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September 14, 2020 Monday 10:22:30 AM IST

Pallikkutam National Awards for Innovation in Education 2020

Cover Story

Pallikkutam National Awards for Innovation in Education 2020 was announced in June and declared on August 15th, 2020 to recognise the outstanding contributions made by schools and teacher training institutions in bringing about disruptive innovations in education especially during Covid-19 lockdown. The institutions were required to send 1000-word write up and a 5-minute video highlighting the Best Practices initiated by the organisation and disruptive innovations it facilitated. As defined by Harvard Professor Clayton M Christensen in 1997, a disruptive innovation is something that creates a new market and value network. It eventually disrupts existing market and value network, displacing established market-leading firms, products and alliances. Here we profile the award winners, honourable mentions and the short-listed innovations from 16 states across the country. 

A Celebration of Innovation

The Pallikkutam National Award for Innovation in Education 2020 was intended to recognize schools and teacher education institutions for bringing about disruptive innovations in education, especially during the Covid-19 crisis. The team of experts from Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K) went through all the shortlisted entries given to us and assessed the videos and write-ups based on the overall presentation, disruptive and frugal innovation, impact and novelty of theirinitiatives. We deeply appreciate the efforts that the school leaders and teachers have taken to ensure that students continue to learn in spite of the Covid-19 crisis. We found the creativity and innovativeness of the schools highly impressive and motivating. We would like to congratulate all of them for their enthusiasm and sincerity. We graded the shortlisted entries and fine-tuned the scores based on several rounds of individual assessments and team discussions.

We appreciate this initiative of Pallikkutam, the Education Observer, to recognise and celebrate the diversity of innovations and the passion of the teachers and students across the country. The videos showcasing the best practices in innovations in education has to be disseminated widely so that the entire teaching community of the country and beyond is able to benefit from them.
 - Assessment Report of The Pallikkutam National Award for Innovation in Education by IIM-K

Golden Award/St. Christopher School, Nagaland, India

Every House a School, Every Parent a Teacher

The school reduced its dependence on virtual classes. The school was quick to adapt to the new way of teaching and learning. We came to realise that learning was not just confined to the four walls of the classroom alone, but it can take place even at home with proper guidance. Most of the parents did not have the digital devices even as government directed schools to go online. Thus, we thought of conducting various literary and talent competitions to bring out their innate abilities. Second, we were well aware of the ill-effects of maximum use of on-screen time, such as undue stress in the young minds and bad eye sight. Children were happy to be occupied at home They were proud to demonstrate their talents in front of their parents. For the first time, we were happy to witness that the parents were actively involved in the studies and activities of their children. The children got more time for play, projects, the art and real experiments. Among the literary and art competitions were essay writing, folk story writing moral story writing, composing poems and talent competitions included recitation of folk stories, arts, crafts, fancy dress and belly shake etc. Mathematical puzzles, mental aptitude and general knowledge competitions were also held.

Jury Comments
St Christopher School of Nagaland is a rural school in a remote area with limited infrastructure. Despite the resource constraints, the school has made innovative attempts to ensure that the learning was uninterrupted. The school is doing a great job of balancing the offline with the online communication keeping in mind that many students do not have access to technology. Relying mostly on whatsapp the teachers ensured that students learn and also have an enjoyable experience through talent and literary competitions. In the absence of regular classes, focus was on activity-based learning. This is a frugal innovation at its best and the school sets an inspiring example for innovation during a crisis The school shows u that with a creative spirit and the motivation to impact, no barrier is insurmountable.

Silver Award/DAV Public School, Gurugram, Haryana

Leveraging the Capability of Online Tools

The school began to prepare students in the Volatile, Uncertain, Changing and Ambiguous (VUCA) world by drawing on every resource to provide structured learning opportunities. Teachers took to flipped learning methodology for which they prepared videos, assignments, PPTs and mind maps of the concepts. For developing asynchronous connect with the students these inputs are shared through Google drive, WhatsApp groups and Microsoft Teams. To simulate and engage young minds towards synchronous learning, separate class wise teams were crated at Microsoft platform. Joyful activities were planned simultaneously to enhance the understanding of the concept through various online applications. The need of the hour was to take the learner to a self-learning metacognition and self-regulatory mode. To give the child a platform to assess self-performance, regular activities were being take up through peer-assessment sheets, Kahoot, Socrative app etc.

Charu Maini, Principal: We are extremely grateful for the recognition we have received for our work, because we are very sure that every other nominee for this award was as capable if not more, of winning this award. Collating the work done at our school was a great experience for us as it brought many ‘Aha’ and proud moments for us. This recognition has motivated the entire teaching fraternity along with the students.

Jury Comments: DAV Public School has used very simple but innovative approaches based on available apps to drive learning. These include Virtual Labs, MIT App Inventor, STEM@home, 2xcell, and learning 3D design of objects using TinkerCard Design. The school has leveraged the capability of online tools rather than just trying to imitate a regular offline learning experience. They are conducting many interesting activities across areas like coding, astronomy, robotics and yoga. They seem to not lose sight of the 'why' aspect of teaching by using flipped classroom, experiential learning and parental engagement. There is a great focus on holistic education and their learning interventions show a high impact.

