Seeds of Success with Khud’s EdTech Mission

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Seeds of Success with Khud’s EdTech Mission

Can you imagine the feelings of the children from a small school in a small village in Lahore when their school opens a computer lab for them? Ecstatic is a small word. Now that they had a whole new avenue of learning open to them, they were excited at the things they could learn. What’s more; these students had the privilege that theirs is the only school in the village with a computer lab.

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Yes, we are talking about Zahoor School, the first school that Khud collaborated with, in their mission to teach digital skills of today to underprivileged children of Pakistan. This was where it all started. Khud team faced many challenges in the beginning in setting up and carrying out courses in another place but it was all worth it now that there are multiple collaborations under the organization’s belt and the progress of each is a testament in itself.

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The computer lab at Zahoor School today is a state-of-the-art facility where so many children learned the use of computers as a pre-requisite to taking more advanced digital courses. At present, the students there are being taught three professional digital courses: video editing, programming and web development. Video editing is being taught using Premiere Pro, programming using Python and web development through CSS/HTML. Premiere Pro, which is a professional video editing program by Adobe, is a superb tool which can be used in graphic designing, computer animation, film making, photography and any field related to visual creativity hence, can open so many avenues of opportunities for these students.

The reason for selecting these programs is that they are the most suited to have the students get prepared for professional experiences and find earning opportunities on the basis of these skills. These are also the skills which are going to define the future of technology and anyone adept in these skills is guaranteed to thrive in a technologically advanced world.

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Many students out of these courses have enough practice that they have started working on some commercial projects and are already on the way to start earning money on the basis of their newly-acquired skills. We have high hopes from these students to go out in the professional world and make a mark for themselves.

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Preparing for the Future with Computer Programming

As a part of the organization’s mission statement, Khud promotes the agile methodology of learning among the underprivileged students of Pakistan through as many means as possible. This includes partnering with other non-profits who have the same vision to impart digital skills of today to their inductees. Each one of these collaborations have proved mutually beneficial and have garnered great appraise from the patrons.

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One such collaboration is with Marghzar Welfare Society (MWS), a non-profit working towards the rehabilitation of children with disabilities as well as any normal underprivileged kid who wants to learn. The purpose of this collaboration is to help MWS students gain the best digital skills of today as a part of advanced learning and quality education. Khud started out working with MWS through conducting programming classes at MWS. Students from MWS enrolled in this course were taught basic programming with the help of Udacity and Udemy. Understanding technical language and to overcome the language barrier was made easier with the help of teachers provided by Khud and volunteers from LGSi.

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This programming course has not only ensured that these students have a chance at top-quality EdTech but also at excelling in the field of technology. In addition to that, the students were divided into groups for this program which inculcated a sense of teamwork in them, an interpersonal skill which is going to be a huge help when they go out in the real world.

 

The performance of students over the weeks have been phenomenal. These students are bright and eager to learn and is a testament to the fact that Pakistan has immense talent present in the most unexpected places. With quality education, especially TechEd, now made available to underprivileged children, it is only a matter of time that Pakistan is going to witness a phenomenal rise in its literacy rate.

With this in view, the founders and organizers have decided to take these programs a notch higher and start Graphic Designing course at MWS. This course will equip students at MWS with another much-demanded digital skill. Graphics Designing will not only be fun to learn but we will also be able to witness the creative side of the students.

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Our course designers and teachers are currently in the process of developing a curriculum that is best suited to this program and will be such that will train these students not just with the basics and the theory but also with hands-on, practical techniques so that by the end of it and with a little practice, the students will be ready to actually use the skill to start earning. The team at Khud will be sharing the experience and the progress with our followers in the coming weeks.

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Khud's Accelerated Progress at Harsukh

We’d like to start off this post by firstly apologizing for being a bit ‘missing’ over the past few weeks or so, the reason for which has been our involvement in a number of projects that have kept the entire team occupied with a lot of work. But worry not, because we aren’t going anywhere any time soon!

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We initiated our project at Harsukh by conducting introductory computer classes with a number of students that have had absolutely no exposure to the world of ICT. Now teaching anyone, anything from scratch is always a difficult task but our teachers weren’t going to back away from a challenge and thus began our first couple classes that focused on lessons around the importance of a few keyboard/mouse shortcuts, the need to make folders and also an introductory session on MS Paint. The students might have struggled a bit initially but remained persistent throughout and were able to get a hang of things quite quickly.

Now that they were familiar with the workings of their computers, the students were introduced to typing using the ‘Typing Master’, which acted as their source of guidance for the next few weeks. Our students were able to improve their typing speed quite drastically and can now type around 20 words per minute, which is a great improvement from their earlier work. But we weren’t going to take a break here and went on to bringing MS Word into the picture with our focus on teaching them the process and need for alignment, orientation, margins, fonts and headers/footers.

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Our intentions here are to not just expose them to these programs but to make the students comfortable enough to work on their own and the most crucial step for achieving that is to strengthen their basics. Keeping in mind this and the fact that they are more likely to carry out interactions in Urdu, we’ve also decided to introduce Urdu typing in our future lessons whilst also teaching them about document formatting and the process of enhancing their work by adding images to their work.

