12 Oct, 2013
In the ensuing write-up, which is a conversation that I had almost a year back when my entire team was all engrossed in finding a solution for the revival of all the Abacus Institutes that had been forced to close down owing to the Covid Lockdown. The students stopped attending their Abacus classes. This had severely hit our own business as we were hugely dependent on our franchise business spread across 16 countries.
My conversation was with three people, one being an Abacus Trainer cum owner of the Abacus Class and the other being the duo of a father and child. The child was a student of Abacus.
I being an Abacus promoter was curious to know, ‘What do they have to say about the effect of the Covid pandemic on Abacus?’
Effect of the lockdown on the Abacus Classes
While the Institute owner expressed of he going through a very bad phase as he had to close down his center as the students stopped coming due to the lockdown. He also said he did try teaching online through the available video conferencing apps, but the results are neither satisfactory nor promising. It was not convenient for teaching.
I told him, I couldn’t agree more and that over 20000 Abacus Institutes worldwide had shutters down due to the lockdown, and also that this had rendered more than 30000 Abacus Trainers jobless.
Effect of the lockdown on Abacus Students.
When I looked at the father and son duo, I felt they both had a lot to say. While the father said that his son had to discontinue the Abacus Training as the centers were closed. He felt this deprived his child of learning the skill of Abacus math.
Meanwhile, the son was waiting impatiently for his turn to get into the conversation. It seems he had a lot to say, which seemed very obvious as he was the end-user, and naturally the most affected.
He said when the lockdown started his Abacus class got closed. He was sad that he and many other students of that Abacus class now were unable to learn Abacus Math.
I told him that it was not only him but over 5 to 6 lacs or approximately half a million students were facing the same situation. They all had to discontinue their Abacus Training.
Online Abacus teaching is not effective
When I probed further with my question, that why did the teacher not go online and also why the student had not joined an Online Abacus class?
Well with this I seemed to have hit Pandora’s box. Both the teacher and the student started to put in their opinion to this. They had so much to say. Let me sum it up one by one.
I will get you the Student's view first.
-He said learning abacus on the mobile was very difficult as he could sometimes not see the finger movements demonstrated by his teacher and also said his teacher also faced the same problem. Because of this, he was making mistakes in moving the beads correctly on the Abacus instrument. He further added the wrong answers always frustrated him.
- He was finding it difficult to do Abacus Mental Math practice because of this. He was also unable to improve his speed of calculations because of the lack of mental practice.
- The student was also of the opinion that his workbook both for Homework and Class Work could not be checked regularly.
- He further said he was not enjoying learning Abacus as he did not know how his other friends were performing.
The child summed it all up in one final sentence that the Online Abacus class was not interesting and he did not want to continue.
Now it was the turn of the teacher.
He said he agreed with all that the student said. He also said that if Abacus had to be taught online then a dedicated platform has to be created both for teaching as well for the student to learn.
I went a step further and asked him to be more specific about what are all the facilities that he would like to have in the Online Abacus Teaching Platform so that he could teach smoothly and effectively.
I must say the teacher was very clear in his mind, he insisted I would better take note of the points that he was going to raise. To which I agreed and started to jot down his points under this head,
Requirements in an Online Abacus Teaching Platform
a. A well-developed integrated system from where several students could participate in the Abacus Class, he could train all the students for the right finger movements and also be able to monitor and ensure that all students followed the right method. The number of students in the class should not be a hindrance in the teaching process. It should not be dependent on external video conferencing apps.
b. An option that would allow problems of different students to be attended at the same time by him and still not disturb the normal classes functioning.
c. A system with the facility from where he could give Classwork, Homework and also that he should be able to check and evaluate the work thus done by the students, preferably in real-time.
d. Most importantly a specially developed content that could be easy to show, explain and be able to keep the students glued to the screen. He said the if the lessons are created in the form of self-explanatory videos that he as a teacher could add explain further and use as visual support to explain to the students. This he said could be the only way that would bring back the students to the Abacus classes and also will be worth the money the parents will invest.
e. He also said that since it would be all online better if we are done away with the workbooks and the child should solve the questions and input the answers on the system itself. This he said would ease the problem of evaluating the work done by the students.
f. One more issue he said that need to be addressed was to create a competitive atmosphere in the class was to give awards to the students. He concluded even if it is virtual, it would good enough.
g. After a second thought he went on to add that if the experts could develop a digital Abacus, that can be of great help especially if the child gets stuck in solving any sum while doing the homework.
h. A system that would allow the teacher to conduct the exams level-wise and also allow the teacher to issue Certificates to the students after that.
i. He said further that before he forgets, he would also want that the system must also have a complete teachers training system so that he can become an expert in conducting the Online Abacus Classes.
i. He also wanted the system to facilitate online registration and collection of fees of the students.
Well, well when he was done saying all that he had to say and I was done with my listing, I was very clear why the several companies that claimed to be offering Online Abacus Classes had failed to help the closed down Abacus Institutes to get back their students.
This required the experts to develop a huge integrated Abacus Teaching and Learning system in tandem with the Abacus Experts who would have to develop an exclusive online friendly curriculum that could deliver the expected convenience and results. This was asking for a hell of a lot of investment both in terms of time, expertise, and finance.
Which certainly was not a cup of tea for the small-time companies.
The challenges were too many. But of course, what was the solution?
As promoters of Abacus Education for over two decades and having our presence in over 16 countries worldwide, we Mastermind Abacus took up the challenge and developed a Hi-tech Abacus Teaching and Learning Platform that promises to meet all the needs as expressed by my friend Abacus teacher and the Abacus student.
Yes, we successfully created The World's First Live Online Abacus Teaching Platform.
This Online Abacus Learning Platform of Mastermind Abacus meets all the expectations of the Abacus Institutes and the Trainers. It is also extremely easy for the students to access and operate. To make the program easy, high interest, and exceptionally engaging for the students, the Abacus lesson here for all levels has been transformed into interesting and innovative video games based on Math calculations. The system allows the Abacus Trainer to conduct exams, evaluate in real-time, issue Certificates, collect fee mange marketing. It has an answer to every aspect related to Teaching Abacus or managing the Abacus institute in the most effective way.
Anyone could start his / her own Abacus Training Center / Institute with No Franchise Fee no overhead expenses and naturally no Business risk, with only a Laptop / PC with broadband internet connection.
This is the answer to the present catastrophic situation being faced by my friend Abacus teacher and many more. It will certainly help the several closed down Abacus Centers and the out-of-job Abacus Trainers to not only get back their previously registered students but also encourage many more students to enroll themselves.
Your opinion and suggestions are most valid for further enhancing the utility of this Online Abacus Learning Platform. Do put your comments in the comment box.