Education Technology

EdBank’s Founder on India's 1st Community-Powered Platform For Teacher Training

Apoorva Chakravarty
EdBank’s Founder on India's 1st Community-Powered Platform For Teacher Training

EdBank was launched in July 2020, amidst the global COVID-pandemic...a time when the entire education sector had to go virtual overnight and resort to online learning. That was the right moment for an online platform like EdBank, which is a community-powered platform for educators, to launch and support the warrior-teachers. Today, this online education bank helps exchange knowledge, perform research, serve resources, and share recommendations between teachers and school leaders. Apart from this, it connects people, practices, and pedagogies to empower schools and in turn, inspire the next generation.

CEO & Founder, Mr. Ravi Santlani informs, "EdBank is supported by Common Wealth of Learning which is considered the Mecca of Teacher-Training, a body created by several countries across the world. Having Common Wealth of Learning as our knowledge partner is truly a golden opportunity. Other than this, EdBank is under regular discussion with other government and non-government bodies to partner with."

Read the excerpts from the conversation with Mr. Santlani talking about EdBank’s journey so far and its various courses that are taking the education sector by storm.

What inspired you to start EdBank? Remember its initial days. 

In my career of five years in the education field, heading India’s one of the largest media houses that focuses on K-12 education, I realised that there was no such platform for our educators to come together and exchange their knowledge. Filling this gap soon became my mission and I took up the R&D work. The plan was to create an online space that we, as an educational media house, would want to leave behind as a legacy.

The team has learnt a lot since the inception of its idea. It was a great experience to have such learned, veteran educators spending their valuable time to record sessions with us. While at it, we also learned using many technical tools that helped us with the recordings, editing, case studies, questionnaires and assessments. The silver lining in this dark cloud of the pandemic is that we managed to launch EdBank on time. 

What are the specific features, according to you, that make EdBank one of the most efficient online learning platforms for educators? 

There are different features under the banner and the brand EdBank. The first thing we launched was the online teacher training. Till date, 9 courses and 68,000 learning hours have been delivered to about 9,000 educators from different parts of the country. Next, we’re planning to launch the second feature called ‘Communities.’ In this, we would give an opportunity to the educators to come together and discuss the various topics that they would like to learn or teach the community. There will be different forums and topics available to interact on, like Early Childhood Education, primary & middle years’ pedagogy, content, curriculum, technology, etc. Apart from this, we’ve got another feature called ‘Resources,’ wherein educators would be able to share their resources like curriculum, lesson plans, tools and training materials with others.

And finally, we plan to launch the ‘Recruitment’ section. This will be an exclusive portal which will make job applying, hiring and the selection process easier for teachers and recruiters. We are also ambitious about giving a 10-second video tool to the educators who would want to put forth their resume in an interesting manner. This will make it easier for hiring sides to filter out the finalists for the said job. In fact, recruitment interviews with video CV option on an end-to-end encrypted platform with full privacy guaranteed will be possible soon. 

Which collaborations/courses would you say stood out the most until now?

Without a doubt, it's ‘Coding in Eary Years’ by Dr. Swati Popat Vats, the President of ECA, APER & Podar Education Network. It is one of the most visited courses on the platform to date. We have been very exclusive about the type and quality of the courses that appear on EdBank, though this slows us down as the processing takes longer than usual. So far, we’ve received interests from over 600 educators who wish to conduct a course on EdBank but we’ve been very careful and particular of our choices. 

Since each course is unique in its own way, we are leaving no stones unturned and taking steps cautiously. Another thing that comes into play is the educator who’s conducting the course. Their own footing and following in the educational ecosystem is a major part when it comes to attending the courses. Dr. Vats, as I said, is a big influence, especially among early childhood educators and trainers in India. 

In courses like ‘Coding in Early Years,’ the audience aka the registered educators also need hands-on experience apart from the regular theoretical data. How does EdBank or the mentor-in-charge provide this opportunity?

Honestly, there are limitations of virtual learning even though it reaches more people than any physical seminar ever can. In such cases where the students are educators themselves, they already have a basic knowledge of the topic so the entire learning process becomes easier. 

Dr. Vats’ course comparatively is less technical and more learning-oriented, for example. She’s provided the learners with her experienced knowledge which has more to do with ‘coding’ in daily life and activity, not the literal ‘coding.’

Additionally, we sent across a book authored by Dr. Vats named ‘Yash and Yashika Learns Coding’ to those who enrolled for her course, so they could get a hold of the topic right from the basics to teaching it to their students in the future. We also have a live chat section to help clear the doubts of the attendees.

What do EdBank and the instructors you collaborate with have common in their vision?

The common goal is to leave a legacy behind and not to take the immensity of knowledge repository to the grave. Also, to archive the thoughts and learnings of these amazing educationalists that others can gain from, especially during emergencies like a pandemic. Imagine having a platform where the crème de la crème of the education sector would record and save their life’s learnings for the coming generations to take inspiration from. 

The topic of ‘Humor in Classroom’ is rather new and untraditional in an Indian set-up. Talk about the response you've received on this? Also, what's your takeaway?

While we were doing a conference ‘The Mad Conclave’ a few years ago, we wanted to invite the Ad-guru Prahlad Kakkar for it. Due to time constraints, he could not join us and so, we zeroed in on Pratish Nair, who is the managing director and co-founder of the Prahlad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship. Mr. Nair came like a storm and the most amazing thing about him was his humour. Since then inviting him to the otherwise dull conferences and giving them a new life became a constant for us.

So, when we reached out to him to ask if he had a topic in mind for EdBank, his immediate response was to record a session on ‘Humor in Classrooms.’ This couldn’t get better. Humour is one of the most significant ways to connect teachers and students emotionally. This course is undoubtedly one of the most phenomenal and memorable ones. The response so far is enormous, even the educators who did not initially support the idea of humour in their classrooms were bound to rethink.

I personally feel that Mr. Nair should consider writing a book on his ideas and philosophies as it can help many educators come out of a formal, orthodox setup and consider some good laughs a healthy part of their teaching style.

Lastly, how do you see EdBank leading in the future and contributing to the education sector?

We are very confident and hopeful that in the years to come, EdBank will become a go-to learning platform for every teacher. We are also planning on creating courses in different languages to welcome a diverse audience. It doesn’t matter which board they teach for, CBSE, ICSE, or IB, they can easily log in and improve their skills. 

Simultaneously, we’re trying to identify educators who are at the top of their game and can conduct unique courses efficiently. We envision EdBank as a platform that attracts teachers to come and learn rather than spend hours scrolling through Google and other apps.

We are also working towards building a tool that will allow educators to go Live, pick a topic of everyone’s interest and explain it directly to the viewers in real-time. This will send a notification to the possible attendees that a chat room is created and they are welcome to join it. Here, EdBank will act as a virtual staffroom, allowing chatting, making new friends in the education sector, and discussing their ideologies & philosophies.

I strongly believe that EdBank’s successful launch has written history, it shows how the Indian education sector is open to learning when given a good opportunity. It also proves that our teachers do not and will not step back at any opportune moment.

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