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Mobiles to Educate Children in Community Schools of India

Like computers, today mobile phones are increasingly being used to bridge the digital divide. And school education is among the focus areas that mobiles target.

Picture this: A new outreach program on mobile phones is all set to take healthy habits for life to Anganwadis in Gujarat, an Indian state. The aim is to improve quality of teaching and enhance classroom experience.

The project is being spearheaded by Sesame Workshop India, a nonprofit organization that also runs Galli Galli Sim Sim, a children’s television program on the leading Indian kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and POGO. The TV show is a multi-platform initiative that combines the power of multimedia and educational outreach to help children prepare better for school and life.

[ Also Read: Skype Video Calling Technology for Classrooms ]

Supported by MetLife Foundation, the project will extend the nutrition and healthy habits educational outreach program via mobile phones to Anganwadis (government run preschool centers) in Gujarat. It will promote positive behaviors among children covering habits such as eating healthy foods, washing hands with soap, and choosing healthy snacks.

[ Also Read: Mobile App Encourages Healthy Eating ]

Mobile-based education is now spreading in other parts of the world also. For example, tech company Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, Nan Chiau Primary School and Microsoft have announced the launch of the WE Learn mobile education project, which uses 3G smartphones to create a 21st century classroom experience for Singaporean students. (Read: Classroom with 3G Smartphones in Singapore)

After traditional mobiles and smartphones, the new-generation tablet devices are gradually making inroads in the school education programs. As tablets are considered more versatile to handle multimedia content, tech vendors are offering a slew of tablets for schools. (Read: Tablets to Usher in a New Tech Era in Schools)

“MetLife Foundation is pleased to continue its partnership with Sesame Workshop in India to empower families to develop important health habits at an early age,” said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. “Our program this year will make use of innovative new technologies in classrooms while continuing its on-air presence to promote good health, particularly in underserved communities.”

Announced today, May 15, the new outreach program will enable 150 government-run preschool centers or Anganwadis in Dhrangadra and Halvad blocks in Surendranagar, Gujarat to improve teacher quality, enhance the classroom experience and ensure positive outcomes on children’s leanings.

[ Also Read: 10 Things I Want Technology to Do for Me ]

Supervisors at these Anganwadis will be trained by Sesame Workshop to use mobile phones both for self-training and to integrate multimedia content in the classroom. They will also be enabled with Pico projectors, which will be utilized to project multimedia content to children in the classroom.

The mobile phone will also be used to track usage, viewings and monitoring. The Anganwadi supervisors will in turn train the Anganwadi workers. Training will comprise both in-person and through video modules. Ongoing training will be through pre-loaded mobile phones and each of them will go through a refresher course every three months.

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