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How Technology is Transforming Education in India

In India's educational system, the use of technology to improve overall education has steadily increased. A brand-new approach to learning, understanding, and assimilation of information has been created through hybrid learning.

Hybrid learning combines "traditional" schooling with the use of contemporary advances in technology. It has also paved the way for future transformation in the education system.

With affordable smartphones, laptops, and the internet, education is becoming less expensive. Because of this, people in tier 2 and tier 3 cities are now able to receive a high-quality education.  Let’s delve deeper into the specific ways that technology is transforming education in India.

Increased accessibility

Accessibility to simple and efficient learning is the most crucial aspect of education. Today learning is not restricted to the four walls of the classroom. Technology has made it possible for education to spread to every region in the country.

Every school in the nation is encouraging staff members to use technology effectively and expose students to fresh learning opportunities. You can now access information with only a click and are no longer limited to books.

For regions that are considered aspirational and lack the necessary infrastructure to build educational intuitions, technology has offered cost-effective solutions. With the help of the internet and smart devices, students are now exposed to information that was previously considered inaccessible.

Availability of e-learning materials

In the past, instructors and students were the main sources of information. The library or simply gathering books from different places were the sole options for extra study. Students also found it difficult to access good source material due to the paucity of good and accessible libraries.

The availability of study materials on the internet has changed the whole aspect of accessing information. Students can access study materials online, anytime, anywhere while being seated in one place. 

Access to knowledge has been made really simple, and online materials also give students a wide range of options to pick from. Students who are studying online with e-learning study materials are motivated to learn by themselves.

Personalization of education 

It's a well-known fact that students’ learning styles and aptitudes vary widely. While some children might benefit from extra teaching, others may not. Some students thrive on visual learning, while others require auditory components. While some students may comprehend concepts virtually, others may not.  Each learner has a unique learning style. As a result, one size of teaching does not fit all.  It is critical to focus on each student individually to ensure their optimal learning. Such options for learning styles weren't available in the past.

However, modern technology is transforming the educational system by giving students access to personalized instruction. India has become a leader in personalized learning as more start-ups have emerged focusing on technology for education.

Students can learn according to their capacities by using different learning styles, such as visual, voice, physical, and social. Teachers can use these learning preferences to offer each student unique coaching in a variety of ways.

One such voice technology that is helping students master English communcuation skills at their own pace is Tara English Language Lab (TELL). TELL uses advanced AI technology to impart world class Englih communication skills to its students.

Efficiency in assessment 

It is crucial to evaluate what students have learned because assessment tells us whether students have actually learned what they have been taught. There are two types of evaluation: summative assessment and formative assessment.

A teacher's job is not done once they have taught their students. They still have to monitor their students’ progress. The ability to track progress has simplified this aspect of education.

Teachers can evaluate students' performance in real-time using online teaching applications and classroom management apps.

Flexibility in learning

Flexibility is essential for productivity in every educational institution. Due to the availability of resources with the help of technology, students do not experience tension while working on projects.

Students can study any course from the convenience of their homes, so there is no need to spend the entire day in a classroom. The flexibility offers students to study at their own speed and communicate with the teachers whenever they want.

Many state governments are encouraging flexible learning among students, especially students from underprivileged backgrounds. It gives them a space to complete their education in their own time, and it is all made possible with the use of technology.

Extending education beyond the classroom

Numerous learning opportunities have been made possible by having access to knowledge from anywhere. The idea of online classes was born, as a result, making distance learning and home learning far more successful.

Anyone can enroll in online courses, including students and working professionals, and they vary from basic to professional degree courses. In India, the market for online education is expanding at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 19%.

Final thoughts

With the help of technology, learning can now be more creative, and students can be more engaged. A push toward basic and technical literacy is being enabled via technology.

India has the largest youth population in the world, and making perfect use of their potential will enable India to grow at accelerated rates. For that to happen, education is crucial, and technology definitely plays a major role in it.

