In 2014, a silent revolution began in Maharashtra. An initiative that would change the face of English reading and comprehension in government schools in the state, commenced when EnglishHelper & Schoolnet launched an English literacy initiative – RightToRead – in 125 government schools in Aurangabad, Beed, and Jalna districts of Maharashtra. Under the RightToRead program, a multi-sensory reading and comprehension AI software – ReadToMe® – was deployed in these government schools. Within a short time, teachers noticed an improvement in the reading and comprehension skills of the students. Every child was keen to attend English class and showed great engagement in the classroom.
Tests conducted by Gray Matters, an assessment agency, provided strong validation of the benefit of the program.
ReadToMe® – Transformation in Schools in Maharashtra
The initial success encouraged the expansion of RightToRead in the state. In 2016, the program, supported by USAID, expanded to 3,720 ICT schools across 29 districts in partnership with Schoolnet. The program was very successful, with students achieving material improvement in English proficiency.
In 2018, the Government of Maharashtra agreed to implement the RightToRead Program in 65,000 government schools across the state. In the first phase, the program has been implemented in nearly 15,000 schools reaching 4 million students. The footprint of the program reaches all 36 districts and 389 blocks in the state. Once the schools reopen, RightToRead will be implemented in the remaining 50,000 schools.
The success of this tech-enabled English classroom can be attributed to many factors. The easy-to-use software, the integration with curriculum, the engagement of students and the enthusiasm of teachers have all come together seamlessly. Nearly 60,000 government school teachers have been trained and many of these teachers have installed the AI software in their schools.
The Path To A Digital Transformation
The recent COVID19 crisis has forced governments to shut down schools to safeguard the health of students, teachers and staff. UNESCO noted that 22 countries had closed schools, affecting over 290 million children. Students are at the risk of losing a few months of the academic year. Solutions that can reach all are urgently needed to solve the challenge faced by our youngest citizens.
Considering millions of students are limited to the confines of their homes, it is necessary to leverage digital technology to ensure that learning continues. Private schools have been quick to make the transition to online learning. However, the process is not easy for government schools. Technology must be an equaliser and there cannot be a digital divide between the ‘haves’ and others, at least when it comes to learning and education.
ReadToMe Student Edition: Closing the Learning Loop
RightToRead has been transforming the way English is learnt in government schools. The easy-to-use reading and comprehension AI software, ReadToMe®, has demonstrated the value of technology integrated with the curriculum. Furthermore, teachers and students are enhancing their familiarity with technology as a way of learning. To build on this momentum and to solve the problem of discontinuity of learning, created by the recent crisis, an app – ReadToMe® Student Edition – is being launched on Playstore. This affordable solution can be accessed by any student for installation on an Android device. ReadToMe Student Edition enables students to read their English textbooks at home. The learning methodology of multi-sensory immersion and the tools to aid vocabulary, comprehension and overcome the challenge of English phonics make this app a wonderful self-learning resource that can be used even after schools resume normal operations.
Many students in India’s government schools are first-generation learners. This creates unique complexities. Teachers are challenged to achieve learning outcomes for these classroom cohorts in the forty minutes available. At home, students almost never receive any scholastic support from parents or other family members. RightToRead has made the classroom process much more effective. ReadToMe Student Edition is a way to address the ‘learn at home’ challenge. Interestingly, the two models complement each other – the group activity in class and self-learning at home, is exactly what the teacher ordered. Amidst this crisis, a silver lining may be emerging – technology is helping close the learning loop.
To know how to use ReadToMe® pronunciation tool please click here.
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