Doordarshan's new tricks show promise

Classroom 2000+ is a promising teaching experiment, which, if extended, could revolutionise science education in Indian villages. Meanwhile, Quest, DD's favourite science quiz, perks up.

By Sevanti Ninan
Published: Wednesday 30 June 1993

QUEST, the science quiz on Doordarshan, has jazzed up its act with buzzers. But it is still conducted by a trio of earnest Bengalis and continues to lean heavily for its content on national science museums, such as the one in Delhi. Those who frequent this interesting museum may often recognise some of the problem-solving apparatus found here appearing in the latest edition of Quest.

Telecast on May 1, this edition on mathematics was brisk, snappy and entertaining and the Calcutta students on the show sailed through a variety of ticklish questions. Though the people who conduct this quiz lack the show-business qualities required of a quiz master, in terms of content, this was one of the better educational programmes seen on Doordarshan in a long time.

Also in May, the Central Institute of Educational Technology in Delhi chalked up what is a first for the country: an interactive, teaching experiment on television, called Classroom 2000+. It was shown on both the regional and national networks of Doordarshan. Through a satellite link-up, Kendriya Vidyalaya students from cities, including Hyderabad, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay, were able not only to access lectures in physics and mathematics originating in Delhi, but also to use telephones to respond to questions asked by the teachers
Interactive teaching The advantage of this system is that students can clarify doubts during the lecture by telephoning and teachers can study the bar graphs to know whether they are communicating effectively. Should the graph show a large percentage of incorrect answers, it's obvious the lecture is going over their heads.

The week-long interactive television teaching programme was essentially an experiment and there are no plans to extend it. But it holds a whole range of possibilities for the country. The idea for the project was initiated in Kentucky to overcome a shortage of teachers in specialised subjects. In India, it could bring into deprived and rural classrooms science teaching expertise at a level that they could not expect otherwise.

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