Utopias, Dystopias and Today's Technology

Empowering Diverse Learners with Ananya Agrawal's Unique EdTech Approach

May 10, 2023 Johannes Castner
Utopias, Dystopias and Today's Technology
Empowering Diverse Learners with Ananya Agrawal's Unique EdTech Approach
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Utopias, Dystopias and Today's Technology, host Johannes engages with Ananya Agrawal, an education technology (EdTech) expert who began her professional journey building an educational platform for remote Himalayan villages. As a computer science engineer and new media designer, Ananya founded Dreamverse Learning Lab, where she develops conversational agents, games, and innovative metrics to assess the success of businesses built on their educational platform.

Together, they discuss education challenges such as the lack of mentorship and the need for discovery-based learning. They explore how technology, including low-tech solutions like Integrated Voice Response (IVR) systems, can address these issues, especially in remote communities. Ananya also shares her experiences creating a local cluster-based learning system for collaborative learning environments.

This episode examines Bloom's Taxonomy, the role of multimodal technology in creative learning, and the importance of balancing basic knowledge with technology use. The conversation covers how technology can be harnessed to deliver near-optimum learning experiences for individuals with diverse learning styles and learners from different cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, they discuss cultural diversity, language barriers, storytelling in education, and the significance of human-centric design in technology.

Join Johannes and Ananya as they explore the future of education and technology in this fascinating discussion. Learn about the potential of EdTech solutions, the power of collaborative learning, and the unique ways technology can be utilized to cater to a wide range of learning styles and cultural contexts, all while differentiating Ananya's approach from competitors like Khan Academy and Duolingo as businesses are built on Ananya's approach.


Johannes Castner:

Hello and welcome. My name is Johannes and I'm the host of the show. I am here today with Ananya Agrawal and we will be speaking about EdTech and the various related topics such as creativity and learning. So let, let me introduce you to Ananya , who is a computer science engineer and a new media designer. By background, she started her explorations as an educator and built a low-cost maker space in remote villages, uh, in the Himalayas, followed by working in one of India's innovation policy, think tanks, and then as an N G O to understand challenges and opportunities at scale before registering an independent entity last year. Her organization, dream Versus Learning Lab is an education technology consulting space which focuses on designing conversational agents and games with a spotlight on life skills education. Hello and welcome, Ananya! Let me ask you. Hello. How are you today?

Ananya Agrawal:

Yeah, I'm doing great. Thank you for inviting me.

Johannes Castner:

Fantastic. Let me ask you the first question, which is, you know, I wanna ask you basically, what do you see as the biggest, or, or some of the biggest challenges that are facing education these days. And also what, how do you see that educational technology can solve some of these problems if, if they can at all? Could you speak a bit on that?

Ananya Agrawal:

Sure. I feel, um, there are multiple things, uh, the education, uh, sector is struggling with, and there's no one technology or, uh, single intervention that can solve for it. Uh, it has to be a series of, uh, small, uh, interventions that embedded into the system. Um, but if I have to talk about, uh, two major challenges, one of them would be, um, uh, the lack of mentorship. Uh, so, uh, mentors, mentor communities, finding effective mentors, uh, to student ratios, uh, has been an issue and a law of vet tech are working on it. But there are, uh, still a lot of gaps around the same, uh, especially in terms of mentor learning, uh, and mentor support systems. Um, The other piece that I would like to talk about is, uh, generally we assume that this needs to be learned and we deliver it. Um, but, uh, what learning spaces need with emerging times is discovery-based learning where, uh, uh, the learner also brings to the table something and it is, uh, complemented, uh, by what we provide and, uh, not, uh, purely based on assumptions in terms of, okay, um, these are the popular trends of spaces. So let's introduce this because, uh, it also, uh, uh, kills a lot down on creativity in terms of explore, exploring your surroundings, exploring areas nearby, uh, understanding yourself and your limits and boundaries. Um, so yeah, I think, um, I would, yeah, like to stress on that.

Johannes Castner:

So how do you see that working together? How, how in your system or, or do you have a system such as where, where, where, where, where. Learners and mentors work together. And how does that work? How much do the students bring and what do they bring? And what, what does the mentor bring to the table? How does, how do you see that divide working together?

Ananya Agrawal:

Yeah, I feel, um, uh, so, uh, there can be a lot of things, uh, that can be brought into the picture. Uh, I find, uh, particularly the use of Google Lens, very interesting.

Sundar Pichai:

Today we are announcing a new initiative called Google Lens. Google Lens is a set of vision based computing capabilities that can understand what you're looking at and help you take action based on that information. We'll ship it first in Google Assistant and photos, and it'll come to other products. So how does it work? So for example, if you run into something and you want to know what it is, Say a flower. You can invoke Google lens from your assistant. Point your phone at it, and we can tell you what flower it is. It's great for someone like me with allergies, or if you've ever been at a friend's place and you've crawled under a desk just to get the username and password from a wifi router, you can point your phone at it and we can automatically do the hard work for you. Or if you're walking in a street downtown and you see a set of restaurants across you, you can point your phone because we know where you are and we have our knowledge graph, and we know what you're looking at. We can give you the right information in a meaningful way. As you can see, we are beginning to understand images and videos. All of Google was built because we started understanding text and webpages. So the fact that computers can understand images and videos has profound implications for our core mission.

Ananya Agrawal:

Uh, so, uh, what I've seen certain technologies do is, uh, you have, uh, that they make you step out. So with the emergence of, uh, mixed reality mediums and everything, um, uh, a lot of technologies and games are designed such that, uh, you step out of the house, you explore, uh, what is around you, you explore different trees, different plants, different leaves, how, how they're shaped, how many trees are there in your area, um, um, and, uh, then come back and, uh, maybe, uh, uh, bring it to the classroom and say, okay, uh, so this is what I discovered from my neighborhood. Uh, And other people will, uh, bring in something that they discovered from their neighborhood, and then it's put together pieced into, uh, what is to be taught in the classroom structure. So, uh, maybe those kind of pieces. Maybe also, uh, things like, uh, just having, um, a pre uh, test, uh, or a pre inquiry session. Uh, so in a pre inquiry session, um, what is popularly used by educators is this whole terminology of I wish and I, uh, wonder. Uh, so what do I wish to learn? What do I wonder about this topic before even starting the topic? So, can, uh, those pieces be brought into the technology, uh, to, um, guide the teacher in terms of, um, okay. Uh, so this is how we'll navigate the topic based on the kind of, uh, wonderings that are there in my classroom. Uh, so yeah, uh, that's what I had in mind.

Johannes Castner:

Interesting. So all the students get to wonder and to ask questions. And then the, the educator brings the whole classroom around these kind of wanderings and questions and let's say interests of the students. Is, is that how you see it? So, so the students express some interest and then they're all together in one class and they are learning based on what these interests are.

Ananya Agrawal:

So it's also about interest and also about con uh, contexts. So sometimes you might have like a, a local resources, especially if the, uh, teaching is happening in the online mode. Uh, different, uh, learners will bring different resources to the table. Okay? In, like I, uh, mentioned, like in my neighborhood, these are the rocks that I find, um, in my neighborhood. There are no rocks, uh, or very different kinds of, uh, rocks and sand particles. Uh, so, uh, so context also brings in a lot of like, uh, discovery, a lot of diversity, uh, which creates exchange in the classroom.

