Virtual Teaching

This summer, I worked at Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Nepal. I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d be doing at OLE before arriving in Kathmandu. I knew it had something to do with education and possibly involved lesson planning. At my first meeting with my boss for the summer, I found out this wasn’t completely incorrect. Their mission, as a social benefit organization, is to enhance education quality and access for underserved children through the integration of technology in classrooms. When my boss showed me their software and online lessons, I was intimidated. It would be an understatement to say I was horrible at technology–it took me over a year to figure out how to change my icon photo on my Macbook. Not only were my technological skills limited to Microsoft programs, but I had never used more than a powerpoint while teaching. All of the lesson planning I had done in the past was for classes I’d be meeting with face-to-face and in areas where I could not use a projector or laptop. This job was different than any I’d had in the past. I’d be creating English and math lessons which would be used by thousands of students in and outside of Nepal. I’d have to consult Nepali curriculum guides and textbooks to create the material and make sure it was understandable for all the students who would be using it. Usually, I can see how the students learn and determine my lesson plan from there, but I couldn’t be there in person to see what was working and what wasn’t. This was one of the biggest challenges of the summer–not having students to actually talk to about what helped them learn or what they wanted to do. I could only communicate through the computer and I couldn’t explain what my ideas were to the teachers who would be using my lessons. Everything needed to be explicitly clear and understandable. Although this was really challenging, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had and I learned a lot about how to be clearer when teaching–whether it be online or in person. My ability to communicate complex ideas improved and I also learned a few cool new tricks on Google slides! Working for OLE was a really incredible experience and I hope to return there soon. 

Below is an excerpt from a blurb I wrote about OLE to recruit new video game developers from universities. I think it aptly describes their work for those who are reading this and are interested in donating or working with them:

We create and design educational software and distribute them for free to schools in Nepal. All of our software is culturally specific and meets the national curriculum requirements. E-Paath, our interactive digital software, covers grades 2-8 and the subjects of math, Nepali, English, and science. Our software is translated into English, Nepali, and Chepang. We are currently operating in 230 schools across 34 districts in Nepal. In addition to providing free educational software for these schools, we provide teacher training so that educators can incorporate our materials into their lesson plans. Our in-staff teachers go to schools in Nepal and facilitate trainings for the schools’ staff. Our teaching team periodically checks in with the trained educators to receive feedback on the materials and fix any technical/logistical problems they may have. We also collaborate with other organizations to rebuild schools affected by the 2015 earthquake and to also provide laptops to schools in remote areas. All of the laptops are equipped with our educational software and e-library. Our extensive online library, E-Pustakalaya, holds PDFs, short stories, audio clips, videos, and other educational resources in both Nepali and English. These materials can be viewed for free directly from a web browser or downloaded to use later.

 

My coworkers showing Melech and me around Kathmandu! All of our coworkers were really kind and basically took us under their wings during our time in Kathmandu. They took us out to their favorite restaurants, cafes, and places to hang out. It was so nice having them show us more than the tourist-y parts of Nepal.

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