Digital Stories Vol.3

Posted on July 16, 2011 by


This is last volume of Digital Stories from the ‘Digital Stories in Sugar’ workshop held at Our Lady of Merces High School in Merces, Goa in April 2011. The stories in all the volumes (see previous posts) have not been presented in a chronological order of when they were recorded; in fact a couple of stories in this post were recorded very early in the workshop. As was expected, not all participants opened up with their stories at the same time – each had their own pace at which they began to feel comfortable enough to record. In the beginning, we had them sitting in groups of three, and though they had individual XOs, the idea was that one would tell the story and the others would help that person record (they were not very familiar with the Record activity at that stage). This way, they would take turns within the group to record each of their stories. And of course, the facilitators were hovering around making sure nobody was stuck at any stage. Though it was necessary to have it this way (and we did get a lot of recordings even on this day) we realised that many of them were too self conscious to record, especially the ‘shy’ ones. The next time, we set them up with their XOs in the empty classrooms adjacent to the hall in which we conducted the workshop – one student per room, without anyone else to monitor or help. It worked much better this way, and more interesting and colourful stories emerged. We also realised that the physical activities like drawing, mask-making, collage were helping the children shed their inhibitions (that was one of the intentions of having those activities in any case) and at various stages of the workshop, different children would open up and record their stories. Similarly, with the Sugar activities also, different children would take to different activities, and each would find some connection with at least one of the activities. Even Aniruddh’s listlessness went away when we did Jigsaw Puzzle. It was very evident that each had their own set of skills and preferences, and found some space within which they could excel. When we weren’t learning one activity together as a group, the children were free to work with any of the other activities that they wanted to and as we progressed in the workshop, we saw that each of them gravitated to specific activities that they felt most challenged by and interested in.

For the Tux Paint activity, we used the desktop computers in the school's computer lab since it wouldn't run on the XOs

Over the ten days of the workshop, we explored activities like Speak, Memorize, Jigsaw Puzzle, Numbers, Paint, Turtle Blocks and Tux Paint. For Tux Paint, the children had to use the desktops in the computer lab (by taking turns – there were only 6 usable desktops) – the version of Sugar on the XOs (0.82) couldn’t handle Tux Paint. Primary school children in Goa, for some unfathomable reason, aren’t allowed use of the computer lab, so the children were delighted to be able to use the ‘big computers’ (thanks to the headmistress of the school agreeing to this arrangement) and had a good time drawing with Tux Paint.

Anyway, here are the remaining stories. We hope to put up some video segments as well, and a 30 minute film that we made on the workshop, in later posts. So keep a look out for them. In the meanwhile, enjoy the recordings…

(The photos of the children, that appear alongside their recordings, were taken by those children themselves, on their XO laptops, except for those of Sadisha and Melisa – 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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Sadisha (in Konkani)

Eager to try every Sugar activity, she enjoyed making her own games in Memorize. In the recording, she tells us a wonderful anecdote of a crow that visited her class.

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Elaine (in Konkani)

Very shy by nature, but extremely creative, she made a wonderful drawing of herself in a beautiful dress, with butterflies and birds fluttering around. In the recording she talks about her life at school and at home, with her friends and family, and signs off happily at the end (don’t miss that!)

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Aniruddh (both recordings in Hindi)

Interesting fellow, this; he would lose interest in his own work very quickly, but hover around all the others to see what they were doing and how they were progressing. Except on the day we did Jigsaw Puzzle; then he really spent quality time on the XO. Usually talkative but very brief in his recording – in the first recording he talks about how his mother puts him to bed when he gets sleepy at home. In the second recording, he talks (again very briefly) about home and school.

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Pooja (in Hindi)

Sharp, intelligent and loves talking. She made beautiful patterns in Turtle Blocks and equally good paintings by hand. In the recording she talks (without pausing to even breathe, it would seem!) about a typical day in her life with her mother,

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Sailee (in Konkani)

By her own admission, she liked ‘all activities on the XO except Turtle Blocks.’ In fact, for every other activity, she would be among the first to show her completed work. She drew a beautiful picture of her mother, and in her recording she tells us how her mother does so much for her, and she loves her mother so much.

(Wonder why she didn’t like Turtle Blocks. Hmmm.)

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Dishant (in Hindi)

Very cheerful, active and well behaved, he was a favourite with all the boys. Eager to learn new Sugar activities on the XO, he enjoyed working on his XO as much as the physical activities in between. In his recording he appears positively hassled by his (younger?) sister! Other than that it’s all about how everything in life is soooooo much fun. Longest recording from this workshop.

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Shruti (first recording in Konkani, second in Hindi)

Friendly with everyone, she has two decent sized recordings to her credit and in different languages that too. The first, in Konkani, has her talking about her cat, her family and friends and how she spends her day. In the second, in Hindi, she refers to her drawing and talks about her home and her garden, her interactions with her mother and her sister.

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Vijayalaxmi (in Konkani)

Reticent, but always enthusiastic about working on the XO, in the recording she talks about her love for mangoes and how she takes care of the mango tree in her garden.

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Meuza & Melisa (first recording in Konkani, second in Hindi)

Sisters. One silent and shy and the other even more so (now I forget which was which). We thought they would be the only ones whose recordings we won’t have – till we were almost at the end of the workshop. On the penultimate day, we asked them if they would like to record together (all recordings by the others in the group were being done individually, unmonitored), especially since we had seen them working together on their collage of the cat. They agreed (or made minute movements with their heads which we interpreted as agreement) and we set them up in a classroom together to record, letting them use their collage as a reference. What came out was simply amazing – the recording was the story of their cat, what it does, how it looks, how it feels, and how they spend all day with it. Since they recorded together, it was impossible to tell who did most of the talking – at times both voices could be heard. In any case it didn’t matter. Posted here is a larger segment of their story of the cat.

(Initially, before they switched over to Konkani, we had a part of their story in Hindi, also about the cat but different from what is said in Konkani. The second recording is this.)

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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).