Early this year, SerVe Club members at Habib University decided to initiate a community service outreach project called ‘URAAN’ (flight), aimed at enhancing soft and ICT (information and communications technology) skills of students.
Institute of Learning and Development (ILAD), a school for lower middle income community living in Rabia City and Gulistan-e-Jauhar areas of Karachi, accepted the offer to implement URAAN during the months of April and May 2016.
Initially a team of four and now a team of 16 SerVe Club members have embarked on a journey to give a gift of time and knowledge to the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students of ILAD School.
Three modules, namely; Exploring Online Resources using Internet, Communication Skills and Career Awareness and Planning Skills (CAPS) will be implemented. It was decided that the ICT related module will be implemented at HU by inviting students to campus and the rest will be implemented at the school premises.
Hence after much anticipation, the first module of the URAAN project was conducted on 9th April. ILAD students came to HU to take part in a workshop on Exploring Online Resources that included the topics; Searching Effectively on Google, Basics of Computer Programming and other useful resources online that they could use for studying. The sole purpose of inviting these students to the university was to provide them a change in environment which would aid their learning, and since the school caters to low-income class, it doesn’t have high quality facilities. A total of 33 students (18 boys and 15 girls) along with two teachers participated in the workshop.
ILAD student Roshni of Grade VIII said:
I did not know the world of online learning has so much to offer which I can study on my own. Thank You URAAN Team!
Students from ILAD were extremely enthusiastic and their desire to learn could be seen in their eyes as well as attitude. Such was the passion and energy that when asked to perform an activity on Code.org following a few instructions, they were able to design a game on their own. Through this activity they were taught that an exciting world of programming exists, which they were unaware of. Some of the students were quite fascinated by this small piece of information and one of them excitedly said that he would choose computer programming as his career.
This is what URAAN is trying to strive with this project i.e. to expose them to the opportunities out there in the world by building on their soft and ICT skills, and also by offering a career session which would further broaden their horizon. Besides coding, TED-Ed videos were also introduced which underlined the importance of learning through videos and how it is sometimes a better alternative to understand any topic.
ILAD student Naeem of Grade VIII said:
It was an exceptionally fascinating experience for me to learn how to code games.
It was a great experience to have the students of ILAD School visit Habib University. The enthusiasm they possessed towards learning is laudable. The principal, teachers and their parents have a huge part to play in this, and the entire URAAN team is immensely pleased that the principal of ILAD School collaborated for the project. The feedback that the team received following the session, from the vice principal and the teachers that were present was very encouraging and URAAN hopes the upcoming sessions of the other two modules, Communication and Career Awareness and Planning Skills, will be carried out with the same dedication.