Early Trends: Teachers’ use of ReadToMe® in School encourages Students Engagement

Teachers’ use of ReadToMe® in School nudges Students toward Registering and Engagement with ReadToMe Student Edition


School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have ushered in the need for fostering independent study among students. Mobile or app-based learning has emerged as a useful tool in inculcating self-learning behavior. However, studies that aim to establish a correlation between smartphone usage and academic achievement have been either sparse or deceptively (and un-intuitively) discouraging.

One of the key challenges in fully harnessing the transformative power of app-based self-learning, is ensuring the engagement and retention of students. EnglishHelper works extensively with students, teachers, schools and the education ecosystem, to pioneer innovative ways to inspire app engagement and boost learning outcomes.

EnglishHelper is deploying ReadToMe® Solutions in all the government schools of Punjab. ReadToMe® is a multi-sensory AI reading and comprehension software. ReadToMe® is deployed in class to enable reading of the prescribed English textbooks. It is also available as an Android App (ReadToMe Student Edition) and enables students to practice reading and comprehension, outside the classroom.

Initial studies have indicated that teachers play a significant role in influencing students to revise at home using ReadToMe Student Edition, thus promoting self-learning.[i],[ii] Informed by this evidence, EnglishHelper has prepared pre-packaged homework. There are strong indicators that point to homework being an effective nudge that empowers students to revise and learn on ReadToMe Student Edition.[iii]

In this study, we examine emerging trends that indicate that the use of ReadToMe® in a class by teachers nudges students towards subsequent steps in engagement with ReadToMe Student Edition. We use our observations in schools in Punjab as a case study.

The Engagement Process Flow

The 2021-22 Academic Year in Punjab schools

In 2021-22, schools in Punjab were open intermittently, in response to the changing pandemic situation, the conduction of the National Achievement Survey (NAS), elections in the state, scheduled holidays and vacations, the third wave of the pandemic and two rounds of examinations (as compared to the annual Board examinations that are usually held).

ReadToMe® was deployed state-wide and numerous large-scale training sessions were conducted to launch the solutions at various stages of the implementation cycle and accommodate for school closures.

It was in April 2022 that schools were open for a considerable length of time, giving schools the opportunity to install ReadToMe School Edition in school devices. This period also marked the beginning of the new academic year for students.

The figure below indicates the various academic activities, school closures, and ReadToMe® deployment initiatives that were undertaken in the year.

The Engagement Process

As mentioned earlier, teachers are instrumental in influencing students to engage with ReadToMe Student Edition. When teachers use ReadToMe® in class, we expect the following chain of events to occur, based on our observation of implementing ReadToMe® a massive scale.

1. Teacher uses ReadToMe® in class to conduct an English class.

2. Teacher influences students to download and engage with ReadToMe Student Edition on their devices at home.

3. Students download ReadToMe Student Edition, subject to the availability of the device and device-time.

4. Students engage and spend time with ReadToMe Student Edition.

5. A subset of students from the school (typically, 20% to 50%) share their school information (UDISE code) on the profile page of the app.

Since schools in Punjab were open with some degree of regularity in the month of April 2022, we examined the schools that demonstrated usage in class in April for evidence of the engagement flow above.

We recommend that ReadToMe® be used at least 3 times a week to gain significant traction and for achieving significant learning gains. For the month of April, this would add up to 10-12 ReadToMe® sessions per grade. For this examination, we have chosen schools that have conducted a minimum of 10 ReadToMe® sessions in the month, aggregated across grades.

Indicators of Engagement

In the month of April, a total of 29 schools conducted at least 10 ReadToMe® sessions. (The usage is as per data received at the time of writing this paper. Usage numbers could increase as more and more school devices connect to the Internet, writing usage data to EnglishHelper’s cloud-based servers.) The 29 schools correspond to the top 6% of the 482 schools who recorded at least one ReadToMe® session in the month of April.

ReadToMe® in Class and Onboarding on ReadToMe Student Edition

Of the 29 schools examined, at least 8 schools had 25 or more students registered on ReadToMe Student Edition, one school had as high as 315 students registered accounting for 56% of its student enrolment. As mentioned earlier, these are conservative estimates based on the number of students who fill in their profile. Actual numbers are estimated to be 2 to 3 times the shared numbers, or 100% of students.

The figure below shows the distribution of students and the number of sessions conducted in the school. Since registration numbers are also a function of student enrolment, a figure of registration as a percentage of enrolment is also shown in juxtaposition.

Students Onboarded on ReadToMe Student Edition and their Engagement

Of the 8 schools that had high student registrations on ReadToMe Student Edition, all but one (7) exhibited a higher proportion of students engaging with the app. Students had spent varied times on the app ranging from 5 to 15 minutes.

The time spent on ReadToMe Student Edition by students from these 7 schools accounts for 87% of the time spent by all students from the 29 schools.

Comparison with schools that have conducted one ReadToMe® in Class

In addition to the top 6 percentile analysis, we also examined the student activity in schools that were at the bottom 6 percentile of the 482 schools. All 29 of the bottom 6 percentile schools had been able to conduct 1 ReadToMe® session in class. Only 2 of these 29 schools had more than 25 students registered on ReadToMe Student Edition. Interestingly, none of the students from these schools had spent any time on ReadToMe Student Edition.

These trends are strongly indicative of the positive impact of ReadToMe® exposure in class on self-learning with ReadToMe Student Edition outside of the classroom.

Key Takeaways

Multiple studies have indicated that teachers’ use of ReadToMe® in class positively influences students’ engagement with ReadToMe Student Edition for self-learning.

This study examines every step of the engagement process with ReadToMe Student Edition and corroborates the finding that exposure to ReadToMe® in class will increase engagement with ReadToMe Student Edition.

This position is further strengthened by an examination of the schools where only one ReadToMe® class has been conducted in the month; students from these schools do not demonstrate any engagement with ReadToMe Student Edition.

Leveraging the school environment will prove a good influencer towards the goal of inspiring students to self-learn and study independently. This will provide a strong impetus to subsequent initiatives that seek to drive engagement with ReadToMe Student Edition over and above the system-supported teacher influence.