December 29, 2015
Standards IX and XII students in urban and rural schools now no longer need to physically visit the laboratory in their schools to perform science experiments. As is the case with everything else, science experiments have also gone virtual, thanks to online laboratories.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, launched a unique eLearning programme called OLabs (online labs), which enables high-school students to perform virtual science-lab experiments online.
Amrita CREATE (an educational technology research initiative of Amrita University) joined hands with CDAC to launch this initiative. OLabs has been officially endorsed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) as a teaching aid for all its schools. OLabs will also be available in Hindi, Malayalam and Marathi and offered in both urban and rural schools.
Online Labs is based on the idea that lab experiments can be taught using the Internet more efficiently and less expensively. The labs can also be made available to students with no access to physical labs or where equipment is not available owing to it being scarce or expensive. Online Labs’ technology has an offline tablet-based component, which ultimately allows teachers to take the labs into remote villages where Internet connectivity may not be available.
Inaugurating a workshop for school teachers in Tamil Nadu, Gnana Gowri, Chief Education Officer, Government of Tamil Nadu, said: “OLabs is a great educational initiative from Amrita University. Compared to other educational software such as SmartClasses and websites developed by the Government as well as private companies, Online Labs stands out for its creativity and originality.”
According to P. Venkat Rangan, Vice-Chancellor of Amrita University, “Olabs will help students better understand complex science concepts and build a scientific temper.”