Author: Trishala Hirachan

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Raspberry Pi computer lab with digital library set up in Kavre

September 2021 | Kavre

OLE Nepal has successfully completed offline E-Pustakalaya (digital library) installation and setting up Raspberry Pi computer lab at Golmeshwori Primary School, Kavre. Our technical team and trainer visited the school in Kavre, on September 14, 2021, to set up the Raspberry Pi (RPi) computer labs and conduct orientation on the offline digital library. 

The visiting team setup 18 units of RPi computer sets along with all the accessories in the computer lab of the newly constructed school. They installed the  E-Pustakalaya offline server and connected the wireless Router to it, so that students and teachers can access the library on their mobile devices. After the installation was complete, the technical team conducted an orientation on the contents of E-Pustakalaya and the RPi computers. The teachers were introduced to the features, functions and tips on proper handling of the installed devices. Our team demonstrated how to connect the RPi, laptops and mobile devices to the digital library server using the router to access the educational content of the library. 

This orientation session was followed by a hands-on session on the functions and handling of the equipment by the teachers. At the end of the session, the teachers were able to find useful learning materials in the digital library and were confident about the use of the digital library equipment. The Raspberry Pi computer lab and digital library in Golmeshwori Primary School, Kavre was launched in partnership with Kids of Kathmandu.

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Laptop program launched at Shree Karang Ganjo Rikung Basic School, Karang, Dolpa

September 2021 | Dolpo

OLE Nepal recently launched laptop-based teaching and learning program at Shree Karang Ganjo Rikung Basic School, Karang, in Upper Dolpa, with support from Himalaya Hilfe Freiburg (HHF), Germany. The school is located in the remote part of the Shey Phoksundo Rural Municipality, requiring 4 days of walk from the nearest airstrip in Juphal. is OLE Nepal’s team conducted a four-day basic teacher training in Dolpa for the teachers on how to integrate digital resources in their classrooms. Following the training, fifteen laptops, an offline digital library server and other related equipment were handed to the teachers.   

Our team of two trainers traveled to Dolpa to conduct teacher training. The training conducted between August 29 – September 1, 2021, held in Dunai, included 3 teachers (2 Male and 1 Female). The training focused on pedagogical and technical aspects of the program. On the pedagogical part, they were trained on child-friendly teaching-learning practices for the effective integration of E-Paath and digital learning resources into the classroom. This included the preparation of an integrated lesson plan, job chart, techniques of classroom management, use of teacher notes, and maintaining records. On the technical part, they were trained on basic troubleshooting techniques on E-Paati.  The teacher training sessions were hands-on practice sessions. During the training, the teachers also prepared an action plan with a list of immediate activities for the successful implementation of the program.

Following the training, fifteen laptops, an offline digital library server and other related equipment were handed to the teachers. 15 child-friendly laptops were prepared in the August third week. These laptops are low power, low cost, durable and child-friendly designed for primary grades. These laptops were first examined for physical damage and then they were put through component testing. After the complete testing, they were installed with the software package and interactive digital content E-Paath, Baal Pathmala, and other learning games. Additionally, a digital library server and router were also provided for the school setup.

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New 119 E-Paath content developed for CEHRD learning portal

OLE Nepal has completed the development of 119 new digital E-Paath lessons for grades 1 to 3 as part of the ‘Digital early grade learning content development for COVID-19 response’ project with support from USAID through the Early Grade Reading Program II that is being implemented by RTI. In addition to digital lessons in English, Nepali, Math and Our Surrounding subjects, the new collection includes 15 Nepali Sign Language (NSL) content and 10 lessons and games for students with dyslexia. The completed activities will be handed over to the Centre for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) so that they can be uploaded to the government’s official learning portal.

During this project, our team of curriculum experts, content designers, graphic designers and illustrators, software developers, and translators worked together to create interactive digital educational activities that complement existing content on the CEHRD’s online learning platform. From conceptualization to design and development, the team paid close attention to ensure that the activities meet the learning objectives, and at the same time are fun and engaging for young learners. Graphic elements, animations, text, and audio components were contextualized to match the local environment. Content Experts for each subject were responsible for conceptualizing and reviewing the content.

The main purpose of this project is to provide continued support in developing more content to enhance the learning of children of Nepal, at least to those who can get access to the internet or can manage to get E-Paath offline. Under this project, OLE Nepal has designed, and developed  a total of 119 new interactive digital content for primary grades 1-3 for Nepali, Math, English,  Hamro SeroFero / हाम्रो सेरोफेरो (‘Our Surrounding’: integrated Science and Social Studies) subjects as well as contents for Nepali Sign Language (NSL) and for dyslexic children for the CEHRD learning portal. Additionally, Math and Hamro SeroFero (Science and Social Studies) were developed in both Nepali and English languages. 

