Training for Computer Teachers

All the Asha Chennai computer teachers from Tamilnadu and UP came to Thiruvallur for 3 days from Dec 20th to Dec 22nd 2022 for training. The function was a success,

Computer Science Training – Dec 20th to 22nd

Asha Chennai organized training for all its computer teachers from 20th to 22nd December 2022. This was attended by about 90 teachers and staff. Here is a detailed report.

Click here to see all the photos from this training.

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The following teachers participated in the CS training.


88 staff (Teachers – 82 and other staff – 6).

Project Sangamam

Computer Teachers – 24.

Regular Teachers (who will shift to CS teachers) – 2

Lead Teachers – 6

RTC Teachers – 8

CS trainers – 6

Coordinators and System Admins – 3

Project Pearl

12 computer teachers, 2 RTC teachers and 1 coordinator

Project Thulasi

9 teachers, 1 CS trainer and 1 coordinator (1 teacher commuted every day)

Poorna Vidhya

4 teachers (2 of them commuted every day).

Project Cauvery

2 teachers

Rajatalab, UP

6 teachers and 1 coordinator

Of these 36 staff stayed there during the training. Rest commuted every day.


For the last several years, we have been organizing this training in Thiruvallur. As we have the largest number of computer teachers in Thiruvallur, we decided to organize it here.

The huge increase in the number of computer teachers was a big challenge. To give you an idea here are the numbers for this and the previous two trainings.

Dec 2019: About 20 teachers in Thiruvallur and 5 more through GoogleMeet.

Dec 2020: Not held because of Corona.

Dec 2021: 44 teachers and staff – all in Thiruvallur.

Dec 2022: 90 teachers and staff – all in Thiruvallur!

Dec 2019 training could be held at our Sangamam office in Kaivandhur in Thiruvallur Dist. For the Dec 2020 training we moved to the Kosavanpalayam school. This time around, that would have also not be anywhere close to sufficient. Therefore, we had to hire a marriage hall to host the event. Our teacher Kumari knew the owner of a hall (Irshaad Hall) at Kanakamma Chathram who gave it to us for a discounted rate.

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The teachers from Thiruvallur came every day. We organized 3 share autos for teachers coming from further away in Thiruvallur. The teachers from other projects were accommodated in Kanakamma Chathram itself. The teachers from Thulasi (11 of them) stayed in the RTC with 3 rooms and 2 bathrooms. Teachers from Pearl (15 of them) stayed in the 6 rooms available in the Irshaad hall. The 7 people from UP and two others stayed in 3 rooms we booked in another marriage hall in Kanakamma Chathram. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for all the teachers were arranged through a local caterer at Irshaad hall itself. The different projects handled the travel to and from Thiruvallur.

For the vistors from outside staying in the Irshaad hall, we bought a set of mats, bedsheets, pillows and pillow cover. They managed with that. We will donate it to some people affected by the recent rains in one of the areas where we work after the training.

Trainers and Sessions

We had broadly structured the training as one day for Asha Kanini and two days for the CS Curriculum. Here were the sessions that were conducted.



10.00 to 10.30IntroductionRajaraman sir
10.30 to 11.30Computer science curriculumKumari, Seetha, Rajkumari
11.30 to 11.55English Lesson PlanRadhika
11.55 to 12.20Maths Lesson PlanNathiya
12.20 to 12.40Science Lesson PlanJayalakshmi
12.40 to 1.00GeogebraPriya & Jaya
1.00 to 1.45Lunch
1.45 to 2.15NlvmNirmala
2.15 to 3.00PhetEswari
3.00 to 3.30Eduactive8Jayasree
3.30 to 4.00Math pikcle Poongodi
4.00 to 4.30Bingo GamesSophya
4.45 to 5.45Fun gameV.Suganya, Kalaiyarasi,
Narmada devi, B. Nandhini


Unplugged activities
10.00 to 11:00Looping (Dance party)Seetha & Kumari
11.00 to 1:00Activity by Teams: Cup, Card Magic (Odd and even parity), Graph paper programming, Card game(Conditional)
Binary bracelets, Dice game (looping), Magic card (Binary numbers).
Kumari with all RTC Teachers
1.00 to 1.45Lunch
1.45 to 3.00Match stick activityRajaram sir
3.00 to 4.00Sorting AlgorithmsVenkat sir
4.15 to 5.30Fun gameSulochana, Parameswari,
Sandhiya E, Saraswathi


