In this guest blog, Delivery Officer Arunima from our Cardiff hub writes about our recent One World, One Technology exchange project with schools in India.
The last month has been a rollercoaster of achievements, new experiences and awareness for our Cardiff hub, when we finally completed our 5-week international cultural exchange project, ‘One World, One Technology’. This project aimed to work with schools in Wales and India, using the new skills we have all gained to work remotely and collaboratively. The project’s objective was to work with groups of young people in both countries to create a technology that will aim to address an issue in their area that is a result of Climate Change.
There were three schools involved from Wales – Ysgol Emmanuel, Craig-Yr-Hesg, Cefn Primary – as well as grades 6, 7 and 8 from City Montessori School Gomti Nagar in India.
A total of 74 pupils from CMS and 120 pupils from Wales were part of this project, which gave us an opportunity to be more inclusive, create more innovative ideas and have better insights on today’s environmental issues. We held two sessions a week; a 90-minute session with each school independently and a separate 30-minute interaction session with all the pupils together. This was to ensure reduced screen time for the pupils, but gave them ample time to work on their projects in between the sessions.
The project started with the pupils choosing a topic from a list of environmental crises and brainstorming ideas on how they can combat, raise awareness or solve the chosen issue by creating a technology. This technical solution could be completely imaginative and creative. When we started the discussions, little did we know that the pupils would address and come up with solutions that were not only astonishing but certainly something that we could develop in the coming years. To support the participants, we delivered sessions on tools like Website Development (HTML & CSS), Twine and Thunkable. Everyone learned the tools thoroughly in the 90-minute sessions and were not ambivalent to try things and start building. The pupils chose one tool each and used it demonstrated their technical solutions. The final projects were then showcased to everyone.
This project was not only a learning experience for the pupils, but also for us staff as moderators. We realised how the generation gap between us gave us an opportunity to shed light on today’s issues from the younger mind’s perspective. The pupils addressed real problems, focused on modern technology and suggested futuristic solutions. We received numerous ideas, like a robot that would go around fields spreading seeds so that we can grow more trees efficiently; a drone that could fly over a forest fire and drop water to put it out; robots that pick up litter and recycle it in itself. These ideas were creative, innovative and practical.
It also involved cultural exchange, where pupils can learn about each other’s lifestyles and communicate by sharing work, photos, and ideas. Every week, we looked at pictures of classrooms, pets, soft boards, etc. from both the countries and it was exhilarating to see how similar but different two cultures can be. By the end of the project, the pupils had become friends who shared lots in common.
The pupils shared how they have realised that no contribution is too small and that every big change starts with a small step. This was the first time that we had taken the step into working internationally, and we have been incredibly lucky with the schools that joined the project and the time the teachers put in to make this project work. This is expected to be an ongoing project that allows involved nations to create technical solutions for an ongoing global crisis, with a different topic each year.
This year taught us that things like culture, technology and common discussions could help us come together and fight the environmental crisis as one, no matter the distance between us – in the same way we have been fighting this global pandemic as a team! We are extremely grateful to everyone who was a part of the project and contributed in the completion of the project.