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The best practices for visual-based learning in classrooms

Visual-based learning is proven to be one of the most effective teaching strategies in the classroom. It helps students to quickly and efficiently conceptualize complex subject matter. While it is an innovative method, teachers must correctly apply the strategies to use it in order  to bring out the best outcomes in students.  

The benefits of using visual-based learning in the classroom are many. Let's look at some of is highest-yielding results:

1) Simplifies complex subject topics

With visual media, teachers have the opportunity to enable students to easily understand complex subject matter without students having to conceptualise or visualise  the concepts or theories  by themselves. The biggest advantage of visual media of course is that it attracts and holds students' attention effectively, which is a big bonus for teachers when it comes to managing student engagement.

2) Holds attention spans of students

Students of today are typically more engaged with screens. They like to view content on screen; therefore teachers can use visual media to their advantage within reason.  

3) Activates memory: If they see it, they will remember it

Emotions are stimulated when we view visuals. Emotions, in turn, activate memory. Visual learning therefore helps to activate memory that enables students to remember what they have learned for a longer time. Visuals are therefore an excellent way for teachers to teach complex topics that students find difficult to recall. 

4) Brings in flexibility for teachers

Teachers have the privilege of being flexible while creating visuals for their students. Teachers can analyse the students' learning capacity and bring in customized visual resources which support the unique learning capacities of their students. 

5) Creates engaged and happy learners 

Engaged learners = happy learners. Happy learners = effective learners. Only when students are interested in the learning process will they enjoy it and only when they enjoy learning will they understand what is being taught more efficiently. This also serves to simplify the work of teachers. 

These benefits can only result if teachers know how to use and apply visual-based learning methods fittingly. For this, teachers need to be trained well to know how to use their resources to better connect with their students. Teachers will learn the various ways to implement these visual-teaching strategies and much more if they are enrolled in a holistic teacher training program.

Here are some of the best practices for implementing visual-based learning in the classroom:

1. Be creative

Thinking outside the box can break the traditional approach of teaching and help create innovative and effective ideas that can be used in the classroom. Being creative in the classroom with visual aids can be done by trying out different types of visual media like pictures, videos or even physical resources depending on the subject.

2. Keeping things simple 

While it is important to be creative with the visuals presented in the classroom, one thing to remember is that the visuals should make the topics easier to understand. It will be of no use if the visuals are complicated and students are not able to understand them. Complexity in visuals is not always necessary or needed.

3. Mix physical materials and digital media

Visuals can be of both types: 1) physical materials and resources and 2) digital media. Physical materials can be used as hands-on activities by students to acquire practical knowledge, while digital media can be used to see the theory or concept in graphical or visual form. Teachers can use a mix of both according to the subject they are teaching.
For example: 1) Use physical shapes to make complex geometrical shapes understandable. 2) Visual media can be used to make mathematical theories a lot easier to understand.

4. Encourage active participation from students

Only displaying visuals sometimes might not be enough to render the technique effective. Encouraging student participation, asking open-ended questions, and inviting students to respond, discuss, and deliberate will go a long way to make visual learning very effective.

Also read: Top 7 Innovative Teaching Methods Any School Can Incorporate

Visual-based learning can be a game changer for teachers and students in any classroom. Try using the strategies mentioned above to get the desired results out of your students. Happy teaching!

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Are you building a success culture at your school?

It is never an easy task to achieve successful outcomes in a school. It takes time and patience to know what works and doesn't work for an educational institution. But what if we tell you there is a bypass, a shortcut to quickly achieve success in a school?

First, a mythbuster. A successful school is built not just by the principal and management but by the overall, combined efforts of the entire school body. This includes the leadership team, teaching staff, non-teaching staff, AND the students. Nothing can stop the school when the entire school body comes together to create SUCCESS CULTURE!

What does success culture look like for a school?

A positive approach throughout the institution is the hallmark of  success culture. Each and every staff member - especially the teaching staff - share the same desire and passion as the school management to inspire and drive positive change in students. The staff possesses a positive attitude towards growth and passes this on to the students.

