1. Molly and Logan in the Dubai Airport for 8 HOURS, my fitbit told me that we walked 5.5 miles around the terminals in that time. We went to every single gate we could (and also tried to break into the Emirates first class lounge). Here is a picture of us in front of the Dubai “Seattle’s Best."
2. Molly in our lovely room after we met our host family. We live with Dipti & Jayant, their son Hrishikiesh, and Jayant’s parents. We are having the BEST food, tea, and time with this incredibly welcoming family in their beautiful home.
3. Our sitting room with traditional Indian swing where we practice mindfulness every day.
4 & 5. On our first full day in Pune we drove around Pune in rickshaws with Survana, a Pratham manager, looking at all seven of their projects here (it was a really long day). Here is a young girl reading a "mind map” in one of Pratham’s focus groups and her peers using a computer to learn about fractions in Marathi. Children from the neighbor come from both private and public schools to use the computers Pratham has in order to supplement their math, language, and digital education.
6 & 7. One of the coolest project we saw was “English Club” where children meet in a small room in their neighborhood, and using donated phones, sims, and materials, learn English. You can see on the left a sheet with mobile phone numbers and instructions. The kids call these numbers and listen to a short lesson in Marathi and English and self-teach. They do this in pairs, helping each other, while an instructor watches on. The teacher attention is minimal. Pratham emphasizes using only the tech in these experiments and carefully watches the children to monitor and evaluate how they are using it.
8. This was our first stop. This is a traditional classroom in a local Pune government school. This is not a class, however. It’s a supplemental group that meets during their break in school to go over simple math and language skills. Some of these children are not from Maharashtra because they moved here recently and are going to this group to improve their skills in Marathi. Some are trying to stay caught up with their peers.
9. Madhav Chavan, CEO of Pratham International talking to a group of us at Symbiosis College, an institute for computer science learning. A good summary of his talk can be found here on BigThink.
The conversation was multi-lingual, inclusive, and fascinating to watch as an outsider. It was a group of tech people looking to understand more about the state of education in their country and how they could help. It reminded me of a lot of conversations in Seattle about the responsibility of the tech community. The conversation ranged from the role of technology, the future of education, to the role of caste/race/class in education (Brown v. Board was even referenced by Dr. Chavan, as well as “separate but equal is never equal”).
10. One of my current projects. We are trying to develop downloadable lessons for people looking for jobs in hospitality and service so they can interactively improve their English skills. I am developing strategy and digital content for this software, as well as learning plenty of Java and C# from my fellow interns (who are going to school in Pune) Rohini and Jyotsna. They are both 22 and teaching me a lot about Marathi, India, coding, and Pune. They are a lot smarter than me and I am happy they put up with my n00b level.
More to come about my first week soon as well as reflections on Pune, family life, and software in India! Thanks for taking a look, mom and dad.