iCommunity

By sending mobile labs over the years into India’s villages, Agastya has paved its way into the hearts of the rural people dwelling there. The nighttime community visits have long been a part of Agastya’s outreach. Instructors demonstrate principles of science. They lead discussions about medicinal herbs found in the region, among numerous other topics. In this manner, they dispel myths and earn the trust of the children’s parents and grandparents, using similar hands-on learning techniques as those employed in teaching the children. Many of these elders have valuable knowledge to share, as well, and Agastya has recognized that much of this was as endangered as parts of the environment itself.

 

Out of this, the activity-based iCommunity program was conceived. Its goal is to instill in the children, parents, and other villagers respect and love for the environment brought about through knowledge and understanding. The program integrates language and art, while introducing basic digital skills. Using a mobile lab outfitted with solar power, digital equipment comes together with ancient folklore, rural arts, community life, and demonstrates how all of these connect us to the land we share with the plant and animal life that surrounds us.

 

The iCommunity lab is outfitted with computers, cameras, audio recording devices, and a projector. Use of the equipment is taught while manual and digital methods 
are used to explore plants, insects, and small animals. Field observation and drawing by hand prompts opportunities for storytelling that is documented with video and audio recordings. Ethical responsibilities to the preservation of threatened species are spread by the collection of folktales, by fiction writing, and by tree censuses and surveys of the surrounding eco system.

 

Agastya’s iCommunity project falls under the direction of the MediaArts Lab, teaching digital literacy to village students who otherwise have no access to computers or the internet. They learn enough to at least understand what these tools are and the basics of how to use them, should they be able to further their studies or get work where they are used.

 

iMobile

 

The iMobile program was  started to expose India’s rural students to digital technology. Even in communities whose electricity and clean water may experience frequent interruption, and where English is not the first language, students are taught to acquire digital skills to thrive in the time and age we live. In pursuance of the effort to provide digital education to rural and underprivileged children, a 2 year curriculum  has been carefully designed in partnership with Kids Who Kode, an NGO focussed to make every child in India a computer literate.  The curriculum starts from introduction to computers gradually building towards basics of programming. The curriculum created is in cognizance with the technology used practically and pedagogy focuses in developing 21st century skills.
Currently 19 iMobile vans reach 8 states across India covering 200 schools and reaching 18,000 children.
“I want to take up science after Standard 10 and then become a member of the Agastya Foundation. I would like to work at the Science Center.” ~ Manoj M. has working models of furnaces able to melt aluminum foil (Age 14).
Teacher Training

Teacher Training

Agastya provides teacher training and serves as a lab for refining effective teaching methods. Some teachers understand for the first time the science behind concepts they had taught only by rote.

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Mobile Labs

Mobile Labs

Mobile Labs crisscross rural India, taking science lessons into remote areas. Children are encouraged to be curious, to ask questions, and observe the world around them.

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Science Fairs

Science Fairs

Many children and teachers have fun with science brought by Mobile Labs and on the campus, but how to expose more of them? Agastya’s Science Fairs are a resounding success!

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