Show, don't tell
Students would swear by that adage; and that, precisely, is the learning experience Home Revise, a company which makes animated CDs of school textbooks, seeks to provide. Today, 2.5 lakh students across Maharashtra and 300 Zilla Parishad schools rattle off lessons much like their favourite movie dialogues
Two years ago, 15 year-old Purva Handore found it difficult to remember her history and biology answers during her Class 8 exams. Little surprise that she adopted the method most students in India adhere to when it comes to heavily theoretical subjects such as History, Civics, Geography and Biography — rote learning.
There was one small difference in her case, though. Handore’s parents, unlike many others, strongly discouraged rote learning. They, instead, introduced her to Home Revise — an audio-visual CD learning system, which digitises textbooks in an animated format.
Next year, Handore will appear for her SSC boards and swears by the Home Revise CDs which she claims have helped her remember the once-dreaded subjects with ease and score 10-15 per cent more marks in examinations. “Textbooks for History, Geography and Civics in Class 8 get monotonous after a while. Also, understanding and retaining so much theory all at once is very difficult,” recalls Handore.
Help at home
“Home Revise’s CDs animate every paragraph in the textbook. I recall facts and dates with greater ease now,” says Handore. For Yogesh Kore, founder and managing director of Home Revise, the experience is much like watching a movie. “You ask a child to narrate a scene from their favourite movie and he/she will recall it — even rattle off dialogues — so accurately that you wonder whether children study movies as part of their curriculum. Such is the effect of an audio-visual medium on children.”
Harshada Pande, teacher with a junior college in Mulund who recommended the Home Revise series to her son who will appear for his SSC boards this year, says “In case of the traditional chalk and talk and textbook method, children tend to be physically present and mentally absent in class.Children grasp more through observation and hence animated CD’s are a very good option to lear and revise.”
Study can be fun, really
Yogesh started Home Revise with his wife Leena in 2008. Home Revise has animated all textbook lessons for English, Semi-English and Marathi medium for the SSC board from Class one to class 10. They have also animated lessons for all subjects of the CBSE board from class seven to class 10. Their range also includes animated series for Class 11 and 12 in the science stream.These, however, do not include the languages.
“Back in 2002, when we both worked in London, we visited several schools there and found that new technologies and innovative methods such as audio-visual CDs were common practice and students really enjoyed learning,” says Leena, who worked as a software designer, while Yogesh was a manager at a publication house.
“Their classrooms were in stark contrast to most Indian ones. I observed that learning was not a stressful exercise for the kids, it was rather fun,” says Yogesh. Soon after, over the years, the couple began visiting schools on all their assignments abroad and were abreast with the learning techniques adapted by the school authorities.
“We have visited schools in France, Switzerland, Singapore, Thailand and Dubai, and thoroughly researched techniques that they have adopted in the classrooms,” says Yogesh. Yogesh later switched careers and started his coaching classes in Thane in 2006.
Lessons from abroad
“I tried to adopt the techniques I had seen in schools abroad. Once, in 2006, for instance, I recorded my lectures and gave CDs to my students so they could revise better. That’s when the idea of animation struck me,” recalls Yogesh. The couple soon put together a team of experts and launched their first round of animated CDs in 2008.
The turning point for Home Revise came in 2010, when chairman, education committee of Raigad Zilla Parishad, Balaram Patil who was happy seeing the utility of the CDs for his own son, asked for 300 Zilla Parishad schools in Raigad to initiate the Home Revise learning system.
“We have five separate teams comprising 150 members who coordinate the task of animating textbooks. They are the research team, the content designers, the storyboard team, the animators and the quality check department.”
The research team, explains Yogesh, analyses all the available study material in the market for a particular board , after which the content designers develop content that is easy to follow. The content then is recorded in an audio format. The storyboard team joins in and comes up with animation that works best with the content, and the animators then incorporate the images in the CD.
“Lastly, the quality-check department reviews the animated CDs and concludes whether it will be useful for a student to understand his/her textbook lessons better. If the answer is in the negative, the CD is sent back to the research team and the process starts from scratch. We revise our content every year so our CDs are current and relevant to the changing school curriculum,” says Leena.
Home Revise’s animated CDs are not available in the market. “If a student or school wishes to purchase our CDs, they must contact us directly and we send our counsellors over. They explain about the utility of the CDs and give the students/ schools a demo, too. If the student or school believes that the CDs will enhance their learning, only then are they encouraged to purchase the product,” explains Leena.
Home Revise currently has 80 counsellors in Mumbai and 400 counselors across Maharashtra. “As a Chinese proverb goes, one picture is equal to a thousand words. We live by that and that alone,” says Yogesh.