Bronze Award/ CMI Christ School, Iritty, Kerala
Inspirational, Fun-filled Learning

The school initiated Happy Summer Vacation Plan for the holistic development of students especially their social and moral development. Students were encouraged to spend time with grandparents and learn inspirational stories. Unique time tables for moral, intellectual and physical development, introduction of AR, Rope skipping, bottle art, experimentation with available resources at home, puppet show series to increase vocabulary were some of the highlights of the pandemic activities.
Students performed various science experiments to learn scientific concepts in a simple but effective way and uploaded in Kaleidoscope science channel. International dance day was celebrated with enthusiastic participation of parents. Students were asked to sow a seed and the saplings were planted on Environmental Day. An online weekly quiz was conducted every Monday based on news paper and electronic devices.

Fr George Punchayil, CMI, Principal: Our school is situated on the lap of natural beauty, an abode of innovation and gateway to inspiration for aspiring hearts and minds, fruitfully utilised the pandemic times in a positive way for providing the best possible education not only in academics but also for the emotional and social well-being, physical fitness and development of creative skill among students"

Jury Comments: CMI Christ School in Iritty, Kerala has come across as a united community that is fighting the pandemic and having a lot of fun in the process as well. The comprehensive time table approach, inspirational learning (from elders and various events), emphasis on physical activities, gardening, dancing, art etc are highly impressive. The school has a frugal but creative approach that will also increase the involvement of students with their environment

Special Mentions

Delhi Public School, Kollam
Adapting and Transforming Education

The blended learning adopted in our school was an amalgamation of pre-recorded classes, online sessions, rich E-Content and live co-curricular classes. The Augmented Reality Classes that recreated live animals helped sustain student interest. One on one sessions were conducted by student counsellors to help students with learning difficulties. Important days were celebrated online- International Yoga Day, Father's Day, Chocolate Day and special pre-recorded assemblies were also conducted on Reading Day, Environment Day, World Population Day. Life skill sessions were held with experts interacting with students on health, hygiene, wild life tourism etc. Vice Principal: Edna S Fernandez

Jury Comments
: Special mention is for integrated efforts across areas, demonstrating that all subjects are taught with zeal and innovativeness even during Covid pandemic. There is an emphasis on overall student development. The efforts to engage students in their homes goes beyond conventional approaches and deserves appreciation.

Miles Bronson Residential School, Guwahati, Assam
Well Structured Approach

The first step was to develop competencies in using the best available Learning Management Systems. The teachers utilised various online resources including those provided by Ministry of HRD such as DIKSHA, E-Pathashala, NROER, SWAYAM etc. Teachers were provided training on video conferencing video recording tools like Screenshot-o-matic. Students were made to become independent self -learners. Synchronous and asynchronous learning remotely under the guidance of a teacher and supervision of the parents had a profound impact on students. Socrative and Mentimeter softwares were used for on the spot questioning and to create presentations. Padlet platform for creating a web wall where students can put and share notes and Voki for students who would  like to use voices instead of videos. Principal and Founder: NK Dutta

Jury Comments: Special mention for following a very well-structured approach starting with dedicated investment in technology training teachers to use digital tools like student support document, KWL chart and lesson plan organisers, different styles of openbook, video and audio assessments.

Fountainhead Senior School, Surat, Gujarat
Stepping out of Comfort Zone

Prominence was given to 'asynchronous tasks' during the online learning. Google breakout rooms were used so that students did not miss out any potential group activities. Students were made to become Nat Geo investigators for integrated humanities classes while economics students were made to demonstrate behavioural economics using nudge theories. Well-being counsellors held online sessions on mindfulness, cyber security, diet and FS fitness challenge was introduced as an online competition. Online graduation ceremony was held and children also participated in international competitions by 'Our World in Data'. Teachers stepped out of their comfort zone and positively engaged students embracing technology. Head of School -Vardan Kabra

Jury Comments: Special mention for innovative and wholesome efforts paying attention to academic as well as extra-curricular learning in addition to health, interactions and feedback. Sending graduation kits home was a special gesture.

AEM UP School, Moorkanad, Kerala
AR Innovation and Support for Economically Challenged
Mid-day meal scheme was resumed by suppling to homes in association with clubs and organisations and students depended on Victers Channel of Kerala Education Department for learning. Technology initiatives were led by Social Science teacher Shyam Vengalloor and encouraged by V Krishnadas, Headmaster. With a single mobile and laptop of the school, AR was implemented in learning, The Whatsapp and YouTube channels were creatively used by the teachers and parents. Shyam was actively involved in arranging TV sets/smart phones for poor children who couldn't view the online classes of the Victers channel.

Jury Comments: Special mention for becoming a role model in the use of Augmented Reality (AR) to bring alive the concepts, for making the school magazine digitally through QR code scanning and for providing support to economically challenged sections. All this coming from a government aided school in rural area makes it more special.