Johannes Castner:

So are these classrooms physically ba, are, are they physically based classrooms or are these cloud based classrooms?

Ananya Agrawal:

So, um, they can be both because, uh, the, uh, focus on the technology bit is somewhere conversation. So if they are cloud-based classrooms, uh, it would be, uh, the, uh, the conversations would get much more diverse as compared to, uh, physically based classrooms. So both will have its advantages and disadvantages. So maybe like a phy, small, physically based setups, which are connected over cloud. Uh, so I mean, there are layers of learning that are happening maybe. So there is like something brought in the classroom then collectively shared by the classroom, two other classrooms. Uh, so, uh, a system like that can be interesting.

Johannes Castner:

That is very interesting. So you're, you're working on this kind of system, so you're. You're designing that sort of system, is that correctly of reading it?

Ananya Agrawal:

Uh, so I'm doing a small attempt at, uh, creating something like this where we have, uh, we do have our local clusters. So we have local clusters with the physically present facilitators. Uh, so, um, and so there is some training content that is delivered to them also, which is, uh, created and delivered by us, uh, in terms of how to initiate, how to start, uh, how to do the icebreaker, how to facilitate. Um, and then, uh, what happens over, over there in the setup is, um, Based on that session, a lot of questions, a lot of making tinkering arises, and that gets shared over a larger setup, uh, over there. Then, uh, there is this, a whole exchange between villages that happens. So someone is sharing something, um, uh, they made out of banana fiber. The other person is sharing something they made out of the banana peel. Uh, someone is sharing a shampoo made out of the food. Uh, we are all. Talking about the same tree and the same resource. So, uh, so yeah, I mean, uh, they're sharing their learning around the same topic. Uh, maybe they're talking about assets and bases, uh, so in assets and bases, maybe they're exploring it through, uh, hand dying. So, uh, dying as a craft is very, um, it has a lot of overlaps with, um, the space of acid bases that we study in chemistry. So maybe they're exploring different kinds of dice together, uh, to understand assets and bases. Or maybe it's as simple as, uh, a spelling challenge or a multiplication challenge where you have to like just tag the other person. How many, uh, uh, pieces of problems can you, like solve at a time. And, uh, you tag the other person and it goes that way. So, uh, yeah, I mean, just creating a chain, creating a community, a conversation around learning. In it think. Interesting. Yeah. So, so

Johannes Castner:

what, what, what role do you see there for, for technology in particular? Is there something specific about that, or is it just the internet that you're using to connect these communities? Or is there more technology involved? And how do you involve technology? How do you, you know, what kind of risks do you see associated with that as well? And how do you, how do you carefully and, you know, yeah. Put the technology to good use in this, in this area.

Ananya Agrawal:

So, uh, interestingly, the technology that we use does not use internet. So it's a I V R S or integrated voice response, uh, system that we are using personally. Um, so it's based on a toll free number. So basically you've to call on this number and you get connected to, uh, a series of content pieces. Uh, also, uh, this is interactive. Even though, uh, it does not use internet. So in the same way, uh, that you would call a customer care service, you call on this number, uh, you answer a few quizzes by pressing 1, 2, 3, or you, uh, press a certain number and you record your voice, which gets shared on the system. And, uh, then we cluster it together, um, and share with the larger community. Uh, so, uh, so the system that we are using is currently not using, uh, uh, it does not need internet for you to connect with it. Uh, although on, uh, data tabulation, uh, on, uh, just using OCR technology for understanding, uh, print based submissions that we get clicked by the camera, uh, those kind of pieces, we, uh, integrate pieces of technology. Uh, but we are in the process of designing, uh, Chat based system, which we'll use internet. Uh, and over here what we want to integrate is, like I mentioned, a discovery based system, uh, where, uh, you are given triggers where you need to step out of the house. You need use the accelerator in your mobile. You use the camera in your mobile to capture, uh, data in your settings to understand, say acceleration and velocity and concepts like that, to use the flashlight and understand just, uh, light and sound. Uh, and, um, yeah, you stand across these submissions and maybe they are, uh, graded in their nature in terms of, um, Bloom's taxonomy starting with just, uh, is the concept clear to how creative did you get with the concept?

Hunter Chapman:

So, uh, what is. Bloom's Taxonomy?

Saundra McGuire:

Yes. Great question. Bloom's Taxonomy is actually a classification system that really looks at different levels of learning. And it starts with the very lowest level, which is just memorizing information. Then after that is understanding, then applying, then analyzing, then evaluating, and then creating is at the top.

Hunter Chapman:

Okay. And that's increasing, uh, in terms of. You know, difficulty, I guess

Saundra McGuire:

Absolutely. In terms of, uh, the mental, uh, processes that you need in order to be able to affect each one of those levels.

Ananya Agrawal:

Um, so, um, the larger vision is, uh, using multimodal technology, uh, for creative learning. Um, but I think it will take lifelong to, uh, uh, execute and deliver pieces of it, uh, which makes me really interested in this space or sector personally. You mentioned, uh, uh, the role of technology, so definitely, um, uh, I see, uh, Two or three more, uh, most important rules of technology. One of them is, uh, just, um, uh, creating communities using technologies. So cre. Uh, so, uh, one thing technology has done, it's, it's like, uh, really, um, uh, shorten the divide between spaces. So me sitting here in India is talking to you. Uh, right now that's technology and us exchanging ideas. So, so those kind of, uh, community building around learning. So a lot of times what we see, uh, in terms of community building is in the entertainment spaces. So, uh, most technologies that are popular are in the entertainment spaces, but, um, Entertainment is also a very, um, uh, emerging field in itself where, uh, education, uh, embedded into, um, humor, storytelling, uh, different kinds of learning, uh, emotional learning, uh, creative learning, uh, is being used. But, uh, still what you'll ally see on these entertainment platforms is these kind of concepts sort of popping up, um, which are mostly around just like, um, uh, just performance based stuff. Uh, but education itself is also a very performative, uh, Space or sector, uh, although the content is not delivered in a certain way, um, these days, but can that be done? How can it be made more interesting and more engaging for different people to, uh, I mean to make it the talk of the town? So collaboration is a piece where technology can really bring in a lot of things. Uh, and, uh, definitely the other piece is, uh, exploring spaces because, uh, technology has so much potential. But the way we are using it, most learners are looking at their phones. So they're like in these, uh, bubbles of this like, I don't know, uh, four inch, three inch screen that they have. And, uh, uh, they're not looking at the world through this, uh, this screen. So one, uh, statement that I popularly say is, um, uh, mostly mobiles, uh, were tagged in terms of that uh, they fit the world in your pocket. Uh, but. The world cannot be fit in your pocket. Uh, can it be made, uh, can the mobiles be made as a lens to see, uh, see the world in instead? So instead of fitting the world in your pocket, can you not take out the mobile and like, look at it as a lens to see the world or rediscover the world? Uh, and how can those kinds, that's really

Johannes Castner:

interesting that, that kinda brings me to this follow up questions that I, that I have. What, what, what made you not choose the internet as, as a sort of base for, for this education? Because to me, the internet is, is in a way, or it was meant to be somewhat of a lens on the world, right? It, it, of course got polluted and maybe that's one reason. I don't know. I'm very curious as to why, why did you choose to use a phone number and, and a system like that instead of, um, the internet?

