Empowering Teachers in Rural India With Technology

Monkeys, power shortages, and cold conditions didn’t deter a team of VMware people and teachers in Northern India from integrating technology into the classroom. Earlier this year, a team of VMware people embarked on a Good Gigs Trek—the VMware Foundation’s leadership program—in collaboration with CARE India. The goal of the trek was to advance the quality of education for girls through technology. The Good Gigs objective was twofold: increased digital literacy for the teachers, and hands-on leadership training for the VMware Good Gigs team.

Service Learning—Innovative Approach to Professional Development

Good Gigs is a unique program that develops leaders through immersive service. VMware people serve a nonprofit and in return learn about human-centered design, growth mindset, and radical transparency. Recently celebrated in Fortune’s list of companies that offer paid time off to volunteer, Good Gigs builds upon VMware’s culture of innovation, inspiration, and global mindset. Through reflection, the Good Gigs trekkers broaden their perspectives on leadership and how they can apply their insights to daily life. 

What was powerful about the Trek was that we all worked towards a common goal. I saw the power of what’s possible when you engage both head and heart to achieve a mission.

Radhika Rayadu, Staff 2 User Experience Designer

Social Impact—Empowering Teachers in Udaan, Hardoi

CARE India was selected for Good Gigs because of their innovative teaching methods. Through an accelerated curriculum, adolescent girls, many who have never been to school, are able to complete grades 1–5 in just 11 months. The Good Gigs team collaborated with CARE India teachers and staff to enhance their unique curriculum by integrating technology into their lesson plans.

Committed to sustainable options, the Good Gigs team conducted an extensive needs assessment with the staff in order to ascertain the constraints for the school: monkeys who chew on Internet cables, computers powered by solar, and classroom without heat. Together they identified a new generation of teaching tools that met these requirements, including a Raspberry Pi as an alternative server for their classroom laptops and free educational content in Hindi.

As with all deployments, the teachers and trekkers faced several challenges during the two-week workshop on digital literacy, but that just made the defining moments even more rewarding for the group. Moments like when a teacher demonstrated how he had applied the Excel lesson to an existing project and what used to take him two months by hand could now be accomplished in less than two hours with little to no error.

What’s Next

Committed to sustainability and scale, the upcoming Good Gigs Trek will build upon the 2015 Good Gigs Trek to South Africa. This winter, a newly formed team of VMware employees will return to LEAP Science and Math School in South Africa to build upon their initial IT work by identifying solutions to connect their school network.

Meanwhile, you can experience the most recent trek with CARE India through the VMware Foundation’s special leadership insight series.