Burning heat and unrealistic temperatures are mundane for us Delhi-ites in the middle of May. The streets are deserted and most children are found in the comfort of their homes. However, in the locality of Sangam Vihar, regardless of the scorching heat students spend their summer in this little haven of knowledge, not ceasing to learn even when they're on holiday. Most teenagers conventionally spend the summer accessing the internet; be it to complete holiday homework, listen to music or simply get in touch with their friends. We realised that the internet is such an integral part of our lives that we forget to realise that the ease with which we access it comes with a lot of exposure and practice. This summer, we decided to intern with Alohomora to help teach children to reap the benefits of this vast ocean of knowledge- the internet.
What we taught and what we learnt...
Main Objective : The digital literacy programme works towards quenching curiosity of teenage students through the internet and broadening their horizons of learning.
Becoming a Permanent Member of The Internet:
The internet connects like-minded people worldwide from different cultures, backgrounds, lines of work and ages. The purpose of this course is to give students international exposure and an opportunity to become a global citizen. When we introduced the concept of online messaging and email ID's, students were enlightened by the fact that they could communicate with most everyone for free. As they sent each other messages it was rewarding to see their eyes light up with awe and joy, they had become a part of this vast digital community.
Access and Sort information
During research time, an emphasis was laid on assembling information, using appropriate keywords to get better results and achieve apt clarity on the topic in question.
We introduced a new useful website every day, to make their searching skills more efficient. On days when we would run out of time, we realised that the students have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, as they would approach us for user-specific websites at the end of every class!
Application in the Real World
On facing one of the most exciting activities of the camp, planning a 10-day trip to Jaipur, within a specific budget, students learned to analytically solve real world problems. They accessed information on the internet to find hotel prices, book trains or buses, and decide how they would spend their time there.
Although the camp was based on self-learning, the projects and assignments were arranged in a manner that both independence and team spirit were perfectly juxtaposed learnings throughout the many activities.
Self-learning : Main project
The main project for the final week of the summer camp was to acquire a new skill from the internet. The students were divided into groups and they thought of a topic whose knowledge would be essential in their daily lives. We came across many out-of-the-box ideas. Some of them being, magic tricks, Mehendi-making, cooking Chole-Bhature, making an electric motor, etc.
Every activity students carried out was to be completed within a fixed time period. This helped them practice a very important life-skill, time management.
What we noticed and took back:
The students never ceased to show us their eagerness to learn and grow. Being curious and courageous were the ground rules of the classroom! They made the best of all the opportunities they got to learn something new, learning new word meanings, new websites, and most anything that they came across. They kept themselves motivated to learn and grow at all times : working tirelessly in the burning heat, persevering even when they didn't understand anything and even putting up inspiring Dr. Seuss quotes on their library wall!
Their dedication to their future immensely inspired us, on reaching home after a long day a sense of achievement took over us and followed by a sense of humility. Complaining about anything seemed unreasonable, learning became our objective, much like our students. These two weeks of camp developed a symbiotic relationship between us, we taught them as well as learned from them. Two weeks is a small time for a bond this strong to have formed, but with the magnitude of our learning and their strive for excellence, we did it. They indeed were a remarkably impactful two weeks of our life!