Bringing technology – and a future – to rural India – Jyoti Chaba, India

Most teachers have at least a few stories about students they’ve influenced, those whose lives they’ve changed for the better. For Jyoti Chaba, the ability to impact young peoples’ future is not only a primary motivation, it’s her calling.

This Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, who often collaborates with Daily Edventures alums like Meenakshi Uberoi and Mamta Narula, is certainly fulfilling that calling.

When Chaba recently volunteered in small, rural villages, she used technology to introduce young girls to dental hygiene. It may have been a small step toward preparing these girls for their future, but it was life-changing.

“Educating underprivileged children,” she says, “especially girls, is very close to my heart. In India there are thousands of such children who cannot afford education, or parents simply want them to work and earn money.”

In her own school, where resources are more plentiful, Chaba has also taught students about dental hygiene. Unlike in the villages, where she used her own laptop and hotspot to share a video with many girls, her regular students used online surveys, Office Mix and Sway to explore the topic.

Chaba emphasizes, “Technology, if used in the right way, engages students for a better learning experience. Innovation helps us to keep up with the constantly changing world.”

Next up? She hopes to use Skype in the Classroom to introduce her students to a real dentist.

Chaba and her peers in India have tough challenges ahead. As she points out, today, only 15 to 20 percent of Indians have access to the Internet. But with creativity and motivation – both of which Chaba has in spades – we have no doubt she’ll be changing many more lives.

Enjoy today’s inspiring Daily Edventure with Jyoti Chaba.

What inspired you to become an educator?

The thought that I can make a small impact in someone’s life, however small it might be, inspired me to become an educator. Education, I believe, is a most important tool to make an impact in someone’s life.

When I meet some of my past students who are in high school now and their parents, they always thank me for the important role I played in their younger years. It makes me very proud.

What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?

Recently I volunteered to teach a group of rural girls in small villages who are without much access to the basic amenities of life and have never even seen a TV. I took my laptop, created a hotspot with my phone, and shared some simple videos about dental hygiene. I introduced tooth brushing and distributed free tooth brushes.

Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?

I truly believe in the quote by John Dewey, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow.

While teaching the topic of teeth to grade 4, I introduced my students to tools like Padlet, Online Excel survey, Office Mix and Sway. Their experience of learning was on a different level altogether.

Office Mix was used to create a flipped classroom so that students could see the mix before we started the unit of dental hygiene.

They conducted a survey among friends and family using Excel Online. That helped them to collect samples by just sending a link to the concerned person. They could then get general data on dental habits which they used as a base to create further awareness. 

Whether it’s a day-to-day challenge or larger problem, what’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?

Our educators and other stakeholders like heads of school and parents need to change their mindset and understand that technology, if used in the right way, will help their students rather than distract them. They need to understand that we need to change our ways and methods of teaching.

Once we achieve that, then affordability and availability of infrastructure come into the picture —  such as appropriate number of devices, Internet connection, bandwidth, etc.

Internet connection, even in well-established city schools, is an issue which becomes a hindrance at times for students to access online tools or to participate in events like Skype-a-thon and Hour of Code.

In terms of education innovation, what are you most excited about for the future?

Innovation and technology are shrinking our world and it is helping us erase the physical boundaries. The latest example is Skype in the Classroom, which is offering virtual field trips, guest speakers or just interaction with other students thousands of miles away. This way, students and educators are able to collaborate to do projects that help them solve real world problems.

What is your biggest hope for today’s students?

My biggest hope for students is that they will be able to come up with solutions to the problems our world is facing today, like how to create renewable energy, sustainability, and tackling global warming.

Above all I hope they bring in PEACE, which is needed the most given the current world scenario.

About Jyoti Chaba

Curriculum Developer, Tech Consultant, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert

Royal Oak International School

Gurgaon, India

  • Educational background: Postgraduate degree in Clothing in Textiles, Bachelors in Education
  • Website I check every day: Twitter, Facebook, Social Chorus (recent), BBC (frequently) or all these apps.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Playing hopscotch with my friends.
  • Favorite book: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Surface, Sway, cloud-based Office 365
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Just be yourself. Be thankful and stop complaining.
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One Response to Bringing technology – and a future – to rural India – Jyoti Chaba, India

  1. Sangeeta Pasrija says:

    Great job Jyoti, India needs more dedicated and passionate educators like you! You go girl!

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