Six teachers from Maharashtra Zilla Parishad schools win National ICT awards

The teachers in rural and tribal areas have used Information and Communication Technology or ICT to enhance the quality of classroom learning

A talking robot to answer students’ queries, mobile games to teach spellings and calculations, a KBC-style quiz contest to teach students history, an interactive website, virtual reality enabled classrooms and more, are some of the innovations for which six teachers from Zilla Parishad schools in Maharashtra have been awarded the National ICT Awards.

The awards were announced by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development.

The teachers who have been employed with government schools in rural and tribal areas have been successful in using Information and Communication Technology or ICT to enhance the quality of learning and in turn raise student enrolment and check dropouts at ZP schools.

The teachers who have been honoured are Anand Nemwad (Palghar district), Umesh Khose (Osmanabad district), Prakash Chavan (Nashik), Shafi Aziz Shaikh (Yevatmal) and two teachers from Pune district – Nagnath Vibhute and Mrunjal Ganjale.

This is not the first laurel for Vibhute who has been awarded the Microsoft Innovative Educator and UNESCO’S Teach SDG Ambassador in the past. What started off as a modest learning journey for the teacher, who started by writing his blog and making small videos based on curriculum, has now been applauded by everyone. However, when lack of smartphones made it impossible for the students at his small school in Jambhuldara Bhamb village in rural Pune to access these videos, he began asking corporates to donate smartphones and tablets for students.

The teacher who has even reached out to foreign shores, connecting his ZP students to school classrooms in Australia and the rest of Europe has recently been feted for a new innovation — a talking robot. “I got a mannequin and embedded it with an Alexa app. So the kids talk to the mannequin thinking it is answering their questions, it is a fun and low-cost method of engaging the entire classroom,” he said.

Each of these six awardees have brought in exceptional innovations to the classroom.

Osmanabad teacher Umesh Khose started with a blog in 2010. In 11 years, he has developed a full-fledged website with lakhs of unique visitors, over 70 mobile-based games and apps, including at least 40 offline apps, which can be used by students even in the absence of stable Internet connections.

“I think teaching has to evolve with the times, these days kids need to be engaged. Just because kids are poor or from rural areas doesn’t mean they are not up to par to use this technology. Many of these children suggest ideas to us on what we can make next, they really enjoy these things. Of all my work, I think mobile games and quizzes are the most popular way to learn for students,” he said.

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