Ananya Agrawal:

Yeah, I think, uh, it's a very popular question that I get asked, especially given my background. And, uh, it's, I've been taught web and app development very extensively apart from other technologies. Uh, so, uh, but what happened was, um, so I was exploring, uh, this whole space of learning because, um, the way I was taught in my design college, I found it very interesting and I was like, okay, um, how can I bring this, uh, Uh, I mean, how can I democratize it? How can design be embedded into school systems? Uh, it would make it very interesting because it takes you away from this whole ro rote learning, uh, based model and takes you to a very project-based learning, uh, sort of, uh, space. Um, and, um, so I wanted to just explore this and I wanted to explore this in a way so that, um, people with minimal resources can also learn from it. So I will, I thought, uh, if I start from top down, uh, in terms of the economic pyramid, uh, it is not integrable. So for every layer I have to design something new. But if I start from bottom up, it gets interesting because if the bottom of the pyramid is, uh, sort of like, uh, uh, their needs are met, uh, you can always build on top of it and design for, uh, other people and every person has the same potential regardless of their, uh, economic background. And that was like my firm belief. So, uh, when I was exploring, um, where can I start with my, um, interventions or dis tinkering around this thought, uh, I got, uh, an opportunity in a remote villages in, um, Arunachal Pradesh which is in the Himalayas. Uh, so, uh, so I stayed there for a year and, uh, back then, now they still have a little bit more access to technology. But back then, back in, uh, 2018, um, I had to like really plan my data. So I got like two GB for the entire week, maximum. I think all the teachers had to share that two GB for the entire week. I can't recall. Just now. And so imagine like all teachers sharing 2 GB for the entire week. So you had to plan your data. So, uh, if I had to record like a certain video or anything, I had to plan it accordingly. I had to step out, uh, travel three yards to access decent data to, uh, yeah, I mean, get that, uh, source and come back. Uh, a lot of times the phone, uh, network, uh, connectivity would be also really bad. And, uh, having stayed in such a space for a year, um, uh, I found, uh, I mean I got hooked to this idea of understanding, uh, uh, low tech more. And, uh, what happened, uh, what just sort of extrapolated this whole, uh, thing was, um, Once I came back, um, um, yeah, I was exploring this at, at a policy level and then Covid happened. Uh, so during Covid, I'm just reading a lot of news about so many children dropping out. Even, uh, the house help that we have at home, their children were, had stopped going to school and they were considering, uh, employing them at a very early age into like, uh, houses because it'll get them some money, uh, now that they weren't going to school. So they were at a risk of, you know, I mean, uh, leaving school for well and good because I've had an early age. Once you start working, you won't. Uh, you won't go back to learning once things open up. So it's, it was very important to maintain that because their parents are not literate and they're still learning. So they'll be like, okay. And only later they'll realize the importance of learning and what it could have brought to them if they were just literate. Uh, uh, so I was seeing this, reading this, and, um, I was looking at them. Most of them had keypad phones and, um, so I did this experiment. I, I was like, okay. Um, Uh, can I, uh, live with a keypad phone for a couple of months? So I, uh, ditched my smartphone, uh, uh, for, uh, what they call it these days, dumb phones. Apparently a lot of teenagers these days are doing that. Uh, going back to keypad phones, which can just make calls and text. Uh, so I tried that. I tried, uh, this thing called, uh, category called Smart feature Phones. So what smart feature phones are, uh, they're very low cost smartphones, which have certain access to internet, so Google Assistant and all runs very well on it. So, uh, you are still, uh, like, you still have like a keypad. For typing. So typing is very cumbersome, uh, but you can always speak. And also a lot of people are not literate, the people who use it. So voice technologies are really popular with them, uh, because they speak into it, type into it. And that research sort of led me to, oh, I've seen this technology, I've seen this technology in, uh, customer care agents. So, uh, I started looking at it, okay, how do they function? Customer care agents, because they're automated. Uh, when I call them, they say, I'll come. I'm connecting you to an agent. I'm connecting you to a, a human. So they do connect you to a human. Also on the other end, you do have conference call also. Uh, you have so many features just on the call. So, um, How can these features, uh, be used to, uh, communicate learning? Because, um, also I was looking at a lot of research in terms of precedences, uh, in what people are doing in, uh, facilitating learning to these remote areas. And a lot of that learning was very broadcast based, where I would deliver content, deliver content, but there was no feedback loop. Uh, so those design of feedback loops, um, was very necessary for any, um, learning to actually, um, uh, be built in. Uh, so, uh, so that's what I be, uh, that is also, that was also a factor that any technology that I use, um, it should have a feedback loop in terms of me being able to listen to the user in, uh, the user, being able to ask questions, get feedback, me being able to get feedback too, uh, in terms of how much they've learned. Um, so yeah, I think, uh, that is what, uh, got me hooked to this technology. But I do realize it's not a emergent technology. It'll die as in how the access to phones, um, becomes better because, uh, a lot of features, um, get compromised. Uh, but still, uh, what I feel is voice-based technology still very popular. You have your a Alexa, you have your Google Nest. Uh, so, uh, a lot of times I've seen literally like, uh, people in urban areas just typing on the slide, uh, like, uh, like reading out on the slides instead of like typing. So these days I've seen like, uh, these 19, 18 year olds, uh, finding, typing very cumbersome. So they say I'd rather like, uh, say it out and it'll type it on its own. So in that sense, also voice technology is something definitely, which is like still emergent, even if, uh, uh, yeah, the IV R is, uh, is not so much.

Johannes Castner:

So you were talking earlier also about, um, Google Lens. Um, how do you use that? How does that work with that technology that you're, that you're describing?

Ananya Agrawal:

Yeah, so, uh, what we are prototyping, uh, uh, is just a very simple application of Google Lens. Uh, where, um, what I need was that, how can we make our users discover their environment, um, uh, rediscover their environment rather in different ways. So if I have a mango tree or a banana tree, or a particular stone, or a particular fabric that I have accessible, um, can I understand different, uh, use cases for the same, because we generally work around, uh, building creativity. Um, And, uh, yeah, creative learning, uh, technology. So we didn't want to recreate certain, uh, ideas, uh, because there are a lot of, uh, videos online which talk about how to make, uh, uh, this into that and the other way around. Um, for instance, how can I make a table out of, uh, old newspaper? So there are a lot of like videos that you'll find, okay, uh, how can you make these things? Uh, but the idea is that, uh, can you think of those use cases? Can you discover those use cases? Can you understand what you have? Because a lot of times, uh, what happens is, uh, someone as a educator suggests an activity and you don't have the resources in your immediate environment, and maybe you don't even have the buying capacity, uh, for those resources. So, uh, Yeah. At least in our context, a lot of times it happens that I don't have it and I don't have enough money to get this exact thing. Uh, but can I think of something else, uh, which can be used in its place to create things. So what do you have around you and what are the different use cases of that? So we've built it into a, like a riddle. Um, so we've built it into like a small game or a riddle where you have to like go around, discover things, come back with ideas and thoughts. Uh, yeah. So that's how we are using it. So you click, you see, and uh, it suggests few different ideas and you come back and talk more about it.

