Diksha is one of the labs that The Granny Cloud connects with. Though it works with disadvantaged children, the lab and school has many resources with excellent support from a competent coordinator (Monika). This time we share an experience of Granny Edna Sackson and the children at her school connecting with the children at Diksha when the lab was just 3 months old.
What started off as an invitation from Granny Edna – “Grade 2 at my school are learning about how people live in other countries and would like to connect with classes (any age) outside Australia initially via Skype but for an ongoing connection based on the book Same same but different https://www.amazon.com/Same-But-Different-Jenn…/…/0805089462 Are you interested?” became the basis for learning about different places, different people, different cultures.
Here’s what Monika has to say:
A Tale of two CountriesDiksha is a non-profit school in Palam Vihar, Gurgaon, Haryana, India established to provide free and quality education to children from low-income families in the neighbourhood. A core-group of volunteers along with salaried teachers and donors from the community have created a safe, stimulating learning environment that allows 350 children from disadvantaged families to develop a healthy body and mind. Diksha supplies a nutritious mid-day meal (prepared on the premises daily) and a snack to each child in addition to uniforms, shoes and books.
SOLE “Self Organized Learning Environment” As the name says it, it is all about self-learning by providing them a ‘‘BIG Question”.
Initially when I started with this program, children sat blank in front of the screen and just enjoyed in the lab. Slowly but steadily, by putting up big questions in keeping with their age and grade, they got excited and curious to know the answers. The SOLE approach strongly encourages peer learning. Children learn a great deal by explaining their ideas to others and by participating in discussion in which they learn from their peers. They started asking each other about the function of the keys on the keyboard. Now I am glad, that they use the keyboard efficiently and try to read more instead of just seeing pictures or watching videos on YouTube. There has been a drastic change in just 3 months’ time. This is the essence of Self Organized Learning Environments.
The Grannies of The Granny Cloud also connect with the children through skype. The volunteers engage with children for approximately 30 minutes’ each session and learning happens. These sessions have 11-15 students in each group.
Grannies like knowing the children’s names so that they can connect with them personally. They offer a lot of encouragement and enthusiasm to the children and make them stay relaxed.
It is the beauty of the Granny Cloud where people meet around the world on skype and work towards the welfare of the children. As we all know that the innocence of children is beyond any boundaries and it’s just the opportunities that take them to different fields.
I was very excited at first when Edna Sackson (Granny), Australia offered to have skype sessions on the topic “Same same but Different” which the Grade 2 children were studying. I was already looking for similar exposure for my Diksha school children. This is the name of the book on which the teachercheck! and children base out their connection. I immediately agreed and we booked 2 sessions each for Grade 2 & Grade 3. I briefed our students and they were very excited. I asked them to find at least three things about the school in Melbourne. The children were very engaged in exploring the school website and the world map. The children came up with relevant information and were prepared with questions on a piece of paper. They introduced themselves and asked questions in English. They talked about cartoons like “The Thundermans”, games, sports, cricket, transport and many other things like singing their respective National Anthems while standing. One of the Melbourne children also played the violin. Children from both the schools showed drawings and art and were very impressed with each other. Initially I was bit worried about the language barrier but to my surprise everything went smooth as silk.
Next day when our Grade 2 came for SOLE session they looked different. They were quick to find answers. They came up with a special request to watch the Australian cartoon “The Thundermans”, I allowed them and they enjoyed.
Thank you Edna Sackson and the team for the fantastic experience. These are some comments she sent from the children in Australia:
“We were Skyping a school in India to see if people’s lives are different all over the world. We realised the best way to find out is to ask people. Now we realise our lives aren’t that different after all.”
“I learned that we had a lot in common, we watch the same TV shows, we play the same sports but we also have different things like what we eat.” I learned that we both play the same sports which is important because if we went to India, we could play with them.”
I personally found that we are not that different. Really looking forward for such sessions in the future.