Viewing entries tagged
Self Organized Learning

Stepping Stone to Self-Learning

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Stepping Stone to Self-Learning

The journey on the road of self-learning for a student is quite thrilling and fun but it requires facilitation. For a student that has never used computer, there are certain barriers to entry i.e. English language, typing and basic maneuvering. While these arenas are addressed, in parallel our foundation curriculums based on project based learning (PBL) are executed. These innovative PBL courses actually have an overall positive impact as they stimulate the student to use computer more often, hence accelerating his learning.

To tap the child’s creative potential, a carefully designed step-by-step approach is required. This approach needs to be directed, yet at the same it must have enough room to allow the student to explore his creativity. The curriculum for this self-learning pedagogy is designed by Khud’s education specialists.

GIMP Software

GIMP Software

The stepping stone curriculum is Graphic Designing (GD). Irrespective of one’s age, any student – under the careful facilitation of local teacher – can follow the GD curriculum. Through numerous short projects students develop familiarity with GIMP software, making collages, using paint, makings posters and photo editing. Thanks to its vibrancy and openness, many students explore their creativity and aesthetics. As they are also required to research and download photographs from internet, the GD curriculum adamants students’ confidence in using computer. Usually the GD curriculum takes 2-3 months to cover, and it’s one of the most popular courses in Khud partner schools.

Graphic Deign Curriculum

Graphic Deign Curriculum

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EdTech - Programming Out of Poverty - From Scratch to Python

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EdTech - Programming Out of Poverty - From Scratch to Python

This post around "Programming out of Poverty" resonated with many readers.

If you are interested in helping expanding this program - Drop our founder a line (email Salah Khawaja).

Renowned theoretical physicist and astronomer Stephen Hawking articulates, “Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.” Here at Khud we concur!

After the successful completion of our summer ‘Scratch Programming’ course Khud has graduated its students to the next stage of computer programming - ‘Python Programming’. This new project is being executed at two of Khud’s partner schools in Lahore - Zahoor Public School and Marghazar Welfare Society for Special Children (MWS).

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We wanted to use free online learning resources and harness the power of self-learning. Our broader aim is easily replicate this approach at other needy schools. After extensive research by our education specialists and advisors, we selected Code Combat's amazing curriculum. Khud would like to extend a special thanks to Michael ‘Maka’ Gradin for helping us navigate through the curriculum and technical aspects of their platform. Via short computer games that are geared towards young learners, ‘Code Combat’ inculcates critical thinking, problem solving and foundations of computer languages. Even teachers with little to no prior programming experience can use this platform.

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We are thrilled to report that many of our young learners have taken a peculiar liking for ‘Python Programming.’ In this moment, we would like to celebrate two of our students who have shown groundbreaking progress; Noman Allah Dita and Anees Ahmed of Grade 5 from MWS. Noman and Anees have completed more than 60 stages included short introductory courses on game development and web development.

Noman and Anees

Noman and Anees

They and their fellow students are now well versed in numerous basic programming concepts like while true-loops, variables, python-syntax and others. Take in regard that more than 80% of these kids don’t have a computer at home and they only started to use computer in last 3-4 months.

Khud has high expectations from these kids. We hope that we can sharpen their intellect and make them successful computer programmers, entrepreneurs, and problem solvers.

 
 

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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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Friends of Khud Come to Visit us at Zahoor School

In late December, we hosted visitors at Zahoor School - the pilot school of Khud’s self-learning initiative (on the outskirts of Lahore). The background of our visitors was wide ranging: bankers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, architects and moms. Some local Lahoris, others from as near as Islamabad  - others all the way from Dubai and New York

It was a great opportunity for us to not only share the great progress that we have made but also get their thoughts, suggestions and counsel on how to improve our approach and pedagogy. Moreover, the event helped us in connecting these children with outsiders. The children were very excited to meet and interact with people with whom normally they would never get the chance.

The conversation was started by Khud's founder Salahuddin Khawaja - he shared how he was inspired by the work of educationist and TED-Talk winner Dr Sugata Mitra in India and across numerous countries in the third world. Salahuddin highlighted the troubled state of affairs in education sector of Pakistan, in summary:

  • 146 (out of 187) UN Education Index
  • 25 Million Children are not in school
  • 1.4 Million Teachers are needed

(Source: Alif Ailaan's great work on the Pakistan's Education Crises.)

Khud is trying to tackle this crises head-on. In: Self-Learning, Technology and Inherent Curiosity. Out: Dogmatic, rote memorization.

Then it was the children's turn. Those that have been following Khud will recall we asked the children to build presentations using cloud based service Haiku Decks. The topics we posed:

  • What is Success?
  • What is Google?
  • What is Wordpress?
  • What is Great Art?

Most of these children 1 year ago did not know what the Internet was. Slowly they chipped away and were able to create the topical presentations with limited guidance. 

Khud Students Presentation Self Learning Zahoor

The visitors were amazed to see how a 12-14 year old kid that had just learned to use a computer talking about Wordpress and JavaScript. Pretty sure some of our less tech-savvy visitors picked up a nugget or two! Here is just that presentation:

(Presentations was just the start of our innovative pedagogy, so much more to come: video editing, coding, design etc.)

The conversation then shifted to the visitors sharing their take on success. Sohail Khan of StormHarbor shared "To attain success you have to keep trying … and remember respect is king!" Naveed Khalid Chowdhary of Medipak encouraged empathy as a key attribute and said that, “It is human nature that giving feels better than taking … touching peoples live is very important." Abid Imam, a Pakistani lawyer and politician said, “The path to success is different for everyone” and more importantly, as Shahzad Ali of Goldman Sachs put it, "Failure is in the path to success and that is completely OK."

The visitors stressed that success is not something that can be quantified and should not only be look through a monetary lens. Rather, success is something that gives you peace and makes you feel content with your life. The visitors also encouraged the young learners to dream big and take risks in their life. 

All in all was a great visit where both the students and visitors learned from each other. If you are ever in Lahore and are interested in paying us a visit, drop us a line.

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Introducing Khud

Khud is a small experiment hoping to make a big impact. Khud's mission is to give underprivileged children in Pakistan (and maybe beyond?) a fighting chance.  

The Pakistan education crisis has multiple insane dimensions. To boil it down quantitatively:

  • 25 Million children do not go to school
  • 1.25 Million teachers are needed

Qualitatively the news is not good either. The children that are in school are not exactly getting a great education. The rote-learning based system does not prepare them to tackle the world in truly productive way. 

Khud is not going to reinvent the wheel. We plan to take take insights from:

  • Socrates and his method around letting students arrive at their own conclusions
  • Maria Montessori and her approach that encouraged children to play and teach themselves
  • Sugata Mitra and his approach around self organized learning

The plan is to start this experiment in a school on the outskirts of Lahore. Make mistakes, gather data, learn - be agile. Then scale. 

Wish us luck. Share our story. Connect with us.

Stay tuned for more.

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