THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a major initiative that may revolutionise the general education sector, Kerala is all set to introduce multi-media “Digital Collaborative Textbooks” (DCT), the first of its kind in the country, in government schools.
This digital textbook will comprise information contributed by persons around the globe in audio or video formats, besides the scanned soft-copy of normal textbooks.
The state government has decided to launch the DCTs in government schools on an experimental basis from next academic year starting in June, A Shahjahan, Secretary, Department of General Education told.
Students and teachers can access the DCTs with the support of tablets and e-learning centres set up at schools.
IT@School, under the state General Education Department, is planning to formally launch the “digital collaborative textbooks” early next month.
“The digital collaborative textbooks is definitely a significant step in the education sector of the country. We are planning to formally launch the DCTs next month,” Shahjahan said.
A senior official of IT@School said Kerala is the first state to introduce this kind of multi-media textbooks.
“At the normal level, the DCTs are e-books in which ordinary textbooks are scanned and uploaded. But, a plethora of information, contributed by different people including experts in different subjects make them unique,” IT@School Executive Director K P Noufal told PTI.
He said over 3.7 million students and about more than two lakh teachers in the state-run schools are expected to benefit from the the ambitious project.
The department was also ready to share digital textbook model with private schools also which follow state syllabus. But, they should provide hardware and other supporting facilities to get the access, he said.
Detailing the features of the digital book, Noufal said IT@School would add several Hard Spots (relatively tough areas) in the Digital Textbook which would be published in a format open to all.
Anybody in the world can add their own explanations in these Hard Spots in audio or video formats. The audio and video files can be sent to the ‘Academic Centre’ of IT@School, where experts will verify them.
“After scrutiny, if found acceptable, this will be uploaded and attached under the Hard Spot. Hence, there will be thousands of different explanations under each Hard Spot,” he said.
Noufal said eminent personalities, belonging to different fields, can directly contribute to the state’s education sector through this DCTs.
“I think this new concept will enable ISRO Chairman K Radakrishnan to explain about moon or about the celebrated Mars mission to our children through a video or audio clip,” he said.
Even a farmer can explain about a seed or a conventional method in agriculture or a heart surgeon can tell children about heart ailments in connection with a lesson dealing with such topics, he said.
“The identified Hard Spot can become a part of the school textbook,” he said, adding, they had already received over 3,000 contents on different topics to add in the digital text.
The official said not only students but teachers would also benefit from these innovative textbooks.
A total of Rs 50 crore is outlayed for the project, planned to be implemented with the technical support of the state-run Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), he said.
Order had already been placed for buying over 5,000 tablets for the project in the in ital phase. Steps had also begun to set up e-learning centres at the schools.
The tablets, costing an average amount of Rs 2,000 each, would be distributed among high school students while the rest of the students could depend e-learning centres to avail digital collaborative textbooks, he said.
The tablets would be given to government school students free of cost and while going to the next class they should return it to the school authorities, he said.
The official also expressed interest to share the innovative digital text model with other states to achieve complete digitisation in the country’s education sector.