Friday, August 11, 2006

Week 1: 8/5/06 - 8/11/06

I arrived in Bangalore in the middle of the night on Sunday (1:30 am Monday); Ms. Muktha picked me up from the airport and we arrived at Mathru a half hour later. I spent the first 2-3 days getting oriented and making sure the tutor was working. I got a real scare on Wednesday when NONE of the E-Slates would communicate with ANY of the laptops. Fortunately, it was an issue with flaky power and they started working again that evening.

My immediate goal is to have a dialog with the teachers about what I've brought, whether they think its suitable, and how we can make it better. Yesterday we worked for about two hours in the afternoon and another hour in the evening just having them familiarize themselves with the hardware and writing. This evening my goal is for them to be able to set up the tutor on their own (power, serial cable, software, etc.) so I have to do quite a bit myself to make that happen (label the E-Slate and cables, write up an instruction manual, etc.) However, we've already had real success. Because all the teachers are blind, its a unique experience for me to try and explain what we've made. Nevertheless, they are very quick to pick up on the idea and make recommendations.

We've outlined several software requirements for each of the grades/standards: a simple position-letter feedback system for the 2nd standard/grade children, a position-letter-word system for the 3rd standard/grade children, and letter-word-essay system for the 4th, 5th, and 6th standard kids.

The teachers inspect the E-Slate by touch and discuss its design.

The teachers listen while I explain the features of the tutor.
Left to right: Ms. Muktha, Gauri, Jayashri, Bhagya, Manjula

The teachers inspect the E-Slate by touch and discuss its design.

They inspect the E-Slate by touch and
enthusiastically discuss its design.
Left to right: Jayashri, Bhagya, Manjula, and Vanaja

A teacher tries out the tutor for herself.

The teachers take turns using the tutor to write Braille.
Pictured: Gauri

This morning we also showed the E-Slate to a few of the students, just to get an idea of what we are up against. Their enthusiasm was incredible! We just as four students to come to the computer lab to play with it but we quickly had several students hover by the door once they heard the commotion. Also, the students caught on immediately and were jostling for turns to write "Mathru" on the E-Slate. Even the young kids had a go.

The kids try out the tutor with Vanaja's help.

Vanaja shows the kids how to use the tutor.
Left to right: Manjula, Gauri, Srinivas, Gana, and Vanaja

The little ones enjoy the E-Slate.

Ms. Muktha explains it to Srinivas and Gana.

I peer over their shoulders as they write.

I peer over their shoulders as they write.

Finally, here are some other photos that you might find interesting.

I peer over their shoulders as they write.

The kids have breakfast together, sitting in rows according to grade/standard.

I peer over their shoulders as they write.

Two of the little ones Nagasri and Kanna
are wrapped up in towels so they don't spill.

I peer over their shoulders as they write.

Bhagya leads the 2nd grade/standard children to their classroom.
They walk "follow-the-leader" style.

I peer over their shoulders as they write.

Lastly, here is my cute studio apartment on the
top floor of the school.


Blogger Ariadna said...

Hi Nidhi!
it's great to see your project is finally becoming a reality. I loved the pictures and hope you find the time to keep posting and writing.
Good luck with everything!
I wish I could do a V-Unit every summer, but then I would never finish my thesis...

4:50 AM  

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