On June 30, 2016 Learn Smart Pakistan’s Summer Challenge came to a close. The Challenge had started on May 18. By the closing date, more than 3000 students and teachers were engaged with the LSP app, the Facebook community had close to 4000 members and students were frantically trying to gain proficiency badges and improve their accuracy. To say it was a success would be accurate but not enough to describe exactly what transpired over the past month and a half. Students became friends through LSP and these friendships transcended the application into that most elusive of places: the real world.
For one of the Bonus Rounds, students were asked to produce videos, instructing their fellow students on an educational concept. Alternatively, they could also make a video on someone or something that had inspired them. We were so delighted to see the influx of entries, ranging in topic from drumming to Mohammed Ali Jinnah. The winning student, Hoor Sheikh, used a brief case and its contents to illustrate the difference between abstract and concrete nouns. We felt we were learning the concept again too!
What is all this to say? Well, we had forgotten what it meant to have virtual friends. Some of us remember the high we got from interacting with LiveJournal friends back when we were teens (many years ago now!). This was a way to remember that again: what it can feel like to get to know personalities and people through what they post, the questions they ask and basically just based on the content they put out on the internet.
So there was that. Then, of course, we got to meet many of the students during the Writing Workshop and Writing Contest. The Workshop was held on Tuesday, July 12 2016 to introduce students to the concept of essay writing. At the end of it, students were asked to write essays on a variety of topics.
Some pictures from the day:
They essays were also used as qualifiers for the Pre-Award tests held on Saturday, July 16 2016. Imagine, a Saturday like any other Saturday but also different because the morning begins as a work morning. To be honest, we weren’t too happy about being in the office on a weekend (who ever is?) but we came in to find that students had already started arriving, some from as far as Dir. Others from Chakwal. Students in uniform, teachers and beaming parents in tow. Students with shaking hands, question marks about pencils and the use of calculators on their faces. Bemused parents saying, ‘What is going on, we only found out about the app last night!’ Here, in the flesh, was the LSP army. The students, teachers, parents we had amassed over the course of the month all in the office. And many more who had participated but not qualified were also there, present because we were still getting notifications from them wishing their friends the best of luck.
Here are some pictures from the day…
…over the next few hours we’ll be announcing the winners of the Summer Challenge on Facebook. Stay tuned, watch this space. You can learn in a myriad of ways… There’s LSP, but then there’s also the aftermath.