Shashwat Gupta Ray
PANJIM: With an aim to help Goan primary school children master their mother tongue better, Annie Rajan, Associate Professor, Department of Information Technology (IT), Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar, has devised ‘Audio Pustakam’, a low-cost, standalone audio player, with educational content of Konkani subject from Class I to IV, as per the Goa Board syllabus.
24 such units have been developed and given it to six Goan schools for free.
Koyal Mori, a Class III student from Porvorim English Primary School, says, “I am able to learn my lessons better with the help of this device.”
Echoing her sentiments, Mori’s classmate Zoya Abdul Nadaf says, “I like this machine. It helps me understand my chapters easily.”
This device is not only helping the native students, but also non-Goan kids.
Shivam Yadav, a student of the same school says, “I had difficulty in understanding Konkani earlier. But with this device, I am able to follow my lessons better than before.”
Mitali Milind Naik, Konkani teacher at Porvorim English Primary School, says, “We have been using this device since the last one-and-a-half years. I have observed that children are more attentive and take interest in their lessons whenever the device is played. Moreover, the pronunciation of the words is better as they can grasp it better from the audio, which is clear.”
“I read the lessons with the students, while the lessons are transmitted simultaneously through the audio device. So, I am able to help the students wherever they have a doubt,” Naik says.
Fr Anand D’Souza, SJ, Superior and Primary In-charge of St Britto High school, Mapusa, which is using this device, says, “Audio books in Konkani serve as a valuable resource for preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Konkani-speaking community. Introducing audiobooks in Konkani at the primary level lays the foundation for a strong educational journey.”
Student counsellor Meenakshi Prabhu Mhambre says, “A lot of students experience academic stress. One of the common challenges I have noticed is their inability to read and comprehend. I believe a tool like ‘Audio Pustakam’, which has a guided audio of the subject teacher can help students in reading their subject textbooks and learn better. Especially those who are struggling with pronunciation and prefer repetition.”
Speaking about her device, Prof Annie Rajan says, “Students grasp complex concepts quicker when they hear them in their mother tongue. ‘Audio Pustakam’ unlocks this potential by enabling access to audio versions of educational materials. The device can be used to provide additional support to learners, especially slow learners by allowing them to revisit concepts at their own pace.”
She is now looking to expand the reach of her technology with help of external funds.
“I have spent Rs 3 lakh for making these devices and also for professional recording at the studio. I can widen the scope of this technology with funds from donors,” she says.
“As a researcher I feel, even if few schools are adapt to this technology, it would be an achievement for me. I would like to thank Anju Sakhardande and Esha Shettye for rendering their voice for the project,” Rajan says.