Johannes Castner:

This, this sounds great. Um, so you, you already have some traction with this. You're, how, how many students are on your system, if you don't mind me asking? Also, you know, how many educators or how many mentors do you have? And is this an active, is this a life system or is it still in the experimental stages?

Ananya Agrawal:

Yeah, so the uh, uh, audio piece, the IV RS piece has around, um, 8,000 participants currently. Um, and, uh, we have like, uh, one is two, uh, 25 ratio in terms of mentors mostly. And, uh, these mentors are, uh, more, uh, often than not, people from the community, people we pick from the community. Uh, and we train them on two certain things, uh, instead of, um, and yeah, I mean, uh, and yeah, we are slowly trying to build a community where we onboard certain experts who can, uh, support them with like very diverse questions, uh, around the topics. Uh, so, uh, so yeah, it's, it's a live system. Um, we had versions of it before. Uh, but I'm not counting those stats. Uh, this is the traction, like in the last, uh, six months that I'm talking about, uh, because, um, the other versions looked very different from this.

Johannes Castner:

Mm-hmm. So is this, is it, this is then a very fast growing system, right? Is, is that correct? So 8,000, this, this sounds like a lot of people already since you started recently. So, so you have a certain growth trajectory growth, like, uh, some kind of target also

Ananya Agrawal:

in. So we don't have a open system. Uh, what we tried to do was we tried to register 5,000 people, but, uh, somehow, uh, more than 8,000 people signed up. Uh, so that was like really promising. And even like, uh, the traction per content piece, uh, was also like pretty promising with two to 3000 people completing each and every, uh, episode that we have. Um, so, um, yeah, I mean, um, it's a, it's a little closed system at this point because there are a lot of complex things to figure out, uh, in terms of, uh, bringing in the quality that is desired. So, like, for instance, people have different access levels. Like I said, some people don't even have phones of their own. The phone is shared by the entire family. So we are also building something around print and then, uh, like, uh, something with, uh, like a OCR technology so that we can capture data from print. Um, And again, this layer of the chat board thing. So it needs to be multimodal. So something that we are focusing on this year. Uh, another thing that we are focusing on this year for the same community is that, um, uh, how can, uh, we build, bring in different, uh, Uh, expertise and skill sets in terms of certification. So now that people have discovered, okay, this is what they like doing, this is a community asset that they have, and, uh, things like that, can we bring in some experts to help them take their, uh, uh, creative outputs to the market or, uh, uh, so for that, we are again, uh, leveraging collaboration. We don't want to do it, uh, individually, uh, because, uh, us figuring from scratch versus someone who's already done this before is like much more useful. Um, so there are very complex pieces to this system that we are trying to create, curate, uh, again, data. Uh, every day we are experimenting with, uh, a lot of, uh, data metrics, uh, for our system, uh, to figure out, um, how can we rightly say that the learning has happened. Um, the. Behaviors, uh, how are we nudging behaviors? Are we not nudging behaviors? What is happening out there in terms of learning and growth? Um, mm-hmm. So, yeah. So with this is why we didn't keep, uh, a growth trajectory in mind at present, or at least for the next, uh, one to two years. Yeah.

Johannes Castner:

So, so great. This, this actually was a question I had for you. So how do you measure. Success or how do you measure whether someone learns adequately or, uh, excels in the system? How do you know things are working or not working, and how do you know you have the right experts and so on? How do you measure these things?

Ananya Agrawal:

Yeah, so, uh, um, yeah, so what we try to do is, um, um, so initially we were very confused in terms of, um, how do we measure mindsets. So we tried pre and post assessments, uh, uh, with, in terms of surveys, um, but it wasn't giving us accurate results because sometimes, uh, what happens in these, uh, uh, sort of tests is, uh, you answer questions that you feel are right. Um, you may or may not be practicing the same thing. Um, So what we started, uh, doing was, uh, we started doing, uh, focused qualitative surveys and also clustering them. Uh, so every uh, response piece that we get, uh, we target, uh, Uh, uh, with a certain, um, uh, to a certain category. So we see what are the different emerging categories from our data, uh, with the, uh, help of the system. So we target in a way, uh, for instance, uh, what are the interests that are emerging from the ground? So, uh, are more people into a agritech or are more people, for instance, into, um, uh, say, um, uh, what else? Um, uh, for instance, lifestyle, uh, lifestyle products or are more people into making drones. Uh, so we, we track them, uh, based on those kind of, uh, things. Uh, what else they saying or, um, are people actually, um, uh, displaying a certain kind of a behavior in their response? Are people, uh, uh, collaborative, uh, Uh, in terms of how they are, uh, responding to the content pieces. Um, are they sharing, are they contributing? Uh, again, uh, another uh, mindset piece that we need to tap continuously is habit forming. So, so, uh, when we design our activities, we always have this, uh, progress graph and we see that, uh, did you try something? So, uh, so there's this whole module just around trying new things. So with there you have to, uh, talk about did you try something new today? What did you try? Uh, so did you try something new? Today becomes like a quantitative metric, but what did you try becomes like a qualitative piece is just to c. If they are just like taking just like that, or did they actually try something new? And in that sense, it also builds reflection in the learner that, okay, this is something I tried, I've achieved something. And also, um, innovation is not that difficult. It's just taking baby steps every day. So, uh, so those kind of habit tracking metrics are there to measure your, you continuous with what you do. Are you like a last minute person in terms of what you do? Um, so we've placed, uh, uh, uh, uh, yeah, I mean we, we are clustering and placing data in a certain way to do that. Are you, do

Johannes Castner:

you, do you form, sorry, sorry. Um, do you form sort of hypothesis I guess, as to what works and what may not work and, and then do you have some ways to test it? Sort of, basically, how do you know that you are successful? In achieving the sorts of things you want to achieve and, and even, what are those things? What, what are the things you want to achieve with this learning platform? Let's say, for example, compared to Khan Academy and so on, you know, let's say there are, there are also other platforms out there. How do you compare against them and, and what are the things that you want to really achieve? What do you think is like the niche or the, the, the sort of market niche or the, the hole you're trying to fill with this and how do you know that you're filling it?

