Our community partner Mathru, have also been our amiable hosts for the past month. They provide us with a wonderful work environment on campus, treat us to different delicacies everyday and also support us in different means to help us with our daily tasks despite their busy schedule. Their hospitality motivates us to work harder and give our best. Work here at Mathru has been fulfilling so far. We get to see our code making an impact, live in action. It gives you a sense of accomplishment when you see a teacher have a broad smile when she tests a feature your implemented. We also had fun times, when we got to interact with a 9th grader during the SABT student user testing. It was amazing on how much he knew about SD cards and rechargeable batteries, and how much he could tell about the device by just feeling it with his hands. We couldn’t help but marvel at his brilliance and appreciate his honest feedback. We even have curious kids passing by us enquiring about what we do with our computers and one mentioned that he would like to become a software engineer when he grows up, so he can do similar work.
Mathru school for the blind, with all its resourcefulness has its own unique ways to keep up with the curriculum of any normal school in the state. Until recently including images in their syllabus has been one of their challenges. Ms.Muktha and the teachers have come with different and creative solutions to give the students a perspective on various shapes. Embossed walls, bunji chords tied on pegs on the walls, 3D models are a few examples to quote. As Aditya has mentioned in his blog, a team of CMU students investigated into this 4 years ago and students from a class at CMU developed the software to convert images to text files like ASCII art so that it can printed out using the braille text-printer (Basic-D Embosser) available here at Mathru. As Mathru plans to include images in their syllabus in the life-skills course starting next year, we hope this would be really useful to them. We have started with poking around the code, trying to come with an application which both the blind teachers and the sighted teachers can use alike without any hindrance.