KOOLSKOOL being a start up effort, every Rupee and every Dollar counts. Travel always, for us or large behemoths, is always a major expense whether its just local intra-city or inter-city travel. After having done some math, we quickly moved to traveling discounted and low cost airlines with Indigo being our usual choice.
Like most other low cost carriers there is no free food on board, but available for purchase. The only low cost carrier which was an exception was Kingfisher Red (erstwhile Air Deccan) which did provide free food. That will now change as well. Kingfisher Red calls it the "Sky Treats", an exclusive gourmet service. I saw the menu, didn't seem any gourmet to me. The important difference however is that there are specific time of the day options, besides the standard all day sandwiches and the like. For Rs. 200 for a regular meal, not a bad idea at all really. Oh well there are hot beverages too unlike Indigo. If prices were to be similar, Kingfisher Red it would be for sure (you got to consider the on-time factor too, I guess)
Something that I noticed recently between my three nieces (in class XI, XII and freshman year) triggered a thought, and then led of a bit of research and finding out. One rather warm afternoon, my nieces were spending time trying to crack puzzles published in puzzle books and newspapers. One of them started on her own, the second one joined in. Gradually the eldest one got bored of watching TV and joined the younger ones.
The progress that the made together was remarkable compared to the slow start that the first young one made. It is also not as if the first one is less sharper than the other two. Very clearly three heads working together are better (you knew that), and three heads working together learned the mechanics of cracking the different types of puzzle schemas rapidly as well.
They moved from one puzzle type to the other, and cracked through rapidly. It also was evident that each of them excelled in a particular type. The gaps in understanding were filled in by the other two.
In the usual school education system, students interact with their teachers and parents. Parents and teachers interact with each other periodically, but there is hardly any formal education related interaction that students have together even sitting in a school.
This led me to do the quick search and research on the web, and not surprisingly plenty of research has been done in the past on collaborative learning. While, I read through research work, I also asked myself if children would collaborate as much if what they learned gave them a competitive edge over her/his peers.
To be continued...
Technology is appearing in our lives and in schools in a big way. Many of us, who remain glued to computers for a large part of the day are slowly finding it difficult to wield a pen. The prolific use of calculators makes the memorization of tables, and ability to do calculations in the head somewhat redundant. A printed book might still be delightful to hold in your hands, but the movement towards electronic gadgets and media is undeniable.
A school that we visited in Dwarka (in Delhi) showed interest in going paperless in school and bringing in systems which can integrate the Kindle into the lives of their students. It is a different matter that they admitted that they don't really care for convenience of the students or related cost factor either.
My four year old spends time with her coloring books, and other story books but is definitely more comfortable playing games on her mother's cell phone. Her interest level (or span of attention) is non-electronic matter is somewhat limited. And she is clearly not an exception. It seems usually that the children adapt to technology much faster than their parents, but also get a little less active physically.
Here is the other potential problem. Intensive use of technology, from posting homework online, class notes getting emailed and students starting to lose the "old-world" skills will find themselves somewhat stymied by challenges that the board exams pose. The board exams are not yet online (and won't be for a long time).
Technology is here to stay and grow, but can we retain some of our innate skills?