The town of Karadi Path has been named winner of the 50th London Book Fair International Excellence Awards for Educational Learning Resources
Physical classes, making new friends and spending time at the playground during recess have been replaced by screens since the start of the pandemic.
But even before March 2020, parents and educators were turning to online resources for easy learning. Karadi Path by Karadi Tales is one such resource for language learning, which was envisioned and launched 10 years ago.
Today, the platform was recognized as a winner by the 50th London Book Fair, in its International Excellence Awards category in Educational Learning Resources – the only company in India to receive the award this year.
It all started when schools began to view Karadi Tales audiobooks as a possible language resource. “We had Naseeruddin Shah, Nandita Das and so on to give voice to the characters,” recalls CP Viswanath, co-founder of Karadi Path. “The kids loved the way the story was told, even when they didn’t know the language itself,” he adds, recalling an incident in Dharavi (Mumbai), where the crew went. realized that children could speak three languages simultaneously.
“In India, we are effortlessly multilingual. But at the same time, you see children learning a language in theory for many years, without knowing how to speak it or the meaning of words, ”he says. These observations together form the cornerstone of a 10-year research process at Karadi Tales that led to Karadi Path.
“After the research, we came to the conclusion that we should never teach a single word or a single meaning or even a single grammar rule, if we are to teach a language. A language must be learned through prediction and discovery, ”says Viswanath.
This framework is what Karadi Path brings to classrooms. This “don’t teach from the word but teach from the story down” approach did not have many takers in the beginning. However, this methodology has had a magnified impact especially for students in rural India who are only introduced to a language other than their mother tongue through textbooks.
“Here, they discover the language through stories, music, the use of the body, action, theater…”, explains Viswanath. One of the key aspects that the annual London Book Fair highlighted is the access of Karadi Path to underprivileged sections and remote places.
However, today’s students are a whole different ball game. “More by necessity than by design, we had to use technology very early on. Not only from a content point of view, but there is also a digitized animator on the screen. The physical teacher is then left to use his animation skills rather than his language skills, ”explains Viswanath.
Their app connects school, students and their parents together. In this sense, early digitalization has helped Karadi Path seamlessly transition to a largely online student base without the physical presence of a teacher, in the pandemic world. To minimize the digital divide during COVID-19, teachers in remote villages who own smartphones have been encouraged to teach in small groups. “In parts of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, they were taught in the streets and courtyards of temples. We also asked teachers to connect their car speakers to phones to make the content accessible, ”adds Viswanath.
Meanwhile, working with the government of Andhra Pradesh, Karadi Path had also offered 50 televised sessions for Doordarshan, with resources in Telugu and English.
In the future, in addition to language resources, the platform hopes to focus on holistic learning for kindergarten and preschool children. “This is an age group that has been seriously affected by the fact that schools are not in session. So we offer preschool products accessible from home, to ensure that at least the non-motor part of learning can take place now, ”says Viswanath.