Many of us are mortally afraid of Mathematics. We need our cell phones or computers to do the simplest calculations. Just the thought of numbers and equations is enough to make us weary. And then we feel that it would have so helpful if we’d had a good Maths teacher.
Maths is the basis of logical thinking and one of the most important subjects that helps us with life skills.
Some schools do have teachers who make the subject easy and interesting, but this remains limited to that school. In our Dahiwadi District Council School, we have one such teacher too – ND Patil. We thought that it was only fair that everybody got to learn from Patil ‘Sir’ and so, in 2017, we started a YouTube channel called ‘Ajay Kale – Tech Guru’.
This journey had begun in 2009, and it definitely wasn’t easy. Patil ‘Sir’ and I had gone for a teacher training workshop held by the Education Department. Both of us worked in Tasgaon sub-division, but in different district council schools. I taught in Siddhewadi; Patil was in Vayphal. During the training, the instructor asked us, “Anyone can recognise a potter’s house by looking at it. It will be strewn with earthenware pots, pans, a pottery wheel, clay, and so on. But can one recognise a teacher’s house by the look of it?”
This question really set us thinking. We are the ones who impart knowledge to our students, but do our homes reflect our relationship to knowledge? As teachers, we ought to be constantly learning new things. We should have collections of good books, informative magazines, and the best of world cinema. As the present time demands, we must have computers at home.
We understood that to be a good teacher we need to be up-to-date with all sorts of knowledge and with new technologies.
We came out of the workshop with a new vision. The first thing we did was to buy laptops for ourselves, which cost about Rs 70,000 each. Being portable, the laptops were easy to carry to school. Also, once charged, they would work for three hours, so we did not have to worry about power cuts. We realised again and again what excellent investments our laptops had been.
Initially, we showed educational CDs in school but soon realised that these CDs covered entire textbooks in just 90 minutes, and were not benefiting our students. So then we started making PowerPoint presentations for our students, on different subjects. For instance, we made a history lesson using PowerPoint.
We taught them the lesson about Bajiprabhu and Panhalgad – the siege of Panhalgad by Siddi Johar, how Shiva Kashid impersonated Shivaji Maharaj, and the way Bajiprabhu fought valiantly in Ghodkhind till Shivaji reached Vishalgad – using slides, photographs, music, videos of Kolhapur district and of Panhalgad. The students really enjoyed the lesson.
Eventually, the Internet reached our little town too, and we started using it for teaching various subjects.
Patil ‘Sir’ joined the Dahiwadi School in 2014. I followed two years later.
He was like a magician with Mathematics. He had more than 17 years’ experience of teaching Maths, and I felt that children from other schools should also benefit from his teaching. I am very interested in technology, so I began thinking about how I might use the Internet to take his knowledge and skills with Maths to a worldwide audience.
Patil ‘Sir’ had many tricks up his sleeve for solving mathematical problems. I started making short videos of these. I would save them on my laptop, and show them in class using a projector. The students loved this experiment. This was much more exciting and interesting than using fat textbooks and notebooks.
Pradeep Kumar Kudalkar, Group Education Officer, Tasgaon Panchayat Samiti, really appreciated this experiment – he suggested that rather than restrict it to the Dahiwadi School alone, we try to make it available to other schools as well.
This appreciation was very encouraging. The idea of having a YouTube channel emerged from here.
I had no experience of starting such a channel, but the various training programmes I had attended, the blogs I read on the subject, and inputs from some tech-savvy teachers proved a great help. I took online tutorials and soon came up with the ‘Ajay Kale – Tech Guru’ channel, using my own name.
I took on the responsibility of filming, editing and compiling the material, while Patil ‘Sir’ took on the challenge of making a difficult and hated subject like Maths simple and interesting.
Patil ‘Sir’ believes that once you understand the reasoning and logic underlying the rules and equations of Maths, it becomes very easy to understand. Why is the number 1 is neither a composite number nor a prime number? While measuring the area of a triangle, why do we always use (1/2)? Why is the value of pi 22/7? Why do we always start division from the left side?
You will find the answers to all these questions, and many more, on our channel.
You will find many tricks that help you understand common mistakes made while doing division, how to make tables of higher numbers using tables of 2 to 10, how to tell if fractions are greater or smaller, how to do multiplication and figure out ratios, how to calculate simple interest, how to multiply and divide fractions, and more. We have elementary topics such as ‘angles and types of angles’ for Std 5 and 6; we also have material teaching topics like triangular numbers for students studying for competitive exams.
Do visit our channel, ‘Ajay Kale – Tech Guru’ and subscribe to it. It teaches teachers how to rid their students’ minds of the prevailing fear of Maths and make it into an absorbing subject.
Writers: Ajay Kale, N D Patil; Associate Teachers, District Council School, Dahiwadi, Taluka Tasgaon, Sangli district
Contact: Ajay Kale- 9921689468, N. D. Patil- 9975122727
Editing and Translation: samata.shiksha Team.