HYDERABAD: An unusual Sunday jaunt to the pastoral landscapes for inspiring innovation proved to be a learning curve for the 30-odd students of the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad. The ‘Shodh Yatra’ to Pedda Gopularam village in Medak district also helped the students research information gaps between urban and rural youth, to design a system based on information and communication technology (ICT) tools to fill the lacuna.
“The visit to the village helped us exchange ideas and exposed us to the basic issues facing the people living in rural areas, such as the scarcity of potable water. The schooling system also inspired us to create e-learning modules for the students who are immensely talented,” says Ravi Agarwal, a student of Computer Science Engineering. The group hiked their way to the village from Kondapur and interacted with students at the primary and high school level.
To enhance the learning experience for the students at the Zilla Parishad schools, Ravi and his friends plan to develop online interactive modules for teaching Mathematics.
“Though the educational materials which we provide cannot replace teachers, they can help students learn the subjects when the teacher is not around. We also plan to donate material developed in centre for IT and education in IIIT as well as informational clips on the phenomenon of earthquake for an interesting learning experience,” adds Ravi.
As part of the youth-to-youth system or Y2Y project at IIIT-H, the students working on the project identified the areas of skill training and employment opportunities for which the rural youth face an information gap as compared to their urban counterparts. “Usually, the youth rely on word-of-mouth information for available vacancies and openings. The students working on the project surveyed two other villages in Chevvala Mandal earlier this year and Pedda Gopularam to understand how the best system can be developed using available ICT tools of translation and speech technology. This will provide wider access and easy interface,” says Kavita Vemuri, senior research scientist at IIIT-H who was a part of the Shodh Yatra.
“We started with the mindset that we could teach the kids a few things and instead ended up learning a lot more from them,” observe Ravi and his friends.
For these students, initiating the change one wants to bring seems to be the way ahead.