Once the students have mastered MS Word, our attention will shift towards MS Powerpoint with the aim of helping students understand the need to create basic yet convincing presentations and also simultaneously preparing them for any future professional needs.

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We're Not Stopping

If you read our previous piece, you must be aware of our student’s recent introduction to Udacity and the in-depth learning it offers to anyone and everyone. Well, the kids at MWS have continued their journey with the learning platform and have put in their 100% throughout.

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It was due to the undying support of their parents and teachers that the students were able to overcome their initial difficulties at interacting with new and relatively difficult concepts. Now our students have established a strong grip over the topics of lists, functions & classes among other material. However their work doesn’t end with them just having completed the course, but instead the students have now been tasked with a project that actually tests their grasp at these concepts and helps the teachers keep a report of the student’s progress.

Once the students have submitted their projects and gone through the evaluation process, they will be given the opportunity to continue with another course on another learning platform, Udemy. This course will be a literal step-up for the students since they will not only be building on what they’ve already learnt but will also be introduced with the Web crawling framework, Scrapy. This will be quite a challenge for both the students and our teachers, but we have no doubts that together they will be able to tackle whatever may come at them!

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Now everyone who knows about us is no stranger to our belief in always trying to take on new challenges and imparting any knowledge, however we can. It is due to this that we have also decided to launch a new graphic designing course for the students at MWS which will offer our more creative students with the opportunity to share their ideas with the rest of the world.

Our dream to bring about a new generation of students that will not only challenge the status-quo, but will be equipped with a variety of skills is slowly bearing fruit and we cannot be anymore proud of our students and the work they’ve been putting in for so long.

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The Extra Mile

It’s been a while since you last heard of us but we’ve been up to some really interesting stuff and are extremely excited to take you along the journey that is to come.

We’ve always talked about going the extra mile and doing something different, so keeping in line with our beliefs we took on the task of enrolling our students in an online course being offered at Udacity, an online portal that offers hundreds of courses that revolve around the world of programming.

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The particular course that our students were enrolled in is the “Programming Foundations with Python” course that introduces students to intermediate programming and more specifically, oriented programming. This course, however, is taught in English, a language that our students aren’t a 100% confident about yet but our teachers have not let that become a hurdle for learning. They’ve worked tirelessly with our students and ensured that they take home every bit of learning the course has to offer.

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This course is structured in a way that depends on project-based learning and therefore requires students to work in a collaborative manner i.e. within teams. So, this course has not only taught our students programming but also helped them build on their team building skills and helped them realize the importance of working together to achieve a common goal; a trait that will be of immense importance to them during their professional lives.

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Our students at MWS have shown some remarkable progress since they began working with us and the completion of this course will certainly be a milestone worthy of being proud of. Such growth just goes on to show that with constant effort and the right attitude, anything and everything is possible.

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Building Bridges and Empowering Kids

With the new year came new opportunities, which meant new challenges for our team here at Khud. We had ended 2017 with a few outreach programs which saw us partnering with different organizations and even schools to achieve common goals. Our aim for 2018 was to continue this outreach and expand our community as far as possible. Keeping in line with this, we at Khud decided to partner with the Harsukh School; a privately run school situated near Bedian in Lahore.

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This school is currently under the care of Justice (R) Jawwad S. Khawaja and his family who launched it about two years ago to impart quality education to the children of this rural area.The school is a welfare project exclusively funded by the family. Our collaboration came about due to the existing need for improving and consolidating  digital classes at the school where an IT lab was waiting to become a vibrant instrument of 21st century.

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The program has kick started with 22 students ranging from the 5th grade to the 7th. The program has provided many students with their first ever interaction with computers in general and therefore it’ll be safe to say that the first few classes were a bit overwhelming for both the students and our teachers as the students had never been exposed to the world of technology, and computers in particular.

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“This entire experience has been highly satisfying, mainly because I feel proud of the fact that I have been able to bridge the gap that existed between these students and the world of computers by offering them these classes. The students are quite excited to embark on this learning journey and their enthusiasm is evident in the spark I see in their eyes every time we conduct these lessons”. These were the feelings of Danish, who is currently heading this particular project over at Harsukh and by the looks of things is quite excited for the future!

We still have a long way to go since the students are slowly becoming familiar with computers and all the learning that comes along with it, but their willingness to learn is definitely a constant source of motivation for all of us here and we are surely excited for what awaits us.

We would also like to thank Naeem Ahmad for connecting Khud with Harsukh. 

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Dream No More! A Step Forward towards the Digital World

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Dream No More! A Step Forward towards the Digital World

 

We started our journey with a mission; a mission to change the educational system in Pakistan and inculcate technology in the learning experience our kids would be exposed to. Our ideas didn’t fit in with the standard, accepted beliefs individuals had regarding the education experience but we stuck to our beliefs and continued on our journey of revolutionizing the education system. Along the way we’ve met people who’ve shared our ideologies and have offered us support in one form or the other.

