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EdTech

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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Breaking Barriers and Giving Back

The adage "chance favors the bold" should be updated to reflect the times - "changes favors the bold with opportunities." Opportunities are aplenty for the privileged. Can we break the barriers in our class-divided society to make it more egalitarian and give opportunities to children who are not as fortunate?

This is at the heart of what we are doing at Khud. At Demo Day we had children from our program give insightful presentation on a range of topics - from Artificial Intelligence to Climate Change. In the audience, Zain Bokhari, an astute young observer, noticed the life-changing power of giving such opportunities.

He created this deeply-touching video: 

This is what he had to say:

Each one of us, plays a part in society. Putting oneself in the shoes of a person who is less fortunate makes one realize how we take things for granted. It is time we stepped back to reflect. Success is a measure of aspirations and how hard one works while at the same time educating oneself (“Khud”) and how we can contribute to the welfare of others. It is time we raise awareness to “Giving Back” to the society.

In bridging the gap, we not only give opportunity but we get the opportunity to learn by broadening our (class constrained) horizons. This gives me hope. 

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Khud EdTech - Demo Day

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Khud EdTech - Demo Day

We are hosting a Demo Day. Friends and family from NY to Dubai to Lahore will get the opportunity to see the life-altering work we are doing. Within months underprivileged children who had not seen a computer are now designing presentations, editing videos and learning basic programming. We are employing innovative techniques and have truly transformed these kids (with limited teacher intervention). 

We have an exciting agenda planned, starting at 9 am:

  • Children will share their work on artificial intelligence, climate change, stock market and much more
  • True "farm to table" food
  • 4x4 ATV Track where kids (and adults!) can get some thrills!

It will take about an hour to get to the Zahoor School (Khud's first partner school). Below is a map of the location.

 

 
 

 

Some pictures of the gaon:

 

Video of ATVing:

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Khud Launches Computer Classes for Special Children

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Khud Launches Computer Classes for Special Children

Mainstream education set aside, the conditions of the education sector for children with special needs is absolutely appalling. Struck by abject poverty, many families lack the resources to even educate their special children. “As these children demand greater attention and care, they are often neglected and deserted. With no hope for the future, they become victims of the beggar mafia. It is a sad fact, but they are born is misery, live in misery, and die in misery,” says Tanveer Abbas. Tanveer Abbas is the headmaster at Khud’s Partner School Marghazar Welfare Society for Special Children (MWS). MWS was established a decade ago specifically to empower these children, such that they can at least take care of themselves. To enhance their confidence and integrate them in the broader society, MWS promotes inclusive education (60% normal children and 40% special children).

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Irrespective of their age, all special children at MWS start with a basic program. In this program the psychological stability of the child is gauged. Those students who show considerable progress and maturity are graduated to join the inclusive program. Apart from promoting inclusive education, MWS also empowers its student body by teaching them technical skills like embroidery and stitching. Now with MWS-Khud partnership at hand, Khud has decided to not only support inclusive education, but also empower those classes with only special children.

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This week we started our computer learning program with special children of Grade 1 and 2 (most of these children have physical, minor MR and hearing disabilities). Filled with anticipation, these children raced inside the computer lab. Though a little difficult to control, but Miss Madiha who is a co-employee of Khud and MWS, was astonished to discover that they fared far better than normal students. In less than a minute the kids had discovered how to switch on the computers. Realizing the excitement, for the moment she let the kids have their way, assisting only to explain how to use mouse or keyboard. Before we knew it, the kids were experimenting with shortcuts on desktop. Some had already opened Microsoft word, Scratch, Google Chrome and Paint. It was fascinating to see that just by pure chance or hit and trial, two of the students figured out how to create duplicate sprites in Scratch.

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Our work with these truly ‘special’ children has just begun. Once these kids have learned the basics of computing, Khud, assisted by the special-need professionals at MWS, will be designing one-of-a-kind projects particularly geared towards our new target group. Khud believes in the talent of these children and hopes that they will become future computer programmers.

