How a portable media player, pico projector, and speakers can be used to send great teachers to classrooms in impoverished areas with no electricity.
A Great Use of Camcorders
Recently, I learned about an innovative group of people using camcorders for education in Northern India. The people at a non-government organization called The Digital Study Hall, shoot video of the most gifted and effective teachers in their state of Uttar Pradesh. They use as inexpensive DV camcorders as they can find that have mic inputs, so they can attach a wireless mic to record the teachers. The Digital Study Hall staff then lightly edits the footage and burns it to DVDs to make fast, cheap yet excellent-quality video lessons. These lessons are quite valuable when used in other schools around the state. Some schools are very rural and the local teachers' abilities are not as developed. The Digital Study Hall staff provides these schools with a TV set and a DVD player, so that the local teachers can deliver the video lessons, one per day. After using these videos, not only do the students' grades improve, but the local teachers also learn from their virtual mentors, the video teachers.
This is an incredibly valuable use of video. The costs are low, and the users are lay people; they are not trained as video producers, but the impact is huge. The Digital Study Hall is a fantastic example of ICT4D: Information and Communications Technologies for Development. I was so excited about this project that I went to Lucknow to see The Digital Study Hall up close. They really didn't need any advice on making video of sufficient quality for their purposes. I was impressed with their pragmatic video production values. I was, however, able to help on the video playback side of the equation, via the non-profit charity One Media Player per Teacher.
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