My CAS project during my IB Diploma course was participating in a service activity that taught concepts of technology to teachers of the Doorstep organisation during COVID-19. Organizations like Doorstep addressed problems like limited education, non-enrolment and limited resources by teaching and supporting students who don’t have access to books and places to learn. During COVID-19, however, teachers had to resort to digital platforms to continue teaching and hence, I took up the role of initiating sessions where we would help teachers easily access these digital platforms and use them further enhance their ways of digital teaching. I started this by first investigating myself, as I had to make sure that I could identify my own strengths with technology. I realized that the leadership role I was taking up was for a session that hadn’t been conducted before, and hence allowed me to identify and take action towards a need that I wanted to address. In terms of growth, skills such as communicating effortlessly and organising different plans were absent due to my lack of experience in this field. But this opportunity allowed me to develop these skills and improve my ways of management and critical thinking.
After identifying the problem, I initiated the first planning session wherein I shared my ideas and opened the stage for the rest of the group members to inject some of their own suggestions. We began by identifying the different platforms that were often used by teachers and I used this information to delegate tasks among the group members. Each of us handled different platforms like Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Classroom. We also introduced them to Khan Academy, where they could create separate accounts and use the videos and different activities to help their students. I then developed a plan, where I specified roles, deadlines, resources and a specific timeline that we as a group needed to follow. This allowed me to acquire skills in the fields of organisation and creativity – as I had to make the sessions interactive and friendly for the teachers to feel comfortable.
The benefits of collaborative work were seen when we put our planning into action. Implementing the ideas, we had was difficult and awkward at first, mainly due to the constant technical issues and communication barriers. But due the clarified roles of each member of the group and the teacher’s willingness to learn and understand ways in which they could better support their students helped us achieve our goals for every session. Challenges were part of every session we held. As teachers worked from their phones, their scope of teaching was limited to the applications available on their devices. So we also changed our plans to use our phones to direct the teachers and directly show them how they could hold meetings or create and use PowerPoint presentations on their mobiles. We encouraged them to share their screens and show us if they had any problems on their devices and that allowed me to develop problem-solving skills when helping them with unexpected issues. We were also flexible as a group because teachers were only available for these sessions on specific days. We hence dedicated an hour every week on the day the teachers were comfortable and conducted sessions.
Altogether, it was through the work we put in as a group, through the delegated and completed tasks during every session that we were able to achieve our goals. We received positive feedback from all the teachers and hence knew that this experience was an integral part of our learning. Addressing an important need of our society during critical times was the goal of this experience. I was able to achieve this goal thanks to my peers, Ms. Maya, Ms. Rosy, Ms. Jodi and the wonderful teachers of the Doorstep organisation who were eager to learn and enhance their own library of knowledge when it came to digital teaching. This not only showed the benefits of collaborative work but also helped me realize that it is the small actions that account for the big differences in this world.