Students demonstrate ideas for their smartphone app to Sesame Workshop in India via Skype.

Beaver Students Head to India

Last spring, a group of Beaver students participating in the NuVu program spent two weeks working in the Learning Lab India studio. During this time they developed ideas for an educational smartphone app that could be played by groups of children in poor areas of India. Now, those students are on their way to India to attend the INK conference and field-test their app in collaboration with Sesame Workshop.

Juniors Elizabeth Cooper and Tess Anderson are blogging about their experiences in India. Here are excerpts from their first posts prior to leaving.

8 months ago, 8 fellow NuVu students and myself took the plunge into the world of game design. This whole trip started with a question. “How do you design an educational phone-app-game that can be played by 5 or more kids?” Now being self-confident and self-involved teenagers we all said that this was easy and how could this possibly take two weeks. Then we met Gwen and Adam. Gwen with her infinitely long marigold hair, with curls that put even mine to shame, and her London-chic look, signature John Lennon esque glasses. Adam with his love of giraffes, his lovely dog Sophie, and incredible focus (when let’s be honest, this isn’t a strength for teenagers).

Concept art for game

Concept art for game

Flash forward to today… My flight leaves in 6 hours and 52 minutes. To say that I am freaking out is a colossal understatement. But enough about me. I am sure that some of you are wondering why I am going to India. Remember those games we designed 8 months ago? At the end of the two weeks we handed over our ideas to some technological gurus and magicians. They preformed some mystical sleight of hand, and now they are actual coded apps. So the second half of the trip we will be piloting those and working with the children in a slum near Delhi.

For the first half of the trip we will be interning at the INK conference. INK is a conference held annually in India that wants to purvey inspiration, innovation, and knowledge. INK is in affiliation with TED, a similar conference held here in the US. In case you are interested here is INK’s website: http://theinkconference.com/. This convention is going to be a great introduction to India and it’s people.

I know that I am going to learn a lot from my time in India. I am hoping to discover Indian culture, Indian cuisine, patience, and I will most likely learn the importance of good hygiene… unfortunately.
Elizabeth Cooper ’13

I am looking forward to observing the culture and comparing it to ours. I am well aware that it will be alarmingly different, but this excites me ever more. I cannot wait to see how the people in India dress. When I fantasize in class about India, I always picture what the streets of India look like. I imagine it as one big loud bustling place with cows, people, and cars all on the streets headed toward the same location in no rush whatsoever. I picture myself standing in the middle of all this commotion just watching. Watching people’s behavior and noticing the different fashion trends in India. The colors flash by as fast as a shark chases its prey; I begin to feel mesmerized. As I snap back into reality, I realize I am ready for this trip. I am ready to face all the challenges ahead of me. I am ready for the trip of a lifetime to begin.
Tess Anderson ’13

To follow along with the trip, look for updates here and on NuVu’s blog.

Top Photo: Students share their concept for the smartphone app with Sesame Workshop in India via Skype.

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