How might we create innovative teaching and learning methods
for preprimary facilitators and children across India?
How might we enable the teacher to teach creatively, plan their sessions and evaluations, measure impact and enhance their own knowledge?
My work as part of the new product development team helped the product from conception to launch. Some of it included:
Leading the theoretical desktop research, qualitative field research and analysis,
Leading the creation of the curriculum and content structure (validated by a subject matter expert),
Conceptualisation of the entire product and its features along with the team,
Creation of 1200+ preschool activities,
Preproduction and shooting of all activities,
Creating material for and facilitating the teacher training program.
The original brief was to redesign the existing pre-primary kit that consisted of a syllabus, facilitators manual, teaching tools, toys and all other physical things needed to run a pre-primary school. Reframing the brief helped identify and solve other problems that exist in the pre-primary school system — How might we create innovative teaching & learning methods for pre - primary facilitators & children across India?
A research toolkit was prepared to ensure maximum data collection in minimum time. I observed children, spoke to teachers, principals and parents to understand their challenges. I also spent time reading different theories about early childhood care & education and guidelines set by government bodies like the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training).
Click through to read the field visit documentation.
Insights & Opportunities
With the huge amount of data collected from desktop and field research, patterns were identified, insights were gathered and opportunity areas were defined.
Geneo is an android based pre-primary educational platform which assists teachers with all their tasks. It helps the teacher to teach creatively, plan their sessions, collate notes and evaluate a child, measure impact and enhance their own knowledge.
A bank of 1200 + carefully designed, ever evolving, age appropriate activities & tools, for the teachers to help children achieve their developmental milestones.
An adaptive, developmentally appropriate and a positive evaluation system that allows the teacher to document and share their findings about every child with their parents.
A smart planner to help the teachers plan their every day, take attendance, manage class data, organize PTA sessions and much more.
Instead of focusing long periods of time on narrow concepts, students are allowed to revisit a concept at different levels of development of the concept, which spreads across three years. The content is structured on the logic of this spiraling curriculum.
The curriculum design also involved the thoughtful selection of concepts like stranger safety, technology readiness (fine motor development for using technology), art appreciation, empathy, emotion recognition and socio dramatic play.
All concepts are taught through activities. Activities are taught through: Visuals, Language, Bodily movements, Music & rhythm, Personal experiences, Interacting with people, Nature and surroundings.
Every activity consists of:
• Pre requisite knowledge
• Core & supplementary learning outcomes
• List of material and tools
• Extended learning
Some activities make use of specially designed tools like worksheets, stories, rhymes and flashcards. These activities make use of inexpensive and easily available materials. They are a mix of teacher driven & student driven, indoor & outdoor activities.
Teaching: Content Structure
Preschool learning falls under various subjects spread across 3 years, with numerous concepts under each. With more than 1200 activities across the 3 years, the teacher will never run out of ideas.
Organising: Manage Class
The teacher can use the class profile to:
• Take attendance
• Add notes for individual child
• Add pictures for individual child
While browsing through the activity bank the teacher can add activities to the calendar and plan each day. The planner will keep the teachers informed about their planned schedule and materials they need for the day.
The evaluation criteria is based on developmental milestones, with non competitive and positive ratings (unlike A, B, C, D). Based on users, the data is represented in various different views. For example, the head master/mistress can compare all class progress to evaluate teachers. The teacher can compare all their students for a self evaluation. The teacher can even compare an individual students evaluation to communicate to parents.
A students evaluation can be linked to his/her attendance and the teachers planner to show an even more meaningful evaluation.
We piloted the platform with the Lodha World School, Mumbai. The beta testing consisted of:
A week long teacher training session designed to help teachers get familiar with technology and learn to use the different features of the application. We also helped them understand how geneo fits into their existing daily tasks.
Testing the implementation of technology in the school infrastructure.
Integrating the content into the existing school curriculum.
Testing the quality of the content.
Each teacher was given a tablet for a period of two months to use all the features and provide valuable feedback which would help refine the product further.