Sterlite Technologies Ltd. (INDIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 99-110
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1016
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This study presents the design and impact (in first 16 months of intervention) of a three year English reading program - unique public-private partnership(PPP) between the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai(MCGM) and Sterlite School Tech who is the arm of Sterlite Technologies, one of the most integrated optical fiber companies in the world.

Using VSAT satellite communication technology, MCGM has connected 480 classrooms to four studios, from where teachers can deliver live lectures to schools simultaneously. At the studio, teachers have access to digital blackboards. Live lectures are filmed at studio and simultaneously beamed to the classrooms with help of VSATs.

The goal of our program is to improve English reading fluency, accuracy and comprehension of government school students. Using phonics, sight words and connections to the textbook, our eight teachers reach approximately 48,000 students every week across Hindi, Marathi, Urdu and English medium schools. We currently work with grade III to VI. Almost 100% of these students, English is a second or even third language and many of these students are first generation English Language Learners.

Here, we present the design of our entire program- PPP structure, role of stakeholders (government officials, MnE team, in-class facilitator, VC experts, pedagogy team). We present the impact of year one of English reading program on students. We do this by using beginning and end of year assessment data of 381 randomly selected students in schools receiving our program (sample group) and 403 randomly selected students in schools that do not have Virtual Classroom and hence, do not receive our lessons (control group).

Students were assessed on nine parameters:
1. Recognition of lower case letters
2. Associating letter sounds with individual alphabets
3. Read CVC words
4. Read words with digraphs
5. Read high frequency sight words
6. Use high frequency sight words in context (fill in the blanks)
7. Reading accuracy
8. Reading fluency (Words Correct Per Minute-WCPM)
9. Reading comprehension

Our results show that after approximately fifty hours of virtual sessions per class per medium:
1. Across nine parameters of measures of reading, sample group outperformed control group on every single parameter
2. Reading accuracy of students in sample group improved twice as much as reading accuracy of control group by end of year
3. In sample group, percentage of below-average students who could read above-average by the end of the year was three times that of control group.
4. Compared to the beginning of the year, sample group students could read given passage twice as fast as control group.
5. Students in sample group showed an improvement in letter-sound association that was eight times higher than control group at the end of the year.

This paper presents our learning’s with respect to how we can design engaging lessons for delivery through such a virtual platform.
• Using videos
• Being bilingual
• Role of the in-class facilitator
• Being creative within the limitations of the VC platform
• Student interactions