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Salahuddin Khawaja; the founder of Khud was able to garner support from  Mr.Omer Khawaja & Mr.Naseem Khawaja , who alongside their group of friends made it possible for us to establish a unique state-of-the-art laboratory in Zahoor School situated in a little village on Multan road in Lahore. The students at Zahoor School were excited to embark on this journey but their school lacked the basic infrastructure to support such lessons so we turned to the public to support us in our cause and these individuals stepped up to help turn this dream into a reality.

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The school now has the honor of being the only one in the village which houses such facilities and offers students an opportunity to take on the challenges of the digital world and enter an entirely new realm of learning. A student at the school expressed their delight at now having their own personal computer lab, “I think this is a great opportunity for us to learn an entirely new subject!”

This would not have been possible without our dedicated team, the donors and the principal of Zahoor school, Ms.Yasmeen Shahid whose continuous efforts made it possible for a mere idea to transform into reality.

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Our family keeps on growing but the mission is far from over, in fact we’ve only just begun!

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To Infinity & Beyond!

“You’re being fired upon while trying to hold your ship steady as you make your way through infinity and beyond!” Sounds like a pretty decent pitch for a game, right?

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Well this is exactly what our young geniuses at Maghazar have produced after a hard couple of months, where they’ve learnt new skills, experimented with different techniques and finally completed a simple, but nonetheless impressive video game.

While this was something to be super excited about, the students didn’t let this excitement take over and instead continued their lessons as planned, which meant that over the past few weeks they’ve learnt concepts as complicated as conditional statements, loops and some functions amongst some more developing tools.

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The students were visited yet again by their friends from LGSi who have now developed quite a bond with them. The students seemed more comfortable this time around and engaged in activities that included writing stories, drawing and a few games here and there to keep both sides engaged.

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All in all, its been an extremely productive week since not only have the students developed their first ever game and hence completed an integral part of their training, they have also developed a close relationship with students from LGSi which only makes us excited for the programs that are to follow!

 

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We’ve Got Developers Here!! – Khud + LGSi + MWS

So, back to life at Marghzar Welfare Society where we had one of our very first collaborative sessions which saw students from LGSi coming together to teach students at Marghzar.

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With the intention being to bridge the gap between these students from vastly different backgrounds, students were divided into 4 groups and had already planned interactive activities such as storytelling, drawing, and even educational activities such as math worksheets. This particular session provided the students from MWS with learning that was different from their usual day-to-day program, and at the same time was a whole new learning experience for students from LGSi, a few of whom claimed that this was actually their first time working with kids outside their school.

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Overall, I’d say we accomplished our mission of bringing together these two groups of kids!

However, our students at MWS take no breaks and are currently full steam on their games, and in order to execute them, they’re being taught python and its more complicated concepts. Initially things were a bit shaky, but the students have been able to work slowly but steadily and have successfully developed basic functioning of their space ships, and border checking (let’s just say its complicated enough to escape our understanding!). Their main aim? To make a really cool game that revolves around the idea of ‘blowing stuff up in space’, I think we’d like a game like that!

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Since we wanted our sessions to be more than just about coding, we’ve tried to insert lessons related to the importance of developing problem solving skills, and that has required us to reflect on real life scenarios that the kids might have found themselves in or situations that we find ourselves in daily. The idea here is to not only help them understand the importance of such skills in the programming world, but also provide them with an idea of how important it is to have a positive outlook in our everyday lives as well.

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So, the students are picking up on the lessons pretty quickly and by the look of things, they should have their game’s ready by next week! I for one, cannot wait to try out their game!

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Let’s wish them best of luck for the pivotal week that is about to follow!

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We’re back! Pakistan's Fashion News Aggregator

These words correctly describe the sentiments of Hassan Aftab, a member of Khud and the project head of ‘Aletere’, a one-of-its-kind fashion aggregation project. A news aggregator is quite simply a software or application which brings together a variety of other sites together under one web for easy viewing. So, our mission is to create a software which does exactly that and helps create a portal of sorts where you can find anything and everything related to fashion!

The project was initially born in a local school, but administrative difficulties caused us to shift our operations to a separate facility, which of course meant a lot of logistical work for the team but all of that hard work seems to be paying off since the facility is meant to be operational from next week!

The facility houses a team of local girls who were trained specifically for this particular project and are the brains behind this idea. Not only are they motivated and eager to embark on this exciting journey, their parents actually echo the same sentiments and have been nothing but supportive throughout this process, which is a huge motivation for not only them but us as well!

                                                                              An inside look at our new facility

                                                                            An inside look at our new facility

This facility, which will be known as the ‘Digital Training Center’ from now on, will not only be used as our base for developing this software, but will also serve as a classroom for girls currently residing in nearby localities. These girls will have the opportunity to register themselves for computing courses that will be taught by our brilliant team of young girls at Aletere! So not only are these talented girls budding developers but also future teachers, and we could not be any prouder of them!

The road ahead looks a bit tough since we are still in the final stages of preparing our training center and are also in the search of other opportunities that can help us establish multiple revenue streams for both Khud and the Aletere team in specific.

With all of that being said, after 3 months of being MIA, Team Aletere is officially back!

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