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Interview

Bridging the Digital Gap of Education by Bringing Technology Into the Classroom

Harshil-Gala

eSense is a fast growing digital education company that is focused on providing eLearning solutions to schools and students in India.  At eSense, they engineer solutions that enrich teaching and learning experience. The emphasis here is to go beyond the chalk & talk method and stimulate the learning environment. Their focus is to integrate technology with learning.

eSense believes that leadership in any field is essential. Here Harshil Gala, Director, eSense, talks about their new solutions, bringing revolution in education and how to boil down the complex issues of education…Gala in an interaction with Ekta Srivastava, Education Technology

Please tell us something about eSense, its concept, and journey so far?

eSense Learning Pvt. Ltd. Was established in 2008. It started it operations as “Navneet eLearning” which started its commercial operations in 2009. It became eSense in Nov 2009 which focused on providing Digital Learning Solutions to schools and aimed at popularizing Digitization.

Navneet Management realized that education is not changing. Classrooms were still in Chalk & Talk Method.

The mission was that “Technology should play a very important role in learning and teaching of students and teachers.”

Vision was “Bridge this Digital gap of education by bringing technology into the classroom so that student can learn better and teacher can teach better.

After a lot of research and brainstorming it was decided that eSense will focus on audio-visual content and providing syllabus based solutions for Maharashtra State Board, Gujarat State Board and CBSE pattern.

With the future of the country in the hands of educationalist, eSense has taken on the responsibility of cultivating the future leaders by equipping our children with syllabus based 2D and 3D multimedia animations.

Few Facts about eSense:

  1. 1st to launch syllabus based solution
  2. 1st to launch regional medium solution
  3. 3000+ institutions in MH and GUJ
  4. 10,000+ teachers trained through content
  5. 10,00,000 + students
  6. 50,000 MINUTES OF SYLLABUS BASED 2D AND 3D CONTENT
  7. 50 ON-ROLL SERVICE ENGINEERS FOR TROUBLESHOOTING
  8. 150+ TEAM OF AUTHORS, ILLUSTRATORS AND ANIMATORS

eSense is now the “Most Promising Digital Education Company” and it’s just the beginning…

How is eSense planning to add value of IT to the Indian education system?

For our B2B products we use technologies that are simple and easy to use. We always make sure that all our products should keep teachers in mind and not “super-tech” users. Due to our user-friendly UI, we have teachers reporting back that they can use our software every day! For our B2C product, we use the latest technologies available. From having a modern, responsive website, to the best material design app. For our offline offering, we keep in mind that the user can be from anywhere and using any device. For this we approach all products with a device and OS independent approach. Thus, you can use our product on Android, Windows as well as iOS.

eSense has taken education technology to the next level, we have not just thought digication of classrooms, but also introduced TOPScorer for students to go home and study. This helps students to take forward the lesson which he has learnt in the classroom and do self paced learning at his convenience.

TOPScorer has been a platform which is available on the Web as well as the Playstore for Android users.

Students can now learn through animated videos. Give unlimited practice tests on the chapter for which they have watched the audio-visual content. Get analytics of strength and weaknesses based on the tests given and understand how they can improve. Along with this they have notes which help them to revise at the last moment. Students also have got discuss options where they can create threads and other users can interact with replies making it engaging and effective experience.

Do you think India has adequate technology usage and adoption in the education sector? What more can be done in your opinion?

Indians have the fastest adoption rate of technology in the world. What most companies fail to identify, is that India is unique and a copy-paste from US will never work. From Uber to Amazon, all successful tech companies have worked in India only with customization to our market. Similarly, in education, customization of technology to the target market in very important. One cannot sell 4G required digital content to a village in India. It has to be tailor-made and user friendly.

Apart from a few Nay-sayers, the only reason for the relative slow pace to technology adoption in schools is opportunity. Schools just have too many things going against them. All schools want digital learning, but slow decision making, difficult PTAs and other external factors postpone the digitization of schools to a great extent, but the single most deterrent is finances. It is expensive to get all classrooms digitized and schools are not cash rich. This is the reason, we will see more and more funds being collected and spend on digitization of schools in the coming few years.

Well apart from offering the lowest price available in the market, our biggest contribution has been in educating corporates and governments on digital classrooms and digital education for students and getting them to spend more and more on digitization as less on non-educational aspects of schools such as infrastructure, uniforms, etc. Slowly but steadily we are getting this concept to stick with many companies who have diverted a lot, if not all, of their CSR funds to digital classrooms via eSense.

