Ever since we noticed the infection spike in China in early Feb, the Karkhana leadership team has been keeping one eye on how that situation would impact us and more importantly the children we serve. A lot of our discussions and brainstorms have focused around how we can reduce the need for face-to-face lessons but not stop the learning process. Like a lot of educators around the world, we think the solution might be in utilizing digital tools better.
As part of this process of brainstorming, we have been receiving lots of input, requests and feedback from a few parents that we regularly consult. As exams in most Nepali schools are almost over, I wanted to share some ideas and start a wider discussion with more parents. Karkhana is every parent’s partner on their child’s journey from a maker of a little shape to a shaper of the world, and your feedback is very important to us.
Karkhana’s current strategy is divided into two parts.
In our estimate, the best case scenario is that schools will open Baisakh 15 – 30. If they do not, there will be a need to think about how we can engage students in core curricular learning around Science, Math, Technology etc.
At the moment we are building plans but not taking any actions to prepare for this possibility. In 2 to 3 weeks the situation in Nepal (and across South Asia) should become more clear. We will wait for that clarity before we act.
Even in the best case, children are going to be out of school, and not able to go outdoors very much for 45 to 60 days. We thus need a plan for how to make use of the long holiday.
Here is what we are thinking… We want to try two different kinds of virtual camps for children with different kinds of interests.
The creative computing camp will focus on Karkhana’s usual hands-on tech friendly topics. For every child signed up for this class we will deliver a kit to their house, as well as a specific password they can use to access a Google Classroom account. Using Google Classroom we plan to create and share videos every day on things they can do with the kits. The activities can take anywhere from 90 min to 3 hours to complete. The children can do them at their own pace. If they get stuck, there will be a Karkhana teacher available virtually to guide them.
Every day there will also be a set time at which all the children in the camp come online. This time will be used to share successes and challenges. It will also be used to reflect on the learning of the day. We want to start with a 10 day long camp. Learn from it. And then grow it into a longer camp.
Lots of people imagine our team is filled with people who like to make things and break things. This is not wrong. However, we also have people who really like books, ideas and deep discussions. Many of our team members are vociferous readers and have been since their school days. In fact, we have had an internal book club in Karkhana for some time.
To serve young book lovers we are also thinking of running a virtual book club. All interested learners would sign up and get a specific google classroom username/password. Online they would find 2 to 4 books that are appropriate for young adults to read, a specific schedule on which pages to read, and interesting questions they can think about as they are reading it. As they have additional questions or thoughts they would share them online and their peers (or the Karkhana team member) would respond. Two times a week there would also be a live session where everyone logs in at the same time to discuss the readings and share their ideas.
Our thinking is that the Karkhana facilitator would find additional articles, videos etc that help the students develop more knowledge about the topics they expressed curiosity about in their discussions. We anticipate the book club running for a month at a time.
We are looking for feedback from parents and also students on if these ideas make sense for them. We are also looking for other ideas on the types of virtual camps we could run. Drop us a line on our Facebook page or email us at email@example.com with your ideas… and we will get back to you.