The total number of new chapters developed per grade and subject is given below:

GRADE

ENGLISH

MATH

NEPALI

OS

NSL

DYSLEXIA

TOTAL

1

5

6

5

15

   

31

2

3

5

4

16

   

28

3

6

8

5

16

   

35

 

15

10

25

TOTAL

14

19

14

47

15

10

119

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Developing accessible content and digital library for students with learning differences

OLE Nepal has embarked on a new project, supported by UNICEF and KDDI Foundation, with the aim to reduce disparities that children with disabilities are facing with their learning. The project is particularly relevant in the COVID19 context where their physical access to schools and learning environments is greatly reduced, and the school shutdown has disproportionately affected students with learning disabilities. Students with learning differences who depend solely on their teachers’ instruction have been left out from the online home-based learning experience. We are working to increase inclusive access to learning materials on our free and open digital learning platforms – E-Paath and E-Pustakalaya. Our approach to make the learning experience inclusive will move away from traditional methods and towards technology, while promoting lifelong learning.

With the understanding that inclusive education needs to start at the foundational level, we are working with Nepali Sign Language (NSL) experts and interpreters to create NSL instructional videos and embed them on digital learning content E-Paath for Grades 1-6. While all of the contents have text for corresponding audio/sounds, we believe that students with hearing impairments will benefit from having NSL instruction within each E-Paath lesson and exercise.

Our technical team is working on adapting our free and open digital library to ensure it meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to make the library accessible for users with visual impairments through the use of screen reader software so that they can easily navigate through thousands of resources available. Early adaptation to accessible assistive technology is not only advantageous, but also cost-effective in the long-run. A major part of this project will be creating school level textbooks that are usable with assistive technology. Not many digital books have been converted to a format that can be read by assistive technology for easy access. Our team will work together with experts to create accessible content for the digital library. 

The inclusive education contents developed under this project for Nepal Sign Language (NSL) instruction and with accessible books for students with low-vision or blindness will then be tested and piloted in schools for students with visual impairments, speech-hearing impairments. OLE Nepal’s technical team will prepare and provide computers recommended and selected for their assistive technology and ease of access features that meet the needs of the users. The computer labs will be equipped with a power back-up system to avoid any disruptions during classroom sessions, and an offline digital library server (E-Pustakalaya), which will host the offline version of the digital library space with accessible learning contents.

The computer lab set ups in these schools will be accompanied by a teacher training program at the school. The training will help prepare the teachers on the use and methods of instruction for students on interactive digital learning NSL contents and assistive technology. After the teacher training program, OLE Nepal’s teacher trainers and technical staff will provide support based on the school’s requirements. Our content team will also monitor the usage during this period.  We plan to have further discussions with the teachers and students of these test schools to learn about their needs and experiences.

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Students learning on tablets during lockdown

OLE Nepal launched a home-based learning program in partnership with the Lalitpur Metropolitan City Office (LMC) and KDDI Foundation to address the changing education challenges faced by disadvantaged students using affordable, offline devices. Students in six pilot schools in Lalitpur were able to take home customized tablet computers loaded with digital learning resources on a rotational basis during the most recent covid outbreak. These pre-loaded tablets allowed the students to continue learning at home by following activities in their grade-specific workbooks and custom study plan for the months that the schools remained closed. Teachers in the pilot schools proceeded with caution and followed all safety precautions while facilitating the tablet check-out and rotation program. The program has helped public schools students who do not have access to devices and connectivity at home.

Students from Jalpa Secondary School in Dhapakhel, Bal Binod Secondary School in Na:Tole, Yashodhara Bouddha Secondary School in Thaina, Prabhat Secondary School in Tygal, Harisiddhi Secondary School in Harisiddhi, and Shramik Bal Bigyan Basic School in Pulchowk, Lalitpur was given weekly study plans with workbook along with the tablets to enable them to study at home, even without access to the internet. These tablet have been pre-loaded with over 40GB of learning content including OLE Nepal’s interactive E-Paath (epaath.olenepal.org) digital content, instructional videos produced by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, science and math educational games (games.olenepal.org), and other reference materials such as dictionaries in English and Nepali language.

