The ‘Punch-Kanyas’

Recently, I visited JIT Borawan, in a small town Khargone, Madhya Pradesh. The reason was quite interesting..! In the recently completed course on 3D animation, I was surprised to see 60+ participants from a single place called Borawan. It took me some time to find it out on the map, but was pleasantly surprised to know that they were on the IITBombay’s network for the T10KT (Teach 10K teachers) project.

Excited, I called the coordinator there Prof. Santosh, and asked if the students would like to interact with me (over internet), once a week, for the doubts they have (if any). Within a day I got a reply with the name of the course coordinator, Prof. Nitin Namdev, and  also a slot for the interaction. The slot was curiously placed at 2 PM on Thursday. When I asked the reason, I was told that the college buses leave at 3:30 PM, therefore it is desirable to have it before that. I agreed, and thus started a series of online ‘Meetups’ with the JIT participants. Barring the ‘Holi’day, we had it for the stipulated 4 weeks, and I was quite happy the way the interaction used to be conducted. I could sense that by the end of the last interaction, the students had tougher questions to ask, and also share some of their experiences with others.

The last week was a group project, and I had permitted a group of 3 for this. During the last interaction, a girl asked me if she can have more than 3 members! I asked her the reason, and she said that there were some in the class, who stayed nearby, and didn’t have a computer at home, therefore, they wanted to gather at a place (having computer) and do the project. I permitted them, and also christened the group as ‘Panchkanya’.

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Later, after the course, I had planned a family visit to Nagpur, and this news was (inadvertently) shared with Prof. Nitin. In no time, I was sent multiple requests from him and the college, to visit them (from Nagpur). I tried to make an excuse by sighting the family function, but in vain. Finally, I decided to have this visit, and landed in Borawan. This is a small town ahead of Maheshwar (famous pilgrimage city of MP). The college is one of the oldest in the area and therefore, a reputed institution.

A grand welcome banner awaited me, followed by flowers, speeches and a memento. However, I could see the excitement in the eyes of the participating students for the interaction session planned next! I asked the groups to present their projects before I spoke, and I was quite surprised to see the efforts of these young marshals!

The PanchKanyas narrated their idea, and also explained ‘how’ they completed it. They were struggling with words to capture their excitement, but one thing that came out repeatedly was the sheer joy they experienced, when they saw the motion of the non-living objects for the first time!

I spent some quality time in talking to many of them, and interviewing them for my research, but I could see the gleaming eyes, which were too happy to meet the ONLINE teacher in person…

Actually, it was the same for me to meet the ONLINE students in person!

 

 

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