Covid-19: IIT Kanpur develops virtual classroom system ‘Mobile Masterjee’
In the backdrop of the disruption in normal classroom teaching owing to Covid-19 lockdown, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur has developed an innovative virtual classroom aid titled ‘Mobile Masterjee’.
The classroom-to-home teaching setup is designed to record the lectures/instructions by the teachers while using smartphones. ‘Mobile Masterjee’ can capture the videos in horizontal (table) and vertical (blackboard) positions.
Developed by the Imagineering Lab of IIT Kanpur, it is targeted at helping the rural schools overcome the teaching and learning challenges posed by the pandemic. It is lightweight and compact, and has adjustments to fit sheets/book on it for delivering instructions to pupils.
According to the Institute, Covid-19 has brought the education system, particularly classroom teaching to a standstill, while the students in rural India were hit the maximum.
“During this pandemic season, teaching has become a huge challenge, especially in rural India,” IIT Kanpur Imagineering Lab Prof In charge J Ramkumar said adding it was an uphill task to connect the students with teachers.
He observed that the young generation was the future India, so providing them the knowledge and educating them properly has become quite an arduous task, which the Institute has sought to address with Mobile Masterjee.
The product was engineered by a team comprising Prof J Ramkumar, Dr Amandeep Singh, Anil Jha, Virendra Singh and Jitendra Sharma.
A set graduated scale in Mobile Masterjee aligns the sheet at the desired angle, followed by the rotational adjustment of the mobile holder. Thus, a teacher is able to record the lecture in the home environment.
Prof Ramkumar said the gadget allowed for fixing the smartphone at various locations and heights, and to self record the lectures for communicating to the students. It also allowed for writing on a sheet of paper apart from giving the option of recording blackboard teaching.
The team had taken inputs from rural schools, based on which the gadget was modified, he informed. “We are sure, it will make a big breakthrough for classroom teaching,” Prof Ramkumar noted.
Earlier, IIT Kanpur had developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered solution for instant fact checking amid the deluge of fake news and unverified messages floating on the various social media platforms. Titled ‘Satyanweshi’ (seeker of truth in Sanskrit), the AI chatbot is programmed for finding and checking true information about Covid-19.
A chatbot is a software application to conduct an on-line chat conversation via text or text-to-speech instead of a direct contact/conversation with a live human agent.
“Following covid-19 pandemic, a massive amount of information is floating on the social media, including WhatsApp. A large part of such information is unverified, misleading or fake. However, people often trust those unverified messages,” Prof Swaprava Nath of the IIT Kanpur Department of computer science and engineering (CSE) had said.