Ananya Agrawal:

so what our niche is somewhere, uh, trying to create a grassroot innovation, uh, network. So that's what we are trying to do. And, uh, for us the most important aspect as of now is, uh, contributions. So, uh, more than a number of learners, what are the number of contributions that we are receiving because a lot of people might, um, uh, so recall, uh, and contributions are to major things that we are targeting each day, every day. Um, because a lot of people might, uh, just call, uh, a lot of my, uh, people might call and leave, uh, The phone somewhere. You never know, uh, uh, because you have to assume for all kinds of use cases. Uh, but, uh, the way we, uh, place certain questions. So, uh, um, if you're able to answer the questions, we can still. Okay. The recall has been built, they've already actually listened. Uh, so have you actually listened to the platform? How many people are actually listening to the platform on completing the stories? Um, Uh, or content pieces, how many people are, uh, then talking about the ways they use the concepts in their community. So around more than, uh, 4,000, um, qualitative voice responses are there, where people are just talking about, um, uh, what they made and how they made it. So then we are able to say, okay, tinkering and making is happening in the community, uh, but maybe, um, uh, product market fit is still not happening. So what do we do about it? Uh, so, uh, so those are the ways that we are tapping. So, uh, what we try to do is we don't try to, uh, rely on the numbers that we receive in terms of, uh, just participation. Uh, sorry, uh, yes, just activation. I would say activation in the sense that, okay, these many peoples onboarded the platform, these many people heard or content pieces. So, um, so yeah, I mean, uh, we try not to get excited there. We try to see, uh, what is actually happening, how many, uh, uh, what is the learning that is happening and how is it happening? How can we say it's happening? Uh, what are the kinds of learnings that we want to look at? So, uh, currently, um, perseverance and communication and, uh, tinkering are three important things that we try to measure. Um, and this will change, um, With other data points, for instance, uh, with time rather because, uh, currently we just wanted to, um, onboard people into the idea of, uh, tinkering and building things on their own. Uh, but later we want to build small businesses out of it. Uh, so, uh, eventually the metric, uh, then becomes that how many community leaders, uh, uh, started their own businesses? Uh, how many of them, um, yeah, how are they doing in terms of money? Uh, so, uh, so yeah, that becomes a very, um, um, yeah, visionary, uh, metrics that we try to tap on. So currently, uh, there are very few of them, uh, um, yeah, who are slowly starting their businesses. But in another year or so's time, we see more people starting their businesses, uh, using our content pieces.

Johannes Castner:

That's great. I, I think that's, that's a really, uh, interesting model that you have there. Um, let me also ask you a little bit about the newer technologies that are coming on board, such as, you know, everybody's talking about ChatGPT, and, uh, you know, now the new version of that GPT-4, um, how that is used, for example, in Kahn Academy uses that and, and Duolingo is using that. And I feel that there's some sense of similarity between what you're building and Duolingo as well as, um, Khan Academy. Not, not exactly because neither dual lingo nor academy, I think strive to build businesses from that. But I think there are some educational aspect of that that you might have in common even, you know, the way that that, um, dual lingo measures the success of how well people learn new languages and so on. But also, This ChatGPT, GPT-4 thing. Let's, let's, let's target that for a second. Are you planning on using this at all? What, what are you think? Because you're, you're working with chat bots kind of type of technology already, so this seems to be a natural next step.

Ananya Agrawal:

So, um, so what I find interesting, uh, with design of, uh, uh, yeah, why I prefer conversational technology as compared to app-based technology for learning, is because it gives you a lot more freedom to just, uh, you know, ask questions, ask and answer. So it's a conversation around learning that's going on, or, uh, learning and sharing that's going on instead of like you pushing in your agenda into, uh, the learning pieces. Uh, because also, um, What we try to focus on a lot of times is, um, life skills and not, uh, particularly very, uh, hard go, uh, subject based, uh, knowledge. Uh, uh, the subject based knowledge sort of embeds into it and not the other way around. So for us, uh, what it, uh, uh, what is primary is to have, um, a space where people, uh, can ask, uh, something which is not very, um, uh, data heavy. So learning technology shouldn't be a mindless scroll scrolling piece. It should be something which is very reflective, very intentional, uh, very directed. Uh, so, so in that sense, um, I feel embedding something like, uh, uh, ChatGPT into the, uh, conversational piece will help you. Uh, so, um, Uh, yeah, ask a lot of, um, questions and get their answers. Uh, so that's what it helps with, uh, currently. So, uh, so we're here, uh, I mean, uh, somewhere what we've seen, uh, is that, uh, it answers what you ask. So the, the technology will only retrieve how well you ask something. So, uh, a very interesting and important learning piece that you are simply learning, uh, at the current, uh, way that you're using it, is how to ask the right questions. Uh, so can that be, uh, uh, learning that we are targeting in itself? And we, uh, ask you to ask as many creative questions as possible and let's see what you retrieve out of it. Uh, so, um, so that is one, uh, very interesting space where this can be just like simply integrated, where you, uh, don't have to repeat factual information where you can focus on other aspects of learning, like critical thinking, creativity, and all. Yeah.

Johannes Castner:

I agree. Uh, I think that asking the right questions is one of the biggest challenges in general when you, when you learn, uh, any skills, right? Then you'd have to evaluate that, right? So you'd have to see how people learn how to ask the right question. So that would be the own, that would be that learning goal would, is that right? Is the learning goal would be actually to ask the right questions? Yeah. That's great.

Ananya Agrawal:

Yeah. Yeah. So that, what is the learning goal, which can be very easily embedded into this, uh, without compromising on any, uh, uh, learning aspects. And, uh, then again, a lot of people, like you mentioned, like Khan Academy and all, they're also using it to just test recall. Uh, so the technology tests that have you, uh, recalled what you, uh, were trying to learn correctly. So. Can you clarify a question? Uh, using the, and the technology can just measure it because it's, uh, something you are repeating and it's already stored in terms of data, so you, uh, technology can place a check on it. Uh, so that's, uh, one of the ways, um, then, uh, a lot of educators are also using it for generating just a lot of, uh, um, lesson plans or activities. So, uh, activity suggestions, um, uh, according to different learning styles, different learning interests, so can, um, different, um, Suggestions can be given, can it be differentiated or personalized for the instructor, uh, for the learner, uh, by the instructor. So, um, yeah, those kind of, uh, suggestions get curated using these technologies very well. So, uh, so that can be a very possible use case as well. Absolutely.

Johannes Castner:

Are you worried at all about plagiarism? This is something Nom Chomsky and others have brought up that can be used by the students to make up, uh, you know, to, to avoid learning, essentially. That's what, that's what Norm Chomsky says. I, I'm not sure that that's what people are going to do. In fact, I mean, even if Jet G p t gives you an answer, you'll read it and maybe you'll learn something from it. But do you, are you worried about this? Are you worried about that, that people might try to get around learning and scoring points while, you know, avoiding work, uh, avoiding learning? Are you concerned about this at all?