 

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Scratch Programming and Intern Experiences

As Khud's Summer Internship Program 2016 comes to close, three of the interns working on Scratch Programming share their experiences.

Ahmad Afzal

This was my second venture with Khud and I feel that  they are doing some remarkable work for an incredible cause. There is nothing more fulfilling than enabling students to learn skills that are relevant and needed in the modern day world. The students and I worked together to understand basic computer skills even though they didn't have any prior computer know how. Scratch is an incredible programming tool by MIT and easy to learn for children and I feel that it must be the part of our education framework. Khud is perhaps the first education institution that has picked on the changing trends and incorporated it in their teaching schedules from which this generation of students is going to benefit a great deal!

I am looking forward to working with this incredible team again and learn from their visionary approach to solve Pakistan's education crisis. 

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Bilal Ahmad Khan:

My journey with Khud began in 2015. My friends and I made a five member (5x Rivals) team. We were assigned a task by Khud to make a game. The game is called Captain Warner and is right now available on Android Playstore.

During summers of 2016, Khud selected some interns for their EdTech Platform for various tasks in different schools. It has been a wonderful journey to teach children, and in the process, I started getting different experiences.

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Children were so cooperative and inspired when they came to know that they will learn Scratch programming. The kids were inquisitive, they tried leveraging their time and have perform well. Though the children came from marginalized areas and had very little grasp over computers, it was so astonishing that the kids learned really well and kept pace with our weekly planners. To teach children, we have designed and completed different tasks; quizzes, games etc.

In process you start loving children so called the little programmers of the future. I hope these kids have a bright future and I pray that they will flourish in their lives. I am sure, these children will work for betterment of the Nation and their community.

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Hamza Tariq:

My experience with Khud was great. I really enjoyed my internship. I experienced many great moments while teaching. I will cherish these moment and feelings in years to come. While teaching Scratch programming, the main project I was tasked with is to make an online curriculum of Scratch using packed options.

For this, I used variety of tools; EdX, Youtube, MIT and Harvard curriculum. I did my best to make it. My seniors were very cooperative they guided me appropriately. In future I want to work with Khud if possible. I wish the management and the children all the best in their future endeavors.

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English Acceleration Program & Intern Experiences

As Khud's Summer Internship Program 2016 comes to close, two of the interns working on English Acceleration share their experiences.

Fatima Mohsin Naqvi:

Equipping the kids with the tools to learn on their own has been the primary goal of Khud from the beginning; it is thus increasingly exciting to see the course the English acceleration program has taken. Now on week five, the students have absorbed a plethora of new ideas and are comfortable using them in everyday language. Most importantly, they have realized the importance of a different kind of learning, one that is inherently different than the rote learning they are accustomed to.  Most of the credit falls to the E-learning program that we have incorporated in our syllabus; the interactive activities found in each lesson have given a new take on the subject.

Students using the e-learning program:

After exhausting the e-learning website, students are now currently following a video series that explain important grammar basics through Urdu. They believe this to be on par with the E-learning website, both in terms of understandability and content.

A student enjoying part of the video series:

Another promising development is that most students are more interested and curious in what they’re studying now so whenever they find themselves stuck on a certain word most students Google the meaning on their own or put it into Google translate and figure it out themselves. Hoping to have a ripple effect, this will give rise to the idea that they can do this outside the classroom as well and will result in a myriad of phenomenal possibilities.

 

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Ali Mirza:

On the first day of the summer internship program, it was hard to believe that this amount of progress would be made in such a short amount of time. The students have increased their skills drastically, mainly in speaking, reading, listening and understanding. They have attempted various activities on http://www.e-learningforkids.org/  using the assistance of YouTube videos on the relevant topics. Our main aim of self-learning is being achieved through this method, and the students engage with each other and have fun while attempting these activities. They require very little assistance from the facilitators except for when they are being tested on their speaking skills. English Acceleration through self-learning has been a very vital tool towards improving the level of their education.

