Next Education

Computer-masti-blog

In alignment with its mission to enhance computer education through cutting-edge computer science curriculum, Next Education has acquired InOpen’s Computer Masti as part of an all-cash deal. Computer Masti was created jointly by IIT Bombay and InOpen and is presently being used by 600,000 school students across India. InOpen’s talent pool will merge with Next Education’s 2000+ strong team.

InOpen was incubated in SINE IIT Bombay in 2009 and was co-founded by Prof. Sridhar Iyer and Rupesh Kumar Shah. InOpen investors included Shridhar Shukla, Ventureast, Japanese education giant Benesse, and India’s most prestigious incubator SINE IIT Bombay.

Computer Masti is a core computer science curriculum developed after years of intense research. It was developed with a view to integrate computers into real life to better students’ life skills as well as thinking skills. Computer Masti aims to simplify and strengthen knowledge while dispelling the myth that computer science is a skill-driven science. Computer Masti has received worldwide appreciation, especially from academic institutions like the IITs and the MIT Media Lab, USA.

The acquisition is crucial to Next Education’s position as the most innovative education products company in India. To begin with, Next Education will include the Computer Masti books in its in-house product, NextBooks, to cater to schools for their computer science curriculum.

Shedding more light on the acquisition, Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-founder and CEO of Next Education said, “Computer science education is an integral part of school education. InOpen has built a wonderful product in association with IIT Bombay creating a strong foundation of CS Education in India. Strategic acquisitions give us an opportunity for exponential growth while maintaining our core values. These steps ensure progress towards our growth story. Computer Masti adds to our portfolio and helps us maintain our position as India’s most innovative education products company.”

Rupesh Kumar Shah, CEO of InOpen, said, “Computer science is considered to be the 4th R now after Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. I believe that computer science is a discipline that lies at the cross section of computing, mathematics and applications in science, engineering and social science. Computer Masti was built with this philosophy and ambition to change the way computer science is taught in schools. The acquisition by Next Education will scale Computer Masti, and approximately 3 million students will use CS#101 by July 2017. I believe that it is the largest computer science focused implementation in India. Next Education has an awesome team as well as the largest reach in the country, and this deal will accelerate our efforts in computer science education. We have had some really awesome people and institutions, like IIT Bombay, who invested in us and backed us each and every time we needed them.”

Kamath Raveendranath, CFO and Co-founder of Next Education also said that Next Education and InOpen are natural collaborators with both companies valuing teaching, learning, skill development and logical reasoning above all.

Prof. Sridhar Iyer added, “I am excited about the future possibilities of Computer Masti with Next Education.”

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STEM Education

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education signifies the curriculum based on these four disciplines. In the global education landscape, STEM-based learning is steadily gaining prevalence. Even in India, many schools have started considering this academic discipline while formulating curriculum of their K-12 segment, the reasons being developing students’ interest in technology-based learning and encouraging them to pursue it in higher education.

STEM education goes a long way in successfully integrating book-based knowledge with its real-life applications. Therefore, students get a better understanding of a subject, topic, or a concept and comprehend its real-life applications, which is quite impossible in traditional book-based rote learning.

Now, the obvious question is the career prospect in this field. As revealed by a Physics teacher in a Delhi-based school, since STEM field is on an expansion spree, job opportunity in this field is enormous. Nevertheless, STEM skill-equipped students need not be only scientists. Although research is a good career option for these students, they can also seek employment in many technical and semi-technical fields. There are even many career prospects for them in government sectors as well.

In our country, several initiatives are being taken at the both government and private levels to promote STEM education in schools. Many companies are coming up with innovative solutions to integrate STEM learning into all aspects of the teaching and learning process. It is ultimately enabling teachers to impart necessary life skills—such as problem solving, logical thinking, analyzing, etc.—into students so that they can be better equipped to face today’s competitive professional world.