Ananya Agrawal:

So, uh, very interestingly, I heard a technologist once say that, uh, that the technology only learns what you teach it. So essentially technology is not, uh, the leader, the human is, uh, whatever the human is able to teach the technology, the technology will learn. Uh, and, um, so over and, and somewhere my, uh, focus or interests, uh, in our learning goal, uh, the set of learning goals that I'm focused on are, um, A lot into, uh, just, um, creativity, uh, collaboration, communication, uh, the four Cs, uh, critical thinking. So, uh, for me, uh, it is actually just about how are you using the technology? Are you using it, uh, to repeat factual information? Are you using it, um, to, uh, enhance creativity, uh, like the examples I gave? So, uh, so it really depends on what your learning goal is and how are you able to facilitate it through technology. So even if you're learning something very, um, um, uh, technical, like, uh, for instance perspective drawing, um, you can always, uh, integrate, uh, technology, uh, uh, in terms of like, uh, Creating, uh, prospective grids, for instance, can you, uh, and understanding the whole idea of perspective, uh, a lot better. Uh, so can you, whenever you place the camera, can you open it in a grid, a prospective grid view, for instance, to understand, um, Yeah, the shifts in perspective has, and how you see it. Uh, so it's actually under, uh, enhancing your vision. Uh, if you use it in a certain way, uh, if you're just using it to, uh, you know, uh, recall or repeat test sports, um, that is a very different, uh, space for usage. But again, uh, um, the design of questions, the content is all in your hands. I mean, uh, a lot of, uh, players just say the, that the content, content is the key. Uh, the way you design the content is how, um, uh, the student will perceive it. Uh, and at the end of the day, we have to remember that it's we designing the technology and not the other way around. Uh, so I think, uh, I don't see it as a worry at all. No. I just see it as, so I just see it as, uh, something which is creating a space for educators to explore a lot more. Mm-hmm. And maybe the educators are not prepared in terms of how to explore it, which is causing this anxiety.

Johannes Castner:

Well, cause the thing is what, what you were saying in the beginning was that technology only learns what humans teach. And that, that I agree with. But, but the human is, is what matters there, right? So if some professor or some engineer or some, some people at Open AI say they, they teach the machine, right? Not necessarily the student then who is on the receiving end. And they can then use this stuff that the machine learned from these experts, from these, um, Designers of of O open ai, they can then learn, they can then avoid learning themselves, those things that are already taught to the machine. Right. So I think that's the concern because, because the students are not teaching the machine, right? The students are now using the machine potentially, and maybe they'll use it to answer all the questions that, that you throw at them, in which case you think that the students answered them, but maybe they didn't.

Ananya Agrawal:

So I think that's happening to us a lot. For instance, our parents generation, they remember mobile phones a lot. Uh, uh, all the numbers, uh, phone numbers, uh, from the directory because they used to have a directory back then. Now we have it on the, uh, computer and I don't know how many of these phone numbers do, would you remember? I don't think I'd remember more than five. So I think that's a thing. And uh, even with. Coding languages, for instance. Um, coding was designed, uh, as a high level, uh, most, uh, of the coding languages are high, uh, level languages. So in that sense, also, um, uh, with every, uh, library that gets built, uh, uh, I think, uh, it just, you just forget, uh, how was this exact, I mean, uh, step-by-step process actually done. How did we make this loop? Because you have to just now embed that library and use that whole, uh, function and, uh, put it out there. So, uh, so it does make life easy and you do forget some things, but I think you'll still want to and will need to go back to certain things, uh, as a learner. Um, Time and again if you want to actually break the boundaries of technology. So, uh, again, if you're just using technology, um, to do what it can do, uh, you might not be learning enough, but if you are using it to break the, uh, boundaries, so, uh, for instance, I don't need to write the image processing code from scratch because Google has done it for me. So can, I'm just using that library, uh, at this point. But what am I using it for? How I designing the use case and how am I exploring its boundaries, uh, is the matter that we are trying to talk about here? So, uh, I think, um, again, uh, if, when I want to understand it better, I would somewhere go back to, okay, uh, this is what I had learned back in my classroom around image processing and this is how it works, so this is what it's capable of. So I'll look at it, but maybe I might not remember it to the extent I used to as a full-fledged coder when I wasn't using any libraries, uh, and coding it from scratch. Um, so, so yeah, I feel that, uh, for breaking boundaries, understanding the basics would be important and a learner will revisit it. Uh, and again, it'll be on the professor to design the assignment in such a way that they're forced to think like that somewhere. Yeah, that's,

Johannes Castner:

that's a great, um, great answer to this question. I, I also think that this is kinda this idea. GPT-4 or ChatGPT will help us avoid learning that Noam Chomsky put out there. I, I've been thinking about this a lot and I actually don't agree with them on this as well. I kind tend to agree with you on this particular point, which is that, you know, you are, you're using this technology to augment you to the next level, right? And, and you're, you might not do some of the lower level functionings anymore because the machine got that now, but, uh, it's sort of like a calculator, right? It's not too different from using a calculator. What the point of. In your head of, of doing, in your, doing large multiplication in your head. It's not much of a point now that we have these calculators.

Ananya Agrawal:

No, but you would still wanna go back to, uh, I mean, you would need to learn the basics of multiplication, even though you might not want to do it quickly, uh, on a high level, uh, all the time. Right. Uh, so the basics of multiplication will still be important too, for you to understand that. Uh, so that way I'm saying that the learner will need to revisit the concepts, but, uh, maybe the, uh, because our brain has a fixed, uh, sort of, uh, space in terms of accommodating data, so it has to let go of certain data and information to let new information come in. So I see it in that sense that, uh, you might not remember the details of, uh, uh, things because, um, you want new information to come in, uh, and the information that the computer already remembers, you let the computer remember, uh, for some reason.

Johannes Castner:

Mm-hmm. So, so how does this all connect? This is another question I had to, you know, different learning styles, different people learn differently and so on. So this complicates the whole thing even further. Um, in terms of metrics, in terms of how do you know that they're learning, right? You can't measure them all the same in the same way. Perhaps you might have to take, make different types of measurements on this. Learn differently and, and we know this. And how do you, how do you accommodate for these different learning styles? I know from your LinkedIn profile that, that you are concerned about these things and, uh, you, you want to build a me, uh, uh, a system that, that is sensitive to, to different types of learners. I, I know this from my own experience. I, I basically didn't go to school when I was a child because the moment I went to school, I was so different from the rest of the students. I was actually incompatible with the German educational system at the time. Um, but you know, we, we've learned from that. We've now realized that there are different types of learners and so on. Uh, different school systems deal with this differently. Some of them really don't accommodate for this. Uh, still some of them have learned and have gotten better in disrespect. What, what do you. What do you do about this and how do you think of this in terms of there being different people and how do you measure them differently? How do you work with them in different ways?

Ananya Agrawal:

So I think, um, Over here is, uh, where I see a very important use case of technology because as a facilitator, you are actually, um, uh, at much odds, uh, in terms of your time management if you try to engage every learner in terms of their learning styles and principles. So, uh, when you do it in a blended way with technology, uh, you get a lot more mind, space and time, uh, to give to each learner because a lot of things get, uh, accommodated in the technology. Uh, so for instance, uh, uh, if you're, uh, exploring, um, patterns, uh, and someone is, uh, like a visual learner, someone is a kinesthetic learner, someone is like an auditory learner. Um, now, um, You have made a set, set of exercises, uh, and embedded it into the technology that, uh, they discover and create things with. So someone is creating, uh, patterns in music. Someone is exploring it in the cloth. Someone is, uh, doing it through drawings. Someone is doing it, uh, mathematically or, uh, building stuff. Using this concept of patterns. And, uh, now you don't have to sit with each learner, uh, in terms of, uh, uh, explaining maybe the basics of patterns you get into the more, uh, deeper ideas of okay, um, uh, how are you doing it? Um, and you can always suggest certain videos, for instance. So if someone is exploring music, you don't have to sit with them to explain them. The audio editing platform, you can always guide them to a nice video, which explores the audio editing platform. And you ex you focus on the whole idea of how they're mixing patterns is to pattern three b pattern, uh, in terms of the music that they're creating. So you get into those, uh, nuances, uh, without having to go into the technicalities of things. So it saves you time. And also, um, in terms of just discovering. Uh, different activities that you can give to explore the same concept. Uh, technology can help you, uh, uh, help an educator just open up their mind and also like collaborate with different teachers from across, uh, to understand. Okay. Um, So this is, uh, what, um, these are different ways to do it. Which of them do I want to bring to my classroom? Which do I want to plug into different, uh, educator, uh, different learners, uh, systems. Uh, and also technology can learn with time in terms of the learner themselves and suggest them more such activities, uh, which will, again, make the life easier for you. So if I see, um, a learner who is not performing so well in a particular area, um, uh, I can always, uh, sort of like, uh, plug in more exercises, uh, without having to, um, yeah, I mean, um, So I can easily see, okay, these set of learners, they need like additional exercise to go through things. Uh, so a very interesting application of this is done by this, uh, organization called Gooru. So they call themselves, uh, um, GPS for learning.