For all of the above to happen, the school management first needs to outline its vision and mission, which in turn need to be passed on to the rest of the staff at the institution. 

Why is success culture important? Here are the top reasons why:

1) Fosters a genuine desire for accomplishment in both teachers and students

When teachers know the vision of the school management, they work to reflect that in the classroom as well. The students are the ones who will benefit most from this. This ultimately leads to the school achieving overall fruitful academic results.

2) Enhances the efficacy of teachers

Self-efficacy is a pivotal factor leading to the success of one's actions. Only when we believe in our capabilities, can we push our capacities as well. When given the belief that they can be successful and feel involved in the school's vision, teachers can work magic with their students. 

3) Encourages collegiality between teachers, thus bringing in a shared sense of responsibility which enhances teamwork

Teamwork is involved when the entire team is working towards a common goal. And as they say, teamwork makes the dream work. Teachers become supportive of each other and try to bring the best out of their students… together.

4) Better staff retention for the school 

When the institution is able to put its vision into action with the right and timely plan of action, success is guaranteed. And the staff working together behind the success will grow along and will have a sense of belonging at the institution. Therefore they would want to continue to be a part of the succes of the institution. 

So, how to take the first step?

Every institution can be successful if exposed to proven strategies used by industry experts to transform a school. Identifying and implementing the best practices can be done in a jiffy with expert help. Our StarTeacher program is designed for school leaders and teachers who share the vision to implement a successful culture in their institution. With over 250+ institutions writing their success stories after implementing the StarTeacher program, we would be delighted to have your school on our list of successfully transformed schools.

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Top 7 Innovative Teaching Methods Any School Can Incorporate

Teaching 21st-century students needs innovative methods proven to work effectively with today’s tech-smart students. Here are seven teaching methods used across the globe that bring in desired academic results in a quicker time when compared to traditional teaching methods. The caveat? They need to be understood and implemented correctly.

This list is beneficial for educators as a starting point to understand what are the top innovative teaching methods being used across the world. By experimenting with different teaching methods, teachers can personalize learning for their students. Let us look at these 7 teaching methods that can be a game changer for any school. 

1) Flipped Classroom 

A modern pedagogy strategy that has gained popularity among educators worldwide, a flipped classroom is a blended learning strategy that directs the students to be self-dependent learners at home and test what they have learned in the classroom with live problem-solving sessions.


a) Students become independent learners

b) Students are better engaged in the classroom

c) Teachers can complete syllabus without being rushed

2) Cooperative Learning

“Teamwork makes the dream work.” A cooperative teaching method is where the teacher groups students and encourages collaborative learning within the groups. Here, the classroom is divided into groups of 3-6 members, where each student has a designated responsibility. Members of the group need to fulfill their respective duties to achieve the objective given to the group. The central ideology of this model is that when students work in groups, peer influence helps to improve attention, involvement, and knowledge acquisition.


a) Develops social interaction and critical life skills

b) Develops higher-level thinking skills

c) Promotes higher engagement and class attendance

d) Fosters interpersonal relationships

3) Problem-Based Learning 

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a method where open-ended problems take centre stage for students to solve. This method enables students to think continuously with motivation and determination until the problem is solved. The student journey for solving the problem requires them to 1) Examine the problem, 2) Explore resources where they can find the solution, 3) Evaluate the ways to solve the problem, 4) Solve the problem, and 5) Report on their findings.


a) Develops critical thinking and decision-making skills

b) Fosters problem-solving abilities

c) Engages students at higher levels

4) Design Thinking

Design thinking is the process of finding meaningful ideas to solve a particular real-world problem that exists in a community or an organisation. It uses a creative, systematic approach to teach problem-solving. When induced into education, it enables students to be innovative and create solutions for others. Here, knowledge is gained only through exploration.


a) Encourages creative thinking

b) Expands the students’ knowledge on a wide range of topics

c) Actively promotes being able to foresee new problems and challenges

5) Competency-Based Learning

Competency-based learning is a method where students progress through learning objectives at their own pace. The main characteristic of this model is that only when a student has mastered a topic are they allowed to continue to the next.


