For the past five years, iDream education, a Gurugram-based social edtech startup, has been facilitating offline access to local language digital learning content for government schools via their tablet-based smart ICT lab solution.
However, with the rapid increase of smartphone and internet penetration in India, especially in rural areas, what they observed was that enjoyable digital content in local languages in an easy-to-consume format delivered on these smartphones is a powerful way of transforming last-mile learning in India.
And then the country was struck by the COVID-19 pandemic and a nationwide lockdown was announced.
While children from affluent families have access to multiple sources of engagement and entertainment, for government school students and local language learners, there is often an extreme scarcity of engagement and educational tool. They miss out on their regular academic cycle.
Recognising an urgent need to facilitate access to an in-home digital education supplement for students from humble backgrounds learning in the vernacular, iDream education decided to do something.
“We decided to work on a war footing and release the final version of the iDream Learning App with educational and life-skill based holistic content in several local languages for several state boards. The mobile app is completely free to use for government school students, NGOs and local language learners. It can be downloaded from the Google Play Store by searching for ‘iDream Learning App’. As ecosystem enablers, we must think of ways to engage these children positively and enable them to continue their learning and skill development even in these difficult and stressful times,” says Rohit Prakash, the co-founder of iDream education, speaking to The Better India.
How can you use it?
Once downloaded from the play store, the app asks for an OTP and post verification, it has three key steps users have to fulfil—Board Selection, Language Selection (if the content is available in two languages for any state board) and Class Selection. Once those choices are made, the home screen presents the type of digital content that the app offers.
What content does it offer?
“The app offers enjoyable digital content in most major regional languages including Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali for all Classes 1-12 and in all major subjects,” mentions Rohit.
The content is aligned as per their respective state board syllabus. It also offers activity and project making videos, which students can use to make models and experiments with free and everyday material easily available at home.
“And there is a rich digital book library with subject books, stories, poems, inspirational and for personal growth,” he adds.
Besides, this app also has content around the basics of health, hygiene, ‘social sensitisation’ and other aspects of holistic development.
Launched on March 29, 2020, the app has got close to 2,000 active users in the last four days.
The Indian Army in Kashmir has come up as one of the first organisational users of the app. It has circulated the app to more than 10,000 parents and students of all Army Goodwill Schools across the region so that students can continue their education from their homes.
“We have shared the app with government school teachers from all the schools we had previously worked with across 14 states. The response has been very encouraging, and they, in turn, have shared it with their students via Whatsapp groups, Facebook pages, or directly calling their students. Some are even asking students to watch a particular lesson in alignment with their academic plans,” says Puneet Goyal, co-founder of iDream education, speaking to The Better India.
“Considering the existing situation in our country, this app will be extremely useful for our students and will ensure that their studies are not affected. Students love animated videos, and the Hindi medium content on the app will keep the students engaged. I am sharing the app with all teachers in my network and request all parents to download and encourage their children to learn,” says Rajroop Rathee, a teacher at the Government High School in Garhi Bohar village in Rohtak district, Haryana.
Will this app operate beyond the lockdown?
“Yes. We want to facilitate easy access to enjoyable digital learning to all last-mile learners in the language that they understand best. So, this app will be permanently operational and the usage and support shall continue beyond the current lockdown and will be free for the government school students and local language learners,” informs Puneet.
Meanwhile, students can also use the app to prepare for the pending Board Exams by continuing to learn and review their academic concepts from the animated videos iDream has put together for all subjects and classes.
Their long term plan is also to add Practice and Test questions in all regional languages as well.
“We have already begun doing so for Hindi medium states. Along with concept videos, these assessments will enable students to master each topic and improve their exam performance,” says Rohit.
“The app has come at just the right time. We were worried about the losses our students could have incurred because of this lockdown, especially the Class X and XII students. I have shared the app with my students and am glad they can safely continue learning from their homes. What I have also liked is that apart from the academic content, the app also has a very nice book library and a lot of material on building life skills,” says Gangadhara Murthy from the Government High School in Ramanagara, Karnataka.
Click here to download the app. If you are an organisation supporting government schools and are working with state governments, who can adopt this app for all their students, please reach out to the iDream Team at this email address: email@example.com.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)