13 July 2016: Day Nineteen

I was initially supposed to go to TFI today, but Dhiraj told me that he would work on making the cardboard projector in the morning – so I came to Asha instead. In the morning, the students of class 6 and 7 had a computer literacy class, where they got to sit on individual machines, and Dhiraj taught them the different parts and functions of all the devices of a computer – the CPU, the mouse, the keyboard, and so on. They watched a couple of videos on the history of computers, and then Dhiraj gave them a thinking exercise on the difference between the computer inside a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, and the desktops they were sitting on.

“In school, we learnt how to use Microsoft Word and the basic functionalities of how to use the computer. In Word, they taught us how to type and make greeting cards and letters, and how we can save and send them by email. We also used to use Paint and sometimes play games.”

This is a recurrent trend – all the students are taught (both at Asha and at school) computer literacy skills, but not programming or coding. There is no emphasis on teaching computer science; rather, the students learn basically ICT literacy.

I spent 90 minutes with Sameera Ma’am brainstorming the points and ideas she wants to study and talk about with the parents of the students. We are holding a thinking exercise cum workshop with the parents of the students, and together, the two of us came up with this draft. We first performed a brain dump of all our thoughts, and then we selected the specific cases and situations we want to study and understand better. This is a very rough note on all that we discussed. [I have copied down exactly what we discussed in red. All of this is written from Sameera Ma’am point of view.]

What are the takeaways I [Sameera Ma’am] want the parents to have with them from the workshop?
  1. A better understanding of their child, be more compassionate and empathetic. Be a good listener.
  2. More understanding about themselves and their needs, as well as the wants/needs they want from the child, which they may feel is not fulfilled, and that leads to aggression/anger. How to deal with this kind of emotion.
  3. Learning with the children as they grow because them growing up and the generation gap awareness.
  4. Finally – APPLY whatever we discuss in this workshop.
  5. Give priority to your children, and treat them as part of your family.
Purpose of this workshop:
  1. We want to understand each other. I want to understand you, and I want to share some ideas with you all.
  2. We will perform a series of exercises and we will have some discussions over it.
Initial Situation: Your child has failed his 10th board exam, and has come back home. What do you do?
     Write about this.
     Have a short discussion.
     Purpose of this is to have an initial brainstorming session.
Now we will look at three specific situations.
A) Realization of a problem and how to deal with it personally. 
Situation: You find out that your child has been stealing some money from your purse every day, and the child is spending that money on buying cigarettes, and  you catch your child red-handed stealing and smoking. What is happening in your mind at this point of time?
     Write this down.
     Then have a discussion.
B) How well do you know your child?
Situation: Suppose there is a robbery that happened in the locality, and everyone (neighbours and friends) accuse your child of committing the crime. They are all saying that your child did it. How will you deal with this? Will you blame your child, or will you defend your child? What will you say and why?
     Write this down.
     Then have a discussion.
C) Reaction and response to very sensitive situations of emotional trauma.
Situation: We have been seeing these cases of child molestation and abuse happening all around us. What if you see signs of something like this that has happened in your child, and the person involved is a very close family member or someone you know. Keeping this in mind, what goes through your mind when you realize that something like this has happened? What is the first thing that you would want to do?
     Write this down.
     Then have a discussion.
Final Concluding Points.
Questions from the parents.
Wrap up.
Dhiraj went ahead and made a projector out of cardboard. He was unsuccessful though – he and Satyam tried different orientations and shapes and phones as well, but they were not able to form a clear image that could be projected on a wall. They haven’t given up though – and they’re still working on it. Meanwhile, the two of them (and Santosh, and a couple of other students from class 7, 9 and 10) got excited with this tutorial that showed them to make a mini-hologram out of a phone screen. It looked really cool, and all the kids were quite excited about it for a while. It is clear that the VR Cardboard viewer is still the most popular thing around. I’ve had students from every class come up to me and they’ve asked me if they can check it out.


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