In the 21st century, Computer and Internet skills have acquired the relevance of life-skills and become benchmarks of literacy along with the traditional 3 R's-reading, writing and arithmetic.
In India, less than 10 percent of all schools have computers and these are skewed in favor of urban areas (26.41%) leaving the rural areas (6.66%) marginalized. Even when computers are considered for study in schools, the emphasis is largely on acquiring skills to master technology (computers) and there is little deliberation on concepts to be taught at each level.
In today's scenario, there is a proliferation of education related material. There is a lot of sensible content present but there is an overdose of information in many forms. As a result children and teachers are overwhelmed and confused. Although some of the education boards have defined a course for high grades, the content is fairly open for interpretation for the elementary and middle school levels. In the absence of a clearly defined computer science curriculum, computers tend to be relegated as entertainment devices for children.
CM addresses the need for active computer learning through a cutting edge Computer Science core curriculum. It is a collaborative product of IIT Bombay and InOpen Technologies. Computer Masti Learning Solutions constitutes of graded Text Book (or ebook) with support of Teacher Training, Handholding and Assessments.
It is worth mentioning that Computer Masti (CM) has successfully introduced a fun way of learning computers where interaction happens in the most creative way, using a series of books, eight of which are already out and the rest are in progress. Children read the books and meet three new friends - Jyoti, Tejas and Moz. They are three imaginary characters in the books. Tejas and Jyoti who learn computers from their teacher Moz (a mouse) are amazed by the way a computer works. CM adopts a constructivist pedagogical approach, which encourages the characters to keep asking questions in a guided enquiry manner.
Rupesh Kumar Shah, Co-founder and CEO of InOpen say "We want to change the way Computer Science in schools is taught and learnt. The emphasis should be on understanding Computer Science thoughtfully and holistically and not just learning some temporary skills. We believe that in the information age, it is important that we equip the students with the right combination of cognitive (thinking), behavioral (life skills or the 21 century skills) and attitude (self-learning abilities). We believe that there is a need to present content in a way that is simple, yet very engaging. There is a need to emphasize concepts and nurture thinking skills rather than memorization of information. By a process of simplifying and strengthening, we believe that we will create confident and clear thinking next generation learners future citizens."
Computer Masti is instrumental in developing algorithmic thinking and organization skills. This not only lays a foundation for future programming skills, but also develops important life skills. Computer Masti provides a unique opportunity for boosting natural ways of learning. Integration of ICT into the school curriculum is instrumental in developing a culture of thinking, lifelong learning and social responsibility.
Prof Sridhar who is the chief architect of the project says "The objective is to develop an active high quality content which can be universally acceptable and can be deployed across different kinds of infrastructure".
Computer Masti team began the process of writing instruction material for computer education after a study of existing curriculum of various educational boards of India as well as other developing countries such as Pakistan and developed countries such as United States. They found that Indian Education boards define standards to be met for grades 9-12, but standards/details of what should be taught in previous grades were missing.
In other words, InOpen has chosen Computer Science as a vehicle to mould next generation technology users. The response from the schools for Computer Masti has been great. InOpen started implementing Computer Masti from Dec 2009.
InOpen Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is an IIT Bombay based Educational startup. The Company was started in Oct 2009 and has its office in the serene campus of IIT Bombay. It designs, develops world-class educational content and solutions for academia. The solution is designed based on the inputs and extensive validations from academicians in the country and abroad. InOpen offers products and services to government and private schools and meets the requirements of state, national and international boards. InOpen is among the few companies that work full time in-sync with open standard. InOpen envisions itself as developer of Computer learning system by creating quality education standards using Open Standard. InOpen takes pride in their research, the academic team comprising of professors, psychologists and experts in various fields from world-class universities.
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(L-to-R): Prof. S. Sridhar (IIT-Bombay) - Co-Founder; Rupesh Shah - CEO & Co-Founder
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