Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Innovation in Education - Lab in Box, India

Once in a while, one comes across an innovation that one truly wants to write about. Today, i also had the added pleasure of understanding the innovation from the innovator himself - Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya.

Like all developing countries, India has familiar problems in the education sector, particularly the rural education sector:
1. Poor Content.
2. Poor Infrastructure (including, and especially, power)
3. High Dropout ratio
4. Connectivity

If you have seen Entangled,(or if you have read Rapunzel), you know that Rapunzel spent her whole life in a tower - high up. No friends, no meeting people, no interaction with the rest of the world. EXCEPT.. that one tiny window, which lets in air and light.. and .. the promise of the lanterns.

Imagine living a life in a tower like that - WITHOUT THE WINDOW. You have little idea of what children outside your tower know. Even fewer chances to do "exploratory learning" . Remote, rural India is a little like that. Children rarely know how other children live, think, learn.

So what exactly is Lab in Box?

Its a shipping container, hermetically sealed, which draws its own power , is connected, and is fitted with computers. These computers are the little lanterns (metaphorically speaking, of course)

Put simply, its an 8 * 40 ft. classroom that can be carried on the chassis of a truck, in a ship, on a train, airlifted by a helicopter.. basically, any which way, can be placed anywhere, and provides instant classroom facilities. OR a computer lab. Whichever way you like it. Multiple containers can be put together to create a portable school anywhere.

WHICH means, that suddenly, its possible to open a window absolutely anywhere, for all children, but most of all , for children in remote areas. If Mohamed cannot come to the mountain, the mountain will be taken to Mohamed. If the children cannot come to metros where there is good infrastructure, clean, all weather classrooms and an opportunity to interact with other children, we will take the well equipped classroom to them.

If you have never been to remote, rural India.. it will be difficult to understand the importance of something as simple as a classroom. But if you have been to any remote area anywhere, and seen the infrastructure there.. then you will know what we are talking about. :-)

The applications of something as simple and powerful as this, are too many to be listed here.. so lets do it differently.. what are the various applications that you can think of, of this product?


~G said...

Brilliant!! Cannot stream the video from work. will watch it from home and comment again. But something like this for rural education will be a blessing!

BK Chowla, said...

Link doesnt seem to work.

Id it is said...

Can't open it..

How do we know said...

Hey G: Thanks. Yes, it is.

Chowla sir and Id it is: pls try again. it worked fine for me every time i checked.. am not sure where the issue is.. thanks.