7th November 2014 was an eventful day for Shiksha initiative. We not only had a delegate from the Australian High Commission visiting us, but also had delegates from Massachussets Institute of Technology Media Labs, USA and the COO of Twitter Incvisiting us and getting a demonstration of the on ground delivery of Shiksha Initiative in government schools of rural Uttar Pradesh.
The visits were coordinated by the corporate outreach team and the PR team of Shiv Nadar Foundation respectively. Academic experts from Shiksha took the team to the schools and gave them a brief overview of the project as well as the modus operandi we are using to eradicate illiteracy from India one district at a time.
The delegates visited two government primary schools in the same village, MahepaJagir of Sikandrabad block in Bulandshahar district, where the teachers from Shiksha Initiative team are MrRamlakhan Shukla and MrSamod Kumar. They got a demonstration of the classes in progress in both the schools, where animated content being used to teach students in an effective and engaging manner in a rural setting within a not-so-rich-infrastructure wise school amazed them.
Since MIT Media Lab has team members trying to set up a social initiative in India, they were also keen to not only observe but also learn about the on ground delivery, the problems, challenges as well as the advantages. They interacted with the students, discussed with the teachers and also got an understanding of the pedagogy used, the scientific principles as well as rationale behind the content creation and the Bloomberg taxonomy used in the assessment process.
Mr James Kondo of Twitter was quite enthused on watching how technology was not only helping children but also getting them to understand the benefits of technology, which would help them get connected to the world at large in coming years. While the teachers also took out time to show them some activities performed in classroom to enhance learning and keep children interested, they also took feedbacks as well as interesting ideas from the esteemed visitors regarding the improvements in the delivery.
Mr Deb Roy had this feedback for RoshniNadar, the trustee of Shiv Nadar Foundation, “The convergence of our ideas around rural language learning for younger children mediated by networked smart phones really is amazing. After visiting a Shiksha school and meeting with Robin and his team, the compatibility of our plans feels natural. I am so excited about how all this could come together as a transformative force for children’s learning in India and beyond.”