Gooru Narrator:

At Guru, we have built a GPS for learning. That starts with a premise that you can't figure out a learning path for a learner if you don't know precisely where they are. Guru Navigator accurately locates the learner across many facets, including knowledge in various subjects, and then guides them to any learning destination using the most optimal content, resources and tools from any interoperable providers. That include digital content and tools, offline tasks or group activities like projects and presentations. This G P S for learning is being used by more than 7 million learners worldwide, over 3000 schools and over 65 collaborators from pre-K to skills training and beyond. Imagine a world without GPS navigation, a world where the only way to get around was with a bunch of static bus term maps that quickly become dated. This is similar to the foundation education is built on today. Designed to follow linear paths that reflect subject matter expertise, but cannot take into account the learner's changing needs, circumstances, or goals. But what if we could empower the learning ecosystem by providing them a precise understanding of the learner, a map of the educational landscape, and researched back paths to navigate that map. If the ecosystem could know the student's varying proficiency, their interests, their local contexts, their different learning abilities and preferences, and then be given a research backed map of learning with all possible roots. Then they could be empowered to provide personal GP Slike learning paths that significantly improve learning outcomes. And this is what we have done.

Ananya Agrawal:

So, uh, so they're, uh, they say that, uh, like you navigate roads during travel, you also have to navigate your learnings and, uh, in terms of navigation, uh, some might, someone might be like, uh, a slow worker, some one might be over critical, someone might be overexcited. And how do we balance out on those things? So like the oversight learner would need like a bonus exercise, whereas someone who's struggling. Will also, uh, need certain, uh, simpler exercises to go through it. So if I just have like a bank that I can plug and play instead of like having to sit with each learner separately and, uh, how can these metrics and grades be, uh, properly displayed on my dashboard as a teacher, uh, so that it's very accessible for me, um, and I don't have to do it very manually. Um, so, um, so yeah, I mean those kind of applications are, um, there in terms of technology that should be made more accessible to more classrooms, I feel.

Johannes Castner:

And, and so then, then the other questions, so with respect to this different learners and so on, there's a cultural question as well, right? So what, what, what do you see, do you see, do you have a lot of cultural diversity in your learners? And, and how do you see that playing a role? You know, what, what do you describe just now as has mostly to do with sort of individual differences of being auditorial versus, uh, versus, um, visual learner and, and so on and kinesthetic learners. But, but what about cultural aspects and, and how do they factor in and families and, and so, you know, the, the sounding say like the, the milieu in which someone is, you know, that that changes the way they learn as well. Right? And, and are you sensitive to that? Is, is your system sensitive to these cultural differences?

Ananya Agrawal:

So, uh, what happens is, uh, I feel, uh, a lot more than the technology is also about the design of the content. Uh, so, uh, for instance, uh, since we are a blended model, uh, we focus a lot on, uh, storytelling for engagement. Uh, so we have these characters and their personality, uh, individual personalities and interests that are designed, they're in a certain way that they can cater to different, uh, learner interests and different learner behaviors as well. Uh, so someone might, uh, say that, okay, um, I don't think this is working out for me, or, uh, I don't know what this guy is teaching in the classroom. So, uh, so this might, uh, this comes in a classroom, obviously, so okay. We bring it into our script and we bring in responses for those kind of things, uh, by other learners or characters in our, um, yeah. Surroundings or, um, In terms of just, uh, stating certain examples. So, uh, storytelling works as an interesting way to, um, uh, build a conversation with learners, um, for us, uh, without, uh, pinpointing and, uh, putting them in spotlight for, uh, certain behaviors. So normalizing their behaviors and, uh, understanding that this is like a, um, norm. I mean, uh, there are all kinds of people and, uh, it's, it's okay, uh, to have whatever learning style that you have. Uh, it's just a matter of, um, discovering it, being conscious of it, reflecting on it, and growing. Through it. So, uh, so yeah, so that's one way. Second way is, uh, in a country like India, there is a lot of language diversity. Uh, so, um, and, uh, we believe in, uh, being vernacular as much as possible. So, uh, so language is a very important constraint that we try to bring in into the way, uh, we, uh, put together information, be it, print, be it, um, uh, voice or, yeah, I mean video. Um, And over there, I feel, um, there are a lot of technology gaps as well. There are a lot of Indian technologists are working on in terms of, uh, just even OCR recognition in different languages or NLP in different languages. So, um, so I think, uh, yeah, so that's a space, uh, where, um, there is a lot of, uh, gaps in considerations and we have to put a lot of clients of human resource, uh, for moderation, uh, purposes in the technology, uh, to understand what's going on on the ground. Um, so, um, apart from that, um, just the whole idea that we spoke about, the whole discovery based piece. Uh, there are different resources and different cultural environments that are available and, uh, Uh, yeah. So, um, uh, in, and we, uh, try to focus on, uh, reducing the costs as much as possible. So if you don't have a certain kind of a block available in your, uh, uh, locality, uh, can you use stones, uh, for instance? Uh, so, uh, or what are the other kind of things that, uh, You can procure. Okay, bamboo is available. How can you use Bamboo, uh, to, uh, learn a certain concept, explore a, a certain skill? Um, so, uh, so yeah, I mean, uh, integrating different, uh, local assets is something that, uh, we try to keep in mind again, when designing work for content pieces, uh, different kinds of, um, uh, examples, uh, of other innovators, educators that we can give. So can there be from the region because, uh, if they're from like, uh, A little too westward. They might not correlate with them, so they might find it very interesting. Uh, okay, this guy did this, but they'd be like, okay, this happens in the west. This doesn't happen in our city. Uh, so this is not something we do. Uh, so, uh, so those kind of things, how can you build a feeling of, I can, uh, into the learners that I, uh, I mean, it's possible I can do it. Um, And, uh, this is not something someone else do, does somewhere else. Uh, so, uh, so I think, uh, that those are some ways we, um, try to, uh, talk about, uh, culture. And then again, we feel that, um, um, cultural diversity is as important. So, uh, there needs to be cultural exchange. So maybe you are different, uh, working with different, um, uh, types of mud or clay. Uh, to build your pottery. Uh, but there is a commonality across, so there is a connecting thread. So can you still learn in terms of what kind of pieces to design, um, what kind of designs are popular in terms of trends? So how can you discover it in a very personalized manner, time and again, how can different communities we build to talk about these things? Um, so I wouldn't say we are doing all of it, uh, at this point, but uh, yeah, we are building towards it.

