Workshop on Online Labs at Amrita University’s Ettimadai Campus
“Through Online Labs, one can perform practical experiments without even going to the real lab. This is really useful and performing the experiments on tablet was really superb,” stated Imran Basha. N, class 11, Govt Higher Secondary School, Kuniyamuthur, after attending the Online Labs workshop held at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetam, Ettimadai Campus on 11 January 2013.
The workshop was part of the second edition of the Amrita International Conference on ‘Women in Computing’ organized on the campus from January 9-11, 2013. Around 300 school children from 18 schools located in Coimbatore and Palakkad areas participated in the workshop and had a unique opportunity to experience Online Labs on a tablet.
The workshop was organized and managed by the staff of CREATE (Center for Research in Advanced Technologies for Education) and some student volunteers at Amrita University.
CREATE is an educational initiative pioneered by Amrita University, that focuses on providing effective, low-cost educational technologies to improve the quality of education in both school and higher education.
Online Labs is one of the research projects of CREATE @ Amrita in partnership with CDAC, Mumbai under a research grant from Department of IT, India. The lab provides online practical experiments in Physical and Chemical sciences for the school students with content aligned to the NCERT/CBSE curriculum.
Since the majority of students participated in the workshop came from rural Government and tribal schools, operating a tablet was a first time experience for most of them and they showed a keen interest on exploring the contents of Online Labs with the tablet. The students were highly enthusiastic as they went through the experiments such as ‘Laws of Reflection of Sound’ and ‘Determination of Density of Solid’ on their own for the first time using touch based technology.
The whole program educated the students from rural areas how to make use of touch technology and made them aware of the importance of accessing internet for educational purposes. At the end of the session, the students filled out a brief survey that captured their feedback regarding the hands on experience on a tablet, their opinions of the effectiveness of Online Labs and general comments.
“Online Labs is very useful for studies. I was very much interested in knowing the experiments in Online Labs. I really liked it on the tablet”
~M. Sabeetha, class 11, G.H.S.S, Kulathupalayam
“The tablet is very useful as can be held within the hands. It is very easy and helpful in knowing many things. The experiments in Online Labs were excellent”
~V. Vanitha, class 9, G.H.S, Devarayapuram
The enthusiasm in the response received from the students clearly revealed the fact that a student understanding of a subject can be improved by simulated experiments and learning can be more of fun by using a touch screen simulation.