Now, Online Laboratories for Students

For schools across the country, online laboratory or O-labs—a project designed
by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mumbai
and Amrita University— will be a welcome solution as most schools lack basic laboratory
facilities or face teacher shortage. Online Labs is based on the idea that lab experiments
can be taught using the internet, more efficiently without incurring much expense.

“We covered 2,500 students in 27 schools across Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka
and trained around 330 teachers during the pilot phase that was completed last month,”

said Amrita University’s centre for research in advanced technologies for education (CREATE) director Raghu Raman.

The virtual labs are for class IX and X students and will cover physics and chemistry. After CBSE and other boards expressed interest in it, the software is being modified. Schools had one common request – introduce Olabs in a CD format as many schools do not have internet connectivity. “Several principals and teachers expressed apprehension over the misuse of the internet. We have prepared a format that will be transferred into CDs,” said Raman. He said that the second phase of the project will be launched soon for science stream students of classes XI and XII. The subjects covered are Mathematics, Biology and English. “Right now, the medium of instruction is En- English, but we are planning to include Malayalam, Tamil and Marathi.” Online labs is hosted at www.olabs.co.in. Schools can register at the site and the access is free for institutions. The language lab was developed keeping in mind that Keralites often face communication problems. While the career lab is designed to help youngsters who are on the verge of choosing a career, the writing and creative writing labs help students to organize their thoughts. The online format gives instant feedback on performance. Video tutorials provide a “virtual” teacher and teachers can assess and monitor the progress of students too.

Cross-Posted from Times of India | Kochi-Thrissur | Thursday, Sep 27, 2012