Education through Entertainment (EE) is a new initiative of the Computer Literacy Program that leverages the computer and multimedia facilities at the Computer Literacy Centers (CLCs) and/or Smart Class Rooms (SCRs) to provide students with an entertaining platform for acquiring knowledge. The objectives of the program are to instill knowledge and values, such as tolerance, global awareness, environmental conscientiousness, entrepreneurship in students, as well as to sharpen student’s communication skills through entertaining co-curricular activities.
Launched in 2016, the initiative was run as a pilot project in five schools with SCRs. While we expect the scope and format of EE to evolve, in the current form it involves use of engaging video(s) to draw students’ attention to interesting and important topics. The topics intended to be covered and eventually collected in the EE content library may belong to diverse areas, such as, general knowledge, science, literature, arts, nature, history, geography, environment, personalities, current issues and events, health, medicine, entrepreneurship to name a few.
The first step in the EE project involves selection of contents in the above-mentioned areas. The videos pertaining to different contents are currently adapted from those available in the open sources, such as, existing videos, You Tube, Internet, websites, etc. In the pilot phase of the project, following 14 sessions were assembled: Visit Beautiful Places in Bangladesh, Language Movement, Life Story of Bill Gates, Balanced Diet, We’ll Protect Ourselves, Be Kind, How to Succeed, Environmental Conservation, Apocalyptic Natural Disaster, Facts About Elephant, Global Fresh Water Challenge, and Do What You are Good at, Build Good Habits, and Gain Wisdom from Stories. These video pieces, adapted from different open sources have been organized in a CD (see Table 1.0).
Table 1.0. The content page of the current version of the CD listing the contents and relevant features
The topics and videos received enthusiastic acceptance from students and teachers during the pilot project. Since then, the following 12 pieces have been added to the EE repertoire: Rules and Manners, Unity, Physical Exercise, Wasfia’s Journey, Our Universe, Tornado, Thunderstorm and Hail, Flood Safety, Earthquake Safety, Entrepreneurship, Cleanliness, Active Listening, and Climate Change. Table 2.0 provides a complete list of contents developed to date.
Table 2.0 A list of contents developed to date
|SL||Name of content||বিষয় বস্তুর নাম|
|1||Beautiful Bangladesh||আমার বাংলাদেশ|
|2||Language Movement||ভাষা আন্দোলন|
|3||Life story of Bill Gates||বিল গেটস এর জীবনী|
|4||Balanced Diet||সুষম খাবার|
|5||We’ll protect ourselves||আমরা আছি আমাদের পাশে|
|6||Be kind||দয়া প্রবণতা|
|7||How to Succeed||সফলতার গোপন কথা|
|8||Environmental Conservation||পরিবেশ সংরক্ষণ|
|9||Apocalyptic Natural Disaster||প্রাকৃতিক দুর্যোগ|
|10||Elephants are Smart||প্রাণীর প্রভু ভক্তি|
|11||Global Fresh Water Crisis||পানি দূষণ|
|12||Do what you are good at||নিজেকে জান|
|14||Moral building stories||নৈতিকতা শিক্ষা|
|15||Rules and Manners||শৃঙ্খলা শিক্ষা|
|18||Wasfia’s Journey||ওয়াসফিয়ার অভিযান|
|20||Tornado, Thunderstorm and Hail||টর্ণেডো,বজ্রপাত, শিলাবৃষ্টিতেকরণীয়|
Even a casual look at the above list of contents will reveal the intent of the EE initiative. The piece entitled Language Movements provides a glimpse of the pivotal event in our history; Balanced Diet is a lesson in food for good health; Global Fresh Water Challenge draws attention to the importance of water in sustaining life and need for preserving this precious resource; Build Good Habits, Be Kind, and Gain Wisdom from Stories are geared towards self-improvement and developing moral values; Life Story of Bill Gates is an inspirational story of what an entrepreneurial individual can accomplish from humble beginning, and so on.
The next important step is presenting the above-mentioned contents to students. Here a student-club model, such as, that of a debating society, or a science club has been adopted. The EE project activity is organized in structured sessions. An EE session covers two regular class periods (approximately 90 minutes). Typically, a session is run on a Thursday after the regular classes are over. In a typical session one (or depending on the length, two) videos are shown to students. Each video is accompanied by a lesson plan to guide the teacher on how to conduct the session and steer students’ activities and discussions. After playing the video(s), the teacher opens the floor for discussion on the topic(s) covered by the video presentation. The optimization of students’ participation in the discussion, so that everyone (as opposed to enthusiastic few) gets involved is emphasized, and the Lesson Plan provides specific suggestions to that end. The discussions among the students are steered so that they understand the intended teachings and develop action plans to translate their learning into practice as appropriate. Students from classes VI through X are expected to benefit from the EE Sessions.
The anticipated benefits of this program include: (a) Providing an engaging and enjoyable learning environment; (b) fostering listening and comprehension skills; (c) imparting knowledge, building moral values and awareness through entertainment; and (d) sharpening communication skills through participatory discussions.
The EE project is still in its early stages of development. Present activities include: (a) Improvement of initial 14 sessions with feedback from the pilot trials; (b) Developing a second CD to include the other 12 sessions with corresponding lesson plans (and/or, develop of a composite CD that includes all 26 videos and sessions); and (c) Implement the project in other schools with CLC and/or SCR, which includes training teachers, providing the CD with lesson plan, and monitoring progress.
We are optimistic about the value and impact of the EE project. This optimism derives from the reception that the EE Pilot phase has received.