a) Brings in greater flexibility in learning (and achieving)

b) Establishes purpose-driven teaching and learning

c) Uses personalised teaching-learning processes

6) Student-centred approach

The student-centred approach is all about making learning matter to the students. Here students are the ones who plan, implement and evaluate. They get to decide what they learn and how they learn it. The main motive behind this approach is to build leaders within students.


a) Builds leadership within students 

b) Customised learning for students 

c) An approach that is flexible and adaptable 

7) Visual-Based Learning

Visuals help anyone to remember things for a longer period. In school, visual learning can help teachers light up dull subjects that may seem less interesting for students. This teaching method will help keep the students engaged in learning the subjects better with better knowledge retention.

Examples of visual-based learning are the incorporation of mind maps, maps, charts, diagrams, lists, study cards or flashcards as well as the use of audiovisual aids. 


a) Learning is simplified 

b) Longer knowledge retention for students 

c) Learning becomes fun 

Skilled Teachers = Better Implementation

No matter how effective these innovative teaching methods are, teachers first need to be trained well in order to be able to implement them well. Teachers need to be equipped with the proper knowledge and implementation skills.

Enroll your teachers in StarTeacher - a holistic teacher training program that brings proven international teaching methodologies and innovative techniques to your school. Find out how your teachers and school can benefit.

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The Importance of Teacher Training Programs

Our education system, which is one of the oldest in the world, has recently come under the radar about its effectiveness to cater to the 21st century student. The doubts stem from the question: Is our education system able to provide all that today’s students need to excel in academics and ultimately, in their career? Education leaders across the country have expressed their share of opinions regarding the reformation of our education system. From changing the syllabus structure to changing the study environment, different opinions about reform have arisen. And, while there are certainly many opinions being expressed,  the one major unanimous concern being expressed by all experts is lack of adequate teacher training! Every professional in this world needs upskilling because every profession changes or undergoes modifications for the betterment of itself. So why aren’t teachers trained regularly?  The one profession that shows the path to other professions should receive priority when it comes to training and upskilling, isn’t it?

What is a teacher training program? 

Let’s first outline what a teacher training program is. A teacher training program is a program that equips teachers with techniques and modern pedagogy strategies that helps them to better connect with, manage, and teach to their students in a manner which ensures that all students are learning and benefitting. Teacher training programs, when conducted in the right manner and with the right content, have the power to train teachers to such an extent that they go on to positively impact students not just in academics but also outside of it. After the long gap with remote schooling owing to covid restrictions, both students and teachers are facing the consequences of learning loss and teaching loss, respectively. Students have almost completely lost their literacy and numeracy skills and teachers are struggling to get back to their offline routine of teaching. This needs to be sorted early, as it can have consequences both in the short term and long term. The only ones who can help students recover from learning loss are teachers. So training teachers, especially now, is very critical for our education system. Teacher training programs are of different types and forms: There are short term, medium term and long term programs which are conducted online or offline. There is also a holistic teacher training program like StarTeacher which is a combination of the online and offline modes. 

Why is teacher training necessary?

Training teachers is necessary in the 21st century mainly because of the fact that current generation students don't comprehend traditional teaching methods. We cannot teach students of today with methods of yesterday. Students in the 21st century need personalisation in education. The Indian education system has been following the habit of seeing the classroom as a whole and not as individual students, which is unfair to the majority of students. Each student is unique in myriad ways including in the way they think, analyse, understand and go about academics. It is therefore important for our existing system to bring in this change. Training teachers to know how to view their students as unique individuals with different learning styles is the game changer. Once teachers understand this and know how to cater to the various learning styles, they will positively impact hundreds and thousands of students.

Teacher training is also more critical now than ever because teachers today are struggling with identifying and filling the learning gaps in students to bring them up to grade level. Plus, they need to complete the current year’s syllabus as well. If there were ever a mammoth task, it is this. Without the right knowledge, tools, and skills, teachers cannot be reasonably expected to navigate these challenges on their own.

