Published: 24th September 2020
The teacher is always king: Why Notebook School's augmented storytelling technique stands out
Notebook School doesn’t let anything overpower what the teacher is saying in their videos. But they do supplement it with to-the-point hand-drawn illustrations. Here's why they are different
As a former student of literature, I found myself slightly miffed with how most EdTech platforms focus on Math and Science. So when we came across Notebook School and looked at their equal emphasis on Social Science and English, we had to find out more about the EdTech platform that was launched early last year. Primarily, it combines the power of both video and text to provide content across boards like CBSE, ICSE and also Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal State Boards. With a repository of over 10,000 videos, we are told that they have had over 1.3 million users till date. And why are these students tuning into Notebook School so much? What is different about them? We find out.
"Yes, there are many EdTEch platforms out there but, together, they have reached about one per cent of the target population and India has over 28 crore children!" exclaims Founder and CEO of Notebook School Achin Bhattacharyya while answering our question about the number of EdTEch platforms out there. He is happy to note that their platform has been able to carve a space for itself. Their videos have a teacher delivering the lesson with some points graphically illustrated in the background. They employ what is called 'augmented storytelling', for which, they have filed a patent and have a research paper too. "We were clear that we want to educate, not entertain children," he says. Hence, they have simple, hand-drawn illustrations which doesn't overpower or take away from the lesson in any way. And this is what augmented storytelling is all about.
Achin Bhattacharyya | (Pic: Notebook School)
With a strong belief in the statement, "Language cannot stand in the way of conceptual clarity", they offer bilingual content. Imagine a short video, in which the teacher explains Shakespeare's Macbeth in Hindi first and then goes on to English with bits of Hindi. With the National Education Policy's stress on vernacular languages, they thought this was crucial for children.
Notebook School has over 500 freelancing teachers who deliver these pre-recorded videos. "Education came first and then technology. Not the other way around. Hence, teachers have a wealth of experience and we want to put it to good use," says Bhattacharyya. The process they follow is to develop the first draft of the videos and send it to teachers for a review. And they take it from there.
Class peek | (Pic: Notebook School)
The videos themselves are six to eight minutes long, not more, and are accompanied by notes and question and answers set. This way, they have students from classes I to XII covered. "All subjects, all topics," emphasises Bhattacharyya. Over all this, they even conducted Zero Hour, an inter-school public speaking event, wherein, students from the Middle East, Nepal and Africa also participated. We also think their Together for Education webinar series is worth a watch. Circling back to the point of emphasising on subjects like Social Science and English as well, the CEO says, "We very strongly believe that all subjects are equally important," he states.
The future is that they want to make bilingual content more and more exciting for students. And continue to make videos for more and more state boards.
For more on them, check out notebook.school