The leaky roof with dripping rain water does not distract Pushpa, Prashanti, Sivamma, Swapna, Sameena, Rihana and Ashok, all children from a village school that looks like any other in rural India, from what they are doing: paying close attention to their teacher. But what makes the setting different is how they are learning — through i-Slates.
These students from Mohammed Hussain Pally of Ghanpur Mandal in backward Jadcharla of Mahbubnagar District in Andhra Pradesh, wield their stylus like a magic wand, brimming with creativity and secure in their knowledge of the worldwide web. Situated 116 km away from Hyderabad, the village school, tucked away between hillocks and what was once a Maoist bastion, has clearly transformed the lives of young children with new-generation learning solutions.
Pandha Narasimha, a farmer, watches his daughter Sirisha 'etch' his name and take his picture on the webcam with barely concealed joy. “I do not want her to know of my farm debts; let her study and she will bring me joy,” he says with a glint in his eyes.
The i-Slate has been a hit says Pingali Rajeswari, a descendant of Pingali Venkanna (who designed the National Tricolour), who has brought the fruits of technology to this remote village. Rajeswari adds: “After all, India lives in its villages; they (rural folk) only watch urban India grow. Let the talent bloom from rural India too.”
With the i-Slate in their hands, the school children are into web designing and have shunned the television. Says Srinivas, a teacher in the school: “They take the i-Slate home to do their homework. The i-Slate has a software that shows how much time they had spent on a particular subject at home.”
The school has also installed a small solar panel over the roof that charges the i-Slates. Having learnt to conserve energy, the students, Srinivas says, are very eager to find a solution to stop their i-Slates from heating up. Looks like the ‘i’ in i-Slate really stands for intelligence.
All photos by P.V. Sivakumar
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