Hyderabad: The pandemic has forced a major change in the way schools operate. Some schools have been offering online classes to keep the students engaged. However, there are limitations and challenges in this mode of teaching. One of them is the small screen size of the mobiles and tablets. While the use of a personal computer or a laptop seems to work better, their low penetration is a challenge.
Seeing this problem, city-based Sangrafi, which is into web development, web applications and software products and services, has developed a software application that will allow TVs at home to be used to receive lessons that the schools send, said its Director Sanjay Kumar. Using a TV for online classes solves many problems, he said. First, the small screen of the mobile or tablet is replaced by a larger screen. This allows students to be seated five or six feet away from the screen and therefore is easy on eyes, he said. In normal phone or tablet use, apart from the links form the school, there could be unsolicited links that share the screen space, which detract students, said Kumar adding the software that the company developed sends only the school content.
“TVs are present in most households. Use of TVs for online classes will increase the reach of the lessons,” he explained adding that any Android TV (version 6.0 and above) can be used with the app without the need for any additional hardware. In case of older LCD, LED or CRT Tvs, there will be a need for an Android device (which costs about Rs 2,500) and a HDMI-AV-converter (which costs about Rs 500). Utilising the available resources like television sets, mobile networks, adaptable devices and convertors is the key to maximise the impact of online lessons. The device connects through a Wi-Fi, he said adding that the larger screen helps the parents to keep an eye on the content they are using.
How will this work?
Sangrafi will tie up with schools. The schools will livestream videos to the web server and the content is broadcast through television. The students, after the approval from the schools, will be able to access content. The module will also allow students who have missed the online classes to have access to a recorded session. The teachers can also make presentations or give the content in PDF format, said Kumar adding that there is no need for the students to have smart phones or PCs for students to follow the lessons. This will also allow school to administer time- based online test papers and chat interaction among others.
“We have given the demo to select schools. The schools gave a positive feedback. The cost of accessing the content through TV will average to Rs 300 for a 10-month academic calendar or roughly Re 1 per day. This is excluding the costs of TV, set-top box and internet connection. We are inclined to give the solution to the Government as this will ensure that a large number of students will have access to content,” he said. More than 70 per cent schools in the State are run by State Government or local bodies. About 28 per cent are private unaided schools and a small 2 per cent of them are private aided schools.
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