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School ERP and its benefits

Dealing with a host of operational data is one of the major challenges to today’s schools, irrespective of their sizes. Besides, the cumbersome tasks of catering to all its stakeholders and handling various functions, including payroll, transports, inventory, and others, makes day-to-day school management more complicated than ever. Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP, is a panacea for all such problems.

School ERP provides an end-to-end and technology-driven solution that interlinks, streamlines, and integrates all important details and activities across various departments on a central server, thereby bringing the school’s all functions, departments, and activities under a single roof. It ultimately ensures better clarity and more productivity.

School ERP software for multiple stakeholders

School ERP software is able to cater to multiple stakeholders. Let us see how these stakeholders can leverage the school ERP system.

Principal and school management:

  • To create different reports pertaining to day-to-day activities of the school as well as academic performance of students automatically
  • To manage budgets, cash flow, leaves, payroll, etc., from one single platform
  • To get access to various details and updates of different departments
  • To save data in a more secured way
  • To send automated emails and SMSes to parents and staff

Teachers:

  • To create their lesson plans
  • To conduct tests
  • To upload study materials on the website
  • To provide assignments, home tasks, and projects to students
  • To monitor and analyze students’ performance

Students:

  • To access all necessary details, comprising study materials, class routines, library catalogues, assignments, projects, and so on.
  • To engage in online discussions and connect with teachers and fellow classmates alike
  • To view exam schedule as well as results

Parents:

  • To check their children’s report cards
  • To make fee payment online
  • To connect with teachers
  • To stay updated about school activities by receiving email alerts and newsletters ona regular basis
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E-Learning

The Indian education sector has undergone a sea change in the past few decades. Once symbolized by the age-old ‘blackboard-chalk-and-talk’ model, classrooms in Indian schools have received a complete makeover following the advent of digital technologies. The journey of the Indian education has been marked with several milestones, with e-learning being a recent one.

The rising popularity of e-learning in India is largely due to various initiatives taken by the government. In addition, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) has been introducing new technologies to promote it further in the country. It needs to be mentioned here that DeitY has lent its support to many e-learning-based R&D projects at several academic institutions.

The growth of e-learning is also attributable to the sudden growth in internet connectivity in India. Since the number of internet users is expected to cross 250-million mark soon, India has the potential to emerge as a significant e-learning market. Further, it is now witnessing a steady surge in the number of smartphone users, which acts as another growth catalyst for e-learning in India.

Benefits associated with e-learning are immense, with foremost being the possibility of giving personalized attention to every student. Another significant advantage is that e-learning enables students to access the best possible learning resources. Indeed, it is a great boon for students in rural areas and small towns, where the availability of learning resources is very limited.

Online learning—or e-learning—is a great help for teachers as well. E-learning modules enable teacher to manage the learning pace as per their students’ needs. Likewise, these modules empower students also to set their learning pace as per their individual requirements. In other way, e-learning in India is rejuvenating the old concept of ‘self-learning is the best learning.’

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Benefits of hands-on learning

“I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” Confucius

This quote mirrors the benefits of hands-on learning. Time and again, it has been proved that the hands-on learning environment provides students with a better understanding of any concept/topic/subject. Especially when it comes to science education, hands-on learning activities and materials go a long way in imparting experiential learning to students.

Some benefits of hands-on learning are as follows:

  • Several studies have revealed that hands-on learning enables students to retain a subject/topic/concept at least three times better than they do in the normal chalk-and-talk classroom setting. Apart from better retention, hands-on learning activities provide students with a sense of accomplishment as they can apply their knowledge to solve real-life problems/situations.
  • The hands-on learning approach works well in teaching students having learning difficulties, such as behavioral interference, auditory deficiencies, and so on.
  • Teachers can pay their personal attention to every student in the hands-on learning setting. Teachers’ personal attention matters a lot to students, as it boosts their confidence and most importantly, their interest in the subject/topic.
  • Last but not the least; the hands-on learning method goes a long way in developing critical thinking and decision-making skills in students. In the hands-on learning environment, students can take their decisions on the spot, which not only stimulates their learning experience but also hone up these two essential life skills.
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Digital India Initiative

The Indian education sector is now in a state of transition. Thanks to the advent of digital learning technologies, our education system has started witnessing some positive transformations. However, access to modern and high-tech education remains a major challenge for many students. The new Digital India Initiative, undertaken by the incumbent government, is expected to address the issue.