Some of the major benefits of teacher training programs:

1)  Professional growth 

When teachers attend training programs, it gives them the opportunity for continuous professional development - to learn new ways, methods, strategies, skills and tools. When teachers get upskilled they automatically feel confident, happy and motivated to achieve greater things with their students. Confident and happy teachers mean confident and happy students!

2) Better Student Management

As a teacher it is important to know, understand and analyse one’s students effectively. Only then can they know how to teach their students. Teaching 12-year olds cannot and should not be the same as teaching 5-year olds, isn’t it? Teacher training programs help teachers to better understand and therefore, better manage their students.

3) Equips them with modern pedagogy strategies

Through a holistic teacher training program teachers, especially those who have been teaching for many years and therefore not likely to be aware of updated practices and methodologies, learn new methods and techniques which they can implement in the classroom to better educate their students. Not all traditional teaching methods are ineffective. At the same, not all of them are relevant anymore.

4) Builds better relationships with parents 

In every school, one of the important predictors of happiness and success is the relationships teachers have with parents.  It is important for teaches to cultivate and maintain positive relationships with the parents of the students. A teacher is the one who converses with parents the most during  parent-teachers meetings, drop-off and pick-up etc. Better relationship with parents = better satisfaction quotient for the school.

5) Impacts thousands of students indirectly 

A teacher training program not just impacts teachers but also students. A single teacher who is upskilled can go on to impact thousands of students. Teachers have a big role to play in nation building because students are the citizens of tomorrow. Imagine then, the impact that can be created by upskilled teachers. 

The conclusion

Our education system needs to go from “Is teacher training important?” to “Our teachers MUST be trained regularly!", only then can any other change we bring into our education system really impact students positively. 

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Tips to Improve Student Engagement in the Classroom

“The true strength in our classroom lies in collaboration between learners and not in the knowledge of one expert” - Unknown. 

An engaging classroom helps students learn things more efficiently. A student who is engaged typically has the best learning outcomes. It is therefore very important for teachers to make their classroom as engaging as possible. An engaging classroom has several important benefits such as: 

  1. It increases students’ interest in learning

  2. It motivates students to be communicative which, in turn, develops communication and collaboration skills

  3. It increases competency across skills and subjects

So, how can teachers make the classroom engaging for all students? Let's look at a few ways to achieve maximum student engagement in the classroom.

1) Conduct Group Activities

Group activities are a great way to achieve collaborative learning among your students. When students are put into groups, learning becomes fun and  in better productivity.

Conducting group activities is considered to be a very effective method to motivate students, encourage active learning, and improve communication as well as decision-making skills. Group activities not only enhance the communication skills of students but also encourage the students’ to listen more carefully. Some examples of group activities that could be conducted in the classroom are group discussions, information-exchange activities, group presentations, role plays, debates, etc.

2) Ask Open-Ended Questions

An open-ended question is one that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no”. Closed-ended questions, naturally, are those questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no” such as, “Do you like math?”, “Have you done your homework?” etc. Open-ended questions are a simple yet very powerful way to transform the way students think and communicate.  They encourage students to think, analyse, use language and to express themselves by giving longer answers that help build a wider range of vocabulary. Open-ended questioning has various benefits for students such as: 

a) Encourages students to think more and better 

b) Supports students in coming up with their own ideas and explanations 

c) Develops vocabulary 

d) Develops the habit of thinking of something new or different

e) Improves problem-solving skills.

Teachers should avoid asking questions that have just a single word answer. Also, ask students to explain their answers, which makes the student extend his or her level of thinking and understanding.

3) Gamify Learning

Games and activities are a great way to keep students engaged in the classroom. Since games have that fun element, students stay hooked to them and naturally  participate in the learning process with more interest. Because games have a competitive element to them, learning will be more motivating and bring better engagement. They also are a great way to enhance problem solving, thinking and collaborative skills among students. Teachers can look to gamify certain topics in their subjects regularly which is accomplished best with activities such asstories, competitions, quizzes, puzzles etc.

