team