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Khud EdTech Initiative Presentation Overview

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Khud EdTech Initiative Presentation Overview

A brief overview of our pedagogical approach, work we have completed and plans for the future. Covers inspiration we have taken from Socrates, Montessori, Sugata Mitra and Elon Musk in building an EdTech platform to tackle Pakistan's Education Crises. 21 century skills for a 21st century world - problem solving, design, innovation etc. Heavy focus on self-learning and digital skills (presentation, video editing, software programming) which are in turn used to cover traditional subjects.

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Accelerated English Program via Self-Learning | EdTech

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Accelerated English Program via Self-Learning | EdTech

A modern truism is that learning occurs via the Internet in the information age we live. That is predicated on a child's ability to read English. This is a problem, given the mother tongue for the vast majority of the children in Pakistan is not English and nearly 25 Million children do not go to school. The nearly 25 million that do go to school face many challenges in picking up English skills given poor quality of curriculum, limited capacities of teachers and large class sizes.

At Khud we are fiercely focused on implementing a curriculum that accelerates English reading. How? We are developing a digital pedagogy that uses technology to implement a program of structured self-learning. We are not looking to re-invent the wheel, especially when there is amazing content available. After searching and testing publicly available resources, we picked E-Learning for Kids. Developed by a team led by Dr. Nick van Dam, Global Chief Learning Officer for McKinsey,  the site is focused on providing "fun and free learning on the internet for children ages 5 - 12." The site offers "free, best-in-class courseware in math, science, reading and keyboarding; and we're building a community for parents and educators to share innovations and insights in childhood education."

We have successfully piloted many of their gamified English lessons in our second school in Lahore, Pakistan:

e-learning for kids - accelerated english - khud.org - edtech - lahore - pakistan - pedagogy

It is a platform that allows for learning to happen in an interactive and enjoyable manner:

www.e-learningforkids.org e-learning for kids Nick van Dam khud.org - edtech - lahore - pakistan - mughalpura school

Here are two students showing off their certificate:

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e-learning for kids accelerated english khud.org mughalpura lahore certificate

With the successful completion of the initial pilot, we are firming up the lesson plans around "Accelerated English" so we can roll this out across more schools and share with other educational institutions.

We are thankful to Dr. Nick van Dam and Michael Williams (@ E-Learning for Kids) for assisting us in navigating through the technical challenges that we were facing. We look forwarding to working with them in utilizing their brilliant platform as we further build out a comprehensive pedagogy. 

 

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Self-Learning Technology in the Age of the Brain (vs. Brawn)

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Self-Learning Technology in the Age of the Brain (vs. Brawn)

Reliance on the human brawn over the last few decades has diminished. In the age of the brain, it is clear that technology plays a significant role in successful we can be. Instilling technology related skills is at the heart of the EdTech platform we are building at Khud. The platform will utilize self-learning techniques and presents opportunities to children to pick up 21st century skills of programming, user design and data analytics.

In our 2nd school, we are working with a group of young women (just post high school) to build an iPhone App around Pakistan Fashion News Aggregator. Divided into 3 streams of work:

  1. App Development
  2. Data 
  3. Marketing

This group is based in Mughalpura and serves a marginalized community. 

 
Lahore Mughalpura Map Self Learning EdTech Khud Pakistan
 

This project is designed around self-learning and using teaching tools that are publicly available. Team 2 is using Khan Academy's Hour of Code course around databases and SQL: 

Here is some sample SQL code:

 
Khud EdTech Lahore Hour of Code SQL Table Creation Mughalpura School Pakistan Fashion Aggregation
 

End Result:

 
Khud EdTech Lahore Hour of Code SQL Boutique Table Mughalpura School Pakistan Fashion Aggregation
 

The progress they have made is tremendous given that they only started working with computers 2 months ago. We are crazy excited to see what they will do once they get their hands on an Apple Macbook and iPod Touch. 

 

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