Notes from the Field

Brendan Cassidy is interning with Open Mind - Question Box in Pune, India this summer.  He is a third-year Computer Science and Education student from Carleton College in Northfield, MN. This is his journal entry:

Over the past four weeks, I have been working for Question Box in Pune. The challenge we immediately faced was to provide Lend A Hand India (LAHI) with three Question Boxes. They hope to use boxes for remote education—students can listen to a lesson from a teacher and then respond to questions or ask questions of their own. Future LAHI-specific incarnations of the Question Box may feature radio technology, allowing one instructor to deliver a lesson to multiple sites simultaneously, so that many students can receive a quality education.

To prepare the boxes for LAHI, we first had to take down boxes that weren't in use, and traveling to those locations was a great experience. I didn't have an opportunity to see them in use, but I definitely got a better handle on what the project is about by seeing the communities in which the boxes were being used. Next, we constructed some simple circuits to go inside of the boxes.

Previously, a user had to hold a button for a while before a call was made, but with the changes we made, a user now only has to press the button for a moment. This will make the boxes easier to use, which will hopefully enable more people to use them. Finally, we applied new stickers and coats of paint. The new boxes are looking great!


We are now working to create comprehensive manuals on the Question Box, covering everything from assembly to maintenance. I'm excited for the opportunity to work with people from the community to make sure the manuals are clear and accessible, and I'm looking forward to making something that might help Question Box spread all over the world.