10.00 to 10.30RTC CurriculumKumari
10.30 to 11.00Blockly RTC Teacher(Dhatchayani, Yamini)
10.30 to 12.30ScratchRTC Teachers (Divya R, Eswari, Poonkodi, Radha).
12.30 to 1.00How to rectify simple
problem in their computer.
Anand,Lokesh and Soundariya
1.00 to 1.45Lunch
1.45 to 2.15Reading and Understanding PseudocodeKumari and Rajaram sir
2.15 to 3.00Pedagogical Approaches in our CS ProgrammeRajaram sir
3.00 to 3.30Feedback sessionAll teachers
3.30 to 4.00Dance party All teachers

Here are the details of some of the sessions.

Computer Science Curriculum and Lesson Plan

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Seetha talked about the computer science curriculum and lesson plans for classes 1 to 5 and Kumari about classes 6 to 8. The basic structure of the lesson plans and how to use them was discussed. That the curriculum covers both digital literacy as well as programming was pointed out. It was noted with some disappointment that many of the teachers have not gone over the lesson plans for classes 6 to 8 themselves. We emphasized the importance of doing that.

Maths, English and Science Lesson Plans

The lead teachers incharge of the lesson plans for English, Maths and Science – Radhika, Nathiya and Jayalakshmi respectively explained how the lesson plans have been structured. Teachers were taught how they can use these lesson plans to teach the contents of the lessons to the students.

Asha Kanini Packages

Given that Asha Kanini Tamilnadu version now supports over 70 packages, we couldn’t have gone over all the packages. This wasn’t our intent either. We gave them a flavor of some of the more unique and excellent contents that are packaged with Asha Kanini. Geogebra was presented by Priya and Jaya. The manipulatives available with NLVM were introduced by Nirmala and the simulations in PhET by Eswari. Jayashree talked about the simple games available through Educative8 and Poonkodi made the teachers play a classroom game available through MathPickle. Finally Santhasophya close the day with a Maths Bingo game for the teachers.

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Unplugged Activities – Dance Party
Our lead teachers had been to a training session conducted by (organized by Amazon and Quest Alliance). Kumari and Seetha, our CS trainers, got good ideas on how to introduce unplugged activities from them. Then had teachers write down the sequence of steps for their dance including looping and then present that to the rest of the teachers. The teachers enjoyed the session a lot!

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Unplugged Activities – Seven Activities

Here again our teachers got the idea from the training they attended. Rather than teach each activity in a sequence to the entire bigger group, they formed 7 groups. They placed one teacher in each group to teach one activity to the group. These activities were,

  • Cup pattern programming
  • Card Magic (Odd and even parity)
  • Graph paper programming. Programming patterns on a graph paper. This is similar to the basic grid activity that all our teachers usually do.
  • Card games (introduction to Conditional stmts)
  • Binary bracelets – ASCII Encoding.
  • Dice game (looping)
  • Magic card (Binary numbers)
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After the teams learnt one of these activities, the members of the various teams were mixed up and each member now taught their specific activity to the rest of the group. Thus all participants learnt all the activities.

Unplugged Activity – Match Stick Activity

Match sticks are placed in a square grid in various patterns and the teachers have to program that. In this activity Rajaram showed two very different way of viewing the problem. Like the usual cup activity, they were shown a set of instructions to move, rotate and place each match stick. Then they were also shown a data representation way to represent a match stick pattern in each row through 1, 0 and -1. This made them explore the difference if any between data and program. How what is viewed as data might well be regarded as program as well.

Unplugged Activity – Sorting Algorithms

Venkat conducted this simple unplugged activity to introduce the teachers to the various sorting algorithms. While a group of teachers stood in a random order, another teacher had to sort them in height order. Sorting was done using various methods like insertion sort, bubble sort and merge sort.

