In the fall of 2011, India’s Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) will be launching a new Exploriments product that will integrate students’ iPads with the lessons teachers deliver on a SMART Board interactive whiteboard. Exploriments titles in SMART Notebook collaborative learning software have already received Elite accreditation from SMART’s Software and Content Accreditation Program. These simulation-based, interactive learning units help students understand complex and abstract concepts in physics, chemistry and mathematics.
With the Exploriments collaborative app for iPad, teachers will be able to guide the classroom experience from the SMART Board interactive whiteboard while delivering lessons in SMART Notebook software. This innovative, synergistic approach shows how a whole-class instruction tool like the SMART Board interactive whiteboard can integrate with a personal device like an iPad to create a more effective learning environment.
The collaborative app is currently in beta and will launch in the fall of 2011. With it, teachers can send activities to students’ iPads during a lesson, with the option to send different activities to each student. As students complete the activities, their answers can be displayed on the SMART Board interactive whiteboard.
Exploriments products are developed by IL&FS Education and Technology Services (IETS), an initiative of IL&FS. Established in 1987, IL&FS is one of India's leading infrastructure development and finance companies. In 1997, the IETS initiative was created to focus on the development of education infrastructure.
One of the goals for IETS is to enhance the delivery of quality education through the use of technology. To this end, the group developed Exploriments for physics, chemistry and mathematics with a pedagogical approach that makes learning an experience-led, interactive and insight-based process.
“When we created Exploriments, our intent wasn’t to transfer traditional classroom pedagogy to digital pedagogy or to convert print materials into a digital format. We developed a new pedagogical approach and created interactive, digital tools that increase student understanding of abstract concepts,” says Rushikesh Bandekar, Vice President and Head of Technology Products, IETS.
Bandekar explains that Exploriments can help teachers clarify and teach concepts that are difficult to visualize, especially science concepts that lack a physical model. For example, Coulomb’s law of electrostatic force is an abstract concept that is difficult to teach in a traditional classroom. But with Exploriments, teachers are able to use instructional tools like a virtual force meter to help students understand the concept.
“Our hypothetical force meter helps students gain a clearer understanding of Coulomb’s law and electrostatics,” says Bandekar.
Developers at IETS wanted to expand their software so that students can benefit from Exploriments learning tools on their mobile devices, like tablets and phones. “We recognized that iPads are extremely user-friendly personal learning devices for students, and we wanted to create a collaborative environment in which the teacher could control the teaching and learning on the iPad through the SMART Board interactive whiteboard,” says Bandekar.
The Exploriments app is being developed in collaboration with Persistent Systems Limited, an award-winning technology company with expert knowledge of how to develop products for mobile devices and execute effective go-to-market strategy.
“We’re excited about this product,” says Vinaynathan Viswanathan, Vice President of Sales, Persistent Systems. “It is a first of its kind. We have created a collaborative iPad experience in the classroom that is being completely guided by the teacher.”
At the 2011 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, the beta version of the new collaborative app for Exploriments was demonstrated to educators. Bandekar says they were impressed. “The feedback from teachers was, ‘Wow, this is the way to bring portable devices together. You’re helping the teacher make the best of all the technology in the classroom.’”
The Exploriments app will be launched in the United States this fall, with eventual expansion to additional countries. “We hope this is a trend setter and that educational application developers adopt the idea of collaboration as the driving mechanism for how mobile devices will be integrated into classrooms,” says Bandekar.
To learn more about the Exploriments collaborative app, watch the demo on YouTube.