Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ban the Blackboard

Blackboards may soon be history in Kerala schools

Looks like Kerala's schoolchildren will no longer have to stare at a blackboard. A PTI report, which appeared in The Hindu, talks of an experiment by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan in Kozhikode to replace the traditional blackboards with digital boards.

The Bhavan is implementing what it calls the 'smart class' technology in all its three schools in the district in a bid to make education more interesting and also to enable the teachers to dedicate more time for teaching.

Bhavan's Kozhikode Kendra has entered into a five-year contract with Educomp Solutions, which provides a variety of digital teaching aids, including graphics and working models that promises to herald a new era in the field of education.

"We first introduced the technology in our schools in Kochi last year and the overwhelming response from the parents to the scheme has prompted us to bring it to Kozhikode now," Bhavan's Kendra Secretary, Col (retd) M P Gopinath was quoted in the report. According to him, parents feel that the system has helped to better the overall education process in the schools. "Apart from improving the effectiveness of teaching, the technology is also expected to boost the performance of the students," says the Bhavan's principal Lalitha Nair.

The system is so designed that a single server will cater to plasma television sets in all the class rooms which the teachers can operate with a remote from any corner of the room. Besides graphics, animation and video clippings, diagrams and 3D images will also be processed by the server to make available all information as sought in the syllabus.

Read the full report at

Reviving the Nila river

A group of locals, led by Gopinath Parayil, launch a pioneering responsible travel company to try and save Kerala's Ganga, the Nila.

"In its own sphere, the Nila is as significant as any of the great rivers of our country: On its banks thrived the ancient astrologer Vararuchi and the mathematician Aryabhatta. In more recent years, the river has imbued the work of littérateurs such as Jnanpith awardee M.T. Vasudevan Nair and O.V. Vijayan. The river has watered paddy fields, sustained rural livelihoods of farmers and traditional healers.

"All that now stands threatened by the pressures of modernity. The state’s remittance economy has fostered a building boom; the source of sand—essential construction material—is the river. Forests in the catchment area, responsible for rainfall, are disappearing. Many of the Nila’s tributaries have been thoughtlessly dammed. But all is not lost yet..."

Read Gopi's account at

Sabarimala: A man-made myth?

In a stunning revelation the Sabarimala authorities admit that the mysterious fire, which gives the festival its name, and which flashes thrice in the forests of the Ponnambalamedu hill, across from the ancient Ayyappa temple, during the Makaravilakku festival, is a work of human hands.

Read K A Shaji's report in Tehelka at