The buzz about m-learning

TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM

The buzz about m-learning

E-learning may have transformed the process of knowledge acquisition but its benefits are still largely unexplored in a country like ours where mass education using computers is still a distant dream, because few students can  afford or access a Personal Computer.
Look at what the statistics say. Almost 75 per cent of students in Karnataka cannot afford a PC; 75 per cent of lecturers in the  State have never used a computer to teach students in a classroom; 60 per cent of pre-university students are unaware of  many competitive examinations; and 80 per cent of CET aspirants do not attempt a mock test. (Source: IPOMO survey.)

Although computer penetration in India is still poor compared to global standards, the same cannot be said about mobile phone penetration, especially among students. Capitalising on the the mobile phone fixation among students, six colleges in the State, including three in Bangalore, are using mobile phones to promote ‘mobile learning’. 

Seshadripuram First Grade College, Seshadripuram PU College, Maharani Lakshmi Ammani College for Women (Bangalore), NIE College of Science, and NIE PreUniversity College (Mysore) and Vidya Poshak (Dharwad) are using  Interactive Platform On Mobile Campus, an m-learning application launched by IPOMO Communications, to improve campus discipline and academic performance.

What is IPOMO Campus?

Enabled with a unique learning assessment tool and administrative platform,  IPOMO Campus is being used  for internal assessment, marking attendance, profiling students and announcing results in all the six colleges.

Attendance and internal marks: Every teacher takes attendance on a mobile phone given to him/her, using a simple interface, before sending the day’s attendance for immediate consolidation.

The software can also generate a student’s mark sheets and profile on entering the roll number.

The list of absentees as well as performance reports are stored in a consolidated database and can be obtained anytime, anywhere.

Continuous Internal Assessment: Objective questions are given to students in the classroom every month. Students are immediately informed of their results while their grades are declared only after the entire database is compiled.

Career guidance and counselling: Students can attempt and prepare for mock tests of competitive exams such as CET, CAT, IIT-JEE, GRE, GATE, UPSC, KPSC, JRF etc through an interface called ‘IPOMO Teachmate’ on their mobile phones. The software helps download model questions papers, provides information about various courses and institutes, and gives a review sheet of colleges and courses.

Dr M S Thimmappa, former vice chancellor, Bangalore University, sees it as a step towards bringing more transparency in education.

“Information Technology can solve many problems in education. An application like this can bring in transparency and reduce discrepancies in evaluation,” says Dr Thimmappa.
The results of the m-learning experiment have been encouraging, say the stakeholders.
Dr Prakash, Principal, Seshadripuram First Grade College, is relieved that he no longer has to grapple with time constraints. “It’s a boon for us. The teachers now have enough time to concentrate on lectures instead of spending a great deal of time marking attendance,” he says.

Dr L Uma Devi, Principal, Seshadripuram PU College, says: “Students have become more serious. They think twice before bunking class as an SMS is sent to their parents if they are absent.”

One would think that the students would be wary of such technology but they are not complaining — at least not too loudly! Some students claim that it has not only reduced their anxiety about shortage of attendance, but also helped them face competitive exams such as CET more confidently.

Payal, a first PUC student who took a mock test on her mobile phone, concedes that the technology has its uses, but adds: “It puts students under scrutiny, which is rather stressful. We can’t bunk class. But, it’s been helpful as it improves academic perfor-mance.”

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