Growing up, many of us learnt about the space and universe either through documentaries, feature films or through images in a textbook. Imagine what it would have been like if we had the opportunity to go on a virtual space journey, visualising and palpably feel what the universe is all about, and thus garnering a better understanding of those realities.
Well, young students in India are getting to do exactly this, and this isn’t an initiative by a swanky private school, but government girls’ schools in the remote district of Godda in Jharkhand through the medium of Virtual Reality.
Once again, a public-private collaboration between Eckovation, an education start-up comprising of IIT-Delhi graduates is making waves, and the Deputy Commissioner of Godda district, Kiran Kumari Pasi, has made this venture possible, organising ‘smart classes’ in over 60 government schools in the district. Following Eckovation’s success in the Maoist-hit district of Banka in Bihar, DC Pasi had invited them to undertake a similar intervention.
For the initiative, Eckovation set up the Gyanodaya team—tasked with setting up 3D classes with the help of Virtual Reality technology in all Kasturba Gandhi Awasiya Balika Vidyalayas (KGABVs). The Gyanodaya team provided VR sets to all the KGABVs in the Godda district, helping students visualise domains like space, forest life and science with the aid of 3D and 360-degree videos. Costing Rs 1 crore, this initiative has also received the backing of the Adani Foundation.
“We are shown a video of space in VR Class today. Till today we have only seen and read Solar System in the textbooks, but it looks like we have travelled in the solar system as well through the VR class. We saw earth, sun, and asteroids very close to us and felt that we could even touch them. We all are very excited for the Virtual Reality Classes, and we wish that more VR sets are provided to us,” says Sunderpahari Manisha Pahadi, a student.
This is probably the first time such an initiative has been undertaken on a large scale. These VR sets are being delivered for students from Class VI to XII, and besides assisting them with preparations for competitive exams like JEE and NEET, they are also helping the teachers.
“Gyanodaya aims to make education more attractive and interesting by providing quality education to every student of the country through the use of new technologies,” says Ritesh Singh, Founder of Eckovation, speaking to The Better India.
Not only is the initiative enabling students to acquire a better understanding of subjects like geography, chemistry and physics, it also claims to have increased attendance levels and exam performance since its introduction in the middle of July.
“The initial key performance indicators are attendance and learning outcomes. We have observed a jump in attendance from 39% to 78%, and a spike in exam performance from an average of 43% to 81%. For the 67,000 students enrolled in these schools, the impact is real,” says Ritesh.
“The Gyanodaya project has brought an increase in attendance levels in a very short time and has also enabled students to score better marks in monthly exams,” says DC Pasi.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)