Math Magic!

Nooraine Fazal, Math Magic at Inventure Academy

What do you get when you put 18 Kannada speaking 5th graders from a government school in front of PCs
with access to Khan Academy? Magic! These kids had been bussed in from their school in Ramagondanahalli
and were seated in Inventure Academy’s Computer lab on a bright sunny morning. We had a bunch of
dedicated volunteers, 11th grade students from Inventure Academy and staff ready to help them if they
needed help. We had planned the experiment to last an hour. At the end of the hour, we asked each child,
should we stop the session and each of them said – “Please, can we have 5 more minutes?” We told them
there was a yummy snack waiting for them when the session ended and that didn’t budge them either. These
are kids who don’t necessarily get any breakfast when they come in to school and yet they were all glued into
learning Math and couldn’t have enough of it.

Several wished they knew what was being said in an American accented English, wished they understood
what ‘Acorns’ or a ‘Ladybug’ meant but that didn’t deter them from learning. They asked for help, they asked
for online hints, they watched videos and they all loved the smiley faces on the screen when they figured out
how to solve a problem! They learnt shapes, how to tell time, add and subtract and did lots of word problems
in a language they barely followed. And they never gave up. Not one of them threw up their hands in despair,
not one of them said I don’t want to continue. Even the children who were weak in math said they would like
to do it again because they love math!

This experimental pilot was conceived and led by Nooraine Fazal CEO, Inventure Academy, Mallika Sen, Principal,  Inventure Academy & Lavanya Vimla, Teacher & Community Service Lead at Inventure Academy and Sumedha Rao of Whitefield Rising to understand how much of a barrier language was in the learning of math through Khan Academy. Our experiment clearly shows that even  though language was a constraint for some, it did not stop the learning process. In our feedback, each and every one of these children said that they would like to continue this type of self-paced learning and had fun doing so.

In order to give these children an opportunity to continue to learn using Khan Academy in their own schools,
we need your help – we need techies who can work with us in providing:

  • Affordable Solar powered UPS systems for these schools to ensure that they have uninterrupted power supply and
  • Reliable, affordable Internet connectivity and PCs
  • Setting up networking, security and firewalls for these PCs

Do you want to be part of this Math Magic? Please email Viji Vennelakanti at viji.vennelakanti@gmail.com