During the last academic year, the schools in Lalitpur have had to shut down a few times. During the shut down the tablets have helped students transition into learning at home and school. These tablets have been used while in-person classes were in session as well.

PHOTOS: 

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Capturing Karnali folktales in digital form with Karnali Arts Centre

Our content team visited Gamgadhi, Mugu in Karnali Province to collect children’s stories for our collection of Hamro Ramailo Kathaharu (HRK). This workshop was conducted with Karnali Arts Center to help facilitate and capture oral storytelling in the region with local writers, artists, and musicians, and sketch out concepts for visualization of these stories in digital form. This workshop was an opportunity to co-create digitally enhanced original and re-written stories inspired by the local wisdom and lived experiences of the indigenous communities.

We chose to work with Karnali Arts Centre as a collaborator as they are a community-based organization, and we were able to leverage this partnership to meet with local writers, musicians, and artists in the region. The workshop was held on April 17-18, 2021 in Mugu. During the workshop, our project lead and content designer shared the intention to curate and capture oral storytelling in the digital form through our project. The participants were introduced to OLE Nepal’s work on E-Paath and E-Pustakalaya, as well as existing stories in the HRK platform. The workshop was interactive with sessions on reading, writing, storytelling and revisiting existing work in children’s literature. Participants were also asked to draw their favorite characters for an exercise on character building. At the end of the workshop, the participants shared a total of eight new story submissions, out of which five were shortlisted for further development. Our team has continued to work closely with the artists and Karnali Arts Centre to develop the stories, illustrations, voice recordings, and accompanying music. 

Our content team visited Gamgadhi, Mugu in Karnali Province to collect children’s stories for our collection of Hamro Ramailo Kathaharu (HRK). This workshop was conducted with Karnali Arts Center to help facilitate and capture oral storytelling in the region with local writers, artists, and musicians, and sketch out concepts for visualization of these stories in digital form. This workshop was an opportunity to co-create digitally enhanced original and re-written stories inspired by the local wisdom and lived experiences of the indigenous communities.

We chose to work with Karnali Arts Centre as a collaborator as they are a community-based organization, and we were able to leverage this partnership to meet with local writers, musicians, and artists in the region. The workshop was held on April 17-18, 2021 in Mugu. During the workshop, our project lead and content designer shared the intention to curate and capture oral storytelling in the digital form through our project. The participants were introduced to OLE Nepal’s work on E-Paath and E-Pustakalaya, as well as existing stories in the HRK platform. The workshop was interactive with sessions on reading, writing, storytelling and revisiting existing work in children’s literature. Participants were also asked to draw their favorite characters for an exercise on character building. At the end of the workshop, the participants shared a total of eight new story submissions, out of which five were shortlisted for further development. Our team has continued to work closely with the artists and Karnali Arts Centre to develop the stories, illustrations, voice recordings, and accompanying music. 

OLE Nepal is developing an interactive digital platform to help early graders develop their basic reading and comprehension skills. We are creating and curating original stories for the platform, to help young learners through the use of familiar images and word references. These stories have features of both audio and animation, where learners can enhance their reading in an interactive way. The use of audio-visuals, illustrations and animations, combined with interactivity, will be highly effective in helping young learners to listen to illustrated stories, decode sentences and words, learn vocabulary, form words from letters and sentences from words. Children can also learn and identify the alphabets by listening to the sounds.

This project to design and develop high-quality Nepali children’s stories is supported by ONGD-FNEL, Luxembourg.

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Refresher training for laptop program schools in Rupandehi

March 2021 | Rupandehi

Our team completed refresher training for teachers from two schools in Rupandehi – Shree Laxmi Basic School and Gyanjyoti Secondary School in Devdaha Municipality. A total of 14 teachers from both schools and three project staff from Soiya Mahila Swabalambi Sastha (SMSS) had participated in the refresher training program at Laxmi Basic School on March 26-27, 2021. Refresher training on the laptop integrated teaching-learning process is designed to help teachers deal with issues and challenges encountered while integrating digital resources in their daily classroom. Our technical team also provided technical and equipment support to the schools. The laptop program in these schools was launched in partnership with SMSS and Skoleliv-i-Nepal in April 2019.

OLE Nepal’s teacher training and technical team visited program schools in Rupandehi district during the second half of March 2021. The training was conducted in a small group at the school while they were still open, before the covid outbreak in April 2021.

