“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Things have changed drastically since we have entered the 21st century. From shopping, gaming to socializing, everything has turned digital. Education too is on a brink of a technological revolution in India. Gone are the days when students and teachers were satisfied with a classroom filled with just a blackboard, chalks and textbooks. There is an alarming situation calling out for a change in the education sector as children need to be tech savvy and should be taught in reference to the future.
Harness Handitouch founded by two Indian School of Business graduates, Subramanian Viswanathan and Kuljit Chadha aims at providing a better teaching alternative. They have come up with a platform called Touch on Cloud which is a learning operating system that makes comprehensive use of technology in the classroom. Using networked tablets, laptops or PCs in the classroom, Touch-on-Cloud provides new in-class pedagogy where a teacher’s white-boarding is broadcasted automatically to all students.
Today we have two types of classrooms in India i.e. conventional and ICT enabled. In conventional classrooms, students are just writing down notes in their books like robots without understanding anything. Whereas in modern ICT classrooms, some of the multimedia content resembles somebody reading out from a textbook. The teacher doesn’t have time to check whether each and every student has understood the concept or not. As a result there is a lack of student activity, no proper classroom management and ineffective use of technology.
With Touch on Cloud, teachers can embed the content in the form of images, videos, MS Office Files or even open links from the internet instantly. Students can add notes on top of the teacher layer. The content created in the class will be available on the cloud and can also be replayed with audio so that they can keep on revising it after reaching home or while travelling. Revise, replay and submission of assignments are all just a click away with Touch on Cloud. It helps teachers to focus more on students and make sure that each student has understood what is being taught as it makes use of networked devices and blended learning.
Touch on Cloud also provides powerful quiz, assignment, lesson management, student management and evaluation tools, making it a complete learning package! It certainly has the ability to make the class more interactive and replace notebooks, textbooks and the blackboard. As it is an HTML5 based software product, it can operate easily on any tablet, laptop and PCs that meet the minimum requirements. One of its greatest advantages is that teachers can make a personalized intervention to every student at the time of learning which will result in better grades as an outcome of productive learning.
The story of Harness Handitouch goes back to 2010, when Subramanian was working with Mckinsey & Co. During a meeting his engagement partner had used a Lenovo tablet PC for a strategic presentation to create a new organization structure. That’s when he realized the power of collaboration in combined learning and the idea of Touch on Cloud struck his entrepreneurial mind. He then discussed the idea with Kuljit Chadha to invent a learning operating system in the education industry.
Touch-on-Cloud has applicability in all educational segments like K12, Higher Education and coaching institutes. The software has been piloted with over 1000 students all over India and Middle-East and is live with a couple of coaching institutes. As laptops and tablets are expensive and can’t be afforded by every student, Harness has developed innovative lab and business models through which the cost per student can be reduced to as low as Rs 100 per student.
Harness Handitouch has been awarded India’s best education start up by Accel Partners and Intel. It was also among the top 13 startups from 350 chosen by Microsoft for the Accelerator program in which Microsoft Research provides infrastructure and incubation facility for product development. Their vision is to increase the number of students in India as well as abroad using Touch on Cloud and reach a target of 1 million students by 2018.
Educational startups are a boon to teachers and students. With the help of technology, students will be provided a better learning experience where creative teachers can teach in their own way by distributing unique content and giving a wide berth to rote-learning.