4) Understand Your Students’ Interests

Understanding the individual you are teaching is very important. Our education system unfortunately considers the entire classroom as as one single unit. But that is not so. The classroom is composed of unique individuals, each with their own personality, likes and dislikes, skills, talents, and abilities. If you look closely and genuinely try to understand each one of your students you will be able to see the uniqueness in each of them. Some may excel with the traditional methods but others may fall behind in the same traditional classroom. Understanding how each of your students’ learns is key to customising your teaching accordingly to enable every student to stay engaged and succeed

5) Encourage Students to Present their Work

Presentations are a great way for students to come up with their own creative ideas. Presentations enable students to explain their understanding of a certain topic and also gives them the platform to improve their public speaking skills, which is very crucial in today’s world. Presentations help students build communication skills and confidence as well as encourage peer learning, collaboration, teamwork, brainstorming, and problem solving - all of which are critical 21st century skills. And of course, presentations are an intrinsic motivation for students to learn and understand topics.  

6) Give and receive feedback

Feedback is a great way for teachers to convey the positives and areas of concern to a student. Having constant feedback sessions with each student will enhance your relationship with the student. Outlining the positives and pointing out the areas of improvement will help the student to grow in a constructive and systematic way. The same holds good for teachers, too. Getting to know about your teaching from your own students will help you understand where you can improve to better teach your students.

What More Can A Teacher Do?

As in every profession, upskilling is important. The same applies to the one profession that teaches every other profession. Today's generation of students are not made for a classroom that uses traditional teaching methods. Teachers must know the latest pedagogy strategies and teaching tools and methods to teach their students. 

We at Learning matters have curated the perfect program for schools who wish to upskill their teachers in order to bring in highest levels of student engagement and therefore sustainable success to their school. Get in touch with us today to help your teachers reach their potential best.

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Top 5 Tips to Build Better Teacher-Student Relationships in your School

Research suggests that students who have very positive interactions with their teachers are highly successful academically. That is, positive teacher-student interactions have been shown to improve student learning outcomes and grades. This is because when students genuinely enjoy interacting with their teachers, they become more confident about the subject and are more motivated in their academics. 

Therefore it is very important for teachers to make every effort to build positive relationships with students. While this does not come naturally to every teacher it can indeed be built and cultivated with guidance from the top management in the school. After all, it is the leadership who sets the tone for the environment and atmosphere in the school. So, how can your staff work towards cultivating better relationships with their students? Here are the top 5 tips. 

1) Create a Positive Atmosphere in the Classroom

Happy students = happy learners. And how do we make students happy? By engaging them with a variety of activities. Teachers who keep the classroom lively, cheerful and active with various fun activities engage their students at higher rates. This helps create a positive atmosphere which in turn, helps the teacher to connect better with their students. Encourage your academic coordinators to come up with a list of 5-minute activities that teachers can use as ‘brain breaks’ at the beginning of classes or during transitions. Encourage your staff to share activities that students particularly enjoy with one another.

2) Listen actively

Listening with attention, interest and intent to students and genuinely understanding them is one of the most crucial and easiest ways to evaluate not only their interests but also areas of challenges and concerns. This helps the teacher to come up with better ways to make the learning process more engaging for their students. 

One way to do this is to encourage your teachers to set aside some time every week as an “Open Door” time during which those students who would like to share challenges or concerns may do so in private. Remember to set some guidelines around these sessions. Many schools have a counselor on staff - a dedicated person to counsel students. But if you don't have a counselor, that’s perfectly alright. You yourself can take up this role or encourage a coordinator or any teacher who has the natural ability to connect well with students, to become the official “listener”. 

3) Personalize Teaching

Not every student learns in the same way. If you monitor your students closely, you will notice the uniqueness of each one of your students’. Personalizing learning is an efficient way to enhance the scope of learning for a student. It helps build a better connection with your students as they will have the confidence that they can learn efficiently.