The government’s much-touted National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) is all set to be the cornerstone of this ambitious initiative. The expansion of broadband connectivity—more specifically, mobile broadband and faster network—is expected to be the growth catalyst for e-learning in the country.

Broadly speaking, technology-enabled new-age education has three main components—technology platform, content (digital version), and most importantly, the delivery infrastructure (the Internet connectivity). When it comes to the delivery infrastructure, there are several bottlenecks, with high-end wireless internet connection, internet speed, and proper ecosystem being major ones. The Digital India Initiative is expected to clear all these bottlenecks, thereby giving digital education a big fillip.

In India, almost all sectors hold high hope for this new initiative, with education being no exception. Since this initiative is broadly based on fast communication facilities—including the National Optical Fibre Network and Internet-enabled gadgets, like tablets and smartphone, it shows great promise for the expansion of digital education in India.

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RL_01

 

Most people—irrespective of their ages—love playing with building blocks. Indeed, the attraction of this bright-colored toy is irresistible. However, the use of building blocks is now not only confined to the realm of game. These days, they are increasingly being used in the teaching/learning purposes.

Teachers, across the world, are using these building blocks in various creative ways in their classrooms. Some teachers use them as a hands-on tool in order to help their students get a better understanding of a subject. A math teacher has once revealed how she uses this toy to teach various concepts of mathematics, such as fractions, multiplication, range, value and so on.

The use of these building blocks can also make the language class exciting. Be it teaching students parts of speech, alphabetical order, the art of narrating/storytelling or creative writing—their use can add some fun elements to the lesson, thereby retaining students’ interest.

In view of the growing importance of STEM (Science, Technology and Engineering) education and robotics, many schools are also using building blocks to develop students’ interest in robotics. A teacher of a renowned public school in Delhi believes that kids should be encouraged to build robots using these building blocks and this way, it will be possible to motivate them to pursue STEM education and robotics in the future.

Even in kindergarten schools, the use of colourful building blocks is quite prevalent. Teachers are using them to develop children’s fine motor skill and hand-eye coordination. Besides, when it comes to teaching kids how to follow directions using logic, these building blocks always come in handy for kindergarten teachers.

Last but not the least; teachers can use this toy to inculcate various life skills into students. Some of these skills include lateral thinking, three dimensional thinking, problem solving, organization skills, and so on.

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With lots of books for kindergartners available in the market, it is quite challenging for both teachers and parents to select the right books. Many parents and teachers believe that only colorful books are appropriate for kids, while some prefer opting for books with simple texts. However, it is not necessarily that only colorful books or books with simple texts are good for kids. So, what factors should one consider while buying books for their kids? Let us find out the answer.

  1. Check the language
  2. At the elementary level, children start learning and recognizing letters and then new words. So, the language of kindergartners’ books should be simple and clear. While checking the language of children’s books, consider the following points.

    • Prefer the books written in short and clear sentences. It will help children read aloud.
    • Consider the books having one-, two- and three-syllable words, and simple punctuations. These books are considered more effective in building reading habits, as children can easily read such books on their own and learn new words very fast.
    • Opt for the books putting emphasis on rhyming words and alliteration. While rhyming words help in developing your kid’s phonological awareness, alliteration will enable him/her to read clearly. Especially, if he/she stammers at the time of reading, alliteration texts will help him/her get rid of this problem.
  3. Book design
  4. Apart from the language, the design of kindergarten books is also a matter of consideration. It is true that children usually dislike the books with sombre designs and colors. Therefore, for kindergartners, you should consider the books having

