This govt school teacher developed three mobile apps for Kannada medium kids to learn Math - years before the pandemic! 

Shivakumar M, a teacher in a government high school in Cheemangala is trying to generate more content in Kannada to make Mathematics easier for his students to learn through videos and other forms
Shivakumar M teaching Math to students using his app (Pictures: Shivakumar M)
Shivakumar M teaching Math to students using his app (Pictures: Shivakumar M)

Today, apps and videos to help school children study easier are a dime a dozen. More so, after the pandemic and the whole online education paradigm became a mainstay. But way, before we'd even heard the word COVID, a government school teacher in rural Karnataka, developed three apps on his own - to help his Kannada medium kids study Mathematics easier and better. 

"There is very little content or videos that can help Kannada students learn different concepts," laments  Shivakumar M, a Maths teacher at the Government High School in Cheemangala close to Bengaluru. And so, from the year 2017, he took the app route to five his kids a learning edge. The 46-year-old teacher explains, "I was always interested in creating applications or web portals to educate children and help them learn Math and Science. Every year, the education department conducts something called the Technology Assisted Learning Programme (TALP), and in 2017, the department taught us how mobile applications can be developed. Within a month, I had developed three different apps."

While the first one was an Interactive Quiz App, the second application was called the SSLC Passing Package App and the third was the Basic Mathematics App. Shivakumar tested and honed these apps it government schools and received a rousing response from students. "One day, I presented these three applications to the DSERT director and he was very happy. We circulated the applications among other government school teachers too. It was unique for students to find content in Kannada," says Shivakumar whose apps are restricted to Android phones, as they are most commonly used over iOS in Indian villages. 

Having bagged a national award for these apps, Shivakumar has also trained a group of teachers from different schools. "These days, the central government has been urging people to use the DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for School Education) app, which has all the content online in multiple languages. Hence, we are working on the content in Kannada and uploading it every week on the DIKSHA web portal so that students across Karnataka can make the most of it. During the lockdown, when the schools were shut, we asked students to refer to this content for different subjects."

Besides all this, Shivakumar also looks for content that can simplify the concepts for kids. For instance, Shivakumar and his team work on YouTube videos posted by the Khan Academy on their channel, with whom Karnataka's DSERT has a collaboration. He says, "We follow their videos and translate the English ones into Kannada. We have translated more than 1064 videos and posted them on our YouTube Channel called Khan Academy Kannada. These videos explain basic concepts of Maths in a very simple way and I feel that our YouTube channel is the best source for students to learn the subject."

Since the number of followers have gradually been increasing for this YouTube Channel, recently the department has installed these videos in the laptops and computers available at government schools. "Around 2000 schools have computers or laptops at their schools. And all the systems have preloaded videos that we have translated. This is one of the best ways to reach out to more students and teachers, I feel," he signs off happily. 

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