Hyderabad’s government school teachers keep up with the times

From learning video editing to creating slide shows and presentations, Government school teachers from Hyderabad have got a taste of their own medicine

For someone whose computer knowledge was limited to sending emails, 57-year-old Yarabarla Sreedhar grappled with a strange new reality. At the onset of pandemic, the Physical Science Government school teacher at Himayathnagar, Hyderabad, had to pick up digital skills and record lessons for Class X students.

Sreedhar admits he was a ‘reluctant student’ and resisted learning as he is set to retire from service in June 2021. However, with some tutoring from PDL Ganapati Sarma (another Government teacher), he challenged himself to learn the new medium. A week of training prepared the teacher with 32 years of experience for video lessons; now he not only conducts weekly online classes but also shoots video lessons for a digital library, launched by the District Education Office (DEO) in Hyderabad.

He is not alone. Coping with the digital mode of teaching has been a lesson of a lifetime for teachers, more so for Government school teachers and students who were hit hard due to a lack of resources. Although most students do not have smartphones and laptops, teachers have been putting in efforts to connect with them digitally. Virtual classroom

  • “We didn’t think the pandemic will continue for so many months,” says Swaraj Kumar, in-charge of the digital library project. The idea was conceptualised by Collector Sweta Mohanty and its aim was to take lessons to the students wherever they were. WhatsApp groups created for Government school students was the first step to provide digital education. “Earlier 30% students used to attend these classes but when people started getting back to their jobs after the lockdown, there was only 7 to 10% attendance and most students were from poor background without any gadgets,” adds Kumar.
  • The website: www.deohyderabad.
  • telangana.gov.in/ has video lessons for class IX and X students. Every chapter has been divided into small topics and has eight to 10 video lessons.
  • Until now eight chapters have been completed and 800-900 videos uploaded. Private school students can also login by filling details.

Anuradha Potluri’s day begins at 5 am. By 5.45 am, the English teacher at the Government High School in Yousufguda receives her first ‘good morning ma’am’ message on her virtual classroom. Most of her students come from economically-backward sections and are first generation learners. Seeing their interest in learning, she started taking classes.

Anuradha Potluri of Yousufguda Government High School holds Zoom classes at 6.am to help students use their parents’ phone before they leave for work  

“I begin classes at 6 am as their parents leave for work by 9 am after which the phone would not be available for the students,” she says. Her classes began with six students in July and now 28 students have signed up for her 6 am class.

Going digital

Accustomed to the classroom setting, teachers now have a new platform: a one-of-its-kind digital library launched in Telangana for Class IX and Class X students. Gowri Shankar, a teacher selected for the project, has a digital experience of 15 years.

His home was converted into a studio when the project took off in June. “I am well equipped with digital devices, so making visual presentations and animated lessons was not a tough task,” says the Physical Science teacher. Around 10-15 teachers from Mathematics, Physical Science, Biological Science and Telugu bring out a 15-minute video lesson in English, Telugu and Urdu.

The videos work even with poor network connections. Unlike long sessions, the crisp and easy-to-understand matter is structured like a template, prepared by a team of experts to make matters simpler for students.

Ganapari Sharma shoots video lesson for a digital library  

Often-perceived to be the toughest subject, Ganapati Sarma, a teacher with Government High School, Mudfort in Secunderabad, invested in a digital writing pad to explain Math concepts. He provides videos to the library and also takes online classes for his students in the afternoon so that they can also watch the T-Sat digital lessons (previously Mana TV) on television. “Teaching Mathematics online is challenging as it is abstract compared to other subjects,” he points out. Ganapati, who uses GeoGebra software to make the concepts interactive, motivates other teachers with his interest in learning new skills.

B Srinivas Rao explains conductivity of electricity through a video lesson 

Elsewhere at Borabonda, B Sreenivasa Rao explains conductivity of electricity through a video. He connects a bulb to graphite rods immersed in acid to show how electricity is conducted. “When the bulb is inserted in alcohol and glucose, the bulb doesn’t glow and the current is not carried by the solution,” he is seen explaining.

Rao installed KineMaster app on his phone and learnt its usage by watching YouTube videos. “It is entirely a new learning experience for all, he says, adding “We struggled initially but it is a challenge and an opportunity to make us better.”

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