Digital Stories Vol.2

Posted on July 13, 2011 by


Getting a basic poster ready, just a day before the workshop!

While designing the ‘Digital Stories in Sugar’ workshop, one of the changes that we decided to make from our earlier workshops (which were with much older children) was to do away with the ‘Scripting’ session. In those workshops, the participants would learn about how to script their stories and then work at home to bring back written scripts the next day, which would then be used by them when they did the audio recordings of their stories. In this workshop, with children of 3rd and 4th grades, we thought that would be counter-productive, and would in fact be intimidating to the children. Most children at this age don’t like to write – they like to talk, draw and even act out their stories. Place them at a desk with a paper and pen in hand, and their mind either goes blank or (worse) it switches over to ‘Writing Class’ mode, where they think they are expected to write in a certain way, in a certain language and a certain style, which at most times is not their natural way of narrating but is expected to meet the ‘teacher’s approval.’

So we decided to not only do away with scripting, but also not give them any topics to base their stories on. They could tell their stories rather than write them, and could make stories about whatever came to their mind. As always, getting them to first draw their stories helped; by the time they started recording their stories on the XO, most of them knew what they wanted to say. As it turned out, we got a whole lot of diverse stories from the group, about simple things in life that they enjoyed doing and the people and things in their lives that meant the most to them.

Here are some more stories…

(The photos of the children, that appear alongside their recordings, were taken by those children themselves, on their XO laptops, except for those of Gizelle and Sanjana (those are from our camera). They’ve only been cropped to suit the layout of the blog)

(English transcripts for the non-English audios will be provided in the blog very soon. Apologies for the non-availability at present)

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Alysia (in Konkani)

Well mannered and polite, she is always eager to talk about her likes and dislikes. In the recording, she seems consumed with her love for her shiny dress, and gushes about how she gets to wear it all the time.

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Felon (in Konkani)

From the recordings of the other boys in the group, he seems to be everyone’s choice for ‘Best Friend’. Bright and sharp of intellect, he enjoyed the Turtle Blocks activity and doing Jigsaw Puzzles. In the recording, he talks about his passion for cycling.

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Chandrakant (in Konkani)

Belongs to the ‘Best Friends’ group with Felon, Vishal and others. Silent by nature, he enjoyed painting. In his recording, he describes the drawing he made showing the fun he has with his friends. He really blossomed when given Tux Paint to work with; his Tux painting was easily one of the best in the group.

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Gizelle (in Konkani)

Joyous and participative in nature, she probably loved the Record activity on the XO the most – by the end of the workshop, she was going from person to person taking each one’s photo on her XO. It’s ironic that we ended up not having a copy of her XO photo and  had to use one from our camera instead! But it’s probably there waiting to be dug out from her XO… In the recording she tells how much she likes her cat.

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Prajwat (in Hindi)

Kind and helpful by nature, he would quickly engross himself deep into any Sugar activity that we would be working with. He came up with beautiful patterns in Turtle Blocks and enjoyed creating Memorize games. In his recording he tells us about a typical day in his mother’s life (and how his younger brother hassles her!)

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Sanjana (in Konkani)

Stubborn but in a cute and endearing sort of way, if she didn’t want to do something, there was absolutely no way we could persuade her to do it (like getting her to wear the beautiful mask she made!) She got involved in all the activities though, and made an excellent collage with bits of coloured paper. In her recording (above) she talks about her sister and the love-hate relationship that they share.

Earlier in the workshop, she also spoke nicely about the sun that she had made in her drawing. Listen to it (in Konkani) :

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Dinesh (in Hindi)

Eager and enthusiastic about working on the XO, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on the XO every day. Intense and somewhat reclusive by nature, he preferred to work on his own and it was almost as if the XO was a psychological need for him.  He made some really interesting recordings and drew about his passion for flying. Here he talks about his dream of flying in an aeroplane and becoming a pilot when he grows up. Interestingly, when the group drew stories a second time, he preferred to write rather than draw.

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Vishal (in Hindi)

With his ready wit and charm, he was probably the most popular, at least among the boys. For him, every friend was a ‘Best Friend’. With an infectious enthusiasm and an eagerness to get involved in all activities, on the XO or physical, he was virtually ‘The Man Who Was Everywhere,’ along with Hrithik and Sachin. He liked working with Tux Paint in the lab desktop, and was quick on the draw in the ‘Story In A Circle’ activity (we hope to put a video of this activity on the blog sometime soon). In the recording, he practically holds forth about his life with his friends; this is one of the longest recordings we have from the workshop!

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The workshop was conducted by Monsoon Grey. The resource persons were Milan Khanolkar, Salil Konkar and Gayathri Rao Konkar. The volunteers were Radha Chandy, Sneha Chaudhury and Indraneil Chaudhury. It was financially supported by The Digital Bridge Foundation (DBF). The workshop was made possible with consultative support from Harriet Vidyasagar (Consultant, E-Learning). 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).