Study material, at your fingertips

Apr 26, 2015, 08:31 IST | Anu Prabhakar

Web portal will launch a new segment dedicated to crowdsourcing educational content. CEO and co-founder Madhurima Naidu talks about the new initiative, which will be up and running in about two months

Thane-based writer Madhurima Naidu hails from a family of teachers and educationists. So when it was time for her to take over the running of the two-year-old self-publishing platform for fiction writing, three months ago, expanding the platform to include study material was a no brainer. “My father’s sister was a teacher at a municipal school,” explains Madhurima. “I have seen children, who didn’t have a privileged economic background, grow up to become doctors and engineers. So I have seen what education can do to you,” explains the CEO and co-founder of the website.

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The website, in its current format, allows writers to contribute fictional works of writing such as poems and stories. In less than two months’ time, Madhurima and her team will launch a new segment dedicated to study material, called The Study Table. The segment will include material on all subjects, be it Grade 5 mathematics or a college-level paper on English literature. “There is no single online forum that hosts that kind of literature,” elaborates the 33-year-old. Madhurima is especially keen to add educational texts in regional languages to the website. “That content in English will be included is almost a given. I want it to have content in any language — Assamese, Oriya, anything at all,” she says.

Anyone can contribute to the segment, adds Madhurima. “If you have some spare time, you can write something that is very basic -- for instance, you can explain what a noun or pronoun is, and upload that to the website. You can also have Hindi to English translations of the text and vice versa. Or, if you have a great book which explains a certain concept well, you can scan and upload it,” explains Madhurima, adding that while the concept may sound “futuristic”, it has the potential to change students’ lives.

Madhurima Naidu

The first formidable challenge is checking the quality and accuracy of the uploaded material. “We already have a basic quality check in place. Our readers can comment on the uploaded literature whereby verifying its use and authenticity. We are also looking at working within certain parameters, such as encouraging more schools, colleges and educational institutions to contribute,” explains Madhurima.

She opines that the project is the perfect opportunity for people to give something back to the community. “Retired men and women, for instance, can use their time in a valuable way by contributing to the website,” she adds. To spread the word about the website, Naidu plans to contact schools and colleges. “We are going to ask them to allow us to talk to kids and attend PTA meetings. We are also looking at roping in NGOs. All this will take some time, as we first need to get a mechanism for quality control in place. I hope to make this into a social interaction platform where people can exchange notes, get in touch with each other and form groups,” she concludes.

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