The Digital StudyHall Project: mediated virtual education

This week our class read a efficacy study of The Digital Study Hall (DSH), a program of facilitated video instruction for government primary schools in North India (“Facilitated Video Instruction in Low Resource Schools”, Anderson et al). The project is an interesting conglomeration of video ICT technology, teacher training, administrative support and foreign aid.

The Digital StudyHall website describes the project like this:

“We digitally record live classes by the best grassroots teachers, transmit them on the “Postmanet” (effected by DVDs sent in the postal system), collect them in a large distributed database, and distribute them on DVDs to poor rural and slum schools.

The program emphasizes teacher training to improve quality of education. The videos are meant provide teachers with inspiration for teachers. The other purpose of the videos is for “mediation-based pedagogy” in which a mediator facilitates in-class student interaction with the videos (role-playing activities, working on the board, etc.)

Digital StudyHall utilizes “light-tech” equipment such as TV’s, DVD players, camcorders, the postal system and cell phones as well as “higher-tech” operations like databases and DVD burning robots.

The Digital StudyHall is funded by a mix of individuals, NGO organizations, foreign and domestic government bodies and for-profit companies including: Intel Labs, Ashoka, Microsoft, National Science Foundation, University of Washington, Google, and others.

In Anderson et al.’s analysis of the Digital StudyHall program, administrative and teacher support as well as theft of equipment proved to impede successful continuation of the  program. In all, I think this program is a great model for the incorporation of easily available and easy-to-use ICT equipment to address educational development.


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