Tuesday, February 16, 2016

There’s an app for that

There’s an app for that

BEYOND BOOKS To prepare for the upcoming board exams, Class 12 science students are using mobile apps and YouTube channels that break down experiments, have quizzes and question banks, and aid last-minute revision

Students often use websites for question banks. Apps for study are a great idea, but it does depend on how one uses them. If not used sensibly, it can be a big source of distraction as well. MANJU NICHANI, principal of KC College, Churchgate
With her Class 12 board exams just a few weeks away, Sharanya Hegde, a student from New Horizon Public School, Airoli, is busy with last-minute revision. To help jog her memory, she has traded in textbooks for technology.
“I watch videos related to my math and physics syllabus on YouTube,” she says. “Since I need to work harder at physics, I use videos on Khan Academy for topics on integration, and professor Pradeep Kshetrapal’s YouTube channel for electrostatics. This helps me revise my concepts.”
Another Class 12 student, at Royal Junior College in Dombivli, Shivani Deshmukh, says, “I use an app called Robomate, which has lecture videos for physics, chemistry and math. It also contains test papers and chapter summaries — it’s convenient, because I can study these on my way to and from college, on a portable tablet.”
Like Hegde and Deshmukh, several Class 12 students preparing for the upcoming board exams are using new apps, YouTube channels and websites to grasp the syllabus better.
“The best thing about such channels is that they promote self-learning,” says Dhrubesh Deb Sharma, 18, a first-year engineering student of SRM University, Chennai. “I studied organic chemistry and nomenclature through the videos. In school, they would skim through the surface of the syllabus. Here, they would explain each topic in detail, so you really understand what you’re learning.”
Particularly for science students, the practical components of the exams carry substantial weight. “We get to perform each experiment just once in the college laboratory, and that is often not enough. In these videos, the practical experiments are performed live and explained in detail, and going through them a few times before the exam can help refresh your memory,” says Shweta Kuse, Class 12 student of Holy Angels School and Junior College, Dombivli.
While students are using technology for self-study, colleges, too, are turning to it as a teaching tool.
“We use YouTube to discuss case studies with the students, and we share PowerPoint presentations about various subjects through Google Groups for students,” says Indu Shahani, principal of HR College in Churchgate. “We find that this is an effective method that keeps students engaged.”
Counsellors say students can create Facebook or WhatsApp groups with classmates and teachers to discuss doubts. When on study break, students can contact teachers via video conference and create a virtual classroom.
“YouTube is very informative, especially for practical experiments, as you can learn outside the labs as well,” says Shilpa Pathak, counsellor at RN Podar School in Khar (West).
With a few weeks to go for the board exams, here are some apps and YouTube channels you can check out for your final leg of preparation.
What: A YouTube channel for HSC and CBSE physics practicals
How i t works: If physics practicals are all Greek to you, and converting galvanometer to voltmeter seems alien, this channel may be your answer. It breaks the experiments down with simple l anguage, and demonstrates live experiments with school-grade equipment.
The practicals are designed to be the same as what is to be taught in the syllabus. The channel is a couple of months old, and clocks more than 5,000 views on most videos.
“I used Toppr Learning to study for the practical component of the exams, and it was great. I had missed some practical sessions in school and had some doubts about those concepts, but the videos helped clear them up. Also, they use the same apparatus as we do in school, so there was little confusion,” says Swayam Pal, Class 11 student of DAV Public School, Panvel.
Where: bit.ly/1R6a5Wb
What: A YouTube channel dedicated to CBSE students, to help them prepare for physics and chemistry practicals
How it works: The video usually begins by explaining the theory on which the experiment is based. With animated videos and live demonstrations, experiments are explained in simple terms. The channel also links viewers to related videos and topics.
CBSE Practicals was launched in September 2015, and has about 5,000 subscribers.
“Because of large class sizes in college, it is difficult to approach professors for every doubt,” says Kuse of Holy Angels school. “We only got the chance to perform each experiment once, and I used the CBSE Practicals and other YouTube channels to revise them.”
Where: bit.ly/1Tlnn39
What: For physics and chemistry, CBSE and state-board Class 12 exams
How it works: The videos use a combination of demonstration and animation. Some videos also show related experiments that may not be in the syllabus, but enhance a student’s understanding of a particular concept.
“Physics and chemistry both have theories that are complicated and can be better learned using animation,” says Sagar Malasani, director of Edunovus Online. “Animation helps simplify concepts, and allows for better recall. We have experienced lecturers on board to help formulate the content.”
“The videos are clear and explain the theories well — this, in turn, helped me prepare better for the practicals,” says Deepthi Reddy, Class 12 student of Sai Chaitanya College, Hyderabad.
Where: bit.ly/1QiSr4t
What: An app built by online learning portal MeritNation, and aimed at students of Class 6 to Class 12, of CBSE and ICSE boards
How it works: Much like the MeritNation website, the app includes solution papers to help revision in the final weeks.
The app, with about 10 lakh downloads, lets you take tests, and provides you with percentile score, so you understand where you stand with respect to other students also taking the tests. It also holds more than 14,000 videos on concepts that are part of the CBSE syllabus.
Once you understand the concept, you can take an unlimited number of same question papers to test yourself.
“For last-minute preparation, our app has revision notes, study material and sample papers,” says Prayag Panchwadkar, vice-president, marketing, MeritNation, which has five apps on the Google Play Store. “The idea is to help students learn on-the-go, on their cellphones or tablets.”
“I have been using the app for quite some time, and find the expert answer section — where students can post questions and get answers — particularly useful. The app also has easy solutions to NCERT questions,” says Jahanavi Dahanke, Class 12 student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Nagpur. Cost: Free
Where: Available on Android
and iOS
What: Covers topics related to organic chemistry
How it works: While the app is not tailored to the syllabus of any particular board, it features more than 70 organic reactions and their properties, explains complicated reactions, including alkanes and alkenes benzene, phenol and diazonium salts. It also has chapters on naming compounds and isomerism, important in the Class 12 chemistry syllabus.
“Organic chemistry is a vast topic, but this app helps break it down. The mechanisms and reactions are explained with colour-coded text, which makes it easy to understand. Using the app helped clear my doubts,” says Shreya Mandal, 18, Class 12 student at DAV Public School, Panvel.
Cost: Free Available on: Android

Source: Hindustan Times e paper dated February 17, 2016

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