March 10, 2011
Workshops on virtual labs continue. After the highly successful introductory workshops at Amritapuri and Coimbatore campuses, these workshops are now being organized not only in other Amrita campuses but also at several other college campuses around the nation.
On February 18, the Amrita School of Engineering at Bengaluru organized a one-day workshop on virtual labs in physics and chemistry. Senior teachers from various engineering, degree and PU colleges in the city and surrounding areas attended.
“Participants appreciated the software features, and found them to be student-friendly,” stated Kannan Surendran, project coordinator. “Many were of the opinion that the virtual labs would serve as a valuable teaching aid for theory classes and for pre-lab sessions.”
Ten days later, on February 28, during National Science Day celebrations at the School of Biotechnology in the Amritapuri campus, virtual labs featured prominently. Dr. Shyam Diwakar, explained the concepts of virtual labs to biotech students.
On March 5, a workshop was organized at the Amritapuri campus, for biotechnology teachers interested in using virtual labs in their curriculum.
Meanwhile, similar workshops got underway at other college campuses also. Colleges identified as nodal centers during the workshops already conducted came forward to help disseminate information about these valuable tools to the student-teacher community.
On February 11, the first of these nodal centers, CMS College, Kottayam organized a workshop for physics and chemistry virtual labs at their campus. Principal of the college, Prof. M. M. Khora noted the many benefits of virtual labs in his inaugural address.
“These labs have the potential to change the educational reality of developing countries marked by scarcity of resources,” he said. “Besides helping teach basic and advanced concepts through remote web enabled experimentation, virtual labs can also enhance the curiosity and potential to innovate for students.”
Just as in all other workshops, participants attended a live demo session followed with an opportunity to themselves test the system during a hands-on session.
“The event was a wonderful fusion of one of India’s oldest colleges embracing state-of-the-art educational e-learning technology,” proudly noted Kannan.
Similar workshops will follow at the Mar Thoma College, Thiruvalla; D.B. Pamba College, Parumala and St. Berchmans College, Changanacherry as they also begin to implement virtual labs in their curriculum of physics and chemistry.
“Nodal centers for virtual labs will help move the MHRD National Mission on Education into the digital age,” added Kannan. “We hope to remove the digital divide and IT illiteracy throughout India.”