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Technical and Monitoring Support for digital libraries in Gulmi and Palpa

March 2021 | Palpa

A team from OLE Nepal visited Dhawal Pustakalaya and Janata Secondary School in Palpa, and Amarpur Secondary School and Aarjai Secondary School in Gulmi for technical and training support on March 21-24, 2021. The team was able to update the digital library servers and carry out maintenance work on the Raspberry Pi computers during their visit. After the updates, they conducted orientation programs for teachers and resource persons on the latest features of the offline digital library and basic troubleshooting. OLE Nepal had set up the computer labs with offline digital library servers in these schools and one library in partnership with the Rotary Club of Kathmandu Mid-Town.

OLE Nepal’s teacher training and technical team visited program schools and a library in Palpa, and Gulmi districts during the second half of March 2021. The training was conducted in a small group at the school while they were still open, before the covid outbreak in April 2021.

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Teacher training program in Palpa

March 2021 | Palpa

At a new school in Palpa, OLE Nepal’s team has completed a teacher training program on technology integrated teaching-learning using Raspberry Pi (RPi) computers. A total of 10 teachers from Shree Ram Secondary School in Ramdi and Melang, Palpa participated in the 4-day training program. The teachers were introduced to the features of the RPi computers, E-Paath (interactive digital learning materials), and E-Pustakalaya (digital library). During the training, the teachers were able to get hands-on practice on how to effectively integrate technology and digital learning resources into classroom teaching and learning. The training program in this school was conducted in partnership with Peace Corps volunteer, Mr. Eric Pollard.

Our teacher training and technical team visited the program school in Palpa during the second half of March 2021. The training was conducted in a small group at the school while they were still open, before the covid outbreak in April 2021.

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Creation of children’s stories

OLE Nepal is developing an interactive digital platform to help early graders develop their basic reading and comprehension skills. We are creating and curating original stories for the platform, to help young learners through the use of familiar images and word references. These stories have features of both audio and animation, where learners can enhance their reading in an interactive way. The use of audio-visuals, illustrations and animations, combined with interactivity, will be highly effective in helping young learners to listen to illustrated stories, decode sentences and words, learn vocabulary, form words from letters and sentences from words. Children can also learn and identify the alphabets by listening to the sounds.

We want to share with you a few new stories and games that have been launched on the platform.

What do you eat? (Timi ke kanchau?):  LINK TO STORY

About the story: While the initial intention was that of a culinary journey across Nepal, for someone who loves trying out new things, even Kamal was surprised and thrilled to discover so many interesting places, and experiences belonging to people of Nepal that are seldom visible in the mainstream imagination. Over the years, Kamal is hoping to befriend more people to understand more and is curious to know तिमी के खान्छौ ? (What do you eat?). Kamal was equally excited about the different modes of transportation.

Perfect Circle: LINK TO STORY

About the story: Children are the experts of their own lives but their sense of agency is rarely valued and we, adults, are quick to label them difficult instead of learning to listen to them and respect their autonomy. In this story, like any other child her age, we also see Zeya’s joy of discovery and single-minded fascination for something that she has learned recently.

Charlie Chamero : LINK TO STORY

About the story: With news of the corona virus setting in, we humans were quick to defame the bats. “Give a bat a bad name, and hang him!” – the authors were keen to do away with this single story of how bats are portrayed. Meanwhile, Charlie Chamero discovers a beautiful friendship with Prithvi, who loves solitude and explorations as much as Charlie does.

Ma Pani Sakchu: LINK TO STORY

About the story: This story (Yes, I can) is an adaptation meant for emergent learners. Although the basic idea of the story is for a child to imitate and do some actions that are easily achievable giving them a sense of accomplishment, they will also be exposed to new vocabulary through the introduction of some familiar and some not so familiar animals, actions and terrains as well.  We also want to show a sense of camaraderie between the children and the animals: the children completely unafraid and uninhibited by the animals. We believe there is a possibility of co-existence until adulthood takes over, and we have also consciously tried to break away stereotypical depiction of the characters. 

Puzzle/पज्जल:  LINK TO GAME

About the game: A simplified crossword puzzle, where the users will be given visual and audio hints to guide them to drag and drop the correct letters in the puzzle. The words selected for the puzzles have been extracted from the stories in hopes of reinforcing what they had seen and read in the stories.

For the next phase, we will be exploring Karnali to collect children’s stories in Mugu district in partnership with the Karnali Arts Centre. Our team will collaborate with the Karnali Arts Center to conduct workshops that will help facilitate and capture oral storytelling in the region, and sketch out concepts for visualization of these stories in digital form with the help of local writers, artists and musicians.

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