Monthly archive December, 2008

Day five

This morning, we worked with five of Kalpana’s students from the girls’ high school as part of our effort to observe the ways in which people of different ages (elementary-school children, high schoolers, young teachers, and older teachers) approach and absorb computer education. The girls above, left to right, are Shivange (12th grade), Prachi (1th...

Day four

We worked with Kalpana by herself in the morning; since she was sick on Sunday, we reviewed some basic Word and Windows concepts to solidify the fundamentals. She’s planning on bringing some girls from her class tomorrow. My goal was never to teach students directly, because it’s a fairly unsustainable model, but I think it’s...

Day three

Today we visited the girls’ high school (above), which used to be the boys’ middle school that my dad attended. We met with some teachers and administrators who again mentioned that the school will be receiving 15-25 computers (the exact number seems to vary depending on who we talk to) from the government in April....

Asha Rani

Asha Rani was recently elected to the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly from the Bijawar District, and she’s been making the rounds through the village. She came here today. This truck has been coming around once or twice a day, playing Hindi music and blasting announcements to publicize her visit. The street was totally filled by...

Day two

These three middle-school children (somehow related to me – don’t ask me how) showed up this morning around 11 am to learn how to use computers. In this small village, everyone knows everything, and people have been dropping by to sate their curiosity about what we’re doing for the past couple of days. The two...

Day one

Yesterday, we asked people to sign up for two-hour time slots over the next two days – Saturday and Sunday – during which they could come here to my grandmother’s house and start exploring the laptops we brought with us. Unfortunately, one of the laptops wasn’t working (due to an inexplicably missing .dll file), but...

The first meeting

Prabha and her daughter Sonali are the two women from Bijawar with whom we have been talking since the inception of this project, both to gauge the interest of people in computer education and to have someone on the ground who could communicate with other people, such as the principals of the high schools. Prabha...

Misadventures in flying

Getting to Bijawar from San Francisco requires two full days of travel. Getting to Delhi alone, via Europe or East Asia, requires two flights and 25-35 hours, depending on how long the layovers are. From Delhi, you can either catch the Shatabdi train to Jhansi, which takes hours, or a commuter plane to Khajuraho, which...

The Singapore airport has a butterfly sanctuary

To wit:

Preparing to teach beginners

Although there might be computers at the Bijawar high schools available for teachers to use (see here), we’re taking four laptops on which to help people learn. This move is partly for ease and portability, so that we can hold sessions at my grandmother’s house whenever people are free, and partly so that we have...

Hindi computing

In Bijawar, the language is Bundelkhandi (or Bundeli), a quasi-dialect of Hindi. The written languages, in Devanagari script, are exactly the same. The comparison, for example, between “English” as a concept and the English specifically spoken in California might be apt. I speak some Hindi, although not very well and not very fluently. I basically...

The place and the plan

For some time now, my family has wanted to start a computer education program in Bijawar, the small village in Madhya Pradesh, India, where my dad grew up. His mother – my grandmother – still spends most of her time there, although her children and their families all live elsewhere. According to the 2001 census,...