4) Talk More Than Just Academics

Teachers should bring in much more than just academics into the classroom. Sharing and discussing a variety of topics that range from personal and inspirational to success will help to enhance the bond between teachers and students. There are many simple ways to inculcate this. One way is to encourage a daily “news hour” during the zero period. Class teachers can designate 5 minutes to discuss a world event of special interest. Another way is for subject teachers to dedicate the first or last 5 minutes of the session as a “share” session. Students can take turns to share something of importance to them. Teachers can set guidelines around these including time limits, what topics are allowed/not allowed, as well as how others are permitted to react. Such extra-curricular discussions help students learn important life skills such as respect and understanding of diversity, empathy, responsibility, and taking alternative perspectives, to name just a few,

5) Motivate! Motivate! Motivate!

Students who are motivated are typically the ones who actively define and seek success. Having a constant source of motivation from their teachers, with whom they spend the most time during the school years, will go a very long way. Teachers should motivate their students not just in academics but also in sports and other extracurricular activities to boost their confidence and also support a healthy lifestyle for students. Encourage your staff to make a note of students’ special interests, skills and strengths and to find opportunities for students to further develop these. A strong emphasis on health, sport, and a variety of arts in the school culture is important to set a strong foundation for motivation.


To start and bring about positive change, one has to take the first step. If you’re unsure how to take the first step, we are here to take it with you. Our StarTeacher program has supported many school management teams in establishing a culture of positive teacher-student relationships. They now report that students’ learning outcomes have dramatically improved. We would love to help you do the same in your institution. WhatsApp us today to find out how StarTeacher can bring about guaranteed positive change in your school.  

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5 ways online teaching should be different from face-to-face teaching

The concept of traditional education has changed radically in 2020 due to the pandemic. Now with the rise of various ed-tech learning solutions, being physically present in a classroom isn’t a requirement for learning anymore!

Pandemic or not, it’s safe to say that online teaching is here to stay as a full-time or some kind of hybrid learning model in the coming time. While technology is the main aspect, there are various other important factors that teachers need to pay heed to to ensure online teaching is different from face-to-face teaching. Why so? Because the online environment is drastically different from the traditional classroom environment, teachers need to develop a wide array of new teaching skills and strategies to compensate for the absence of a physical classroom and to ensure students are learning effectively in the new medium.

Here are 5 characteristics of the teaching-learning process in online teaching that should be different from face-to-face teaching.

1. More Emphasis on Community Building & Digital Competency

As a teacher, the utmost responsibility is to complete the syllabus on time. So, it’s common for many teachers to directly jump into teaching from day one. However, with online classes it’s important to devote the early weeks to building a sense of community so that students feel connected with their teachers and peers and therefore, more engaged in the process. Deeper engagement is a must for effective learning.

On the heels of this, it is equally important to ensure students’ comfort and competency in using the chosen online learning platform and tools. A detailed induction to the digital tools used in the classroom is necessary to acquaint students with the virtual classroom settings. It is natural to assume that most students are tech-savvy and that they need no induction on online classrooms. But, this is not always the case. There might be a few timid students who might not speak up and ask questions about the usage of online learning tools due to fear of embarrassment. Kick-starting the learning sessions with creative community-building experiences can help the children unwind among peers.

2. Focus on Streamlined Communication With Parents

Over-involvement of parents in online classes is a real problem. Teachers shouldn’t have to stress over helicopter parents. Schools should therefore facilitate a forum for both parents and teachers to creatively collaborate and build mutual trust.

Teachers must establish a consistent platform and predictable schedule for sharing information with parents. Rather than toggling around with messages and emails, a weekly update at the scheduled time and place will be much more effective and will reduce ad-hoc queries from parents. Also, setting clear expectations and boundaries for communication with both students and parents is important to avoid any kind of misunderstandings.

3. Greater Teacher Collaboration

Collaboration between teachers can ease the burden of online teaching while allowing one to explore more tools and techniques of teaching. Teachers need to work closely together to share their knowledge of digital tools and online teaching tips and techniques to reduce duplication of work and bring in greater efficiency and use of time. In fact, collaboration between teachers is much easier now in the virtual environment.