Johannes Castner:

So how do you use technology to, to facilitate cross-cultural exchange, and how do you think that it's done generally, for example, in the social media? I, I think they're getting this wrong in some ways, right? So Mark Zuckerberg is stating that they want to, that the, the mission of Facebook is to connect the world, but I feel that there's something that is, uh, not quite working out there. And is there, are there some ideas that you have about how to create really fruitful cross-cultural exchange using technology?

Ananya Agrawal:

I personally feel a lot of gap, uh, just comes in through language itself. Uh, and uh, also how technology is, uh, mostly english. Uh, so that's like a popular, uh, I mean, uh, that's a norm. Uh, you need to know a certain, uh, language to explore a certain medium, uh, which is also a reason for a lot of divide. Then again, I mean, um, it is somewhere normal, uh, for communities which correlate or are familiar to sort of like kni together, that is human tendency. Uh, but, um, uh, there are certain algorithms, uh, across certain social media platforms, which do keep in mind, um, how to use hashtags better to, um, for instance, uh, um, bring together different kinds of content, uh, which need not. Uh, so you need not always create location-based communities. You can base create interest-based communities. You can create, um, um, Yeah, different, uh, uh, support group-based communities. So, uh, if you'd want to talk about emotional learning, so you can, um, yeah. Uh, so what is the context concept that you want to talk about and, uh, where you're struggling and can community be created around that? Uh, even in terms of learning, uh, understanding, uh, emotional needs of a learner is very important. So, uh, can learners not feel isolated because, um, uh, a lot of times, uh, learners, uh, step out of school because, uh, they're not able to find their tribe. They feel they're different. Uh, uh, can communities be created to, uh, uh, yeah, help them find the tribe? Because it's not that they're alone. They are different, but they are still people like them. Uh, so, uh, so yeah, I mean, uh, uh, how can finding your tribe be made? Uh, easier and also being sensitive, uh, to, uh, uh, or, uh, building just this compassion towards other cultures, uh, cultural diversities. So, um, so a lot of people, um, are, uh, for instance, uh, based on eating patterns, based on a lot of other things. Uh, there are a lot of differences created across communities as well that we've seen because, um, this is definitely an issue across where we go across a very small community and there will be a neighboring community that they don't speak with because of certain, uh, uh, differences, uh, that they feel. And, uh, how can, um, How can, uh, such attributes be, uh, highlighted, uh, in terms of what brings people together? What brings people closer? So, uh, to establish, um, love and connection across different cultures. So, so that also needs to happen. So although finding a tribe is as important, uh, but, uh, that whole, uh, individualized notion also needs to be challenged in terms of, okay, uh, what are other behaviors are the norms? So, for instance, uh, currently we are, um, a colleague of mine rather, is exploring, uh, game around, uh, media literacy. Um, So what they're trying to explore is just, um, uh, so this is a conversation we were having just today around how, uh, concept is spread and, uh, uh, people were talking about, um, uh, yeah, I mean, uh, can we understand where it's spread from and can we, uh, try to understand how people communicate, uh, and, uh, question it. Uh, so which is why, uh, I think this has been a consistent, uh, pattern across all my questions when I talk about questioning. Uh, so how can more of questioning be brought into picture, um, in terms of how even we are creating communities, uh, can we, um, question our assumptions when we are trying to understand communities? Uh, so, um, I think, uh, it's, it's much more complex. Definitely. And I'm not saying, uh, the intent is in the wrong place. Uh, it's just, uh, a matter of iterating and understanding, uh, things well. Yeah.

Johannes Castner:

Fantastic. So just, um, as a last thing, uh, could you, could you tell my audience, our audience rather, um, uh, uh, what, what would you like them to sort of stick in the end of the time, uh, in the end of the discussion? Or, or would you like them to take away and, and, and think about after listening to this discussion?

Ananya Agrawal:

I feel, uh, um, what you brought up in terms of, um, communities, uh, or creating communities of learning, communities of, uh, exchange, uh, cross-cultural communities of exchange, that is a very important aspect, uh, to take away. Um, because, um, it's as simple as com uh, complex, uh, as it sounds. So, uh, so very simple intervention, uh, very simple interventions can handle very complex issues. And then again, uh, simple things are complex to create. So, uh, so it's a huge interlink over there. Uh, but in general, uh, if you keep it in mind to prioritize this in your, uh, in the way you design, uh, your, um, platforms or communities, um, as a audience, um, I feel, uh, if the intent is in the place, it'll get there. But if you're not even thinking about it, uh, that becomes problematic where you are, uh, like, okay, my user is an individual. They have individual goals. Uh, but no, I mean, it's a natural tendency to be a social animal. I mean, uh, that's how we, uh, uh, define it in home materials and all that. So, uh, yeah, I mean, um, People are social beings, which is why they're so anxious all the time in this rising age of technology. So, uh, can we relook what we, uh, call as digital communities? And also, um, what importance does, uh, um, personal connect, uh, or a physical presence play in the picture? Uh, can we re-look that as well? And, uh, where are we going wrong in terms of eliminating humans from a technology? So can we include humans in the design of technology, which is why, um, uh, I talk of blended hybrids, uh, and not, uh, tech only, uh, as a space. So, um, so I mean, because both have their own advantages and disadvantages. So can we put them together and, uh, can we, uh, be more human in terms of how we look at those designs in general? Yeah.

Johannes Castner:

Fantastic. Yeah, I, I, I, I feel this very much as well. And this is, this is a topic that I often speak about as well. Exactly. This sort of, um, human integration and into, um, building technology. Um, uh, so last thing I would like to ask you, how could, uh, the listener stay in touch with your research, with your work, with what you're doing? How could they, um, keep up with you? Where should they, um, follow you? What kind of social media do you use?

Ananya Agrawal:

Sure. So, um, I'm not very active on social media in terms of posting. Uh, I'm trying to build, uh, that, uh, but, uh, I'm definitely present and very easy to reach out both on LinkedIn and Instagram. Uh, if you can, uh, share those handles. Uh, so I do not check my messages and, uh, uh, yeah, uh, things very often, but, um, yeah, I'm building this, uh, slowly. I mean, this is another target for the year that I'm building this consistency to just share. Uh, and, uh, I'm trying to share something every week, two weeks. Uh, so let's see where that piece goes, but, uh, people can be free to reach out on message differently.

Johannes Castner:

This show is published Wednesdays at 2:00 AM

on the West Coast, 5:

00 AM on the East Coast, and 10:00 AM in London. Next week I will be speaking with Anatola Araba and we will be discussing art, the role of the artist and technology.

Anatola Araba:

Well, I think that the rise of technology is really transforming the landscape of art, storytelling, journalism, and activism. But the most exciting thing for me is how it's placing imagination and ideas at the forefront, because I believe that imagination is the greatest tool of humanity.