Online Pragya June 2021 – A Report from Tamilnadu

Vision Empower conducted the first Pragya Teacher Training intervention for teachers of three special schools for the blind in Tamilnadu from 16th June to 18th June 2021. A total of 10 teachers attended this three-day online session. The three-day journey focussed on introducing the principles of teaching children with visual impairment which Vision Empower has incorporated into its interventions to overcome the challenges of students with visual impairment in the pedagogy of Science and Math, especially those caused by the lack of incidental learning.

Day 1 began with an address by Vidhya Y, co-founder of VE, who welcomed the teachers and introduced them to all the projects at VE. Sylvia Veeraraghavan, Program Director at VE briefed about the different interventions of VE. Then the session started with a few questions where the teachers shared their experiences in teaching students with Visual Impairment. The curriculum which was followed by the blind school and the need for ECC were discussed. Later TIK , the accessible and experiential learning of concepts covered grade-wise created by VE was explained and a sample TIK was shown to the teachers along with other VE learning resources such as audio tutorials, DIY solutions for tactile diagrams and 3-D models. Then had a discussion on the impact of COVID Times, how it has changed the way of education and VE shared the effective ways of teaching students with visual impairment online.

Day 2, the morning session began with Dr Swami Manohar, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research India, addressing and sharing about the what and why of Computational Thinking games . Then the VE facilitators presented in detail the VICT intervention of VE. Teachers were made into 2 groups (Primary and Middle) and in the breakout rooms different CT games were demonstrated. In the afternoon CT games were continued for the Primary group teachers. While the higher grade teachers were demonstrated with hands-on activities to teach Science and Math concepts using TIK’s
Day 3 focussed on the Learning Management System Subodha. Subodha was introduced and demonstrated the navigation to access the teachers and students content, a demo with TALK BACK to access Subodha was also provided.

All the 3-day sessions were interactive and the teachers shared their experiences and the methodologies they adopt while teaching. Teachers actively participated in all the sessions and they had fun while playing CT Games. Session-wise observations and suggestions from teachers were recorded. The teachers were curious and enthusiastic about the opening up of the possibility of STEM education for their students. Overall the three days were filled with a learning and sharings.