Programming with Blockly and Scratch

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In Blockly we use the maze, bird and turtle activities to teach the children. Dhatchayani and Yamini showed the teachers how these are done. A teacher was brought forward to attempt some of the levels of these games.

In Scratch with quick examples Divya, Eswari, Poonkodi and Radha exposed the teachers to the various sets of blocks available in Scratch like motion, sensing, control, events sounds etc. For each kind of block they showed a simple example. While all of Scratch cannot possibly be taught in a couple of hours, the intent was to expose them to some of the basic programming possibilities so that they can explore further in their own team trainings which happen every month at the project level.

Talk on Asha’s approach to Education and Pedagogy

During the introduction and on the third in his talk on the third day on Pedagogical approaches, Rajaram emphasized several important aspects of our curriculum and pedagogy including,

  1. A basic understanding of these words: Curriculum, Lesson plan, Pedagogy.
  2. Learn by doing: Computer Science like say cycling needs to be learnt by doing and not theoretically.
  3. Mastery not required. There is no such thing as knowing everything about say Microsoft Excel. You become competent enough to handle basic things and confident enough to learn and do anything more complex. Our teaching needs to aim for that.
  4. Importance of Recall at the beginning of a class and recap at the end of a class to learning.
  5. Why do we teach programming? i.e. Clear communication, hierarchical and procedural breakdown of tasks, computational thinking etc.
  6. Teaching through activities – how it is very effective in handling multi-age and multi-skill-level classes.
  7. Goal Driven Learning in the form of projects for a long period (one term) – why that works.
  8. Intensive vs. Extensive learning – Benefits of intensive learning that is achieved through projects.

Teachers were also told a little bit about our Asha Impressions competition.

And for some Fun …

Many of the sessions themselves were lots of fun like the dance party unplugged activity and the Math Pickle or Bingo games that they played, etc. But the three day program was packed and quite intense in the amount of contents it compressed into it. We also had some interesting interludes.

Every day one of our teachers from Thiruvallur had volunteered to bring everyone an interesting and health snack. On the first day Poonkodi, one of our RTC teachers brought a sweet made from Kavuni rice and Karamani and Fruit salad. Second day Rajkumari, another RTC teacher brought some Rava laddu. Two regular teachers got permission from their school to bring us some nice Green dhal payasam.

There was a group photo taken on the first day. Every teacher was presented a photo frame with the group photo as a memento to take back with them. This was organized by one of our teachers, B. Nandhini, with help from her husband, a photographer.

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On the first and second day evenings, groups of 4 teachers from Thiruvallur organized fun games for the visiting teachers from the other projects. On the first day Narmadha Devi, B. Nandhini, Suganya and Kalaiyarasi organized several games. Who can eat the most buns that are tied without using their hands, musical chair, who is able to blow up and burst most balloons by sitting on it, who can eat the most bananas in 1 minute. For the record I are 4 and the others beat me hollow eating 8! Many more such fun games were organized!

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On the second day, similarly Sulochana, Parameswari, Sandhiya and Saraswathi organized the games. Setting up paper cups picking them up only with a balloon, rolling a Goli down a path the fastest, throwing balls into a cup, balancing and carrying icecream sticks the fastest from one place to another etc. Visiting teachers from all the other projects really enjoyed themselves. It was a nice evening break for them.

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Most of the visiting teachers also visited Thirutani, a famous temple for Murugan close to Kanakamma Chathram.

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On the first day couple of people from the press had been invited to come see the event. We talked to them and explained what we are doing. The event got covered by a local Tamil paper “Pudhiya Naalidhazh” as well as a Youtube channel Unmai Kural. Here is the video.

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It was also sad to see the three day event end. It was heartening to see how the teachers had made this their own function and put so much love and energy into it. The local team near Kanakamma Chathram – Eswari, Yamini and Kumari played perfect host to the rest of us. All the teachers who organized the nutrition, the fun-activities as well as the main training did that with a passion. In appreciation for their efforts, all the teachers who participated were giving a nice Chocolate bar. Kumari and Seetha who organized the whole thing got a nice bouquet.
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These kinds of events are always as much about team building as about training. With their effort the Thiruvallur local teachers have helped a lot in building that team.

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