4. Simplify and Slow Down the Content; Build Critical Skills

The online space is not the ideal medium to cover large portions of content quickly. The physical gap between teachers and students magnifies certain negative aspects of online teaching. Teachers should be mindful of this and need to plan how to teach crucial content and important topics at a slow pace. Teachers also need to pay heed to aspects like the essential knowledge needed to go ahead to the next grade for a pupil as well as acquisition of crucial life- and knowledge skills like analyzing, constructing arguments, summarizing, etc. and build these critical skills through carefully-designed assignments.

5. Take a Backseat on Conventional Grading System

There have been vigorous arguments about how to manage grading in remote learning. Due to the nature of online learning, it would be better to accentuate formative feedback as students work through assignments and tasks, rather than simply grading them at the end. Most of the learning management systems have a feature to provide feedback. So, teachers can make the most of it by making sure to give periodical and meaningful feedback to students while creating avenues to receive feedback from the students and parents on the assignments.

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Voice-Assisted Technology to Transform Education in Rural India

Students and teachers at Sri Kanchi Sankara Vidyalaya in Thiruvidaimarudur, a village near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, have been learning the basics of spoken English with Tara, an interactive, AI-enabled natural language voice recognition tool. The brainchild of Learning Matters, an award-winning education technology startup headquartered in Bangalore, India, Tara is powered by Amazon Alexa and AWS. This “machine teacher” has provided learners with a novel, engaging, fun, and judgement-free environment. The progress they have made in the acquisition of English vocabulary, comprehension skills, and confidence in speaking English publicly is testament to the fact that when a learner is truly engaged, outcomes will follow naturally.

The gains shown by the students in Sri Kanchi Sankara Vidyalaya have been mirrored in other users of Tara - K-12 schools and NGOs alike - such as the Shifting Orbits Foundation and the Head Held High Foundation. Worldwide, English proficiency is the key to academic and career success. While students in urban India grow up with the ubiquitous presence of English in their lives, this is not so for those in tier-2 and 3 India. Tara’s primary target market is these under-resourced communities.

With the use of text-to-speech and speech-to-text, Tara has been teaching communicative English to students and teachers in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Over 30,000 students in schools with poor teacher-student ratios or lack of qualified teachers now have a “teacher” who can converse, repeat lessons, provide feedback, and correct mistakes repeatedly. Tara has not replaced teachers but rather empowered them with the flexibility to conduct classes with “her” help and to improve learning outcomes. She teaches learners how to communicate through a combination of lessons that include listening, speaking, reading, and writing (LSRW).

A member of the AWS EdStart Accelerator Program, Learning Matters turned to AWS and Amazon Alexa at the very beginning to quickly prototype Tara and go to market. Tara is a skill that is created with Alexa Voice Service and hosted on AWS platform. Tara back-end services, including the logic of all teacher and student interactions, are hosted on AWS Lambda. The team uses AWS documentation to help develop new modules and also uses AWS Cloud’s advances in AI and cloud computing to create professional development programmes for teachers.

Why AWS? AWS helped Learning Matters quickly prototype and test Tara. Moreover, time to market was drastically reduced with AWS. With AWS’s services being mature and elastic, the team is able to quickly configure Tara to required capacity and without encountering serious bug blockers. Moreover, the features provided by AWS come with rich documentation and they enable quick development of modules. Finally, the AWS forums help to have any queries clarified really quickly.

Learning from voice comes naturally for humans. After all, this is how we begin to learn language - by listening to and speaking with those around us. As we grow older, books ensure deeper engagement with language learning by bringing in the reading and writing components. Tara enhances learning not only among students but also amongst teachers. She makes high-quality educational solutions accessible and affordable to semi-urban and rural schools. Most importantly, she is a scalable and sustainable solution. There is no doubt that Tara has the power to create tidal waves of impact in teaching and learning in underserved India.