I don’t know how we can be tired already…the kids from the Advanced class did so well, the session was a breeze! Thankfully today was a really short one.
A few workshops ago, we implemented a short introductory session for our students as a start to familiarize themselves with the technology we use. The goal was to make the students comfortable with some essential systems that while crucial, are peripheral to the goal of learning photography. We found that in some of our locations, our students had very little, if any contact with computers or cameras other than their phones. This unfamiliarity with the technology became an additional barrier for them as they were then trying to understand the mechanics of manual photography. Our initial response to this was to try and build in a 3 hour tech session for a few of the students who were identified as being more experienced. We aimed to provide each group with one student who had advanced knowledge of the workflow procedures we’d be using. These students would then act as peer mentors to their group mates throughout the week and would help them to get comfortable with our workflow process. As time went on and more and more of our workshops were conducted, more and more of the students wanted to attend the early session until finally, the 3 hour tech session became our first half-day of class! So now, like something from a Douglas Adams novel, we are conducting an 8 day week-long workshop.
One of the tenants of our workshop is that these are not just for privileged kids in developing areas. We make it a requirement that half of the students come from rural or underserved communities. There also must also be an equal mix of male and female students. Then we take those kids, mix them up, and build our groups for the week! Occasionally, this feels a bit awkward at first, but after a few days groups are usually humming along and thriving as new friends in a safe place of support…often surprising even them! This class in Hyderabad, has so much of that potential! This time around, we have ten students from the Aga Khan Academy and ten students from various government schools. We were told today that most of the boys from the government schools are from farming families and don’t have toilets or showers in their houses. One of our students had never used a retractable ballpoint pen before and none of their schools have computers. We didn’t quite realize how great the difference was going to be in the student’s prior experiences. Mike was asked, during tea break, to show the boys how to turn a computer off and on…and you should have seen their faces light up! By the end of the night, these guys were downloading their memory cards into the computer and importing images into Lightroom! In one afternoon we’d sent them to space…and you know what’s amazing, they have the ability to just soak it all up!
Man, we can’t wait for tomorrow!