“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn” – Benjamin Franklin.
I’m sure my parents and teachers never really got the meaning of Franklin’s quote. As a result I completed my basic education by mugging up stuff and vomiting them at exams. The education system was and is built upon chasing grades. It never made us realize the need to stop and understand the meaning of things, thereby ignoring the fun it always had.
I was bad at Mathematics, Biology confused me and Chemistry formulas were a nightmare. I learnt my English and Hindi poems and History chapters by rote. I wasn’t alone, many of my classmates had mastered the art of learning by rote, and the better their memory the better they scored. Even today I see school-going children repeating lessons like a shloka.
Rote learning is running deep since generations in our society. My dad even got me a tonic that boasted it had powers to enrich one’s memory!
As I grew up I realized that mugging up was just a small problem, the bigger problem was that I never focused on the ‘Why’ and had stopped asking questions. From being a fun and learning activity, education became a boring, repetitive and number game exercise.
The video below depicts exactly how examination centers look like where students are memorizing probable questions in the last minute. End result: you tend to forget everything when it comes to delivering. In this case it is Vikram who mugs up the definition of Photosynthesis without understanding how it works:
Mugging or Rote Learning is a virus that the personal computing giant, Dell wants to eradicate from our education system. The company that has been in this exercise from some time now, wants to focus on understanding and comprehension of a concept. “One that believes that learning is the heart of an education and not repetition or marks. Interactive learning considers skills and capabilities to be the true education of a student; the ability to do rather than to remember. It is all about experiencing education. The student takes ownership of his/her education and in the process, becomes smarter, more responsible and mature,” says the company on its website.
Building awareness on the dangers of Rote Learning and to make education a creative process, Dell India celebrated June 10, 2016 as Anti Rote Day. A micro portal explains what is Rote Learning, features the video and offers a way to support the initiative that requires your profile details.
On social media, the brand made use of creative visuals inviting support for Anti Rote Day.
Contests were also tied in to create buzz around #DellAntiRoteDay. I am sure the brand must have got some really interesting and shocking stories.
For absolute believers in the cause, there was the option of replacing your Facebook profile picture with the cause.
In addition to showcasing how conceptual learning is more beneficial to children in the long run, Dell aims to explain how personal computer (PC) technology can transform learning for a student.
But the job is incomplete and solves only a part of the problem i.e. education being fun. The other bit of educating the system that involves the parent and teacher community is also being taken care of.
Dell India understands the importance of roping in teachers and parents if they have to win against the virus of Rote Learning. Powered by the aim of increasing PC access and adoption, the brand recently launched Aarambh – a pan India initiative aimed at spearheading the use of the PC for education.
Aarambh, which means ‘to begin’, will engage with three key audiences – students, teachers and parents – in a series of activities meant to build their confidence and familiarity with using the PC. The core idea behind the project is to establish the PC as a gateway to learning by increasing access to knowledge, building upon individual skill-sets and by enabling exposure for students for holistic growth. Thus tying with the cause of supporting Anti Rote Learning in the country.
Anti Rote Learning – ambitious project from Dell India
Someone is speaking my mind: our education system needs to get rid of Rote Learning. It isn’t going to be easy and will be a time consuming effort. However, Dell India has taken up the challenge and working on a two fold approach. Not only is it making education a creative and thinking activity, it is also including parents and teachers. That’s a must if we really want to defeat the age-old system of mugging up to score marks.
Along with the video, the promotions on social media include creative display of the cause. Decent effort to drive optimum eyeballs for a cause campaign on digital.
Stay tuned for the next story on how Dell India is creating memorable stories for students thereby making parents and teachers happy. How I wish someone had told me the problems with mugging up, but we can always educate the present generation, develop a better India that has more thinkers and doers.