Reality Check: Arduino Workshop in Chasera started

A Hindi version of this text is at the very end. Thank you Kastur for translating this!

Yesterday morning at 8 am sharp we were at the 10 plus 2 government school in Chasera. In small waves slowly but steadily maybe 200 of the 1200 student arrived and the teacher started the morning assembly. It was our “kick-off” event. We were invited to present our workshop and to create awareness for our workshop next week. I myself gave a short introduction who I am and what I do in India, then Sandy Pfaff and Peter Kabel took over and talked about the workshop.

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This was pretty challenging and since we really had to re-think our complete wording. In an environment in which there is hardly any electricity, where there is very often shortage in food, always shortage in money, where people can’t afford to send their kids to school – how do you introduce interactivity, design, sensors, collaboration? How do you introduce prototyping where everything around you is less than BETA and never will reach ALPHA status?
In short: we’ve learnt a lot. At least we learnt what won’t work! Bottom Line: We have to become much much more simple! In any way! And we have to change our wording!

Right after the assembly a heavy monsoon rain started. I mean heavy. Usually at this time of the year monsoon has already ended, but this year – which was for many regions a very good monsoon with lots of rain – it will officially end on October 16. We hope that it won’t return next week because heavy rainfalls means flooded streets, no electricity, no Internet and no school …

We’ve received enough feedback though before the rain started and we are now excited to start the real thing on Monday. We are especially looking forward to work with the girls – fortunately we saw quite many girls in the school. A fact one should take for granted even though authorities in the school reassured us it is “normal”. But we all knew it is NOT normal that girls go to school in rural India.

When I was here with Mehmood Khan 2 weeks ago we were already trying to fix the “problem” with the computer lab. I was surprised when I first came here that the school is equipped with a 2 lab containing 20 working stations. Unfortunately none of them is wirking. Why? The CPU is broken. And it seems to be impossible that the principal can fix it. He has to call his authorities in the government, he has to fill out various applications – and all this leads into the dead end of bureaucracy. And the result is that the computer get rotten and the kids can’t use them. So computer science remains very theoretical in their timetable. What a pity!

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While we are here next week I will try to get a new CPU and donate it to the school … that is the only way to bypass bureaucracy … and then we can find out how far this leads … Technical maintenance is also the biggest challenge for our Hole in the Wall learning stations in Khajuraho.

In the afternoon we cut down the complexitity of our first concept and Sandy started to build new prototypes and modified code.

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More picts and information in German you’ll find here at Sandy’s website: Sounds like Fun

The picts above are all by Peter Kabel.

The text in Hindi:

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Text 2 , Page 3

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