The transformation from classroom learning and tuitions to non-traditional online learning aids is not easy. What challenges did you face?

When we started eSense, Navneet Management realized that education is not changing. Classrooms were still in Chalk & Talk Method. The chalk and talk method was introduced by Chanakya around 2000 years back. The challenge was to bring the shift and digitize education, which was still comfortable with the routine method of chalk and talk. The complete education was completely away from the power and impact of technology.

The first challenge was the idea to shift from traditional method to the digital classroom. Any new technology if introduced always gets opposed; especially people think that their role will be taken over by the technology. But we convinced the teachers, that this will help them and become an aid to teaching. This is a supplementary teaching tool to teachers.

Selling anything to schools is never easy, let alone software. The only reason for the relative slow pace to technology adoption in schools is opportunity. Schools just have too many things going against them.

Slow decision making, difficult PTAs and other external factors postpone the digitization of schools to a great extent. The biggest challenge for schools is finance. It is expensive to get all classrooms digitized and schools are not cash rich.

What technology initiatives do you see gaining maximum ground for Corporate Training, Vocational Education, and Skills Training?

At eSense, we believe it is essential to create an ecosystem for skill development where education is a basic human right. Corporate training, vocational training, and skills training are all fields that require continuous learning and upgradation of skills and knowledge. Every corporate, whether big or small, has to invest in employee training, especially in technology. And with classroom training becoming more time consuming and expensive, people are turning to digital learning platforms for quick access to knowledge andlearning. Mentors teach students more than the basics and instill a futuristic perspective in the knowledge imparted. They are looking at a more interactive and engaging platform for training, and audio-visual method of training does exactly that, improving the retention rate.

What support do you plan for the government’s skill development initiative?

We support the government’s skill development initiative with the aim to provide highly skilled human resources. This depends on the bright and prosperous future of the country’s youths.

eSense Learning along with Navneet Foundation has been supporting CSR initiatives in Education. We strive to transform the lives of people in the best way we can.

There are a lot of challenges in Rural areas in India:

  1. Non availability of skilled teachers especially in rural areas where regular training is not given to them.
  2. Poor Infrastructure for Digital education in classrooms
  3. Lack of practice given to the children for learning the subject as textbooks alone are not sufficient.
  4. No proper continuous evaluation of the students during the year.

How these challenges can be met with Digital solution by eSense:

  1. Covers complete text book syllabus.
  2. Available for English, Marathi and Gujarati medium schools
  3. Over 600 hours of 2D and 3D animation
  4. Extremely user friendly.
  5. Covers CCE pattern question papers
  6. Multiple choice question bank for every unit
  7. In-depth analysis for usage.
  8. Progressive animation, suited to particular standard.
  9. 3D simulations for real life situations.

THE AIM IS TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS.

How, in your opinion, will eSense solutions add value to education in a country where rural areas have such a high rate of dropouts?

The challenges in rural areas are

  1. Below average quality of teaching capabilities especially in Public (Government) Schools
  2. Non availability of skilled teachers especially in rural areas where regular training is not given to them.
  3. Poor Infrastructure for Digital education in classrooms
  4. Lack of practice given to the children for learning the subject as textbooks alone are not sufficient.
  5. No proper continuous evaluation of the students during the year.

This has increase the rate of dropouts.

How eSense can make a difference:

  1. Faster learning, Better understanding, Improvement in grades as audio-visual techniques leads to more retention.
  2. Interesting and Attractive Animations makes learning effective, energizing and exciting
  3. Technologically equipped school improves school results
  4. Used by the teachers in school to explain the subject in detail to the students in the classroom
  5. It Saves time and energy of teachers, enhancing teaching experience, improving attention span of students and enhances teachers control in classroom.

In terms of infrastructure, do you think the government can do anything for aiding this adoption?

Various government initiatives are being adopted to boost the growth of distance education market, besides focusing on new education techniques, such as E-learning and M-learning.

Education sector has seen a host of reforms and improved financial outlays in recent years that could possibly transform the country into a knowledge haven. With human resource increasingly gaining significance in the overall development of the country, development of education infrastructure is expected to remain the key focus in the current decade. In this scenario, infrastructure investment in the education sector is likely to see a considerable increase in the current decade.

 

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