Accessibility October 27, 2020
Surat student Mudit Surana develops app to teach science experiments to visually impaired children
Struck by the multiple barriers that visually impaired children face when it comes to accessing entertainment and education, Mudit Surana, a student rom Surat, Gujarat, has developed a free Android app that teaches science experiments. It’s called Dreamss and helping him with the project are three childhood friends Krish Uttamchandani and Ananya Jain.
What happens when a ray of light travels through different mediums?
What is Newton’s Law of Motion?
These basic science facts can be understood through simple experiments using toy cars, balls and laser beams on Dreamss, an Android app developed by Mudit Surana, a class 12 student in Surat, is reaching out to blind and low vision students through their app.
“Most visually impaired students don’t opt for math and science as teachers are not equipped with ways to teach practical skills”, says 17-year-old Mudit, a student of Delhi Public School, Surat. “There are no accessible equipment available or proper labs”.
Helping him ideate with the experiments are childhood friends Ananya Jain and Krish Uttamchandani. How did they end up becoming aware of the challenges faced by visually impaired students you may ask? Mudit’s sister has Down syndrome. As a child he longed to find a cure for the condition. When he realised it was incurable, he got hooked to the idea of helping people with disabilities.
Childhood friends come together
This led him and childhood friend Ananya, a student of Fountainhead School, to start screening audio described films for children at the blind school in Surat as part of a project that is called Dreamss.. “This was our first attempt as part of Dreamss to procure edutainment for blind and low vision people”, says Ananya.
Soon Krish, also a childhood friend, and student of J H Ambani School, came on board. The three started looking at possibilities of setting up labs at blind schools and ways to source equipment.
“We procured the syllabus taught to these students, listed out all the experiments, researched and thought about ways to make them more accessible”, says Mudit.
They also looked at the curriculum of the Perkins School for the Blind in the United States closely. Using these learnings, they developed a film on teaching reflection to the visually impaired.
Honours for Dreamss
These efforts have won recognition in India and abroad. The Dreamss initiative won first prize at the Harvard University‘s social entrepreneurship programme called Village to Raise a Child. They were also semi-finalists at the Diamond Challenge competition, University of Delaware and finalists at the National Children Science Congress 2018. Their film on teaching reflection to visually impaired people also bagged the Bronze Beaver award.
Covid affected their plans to set up labs in blind schools so Mudit came up with the idea of creating an app for these children. The experiments are primarily targeted at teachers and parents working with visally impaired children.
The videos are in Hindi, so they are accessible to many people. This is because everything that is available online is in English. They are audio described and we have added other details like names of prominent blind schools across India segregated state wise along with phone numbers. We also plan to put up inspiring stories and eventually add games. – Mudit Surana, Co-developer, Dreamss
While Ananya and Mudit work on the experiments, Krish, a student of commerce, works on the communication and content aspects. “We have spent a bulk of our teenage years in thus and we know there is a gap that is not being fulfilled”, he says, adding that the friends are committed to keeping this initiative alive even if life take sthem to different parts of India or the world.
“Even if this helps one student or one school that would keep us going”, adds Ananya. “When it comes to balancing with our academic requirements, all three of us are interested in technology and we plan to align this with the education we receive”.
To download the Dreamss app, click here
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