    • Not more than three sentences in every page as children have limited attention spans
    • Colourful pictures and illustrations so that children easily get attracted to them
    • Not more than 50-60 pages in total so that a child can easily hold/carry the books.
  5. Theme-based books
  6. Theme-based books are found to be more appealing to children. Some commonly used themes in kindergarten books are ‘Animals,’ ‘Children,’ ‘Holiday-based Stories,’ ‘Daily Activities,’ ‘Vocabulary primers equipped with images,’ and so on. A significant aspect of these books is that children can easily relate to things in their surroundings. For example, if a book is based on the ‘Children theme,’ kids can easily pick up the words related to their daily activities, such as ‘play,’ ‘bath,’ ‘cloth,’ ‘eat,’ ‘sleep,’ just to name a few.

  7. Activity-based books

Last but not the least; consider activity-based books for kids. If children get involved in various activities at the time of reading, it results in an increase in their retention power.

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02

 

“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.”

―Albert Einstein

This wisdom from arguably one of mankind’s sharpest minds can have more than one interpretation, and one that clearly stands out implicates the importance of self-exploration in one’s long and exciting journey on the path of knowledge acquisition.

Society’s increased focus on ‘value-oriented formal education’ has resulted in several constructive debates on teaching methodologies, relevance of course content, healthy ratio of theory and practical education, and especially an acknowledgement of influence of peer learning on the formative years of a child. These new expectations from academics have certainly boded well with the education sector in general, with many innovative solutions being developed to cater to these expectations. But, one concept that is conspicuously low-key in these discussions is the time tested ‘art’ of self-study.

Unlike the ‘tried and tested’ method of peer-learning, self-study is an inherently solitary activity. Perhaps this solitary (or non-social) virtue of self-learning has been one of the reasons why it has never been a forefront of new-age education solutions. But it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to understand the significance of self-learning. For either a curious child or a young student or for that matter, a life-long explorer, it is perhaps the most effective cure for curiosity. Educationalists and education providers who genuinely support student welfare, are adopting mature teaching methodologies, provisioning intuitive study-material and even leveraging teaching aids, but they are no substitute to the effort a learner puts in exploring things on one’s own. In fact, self-study is the essential glue to hold these teaching tools together, and to enable the student to get the desired benefit from these advancements.

Be it self-learning or being taught, most students have their unique ways of learning. Though some pedagogical methods like Montessori education aim to groom the children as self-sufficient learners, mainstream education doesn’t teach the art of self-study. Children often have to device their own innovative methods to master their subjects at a very young age. Since each student’s style (of self-learning) is an extension of their unique personality, devising one’s own method is often a smart of discovering things. But, a guided approach to expose children to self-study methodologies and related technology aids like – self-paced tutorial software, mini-labs, game-oriented learning products – will allow them to be aware of their appropriate learning styles at a very young age. A child, by nature, is a curious being, and a little guidance in the art of self-study can allow them to leverage this inherent curiosity for academic learning.

Rather than viewing self-study as a necessary, but non-social side of learning, it should be embraced as the foundation of life-long learning that defines our standards of a productive life.

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Homework

 

Homework is as important as classwork as it helps you remember and correlate the lessons taught in the class. However, after the long hours of school, many children don’t feel like doing their homework, despite knowing that it is mandatory. Here are some tips to help you complete your homework easily:

Complete it as early as possible

You may be too tired to complete your homework after returning from school, but the sooner you complete it, the better it is. For some students, this might not seem to be a good idea, but keeping your work for later will only increase the chances of not finishing it. Start doing your homework as early as possible. Homework is a great way to recall what has been taught in school.

Keep up the confidence

At times, you may get stuck while doing your homework. You may not be able to understand the problem, but you needn’t lose your confidence. Take help from your elders at  home or wait till you go to school next day. Don’t get too stressed if you are not able to solve any problem, go through similar questions to get an idea how to solve it or simply move on to the next one. It happens!

Organise your homework

If you think there is too much homework, you may divide it in parts. However, pick the harder ones or the ones that would take you more time first. You can finish off the easier ones quickly, after you are done with the harder problems.