Published: 24th April 2020
This Gurugram start-up's free digital learning app is helping Kashmiri students continue studies amid lockdown
iDream Education, a Gurgram-based EdTech start-up had already been working with rural government schools, NGOs and students from humble backgrounds for the last five years
Thanks to the rapid penetration of the internet and the use of smartphones in rural India, children are being benefitted with educational content at home. However, due to the sudden lockdown a lot of rural government school students, kids from lesser affluent families, vernacular language learners are missing out on their regular academics owing to a lack of easy-to-consume digital learning content. Here's where iDream's free learning app comes into play — creating educational and life-skill based holistic content in several local languages for numerous state boards and also making it accessible to these students.
iDream Education, a Gurugram-based EdTech start-up had already been working with rural government schools, NGOs and students from humble backgrounds for the last five years to provide them with offline access to vernacular learning content through their smart classes and tablet-based ICT Labs. They launched the free iDream Learning App on March 29 to provide easier solutions for learning amid the COVID-19 lockdown. We spoke to iDream's Co-Founder Puneet Goyal to know more about the app and also their lucrative initiative in collaboration with the Army in Kashmir. Here's what transpired:
The app was launched during the lockdown you said. What is the idea behind setting it up now?
Our vision is to facilitate easy access to enjoyable digital learning to all students in the language they understand best. We have been working with a lot of government schools across the country setting up Smart Classes and tablet-based ICT Labs, and were continuously realising a need for an in-home learning supplement in local languages. And with the lockdown, this became an urgent need especially for our government school students who have limited sources of learning and engagement at home. On March 29, iDream Education launched the iDream Learning App, a free app that offers in-home digital learning to students for all subjects and all classes from 1 to 12. In current times, digital education is the only possible way of supplementing school education for our children in their homes. Therefore, the iDream Learning App has been launched with the aim of ensuring access to free and enjoyable digital learning to all school students irrespective of their language, region and socioeconomic status.
The Army in Kashmir has come up as an institutional user of the iDream Learning App and they are sharing the free app with all students and parents of all the Army Goodwill Schools in Kashmir. Can you explain how they are doing it?
We were working with the Army to digitise the Army Goodwill Schools and set up Smart Classes and Tablet-based Smart ICT Labs. But in between the installation, the pandemic led to the sudden lockdown and all the schools were closed and students got stuck in their homes. At our end, as a part of our product development for the social sector, we were building a learning app for local language students for the last couple of years but had not yet launched it. After lockdown, the Army officials requested us to consider offering a mobile app for all their students of the Army Goodwill Schools to continue learning at homes, and that’s when we speeded up the readiness and launch of the iDream Learning App. We launched the app, created a WhatsApp and document on how to download, install and use the free app, and then the Army Headquarters/their school teams started sharing the app link and the how-to-use document with all the parents and students. At our end, we also appointed some customer care executives to help rural parents and students in case of any queries while installing and using the learning app easily.
What exactly will be done?
Using the app, students of all grades 1 to 12 shall be learning all the subjects at homes, watching video lessons, taking practice questions and tests, reading digital books and doing free experiments. Additionally, the schools and the army leadership shall be getting complete usage reports of their students on a backend dashboard to monitor learning outcomes. This will ensure that the teachers and schools track their student’s learning progress and can integrate it into their school curriculum once the schools open back again.
How will it serve government schools, NGOs and underprivileged students in rural areas? Lots of them do not have access to a phone or a proper internet connection.
Today, the majority of even the rural government school students have at least one person in their family owning an affordable android phone. That phone has become their primary source of work, government schemes, information and entertainment, and the same phone can today become a digital source of education and growth for their children. With the affordable internet connections available, mobile penetration is increasing heavily even in our rural most regions. The iDream Learning app is already being used even in tribal areas and the most backward regions of the country where someone in the family has an android phone.
What are the main features of the app? What will students learn from it sitting in the comfort of their homes?
The app offers enjoyable digital content for all classes from 1 to 12 and in all major subjects including Math, EVS, Science, Social Sciences, Commerce, Computers and English. It has complete learning content in English medium, Hindi medium and other major local languages including Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali aligned as per all major state boards. The great value and differentiator of the iDream Learning App is that it offers educational content of different types including Video Lessons, Practice Questions, project & activity videos, life skills content and a rich digital book library in a single app to the students. The video lessons with animations give them conceptual clarity on all subjects, the questions give them practice and scores to improve performance, project videos help them to make interesting experiments and toys at home from free material, Life skills videos give them learning about health, hygiene, good habits, personal care and social knowledge, and the digital books offer picture books, storybooks and rich reading material to them for holistic growth. Lastly, the app records all the usage data of every child and captures their learning outcomes. With all of these, the iDream Learning App becomes an all-round digital learning resource for the students of all age groups.