Collaborative Chatting!

Posted on February 20, 2011 by

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We had another XO session with the teachers at Merces on Saturday 19th Feb – our only one for this month. This time Milan Khanolkar came along with us. Milan is the resource person with whom we have earlier conducted Digital Storytelling workshops (the digital stories can be seen on the Siolim Diaries blog). She had been wanting to visit one of our training sessions at the Merces school for some time now, and I had anyway planned on covering collaborate work using Sugar activities for this session, so I thought it would be a good idea for have her with us this time.

We initially spent some time understanding the concept of collaboration in Sugar and I showed them how an activity can be shared. We had a look ‘My Neighbourhood’ and, as expected, the other XOs started showing up in the neighbourhood, but not all. I then started the Chat activity and shared it with the neighbourhood, and those who could ‘see’ me on their XOs joined in. The connections were not fast enough and it was a bit frustrating to wait for the shared Chat sessions to show up. Also, for those who managed to get the chat screen after joining in, either the screen just ‘hung’ or when they typed a message it wouldn’t show up on the other screens (and vice versa). It did work for a couple of them however (probably due to their proximity to each other). So I explained to them about the wireless router, then connected it to the server and switched it on. We then asked all of them to ‘Connect’ to the router, and then wait for their neighbourhood to be refreshed again. It took a few minutes, but soon they could see many more XOs in their neighbourhood and chatting also became relatively problem free. Then a few of them started their own Chat sessions and others joined in. Soon there were multiple Chat sessions going on and they were merrily gossiping away! After giving them enough time to chat, we asked them to wind up and shutdown their XOs.

To have them experience how we can collaboratively work towards creating one output, we then started a group activity where a person in the group starts a story with one sentence and the others build on that by adding their own sentence. I started with ‘Once upon a time there was a teacher…’ Soon, a story started to take shape with all their individual sentences, coloured by everyone’s preferences, prejudices and opinions! Before we ended the session, we asked them to write out (as homework) a one-pager story for our next session based on the story that we had collaboratively created. In future Gayathri and I (and Milan, whenever she can find the time) plan to incorporate more such group activities while learning Sugar at the same time.

The teacher training session was conducted by Salil Konkar & Gayathri Rao Konkar of Monsoon Grey, accompanied by Milan Khanolkar. It was financially supported by The Digital Bridge Foundation (DBF). The partners for the OLPC deployment at Merces are DBF, Gnowledge Labs (Homi Bhabha Centre for Science & Education, TIFR) and Nirmala Institute of Education (NIE).

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Posted in: Sugar-OLPC