Moving 0Gravity Coding Clubs from Corporate Training Rooms to Virtual Rooms
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many dislocations experienced by children, especially the underprivileged, in their experience and continuity of learning. As I witnessed 0Gravity coding clubs being shut down due to COVID-19, and with my own school going online, I realized the deep impact of this pandemic to the continuity of education for children in India.
From 2016 onwards, through 0Gravity coding clubs the children have been trained in the corporate training centers of participating companies, who also provide their volunteers for a couple of hours over the weekend. With virtually all corporates in Bengaluru and Chennai moving to work from home arrangements for their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, it completely disrupted 0Gravity’s ongoing clubs in corporate training centers. We faced a difficult situation of not having the training material that could be delivered online or, more importantly, the children from economically disadvantaged group not having computers or internet connections at home, a constraint that children are facing around the country to continue even school education.
0Gravity volunteers got into action recognizing that to continue the mission of training these children with hands-on computer knowledge, we will have to deliver laptops and dongles to the children and shift to an online mode of workshops. The in-person workshops content and training were altered to be delivered on Zoom with multiple volunteers trained to work with children in smaller virtual breakout rooms. Every class had language translators, who translated English instructions to local Kannada language for children.
Since March 2020, we have delivered 3 workshops, each spanning over 3 months and with 25-30 children. We have trained 80 students, all girl children in the age group of 13-18 years old, in Web Programming through HTML and Fundamentals of Programming.
It has been a learning experience for all volunteers, students and me, alike, in adapting to the virtual coding clubs and online training sessions. It is clear to me that for the foreseeable future, we will have to be in the virtual or a hybrid mode for 0Gravity clubs.
We remain committed to our aspirational goals of training 10,000 children by 2025. Towards that goal, our next workshop is lined up kick-off on February 13th, 2021, with 45 students joining from Rainbow Foundation India Foster homes in Karnataka, Delhi and Haryana.