The use of the PCs in the comfort of a classroom provides a safe space for girls to develop social networks amongst themselves. Outside of the home, schools are one of the only places girls may meet with other girls in a social setting. The secure environment provided by the school helps girls in developing their confidence without fear of outside intrusion. Thus, schools provide the only safe space, outside the home, for girls to meet with each other, learn together and share ideas. The ease of access to the internet and computer training should help girls link with their counterparts globally, enabling them to expand their worldviews. Through these connections, girls can develop methods for engagement in civic action projects, further increasing their social networks and development of leadership skills.
The CARE-Intel collaboration has helped in fostering positive change via the following outcomes:
CARE has provided computer training to teachers and students. The computers have been used for classroom instruction and after school for extra-curricular activities such as computer clubs. CARE helped in enhancing learning opportunities and leadership skills particularly of girls, proving great opportunity for girls to network and practice extra-curricular activities.
CARE has helped enhance learning opportunities and leadership skills in India through expanded computer use. The acquisition of the computers significantly increased resources and learning opportunities for students as it helped in bringing the computer-to-student ration close to 1-1. The extra resources helped in solidifying students’ reasoning and analytical skills and the computers also provided the students with opportunities for extracurricular activities such as developing social networks online.
Teacher training workshops aimed at providing school-based academic support to instructors. While most of the teachers in the schools have a basic knowledge of computers, the trainings intended to ensure they are using the technology to its full potential in the day-to-day teaching-learning process in the classroom using the teacher-laptop and classmates.
Acquiring leadership skills through computers further empowers girls by building their confidence, enabling them to make informed decisions about their lives. Girls were also given the opportunity to develop social networks using the computers in their classrooms. Within this framework; Computer friends groups have been formed under the supervision of the IT teachers in the schools.
Ultimately, the CARE-Intel partnership is leading to increased instructional capacity of teachers, computer literacy skills for students and the creation of girls’ active social networks.
The Intel Education Service Corps (IESC) is a short-term service and career development opportunity for Intel employees to support the deployment of Intel classmate PCs in developing countries. In this blog, Heather Levin, an applications engineer at Intel, recaps her team's first week of experiences in India working with CARE in Hardoi.
As we walked through the gates of the Sarvodaya Ashram on Tuesday morning, it was clear that we had entered a sanctuary. Four groups of 25 girls were seated on the floor, engaged with each other, their teacher, and their studies. Perhaps these girls have known suffering but you would never have known it from their faces. It was clear that the Udaan school – supported by CARE India and designed to help girls catch up from a gap in their schooling – has created a nurturing family where the girls feel safe and are able to focus on their development.
The girl’s faces were shy and curious as they began their first computer class. Within minutes, they were engaged and actively exploring what we had shown them. We had prepared more advanced lesson plans, but we had to adapt and adjust as so many of the fundamental skills that are ingrained in us are new to them. In addition, we had created an Excel wedding budget lesson plan, but the girls informed us that weddings come only after their studies.
So we focused on practical skills like navigating the desktop, using a mouse, opening, saving, and formatting but always ended class with an activity that thrilled them. The girls were mesmerized by the use of the classmate PC’s camera, snapping pictures of themselves, their teachers, and us. The typing and math games we introduced not only reinforced the children’s ability but inspired a teacher, who had previously stated that she only wanted one hour of computer usage per week, to say that she would start using the software as part of her math curriculum. The girls quickly grew more confident and began navigating the computer and practicing addition, subtraction, and multiplication. We tried to plant at least one seed in their imagination, and each day they left class sparkling with delight, waving, and shouting Namaste to us.
On our last day we taught the girls basic robotics by having them build crocodiles, monkeys, and planes from a LEGO Education product called WeDo, which contains not only LEGO pieces but a USB-powered motor with various sensors and a visual programming interface that runs on the classmate PC. Yesterday, none of the girls knew what robots were, but today they built and programmed their own. The click of their minds as new neural networks were manifested, on some level, seemed to shift our future. Set in motion, inspired by the congregation of forces – locals, CARE, Intel, and us – there is no bound to what these girls can do. Each girl that we help helps another, and thus, not only the girls themselves, but our dreams of a better world, take flight.
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