LUMS SOE MPhil ELM Students Initiate an Online Learning Project for the Children of the Custodian Staff
Parwaaz is a project initiated by LUMS School of Education (SOE) MPhil Education Leadership Management (ELM) students which aims to inculcate social and emotional skills in children who are out of school during the lock down. The project aims to channelise emotional recognition and vulnerability, teach simple coping mechanisms through mindful activities and utilise digital media to create social awareness regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. The activities are designed for children aged 4-13 years, belonging to the families of the custodian/MBM staff employed by LUMS. Along with imparting knowledge and awareness, the project also aims to uncover the most effective teaching methods which ensure that learning becomes an ongoing process for the children.
Parwaaz includes MPhil ELM students, Sehrish Mustansar, Fatima Umar, Maydda Ussama, Maira Shahzad, Farwa Tassaduq, Hirra Shahid, Asma Shahid, Zareena Qureshi, Muhammad Kamran Taj, Hafsa Mansoor, Mohammad Ammar, Husnain Zahoor, Maria Babar, Mishaal Ahmad, Mariam Duranni, Sania Zafar, Fatima Aslam, Muhammad Abuzar Ghaffari and volunteer from Aitchison College, Mohammad Saeed Mahmood.
The students created a YouTube Channel where they uploaded the content divided into categories for children under 8, and under 12 years of age. The videos contain stories, songs, morals, arts and crafts and other activities that the students can engage with. Coronavirus was a major theme for the videos as they wanted to educate children on the pandemic. The content aims to spread awareness about COVID-19, social distancing, use of masks, and cleanliness by using engaging strategies.
Along with the video content, the students also dispatched stationery pouches with material for activities, collected by the custodian staff members from LUMS. Once the pouches were delivered, detailed messages containing the YouTube link for the respective video of the day were sent to the parents so that they may be able to help the children.
Undoubtedly, many challenges arose during the implementation phases of the project. Upon inquiry, the students shared that, “We had to ensure that the children are actually watching videos. We were able to take telephonic survey with the parents and children to get their feedback on the quality of the episodes and the effectiveness of the channel. Two rounds of calls were made, which helped us get a deeper insight of the advantages and challenges of online learning. Our findings showed that factors such as lack of internet availability, lack of time, lack of accessible devices and lack of creating appropriate boundaries for the students to learn online were major hindrances. Some of the challenges were overcome by the parents themselves, in the most creative ways, such as downloading the videos from LUMS and then bringing the downloaded videos at home for the kids to watch. We also found that since mostly one mobile device available per household, some kids had access to the mobiles during the evening when their fathers came back home."
After a successful run of the pilot project, the MPhil students are now working with SOE faculty to make a more sustainable long-term model.