This quarter I’m making some changes to how I run the study part of the study program. I’ve decided to give ‘scholarships’ to cover people’s living expenses during their first quarter. This means people can live here free for 3 months as they learn about software and work on projects. Along with this though I’m going to push students to participate pretty heavily in Jaaga Study activities. This includes an hour of Yoga in the mornings Monday – Friday, 30 minutes of meditation Monday – Thursday evenings, and 15 hours of volunteer work each week. Academically students spend at least 15 hours a week studying or working on open source tech projects, and they meet with a coach weekly who helps review and set goals.
At the final event (RSPCT) at the end of each quarter, students represent what they’ve done during the quarter with a heavy emphasis on online badges achieved and open source projects contributed to. They also get a chance to pitch a project they want to work on or for a scholarship to continue with their studies.
What a student learns at Jaaga Study is very individual. In weekly meetings a coach works with each student to understand what skills they have already and what devise simple steps they can do to establish themselves as technology professionals. Depending on the individual this may mean getting familiar with common web or mobile applications, or studying software development, or working on open source software projects. CodeAcademy.com, HackerRank.com, Udacity.com and GitHub.com are platforms we rely heavily on in Jaaga Study. Java & Android is the default technology stack we encourage new students to learn.
The volunteer part of the program is oriented around the physical needs of our community. In the beginning of the quarter we will spend most of this time in construction setting up our live and work space. People who continue will learn more about solar energy, LED lighting, water and waste management. Some volunteers also help with our school outreach program bringing Android tablets to kids in our area.
The long term goal for Jaaga Study students is that they learn technical and practical skills they can use to contribute to a local community and earn money on the internet. This may take many quarters.