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view POINT In India, there are 1 Lakh 55 thousand secondary and senior secondary schools but only 40 million students study in these school. There is only 40 percent GER at secondary level. In India gross enrolment ratio is considerably low at secondary and senior secondary education. Various efforts are being made to improve GER and one such initiative is the introduction of digital content to make the learning interesting and interactive. Here are industry veterans sharing their views on digital content and how it helps in improving GER and minimised drop out ratio and failure rate.

K Anvar Sadath, Executive Director, IT @ School Project, Department of General Education, Government of Kerala: From our experience in implementing ICT in School Scheme for the last 8 years in the state of Kerala, it is seen that all students, irrespetive of their location, background etc are showing much interest in technology, especially Information and Communication Technology. It can also be seen that students who are not attending or excelling in other classes are doing excellent work in Information Technology. Infact, when we compare the subject-wise results achieved by students in Std X (SSLC) examination over the last 6-7 years, it could be seen that the Information Technology is the favorite subject of students, in which the highest number of A+ grades are scored each year. Specific contents have to be developed to address the marginised sections of students; i.e. students who are differentlly abled like the visually challenged. Currently very limited contents of such nature are available to these students. The key point here is that students could unknowingly acquire lots of knowledge through these exercises and it becomes part of a knowlege construction process and such a content development process is currently unavailable at national level. At present, the type of contents available in the market is prepared by animators and industy personnel and hence it lacks specific academic and student centric goals. Instead these products are targeted for revenue generation alone. In such circumstances, the new model of multimedia content has to be developed not simply by animators and industry personnel, but it has to be a combined activity by academicians, pedagogits along with industry people and animation experts. This would indeed benefit the whole process and the resulting content would definetely serve its purpose. Otherwise the entire process would remain a time-pass mechanism, which is least effective and serious.

Gaurav Mittal, Co-Founder and Chemistry teacher, Paarth Institute, Mathura says, Even before the advent of digital multimedia content, teachers have used sort of media content using physical models to illustrate the concepts and ideas. These approaches have also provided desired results. But the digital multimedia content is more powerful and efficient. If a student has never seen an air plane, or a ship, he cannot appreciate any ideas about those objects; probably he makes his own imagination of those objects, which may be totally contrary to what they really are. But if the digital media content can show him the images or videos of those objects, his learning will be much more accurate and refined. Therefore, digital media content as an enabler will surely go a long way in minimising failure. What I don’t concur with is the over usage of this content in helping the student learn. For example, once a teacher has given an orientation as to what a tetrahedron is, then showing the student all other possible shapes, tetrahedron can take, beforehand, without letting him think on his own. This will not help him develop his imagination and further understanding of the concept. And in the examination, when the student will be asked for other variations of the concepts learnt, he may not be able to answer them, thereby increasing his chances of failure. The probable solution to this paradox lies in the hands of the teacher. It relies on his wisdom, when and where to use or to avoid the use of this content. Use of multimedia content surely helps in enrolments as students today are fascinated about new techniques of teaching.

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